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Locos-Sandstone & Termite Railway

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Last Updated Jan 24, 2023

Locos    Rollingstock    Couplings    Wheels   

Description of Locos

All of my locos have scratchbuilt bodies on proprietary motor blocks. I've used a number of Bachmann Big Hauler motor/chassis, but am now using Aristocraft motor blocks which are available as spare parts. There is a short diesel block (ART29356) about 60mm between axles with 28mm dia wheels. A longer diesel block (ART29351) 100mm centres and 40mm dia. Both these have nice detailed bogie side frames.They run from 6V upwards and take less than 200mA when running light - real current misers. I have also used the 0-8-0 block from their C16 Consolidation.
click here for a video of all locos (up to 2015)

The complete motive power stable at 2009. (some have been added since)
From the left.....
The steam tram, yellow diesel, red Garratt (2-4-2+2-4-2), 2-8-2 tank, green 4-6-0, Railmotor, (Bachmann Big Hauler in distant background), black 0-6-0, and blue 2-6-0+0-6-2 Garratt,
2nd line: Climax A, RM3,Josh (was Ernie)
3rd Line: Nick diesel/railmotor, Orange Bo-Bo diesel #13 and 4-8-0. #14
4th line: Eddie, Lexie and (new) Ernie
5th line: Ugly #18 and large orange diesel #19
6th line: 2-6-4 tank #20, FA type diesel #21
Closeup pics and descriptions of each loco follow....

All my locos

36 class (2) A 4-6-0 based on NSW 35 or 36 class. The second Bachmann 4-6-0, has suffered a major kitbash to give it a bigger boiler and tender. It is loosely based on a NSW 36 class (ie a 1920s vintage). The boiler is 90 mm plastic pipe and the fittings are various pieces of wire, tops of glue tubes and garden irrigation fittings. This loco is battery powered. It has a 14V, 3000 mAh LiPo battery in the boiler with Hobbyking 2.4 GHz radio control and sound in the Tender. In 2015, I replaced the motor chassis with a new version with metal valve gear.
click for video

1st Garratt

(3) My first Garratt a 0-4-0+0-4-0 based on two Bachmann chassis. These Spectrum locos draw a lot more current than the 4-6-0s ..... over an amp at 12V. To avoid overloading my controller, and since they appear to be 12V motors, the two chassis are wired in series. This limits the top speed to a very realistic value, with the maximum 20V which my controller puts out.
The cab is the only body part of the two Bachmann 2-4-2 locos which was reused. The front and rear tanks are 2mm styrene, covered with 0.25mm styrene which has been punched to resemble rivets. The boiler is 75mm plastic pipe. The boiler frame is 100mm x 6mm steel plate and the whole loco weighs in at 3 kg (6.5 lb.) This is still track powered. There are two, Picaxe sound generators,and a speaker at each end, and a recorded whistle using a 23 second sound recorder.
click for video

tram (4) From the 1880s to 1910s Sydney had an extensive steam powered street tramway system. This is my model of the motor and trailer. The motor is based on a Bachmann Porter. It is radio controlled and has a sound system using the new RC units from Oatley Electronics and using two PICAXE controllers. I have been able to get all the electronics inside the boiler. I put 7 NiCd cells on the floor and painted them black so they can't be seen and a 2" diameter speaker in the roof.The spkr magnet fits nicely up into the clerestory.
One PICAXE controls the speed/direction and the other does the sound. There is a Mute control which reduces the 'chuff' volume when the speed is decreasing or stopped.
The direction control is a toggle, so to indicate which direction is selected, there are 2 different quiet hiss sounds when stopped.
The RC is a 4 button controller so I used the 4th pushbutton for a whistle which is just a single frequency tone (about 3kHz) generated by the PICAXE.

