Well, the management of the Toenail Ridge
Shortline has found itself in need of an easy method of access to the trackage
for a while now.
So, following the release of plans in
October 1996 Garden Railways magazine, the powers-that-be empowered
the shop foreman, one Grant Alexander to manufacture a convenient vehicle
for the nabobs to survey their domain.
The vehicle is powered by a TAMIYA Universal
Gearbox and 3 volt motor, which was purchased from Dick Smiths Electronics
for the princely sum of $15. The battery box is also from Dick Smiths and
holds two AA batteries and an on-off switch. The gearbox offers 3 different
gear ratios, I have opted for the middle speed which propels the tramcar
at about 4 metres or 13ft per minute, or in the words of the great Robbie
Burns "...a furlong a fortnight!" Since the model is built to 1:20.3 scale
this translates to about 5 kph or 3mph.
Wheels are small Bachmann, originally
from the tender of a Columbia locomotive. By sheer good fortune the Bachmann
axle is an exact match for the axle diameter required by the drive gear
so I was able to use the original Bachmann wheelsets in their entirity.
Construction is primarily 1/32nd" aircraft
plywood and 1/16th" balsa, with chassis frames made from ripped down cedar.
The hood was fabricated from styrene sheet
and the curved top is a piece of a medication cup purloined from the local
The grille is entirely scratch-built of
balsa and styrene strip. The radiator cap is a round-pin and the crank
handle is a piece of welding rod with a brass tube overlay for a handle.
The headlights were lifted from a $2 toy
truck and spread to the correct width using brass tube. The lenses were
purloined from another truck kit. The cowcatcher came from another $2 toy.
If anyone is interested in owning one
of these models I would be happy to build them in either 1:20.3 or 1:29
scale. Purchaser would need to supply 2 Bachmann small-wheel axles.