With the paint removed and the brass cleaned up it was just a matter of soldering all the broken pieces back together. Here are some photos of the repaired locomotive all cleaned up. Here’s the front end with the repaired pilot:
Also note the electrical junction boxes connecting the marker lights to the handrails. I pulled these off and reversed them so that the wiring runs under the handrail instead of running right in front of the marker boards.
Here are another couple of photos showing the before and after of the front end.
I found another surprise when I track tested the locomotive. I found that the front wheel set on the lead truck shorted out to the cylinder block on very modest curves. The white arrow in the photo above shows how little clearance there was between the wheel and the cylinder block.
After looking at this model carefully and comparing it my other mountain locomotives, I discovered that the Alco model was using scale 36 inch wheels in the lead truck while all my other mountains were using 33 inch wheels in the lead truck. The prototype locomotive used 36 inch wheels, so the Alco model is technically correct, but that’s little consolation if the model won’t run on anything but straight tangent track.
To fix the problem I replaced the original 36 inch wheels with 33 inch wheels. When smaller wheels are used the whole lead truck sits lower and the brake shoe castings short out to the rails. I had to pull off the brake shoe castings and re-install them in the correct position for the smaller wheels. The photo on right above shows the lead truck with the 33 inch wheels installed. You can now see that there is additional clearance between the front wheel and the cylinder block. With this modification the model will now even make it around a 24 inch radius curve without any problem.
While not strictly prototypical, this modification allows the model to be usable with little impact on the locomotive’s overall appearance. This is a tradeoff I will gladly accept to have a locomotive that actually runs!
Page 4 - Last updated January 22, 2004