Wednesday 25 June 2014


Our ferrivia team is on vacation assignment doing field research.  Posts will continue on their return to headquarters in September.

Coquihalla Man

Wednesday 18 June 2014


3700's were very similar to the 3600's, the main differences being the vestibule cab and a larger tender - usually 8000 gallons. They comprised classes N-2b and N-2c being built right after the N-2a class in the years 1912 to 1914.  They were 5,000 lbs heavier - Presumably in part at least, because of the additional weight of the larger cab.
Overall measurements were the same as the drawing indicates.  Unfortunately, the drawing does not show the standard 8,000 gallon tender which was more usual for this class.   You might also note that the class starts with Number 3691.  As mentioned already, several lower numbered 3600's received larger tenders (8,000 gallons) and Vestibule Cabs late in their service life.

This model is the cosmetically stock Van Hobbies/Smahongsa edition that was produced in the early 1970's.  The only changes made were to replace the gearbox and motor with NWSL equipment and install a decoder and speaker in the tender.  3721 belongs to my friend Dave.  It is unfortunate that the manufacturer/importer chose to replicate an unusual model in that the step over the Air Pump is non-standard with its curved running board step rather than being squared as was the case with all 3600's and almost all 3700's.  There were few other examples of this running board treatment.  One other objectionable feature of this model is the stack with its ugly taper.  Fortunately, Miniatures by Eric makes a good replacement.  The windows and even the doors should be opened as was the practice of the engine crews in all but the coldest weather. 

Here is a drawing made by my late friend, Glenn Lawrence, from measurements he took of the prototype 3747 in the 1940's when he prowled the Drake Street Yards in Vancouver.  Glenn worked briefly for the CPR in their freight office.  Over the years he amassed a huge amount of railway material which he generously shared with anyone who had good reason for it.  Unfortunately, his vast collection of material disappeared in his declining years.  He was a very good modeler and friend.

There is a scale at the top of the page and the drawing is cropped to enable downloading and reproduction to original size.  The cross-hatch figure represents the new NWSL gearbox that I added to the model.
What is unusual about this locomotive is its tender which has a water capacity of 5,000 gallons.  One KV veteran, Tubby Moore, specifically mentioned this detail when I showed him my preliminary model of 3747 which I then proceeded  to correct.
And here is my final version of CPR 3747 from a Van Hobbies engine.  The tender body was modified extensively from the original V H model to produce this 5000 gallon model.  In addition to that, the running board step was rebuilt with square corners and the cab doors opened.  Of course the ugly stock stack was replaced with one from Miniatures by Eric and a few other details added or modified.
This Van Hobbies/PFM production model requires a great deal of work to get it to run properly.  Too often the wheels are out of quarter and the side rods inaccurately sized.  Sometimes even the frame is out of square. Any of these factors alone can produce a hitch when running.  At least it was given springs over the drivers.  It is a good starting point and can be found on the market.  Good points: boiler, domes, appliances, cab and 8000 gallon tender.  A future project will supply engine 3731 for the layout from another basket case VH model.  One final comment on the running boards of the 3700's: the running board on the engineman's side was in most cases straight.  On at least two engines, the running board was in two parts with the front section lowered slightly.  One of these engines is 3716, the preserved and operational locomotive of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway:
We have had good success with the following modifications to the Van Hobbies and United Models brass locomotives:
  • NWSL 36:1 idler gearbox number 150-6
  • NWSL 2027 motor & flywheel, 
  • Tsuanmmi Heavy Steam Decoder,
  • Soundtraxx (mega bass) speaker with lead enclosure,
  • axle-mounted cam & wiper (Grizzly Mountain Engineering),
  • aircraft fuel line "universal"
  • TCS JST6 Inline Connector with black shrink wrap,
  • TCS Golden White LED "lamps" with 1k resistor
  • Fishing line pencil weights in the boiler
Most of these products are available from our favorite hobby shop, Central Hobbies, located in Vancouver BC.  Exceptions: cam and wiper (GME direct); pencil lead (sporting goods stores); fuel line (model aircraft stores).
Most of the above products could be used for a kit-bashed model such as we discussed in the previous post. 

Normally I remove the stock boiler weight and install the decoder in the boiler and fill in the space underneath with the fishing line pencil weights and some flat lead sheet in the cab roof.  This does cut down on the total weight of the engine by about 5 or 10% but does not seriously affect performance.  It is a bit more complicated to install this way than the usual practice of installing it in the tender.  I prefer the tender space for a larger speaker enclosure.  This produces a much deeper and pleasing chuff and other sounds.  None better to my ear.  It is a good idea to grind and file smooth the inside of the boiler to clear the decoder.
The sound feature was a major influence on my decision to convert my layout to DCC and I am pleased with the results.  I chose the Heavy Steam decoder for its whistle selection one of which is very close to the standard CPR whistle on consolidations, mikados and ten wheelers: namely, the Southern Pacific 6-Chime.