19 class

(5) The fifth loco is based on a Bachmann 4-6-0 but converted to an 0-6-0 to look like a NSW 19 class . I decided that it was too hard to move the centre axle to give the characteristic 19 class unequal wheel spacings, but the discrepaancy is not too noticeable. I was able to get that other great look of the 19 class where you can see daylight beneath the boiler. I like the uncluttered look of the early 19s so I haven't put much detail on the boiler - not even a compressor. The boiler is 50mm ID plastic drain pipe (as used under the bathroom sink); the footplate is 3mm steel and the rest is styrene sheet. The dome is turned from wood and the funnel from electrical conduit. The tender is the Bachmann unit reduced in length and width (cut in half and re-melted together using a soldering iron), and the headlight is a shortened Bachmann. Handrails are steel wire, heated with a soldering iron and melted into the plastic. The whistle and turbo generator are the Bachmann ones, and the safety valve is from styrene and wire coil. It is painted with flat black.
The boiler has 9, AA size NiCad batteries giving 11V and 2.8 Amp-hours (and weighing 670g). The loco weighs 1800g. The original Bachmann had about 1350g on the drivers, so adhesion should be better (if the bearings handle it). I didn't instal the smoke generator to reduce battery drain. R/C and sound gear is in the tender, with a 12 pin plug between (8 pins used). I am using the Bachmann sound unit and extra wipers have been added to the cam which switches the steam sound to give 4 beats per revolution.

2nd Garratt (6) My second Garratt. It's loosely based on the Victorian narrow gauge type, but with a 'curvy' front which I like. It is battery powered with two 3000mAh, 11V LiPo batteries in the rear tank and the radio control and two sound systems in the boiler. Converting the 4-6-0 to a 2-6-0 means the cylinders had to be moved back and the drive rods shortened.
It is fitted with dual sound units of my own design, and the unsynchronised sounds from back and front motor units at low speed are very realistic. With plenty of battery capacity available, I can have good volume too.
click for video

loco7  a PB12 (7) A model of a Queensland PB15 done by Keith on a Bachmann motor block, and donated to the SaTR. It has Hobbyking RC and LiPo battery all in the tender.

diesel (8) The S&TR's first diesel loco, based on Aristocraft L'il Critter and vaguely resembling a NSWGR X200 rail tractor. It is still track powered and has a sound system based on a PICAXE controller, with a 3" speaker in the cab and 8 NiCd cells in one hood. I built the right hood from styrene to match the other one, which was shortened by 15mm and moved right to the front of the chassis. So the cab is now central. The sun shades are from brass. The horns are plastic golf tees.
I fitted a 3" speaker in the cab and the sound system is in the old (left) hood end.
The lettering is just printed from a computer onto adhesive backed clear plastic sheet. (I got my local print shop to do it as my bubble-jet won't print on plastic.)

SMR 10 class (9) based on an Aristocraft 0-8-0 motor block. The body is based on a South Maitland Railway 10 class. It is battery powered with 2.4 Ah, 12V NiMH batterries in the tanks and RC in the boiler. A 50mm speaker is in the bunker facing into the cab.

Climax A (10) The A class Climax. It's built of styrene on an Aristo diesel motor block and has RC and sound. 10V, 2.4 Ah Batteries are in the water tank, RC in the boiler and sound ccts in the firebox.

Josh's loco (11) A small shunter for grandson #5 - Josh. It has 4 NiMH cells and a simple reversing/on/off switch on the hood. Made from styrene on an Aristo 'centre-cab diesel' motor block (ART 29356).

Nick's railmotor (12) A railcar for grandson Nick. It has 8 NiMH cells and RC using 433 MHz key=fob controller. A single picaxe provides motor control and sound. Made from styrene on an Aristo L'il Critter motor block (ART 29351)
click for video

BHP (13) The first (and only?) mainline diesel. It has my home made RC and sound with 8 NiMH cells. Made from styrene on an Aristo L'il Critter motor block (ART 29351) with a wooden bogie at the other end. Loosely based on a BHP D-9 it's only 380mm (15") long. The Radio Control actually controls the sound system and then the sound cct controls the motor voltage. This way the loco speed 'follows' the diesel engine sound. The 'fan' is the speaker.

dubs (14) A 4-8-0 loco with curved cylinder covers. Made on an Aristo C-16 motor block (ART 29357) with conduit boiler. Bachmann tender, narrowed and shortened. RC and sound in the tender, with batteries in boiler.
click for video

Eddie's loco (15) An almost stock standard Hartland Mack loco for grandson Eddie. It has 5 NiMH cells under the base and simple reversing/on/off switch on roof. Has simple sound system with 3" speaker in cab..

lexie's loco (16) An 0-6-0 tank for grand-daughter Lexie. Made from styrene on a PIKO chassis. It has 4 NiMH cells and simple reversing/on/off switch on boiler. Has simple sound system too.
click for video

