First page of the Operation Sessions archive.

[MLC] Working on the club layout and running some trains

Posted by Gerd on Thursday, 24 March 2022 (Comments Closed)as

Hi folks,

together with Jonas, I spend another work-duty on our club layout. The layout uses 10x20mm rec.tubing as rails and due to a bad batch several years ago, we struggle with deformed rails. Therefore, we replace single rails or stretches of whole track with new material. To reduce costs, we salvage the ties from the old track to be reused on the next segment to be replaced.

We started work one hour earlier as usual and finished earlier than expected, which gave as 2-3 hours left to operate our trains afterwards. I used the opportunity to run my Shay loco the second time after the overhaul.

The nice smoke plum comes from today’s type of firing. For safety reasons, a poplar was taken down on the property and left a pile of wood chips, just the right size for the Shays firebox. The firebox inside the copper T-boiler is very large, so there’s enough space for a wood fire. Anyhow, it turned out that I need much less wood than expected. The amount of chips in below photo lasted for one hour of operation.

I enjoyed running the loco on wood, that I decided to salvage more wood chips and filled up both gondolas, which might reach for another 10-20 op-sessions. It also underlines this typical “logging-railroad” character of my railroad.

Another upgrade to my railroad were crew members. After some research, I found 10″ tall Mattel “Big Jim” figures to be perfect match. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of cowboy and wild west clothes available already, which makes it easy to get some 1900 log train crew together.

Finally, I had my steam donkey with me to make some side-by-side comparison to my rolling stock. This looks like perfect match as well and I look forward to get the steam engine finally installed for a first test run.

And at least, some short clips of my Shay in action.

[MLC] Big overhaul of the Shay locomotive

Posted by Gerd on Friday, 7 January 2022 with 1 Comment

Hello folks,

welcome in 2022 and I wish you all the best and more important health for the new year. Stay safe and enjoy your hobby.

In the past weeks and month, I spend a huge overhaul to my Shay-locomotive, which were not yet shown here on the blog. Meanwhile, the loco is back in service and performs great, as shown in the latest video.

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Finally, I’ll show you some of the repairs I did along with some improvements. Let’s start with the new eccentrics I made to use ball bearings. This rebuild was actually done some while ago.

I noticed some slack in the eccentrics as the eccentric rings start to wear out. I ordered some ball bearings and made new eccentric-discs. I was able to find some workshop-drawings with important measurements.

Fortunately, I could reuse the eccentric rings by boring them out for the OD of the ball bearings. I left a small flange on the inside, which will hold the rings on top of the bearings. Once installed, they can’t move to the outside and will support each other in the center.

Additional, I made new cross heads from bronze. The original parts also show some wear and to avoid future damage, I simply made a new set. This reduced some more slack from the steam engine.

On some parts, I can’t exactly tell which material I made them from, so some parts might have worn due to bad material parings. Anyhow, if the overhauled engine will work for another 10 years, I’ll be happy for now.

Let’s move on to the next issues. The lubricator didn’t work fine the last runs so I spend some improvements here as well. I rebuild the drive from friction bearings to a ratchet drive which works more reliable. But here were some more issues to be eliminated like missing valve-balls and O-rings.

And when a lubricator doesn’t work for a longer period, it’s a good idea to check the cylinders. You may guess, they were dry as dessert and the piston rings in bad condition. So I took some PTFE and made a new set of piston rings.

Next surprise came up when I checked the valve chests and valve stem. The stem showed massive corrosion, probably they were made from regular steel instead of stainless. I replaced them with stainless parts and started reassembling. And as I went along…

… I found some more potential for improvements. The steam brake also caused issues with lots of leaks. I spend new seals and piston rings as well. A new improvement is a displacement lubricator for the brake valve and cylinder. This will help sealing the valve and the force of the brake system.

In parallel, I replaced some other broken parts and spend the final touches of my 1:7.2 scale rebuild. I re-arranged some pipes, lowered the cylinder cover in front of the cab, enlarged the front window on the fireman-side and re-shaped the diamond stack to a more Shay-like design. Last step was to replace the cab ladders from 1-step to 2-step ladders.

Now I look forward to a new season on 5”-gauge and especially to a new project in this scale which will start this spring here on my blog. Stay tuned for a new masterpiece to be born.


[MLC] Cold winter steam

Posted by Gerd on Thursday, 23 December 2021 with 1 Comment

Hi folks, yesterday, I made a trip to the club layout to run the last steam trains in 2021 together with Jonas. We had -3°C so the steam plums were great. Unfortunately, the lubrictaor in my Shay still causes trouble, so I had to stop running earlier as expected. I tried but was not able […]

[MLC] Moody Lumber operation session

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 22 September 2020 with 1 Comment

Hello folks, a few days ago, I made use of the good weather and spend an afternoon at the club layout to dun my Moody Lumber Co. trains. My friend Jonas also joined and decided to steam up my Forney. So, this went up to be the first time in more than 4 years, that […]

[MLC] Flatcars part 2

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 23 June 2020 (Comments Closed)

Hi folks, within the last days, I finished the upgrade on all flatcars. In between, I spend a day at the club layout in Karlsruhe to run a short freight train with Shay #2. Together with a good friend, we made point-to-point operation on single track with halfway passing siding and time table. It was […]