With regard to the Engines that were assigned to the Kettle Valley Division in the last years of steam here is a grid compiled from various sources:
Hough: Ted Hough (R I P) was a fine modeler and passed to me several sheets of locomotive assignments that appeared to be authentic prototype records.
Osborne: R. E. (Bob) Osborne (R I P) was a KV engineman who worked in the years of interest to me.  He allowed me to copy out his Engineman's Time Book while visiting with him at Brookmere.
Fawcett: Keith Fawcett published an article in Branchline magazine, January 1950 showing assignments for the Pacific Region.
Camp:  Lance Camp (R I P) passed to me a sheet of KV assignments supplied by an unknown but reliable source.
Diesel Study: In 1952, the CPR compiled a list of engines assigned as part of their study for conversion of the southern mainline to diesel power.
Lavallee: omer Lavallee published a book on CPR steam locomotives in which tables of assignments were printed for several years.
v: 3600 with vestibule cab.

This is about all I can tell you about CPR Consolidations.  Down the road we will treat of the P-1 mikados which were a common sight on the KV passenger trains particularly in the latter days.  Not sure what next week will bring but stay tuned...

Coquihalla Man

Wednesday 11 June 2014


The next class of Consolidation engines was the 3600 series.  They were called "N 2a" class: numbers 3600-3690.  Built from 1909-1911, these engines had 63" drivers and cylinders measuring 23" x 32".  Weight on the drivers was 211,000 lbs, some 33,000 lbs. more than the M-4 class.  One locomotive of this class, Number 3651, has been preserved in Lethbridge AB:

Here is another link to a site with many photos of 3600's & 3700's:  Here is one photo from that site of the aforementioned and preserved Lethbridge engine in service, date and place unknown.  Note the foot board pilot and narrow oil bunker to permit a better view for the engineman while doing yard switching.  Gathered cab curtains suggest that winter is coming or going.  Bud Laws Collection.

Here is a CPR Drawing of 3600, class N-2a Consolidations with key dimensions.
These engines were fairly uniform in appearance and were very well modeled by the Japanese firm, United Models many years ago.  I have 3 United Models Consolidations in service, all of which have received some cosmetic and mechanical modifications based on photos of the prototypes.  Here is my version of CP 3629 which has received a larger coal bunker, a smaller water tank hatch, a triangular number board, modern classification lamps, and extra flags.  Mechanical changes include a North West Short Line gearbox and motor.  A Soundtraxx Tsunammi decoder and a micro LED headlamp have been installed as well. 

The prototype locomotives varied slightly in running board configuration and in the arc of the cab skirt.  One more obvious difference was that for some engines, an air-powered reversing gear was installed on the right or engineman's side that necessitated a raised step in the running board.  One of these was the 3628 which received her power reverse sometime before her conversion to oil firing in 1949/50.  Here is our version based on photos of the prototype prior to the oil conversion.  The model tender is mostly stock and close to the 5000 gallon prototype. 
Another model of this N-2a class is 3678, a long time KV engine.  She was converted to oil early in her career, so we have given her an oil bunker from a D-10 tender, a rather simple modeling exercise.  (The tender from our basket case D-10 shown in the last post was used to create a service tender for our steam powered Ditcher.  The D-10 tender requires a lot of work to make it serviceable, chiefly rebuilding the bolsters on the tender floor.  I do not know how or why it was built so poorly because it simply does not stay on the rails, does not carry a coupler at the standard height and often shorts out on all but tangent track.)  But we digress...

Most 3600's were fitted with Open Cabs but a few received Vestibule cabs and 8000 gallon tenders late in life.  Three KV engines in the latter category were 3601, 3609 and 3657. Of course, many were rebuilt into P-1n Mikados in the late forties and served in the final years of the Kettle Valley steam era.

As we mentioned above, to model standard 3600 locomotives, the brass model by United Models is a very good one and can be had through various on-line sites.  We do recommend a new motor and gearbox, the North West Short Line products being a very good choice.  The original gearbox is acceptable but the motor is definitely a candidate for replacement.  Here is the NWSL site: 
Our standard motor is the NWSL 2027 (or the 2032) and their 36:1 idler gearbox number 150-6.  We also install a flywheel.  We use a simple flexible tube for the "universal coupling" between the motor shaft and the gearbox shaft.  This is actually model aircraft fuel line.  Very occasionally this tube wears out or slips or breaks but is easily replaced.