Ernie's loco (17) Grandson #2, Ernie originally had the loco now called Josh, but he didn't like the yellow colour! So I built a bigger diesel with RC and "the works". It has 8 NiMH cells, 433 MHz RC and full sound. Made from styrene on an Aristo L'il Critter motor block (ART 29351)
click for video

Ugly diesel (18) A gift which is obviously kitbashed from some sort of LGB parts. I squeezed in 6, NiMH cells and 2.4 GHz RC but can't find space for a speaker and sound system.

loco19 (19) Scratchbuilt larger diesel on Aristo motor block. It has 2.4GHZ RC with a LiPo battery and additional electronics to ensure the diesel rev sound builds up before the loco accelerates. The driver rotates to face the direction of travel!
click for video

loco20 (20) A 2-6-4 tank based on NSWGR 20 class. I used a PIKO 0-6-0 motor block. It has 2.4GHZ RC and my improved Picaxe sound system with chuff shaping.
click for video

loco21 (21) A pretty well unmodified USA Trains FA unit. I removed one motor block and ripped out all the wiring. It has 2.4GHZ RC with a LiPo battery and additional electronics to ensure the diesel rev sound builds up before the loco accelerates.
click for video

loco23 (23) An unmodified Bachmann(?) centre-cab. Fitted with 2.4GHz RC.

loco24 (24) My representation of a NSWR Z16 class. I used a USA Trains diesel block and replaced the wheeels using those from a Bachmann Big Hauler. LiPo battery and 2.4 GHz Hobbyking RC gear.

loco25 (25) An unmodified Bachmann Big Hauler. I fitted a servo to the fireman so that he rotates to shovel coal.
click for video

loco26 (26) I used the bodies from two Hartland Macks to produce this double diesel for grandson Eddie. ONly one power bogie is used, the rear loco is a 'dummy' carrying the NiMh batteries only. Hobbyking 2.4GHz RC and using my own Picaxe design for motor control and diesel sound.
click here for video


rail motor (RM2) Sadly it is no longer operational. Based loosely on the Queensland Gulflander, it has a 6V motor driving a wooden pulley on the rear axle, via a rubber band. It is now battery powered (6x1.2V 900mAh AA cells) with on/off control done by 'waving' a magnet over the roof, or placing a magnet between the rails. It has a simple petrol engine sound consisting of a square wave generator whose frequency varies as the speed increases.

CPH (CPH) Railmotor No 3 - a shortened version of a NSWR CPH. It uses an Aristo diesel motor block and is RC and has my own Picaxe sound unit and recorded engine cranking sounds. 10V, 2.4Ah batteries.

CPH (Goose) An Unmodified Goose. Fitted with LiPo battery and Hobbyking 2.4GHz RC.

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Pictures of many of the wagons and carriages can be seen by going to Pictures menu at top of page, and selecting 'Picture Index'.

All the rollingstock (except the locos and one Bachmann tank wagon and a couple of Lehmann 4 wheelers) is scratch built from the wheels up. Either styrene sheet or balsa is used for the bodies. Balsa is used for the roofs, cut into strips and glued to shaped formers to form the curvature, then covered with ordinary typing paper using white glue.
The vehicle floors are 3mm ply on an underframe of 8 mm thick 'sleeper' timber. So far I've built five passenger carriages, 10 bogie goods and 22, four-wheelers, and this is scarcely enough to keep the locos busy.
The caboose does not really fit the Australian scene but my (then) 19 year old daughter insisted on having a 'little red caboose'.

Lettering on the vehicles is printed on a computer, on plain paper and glued on the vehicles.


Couplings were a real problem. I tried 3 different methods with bars & pins but finally settled on the old hook and chain. It needs big, out of scale buffers but it works and is cheap. And since I'm not into lots of shunting it's not a problem. The chain comes from cheap jewellery you buy at bargain "two dollar" shops. You can also get finer chains for load lashings etc. from the same place.


Originally I turned the wheels on a wood lathe from 6mm thick nylon sheet. Offcuts of this are available from plastics suppliers for around $5 for a 30 cm square (look in the Yellow pages). This makes 36 wheels. If you're lucky you can get it in black. I ground a 25mm chisel into the (half) wheel profile. Five cm squares of nylon are hot-glued to the lathe faceplate, drilled and the axle fitted. The chisel is then held against the axle and moved onto the nylon, so that it takes one simple operation to turn a wheel, takes only a few minutes, and they're all the same!
But these days I bludge plastic wheels from mates who just have to convert to metal wheels. (I don't know why.)

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