A few detail changes or additions can improve the authenticity of these ladies.  The tender water hatch is oversize and can be replaced with a Precision Scale hatch.  This requires a patch on the lower deck before mounting the new hatch.  The marker lights on the front of the boiler are an old style and could be replaced with Cal Scale modern markers.  Cab curtains will eventually grace our N-2's as will smoke deflectors.  These deflectors were mounted on most if not all KV engines and were used in tunnels and snowsheds to protect the roofs of these structures.  The early version had handles and was manually operated. Later ones had a piston which, I presume, could be operated from the cab.  They are readily visible on many photos of KV/CPR engines.  Many 3600's ran as extras and thus required extra flags.  Our educated guess is that they were about 18" square.  We have fabricated these with crumpled .002" brass shim-stock and .015" phosphor bronze wire.  The number board on CPR locomotives was triangular until 1945 or so.  Because of an accident, flat number boards were designed and installed on engines and few of the older triangular were around after 1950, if any.  Engine 3601 did carry the old style into 1950 as a Gib Kennedy photo attests. 

We have some exposure to the Bachman consolidation and this is a possible candidate for conversion to the N-2.  Its wheelbase, driver size and valve gear are a good match.  One drawback is the size of the boiler which is quite a bit larger than the CPR's.  One can live with it or construct a boiler of your own, but the drawback of creating your own closer to scale boiler is the combination weight and motor mount that would have to be modified.  The running boards need work to approximate the standard CPR style even if you use the Bachman boiler.  The cab is easy enough to modify with styrene.  Sometimes Bachman will sell the chassis and other parts separately:

One weakness of the first run of the Bachman Consolidation locomotive was the brittleness of the wiring harness which often breaks at connections.  It is a good idea to replace the original wire with a more flexible wire (NWSL).  One needs to solder loops on one end or use miniature wire lugs for attaching under the terminal screws to the boiler weight.  This is the a weakness that Athearn's USRA Light Mikado shares.  It is no longer in production but is still available.  This latter is an excellent product and we have used it to produce a CPR P-1n Mikado with another on the way.  The chassis is a possible candidate for conversion to a Consolidation as the wheelbase and running gear is close enough.
The tender of the Bachman Consolidation is huge compared to the CPR 5,000 gallon tender but removing a chunk out of the middle should be straight forward enough to get started

Well, this post is getting long enough and there is still lots to share about the 3700's so until next week when we continue with KETTLE VALLEY CONSOLIDATIONS PART 3.  More drawings and photos.

Coquihalla Man

Wednesday 4 June 2014


The name "Consolidation"  is applied to a locomotive with a eight driving wheels, a single axle pony truck and without a trailing truck; thus a 2-8-0 (pronounced two-eight-oh).  These Locomotives abounded on the Kettle Valley till the end of steam.  They were the backbone of the fleet.  There were three classes of them and then some variations within each class.  We present here some information on them as an aid to modelers.  This post is by no means exhaustive but it "just grew" as our various resources were consulted to the point that another two-part treatment was necessary.  Here we will discuss some of the early Consolidations with a view to modeling them in HO and N scales.  We must ignore the earliest locomotives of this wheel arrangement on which the author has no information.

Soon after construction of the Kettle Valley Railway, Class M1 locomotives appeared.  Here is Number 3223 at rest in Penticton Yard in 1918.  This engine is quite small compared to most later Consolidations, especially American versions.  Built in 1899, she had 57" drivers and 20" x 28" Cylinders.  Weight on Drivers was 138,000 lbs.

Credit Okanagan Archive Trust Society. Image Number KVR 10.

From my collection, here is a shot of 3281 taken about 1935.  Not a KV number but good for detail.  
In appearance, she had some resemblance to the D4g class of Ten-wheelers of which our 443 is a representative. One major detail difference was that the 3200's had a Belpaire firebox which is the squarish projections of the boiler in front of the cab.  On the other hand, the placement of domes and bell and headlight are common to both.  The stacks seem to be identical.  Perhaps the boiler and frame were longer to accommodate the extra driver set.  The 443 had 63" drivers but of course only three of them as compared to the 3200's 57" drivers but this shot should help a little in the calculations for a model of these early consolidations.  Additional shots showing the left side appear on pages 65-66 in the book, Steam in Canada, by Donald C.Lewis.  The tenders seem to vary. GTC Collectibles sells a photo of 3216 in Penticton in 1943.

Here is a CPR drawing of the M-3b class which could be close in dimensions to the M-1.  Certainly the wheelbase would be a starting point, the difference being that the 3200's would have all-equal driver spacing unlike that of the rear driver of the 3300's.  I have no knowledge of 3300's working on the Kettle.  Acocrding to Gerry Doeksen in his book, Kettle Valley Railway, published in 1996, M-1a consolidations that saw significant service on the Kettle Valley were numbers: 3210, 3214, 3216, 3217, 3218, 3226, 3235, 3260, &3280.  All were gone by 1930 except 3226 which hung around until 1943 according to Doeksen.  As mentioned already, GTC sells a photo of 3216 in Penticton in 1943.  One more help is the recent book by Robert Turner on the E&N The CPR Steam Years, 1905-1949.  It has many photos of 3200's including on very good broadside which could be used for scaling dimensions.  The known dimension there would be the driver size.
The biggest challenge to modeling these gals is finding a suitable chassis and mechanism to start with.  The small 57" drivers for a consolidation of this size are not produced by any present day manufacturer.  One possibility is to compromise and build one from a USRA 0-8-0 switcher such as the one by Walthers Proto 2000 series.  The wheelbase is close at 15 feet but the drivers are undersize at 51".  Since H O scale flanges are oversize, the drivers would look closer to 53" which is getting there.  The boiler of the USRA switcher would be grossly oversize so one would have to roll your own or find a suitable and cheap plastic model on eBay or at a swap meet.  To help you get started on finding something, Google USRA 0-8-0 switcher.

In N-scale the second run of the Walthers proto 2000 0-8-0 switcher is similar and makes a good starting point but there is a more excellent 2-8-0 model by Kato and here is a link to an article giving many kit-bashing techniques:  This is a photo from the article.


Moving on with the prototype locomotives, in 1904, heavier Consolidations were designed and built and eventually replaced the M1 class. Here is a photo of 3405 at the Coal Cute in Hope in 1930.  This was the next step in the evolution of the Consolidations and was one of the CPR class M4a, numbers 3400 - 3440.  She had slightly larger 58" drivers and 21" x 28" Cylinders.  Weight on the drivers was 178,000 lbs.  Credit Okanagan Archive Trust Society. Image Number KVR 098
large photo

These engines received some modifications in their lifetime as other photos in Lewis' book reveal.  On the left side, the large air tank was at some point shortened to accommodate the double air pump which replaced the original single.  On some engines the high headlight was replaced by one mounted on the centreline of the boiler front.  At least two of these engines lasted into the late KV steam era in Yard Service: 3460 & 3480.

Here is a photo from my collection of 3495 taken in Quebec in 1940.  This is not a KV engine number but gives good detail.  She carries a footboard pilot and the tender also suggests she was working in a yard. 
Here is the CPR drawing for the 3400's and 3500's.  Note the position of the bell which was placed here on some engines. 
The 3500 series, built in 1907-09 with the same 58" drivers, were similar in appearance.  They had larger cylinders at 22 1/2" x 28" though still classed as M-4g and M-4h.  Here is another plan published by O SHO ME in the 50's (?) .  I hope I am not violating copyright by publishing this drawing but they have been out of print for many years.

There was one model produced of the 3400's by United Models which looks good but I have no experience of it.  I simply found it on the internet and here is a link to a site that has one for sale:
Update: Less than 24 hours after this post the model was sold.  It can still be viewed along with another M 4 model that has also been sold.  I believe now that these models are custom built or modified from other brass models. The site info describes them as having 57" drivers and were manufactured in 1964 by United.  Checking with a knowlegable friend, he discounts them as "manufactured" but insists that they may be custom.  I believe he is right.

An article appeared in the  November 1994 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman which revealed how Herb Mason built engine 3512 with parts from two other brass locomotives.   This particular locomotive did see some service on the KV but worked more on the Kootenay Division.  In 1947 she slid off a barge to the bottom of Slocan Lake where she rests to this day.
Herb used a Southern Pacific C-10 2-8-0 chassis by Sunset Models and they are available on eBay.  One was listed there by a seller in Duncan BC for $249.
I have a similar aspiration to one day replicate a 3400 in HO with a D-10 boiler and a Santa Fe Consolidation Chassis by United Scale Models.  These are the pieces and there is much work to do as you can see.  I picked these items up a few years ago for a very reasonable price as they were both basket cases.  Plastic models with 57-58 inch drivers do not exist so one must look to the 0-8-0 compromise or look for older brass models to modify.

Here is the same Santa Fe model listed on eBay for $125. 

The boiler is oversize but the chassis is good and the United models are very well constructed.

Bargains can be had on eBay and here is another example of a good possibility for a 3400/3500 starting point.

An accurate Stack and headlight among other appliances are available from the Miniatures by Eric catalogue. 

We will continue next week with the later and heavier Consolidation Locomotives in the 3600 and 3700 series.