7 1/4" Gauge
Over the years we have only
paid for a couple of
advertisements in magazines. To tie in with the launch of a
7.25" gauge Hercules we paid for a small advert in the 7
1/4" Gauge Society's magazine. Whether it was a jinx or not
but the day the deadline passed was about the time we found out
that there would be no more Fasco motors - see below.
The aim of the new loco is to
use as many parts as we can from
the 5" gauge version but by narrowing the bogie frames the
wheels go on the outside of the frames. What you will get is a
reasonably powered loco but one that doesn't have to live on the
track. The bogies and chassis weigh in at around 35kg but by
taking the bogies off not part weighs more than 12kg.
Although the wheels are cut from 4"
blanks, they are to 7.25" gauge profiles. Having finally
welded up a set of new frames, the new motor mounts fit snuggly
between the frames. This engine will never be a big hauler but it
should make a change to have a portable loco that isn't just a
0-4-0 or 0-6-0. As nearly all the parts are the same as the
5" gauge version the price will be the same..
Having had a fantastic summer with Ride on Railways we
just getting through the back orders when we hit a brick wall
with the locos. Over the years we have used over 600 12v Fasco
motors with only one notable failure which was burnt out by
having power applied when parked. Trying to keep ahead, I ordered
another box of motors in advance of loco orders. A month later
the bad news came back - No more Fasco motors. We had already
seen the motor manufacture change from Fasco to Von Weisse but
this was a bit of a shock
Production has been moved/sold to Mexico and the chance
these motors being manufactured in the next year or so is highly
A supply issue in 2006 lead to an enquiry with a UK
manufacturer. They actually made me four samples which were
probably a better motor and performed really well in my Captain
Howey loco. I requested a quotation and was quoted £67 per motor
but needed to buy at least 500.
The hunt was now on for a suitable replacement motor.
searched the internet I narrowed the choice down to four
potential motors. Having purchased four of each it was soon clear
that two motor types were not powerful or fast enough. The final
two required new motor mount designs with one of them requiring a
semi cradle configuration.
With the motors installed we then tested them separately
a Hercules chassis.
After the initial bench tests the
bogies were taken to our line so they could be tested on a line with a
reasonable load (4 adults) at various speeds. Not wanting to pick a
motor which may not be suitable, the engine was driven pretty hard with
rapid acceleration and deceleration.
While both motor types performed well
one became noticeably warmer under heavy loading and was rejected. The
remaining type was then selected for further testing.
Despite all the tests we could
carried out on the Middleton Garden Railway there was one we couldn't
do - TOP SPEED.
||Armed with the borrowed "Bobby " body
we took the new loco to Chingford club track for a bit of testing. The
raised track is currently under going maintenance and the ground track
had a rather large heap of soil over one point, but there was enough
track to give the loco a thorough testing.
After clearing some of the track of leaves we
carried our several runs including a couple where I opened up the loco
to full power. Plenty of wheel slippage occurred due to the leaves but
we were achieving some top speeds which were comparable with the old
Despite running at high speed and low speed for
some time,the motors failed to show any sign of any warming up.
My best estimate is that the loco could achieve
around 10mph, but with the motors appearing to be under worked there
could be the potential for using a 15 tooth spur gear on the motor
rather than the 12t we were using.
Having just placed an order for 50 motors
are now up and running again. The only major problem is that I
will have to re do all the kit instruction pages as the motors
have a totally new mounting bracket. For those who hated putting
drilling a pin down the spur gear on the motor will be relieved
to find out that the new motors have a flat on to which you can
use a grub screw to fix the gear on.
Having lost a good few
weeks with design and testing motors I have finally started Hunslet
no.3 Although the 12v motor supply has stopped, there are a few 24v
ones. The disadvantage is the loss of top speed but with the Hunslet
this isn't too much of an issue.
That said I am going to
give this one a major test before fitting all the cranks and con rods.
Once this one is
finished I need to start on number 4.
|Having been asked by several people
for a long seat raised truck, I gave up trying to work out how to
support the seat in the centre. As a trial I ordered up three raised
trucks with a straight chassis rather than the well wagon style.
The first two will soon be going to Holland, but
if anyone would like one I can do these on special order. No real price
increase, just have to wait for a 5mm steel order.
|We are now supplying our bearing
version locos with new smaller Delrin alxe boxes. They were designed to
accept axle ends directly but we can modify them to accept 6000z ball
race bearings. The clip in Timken covers just adds to the character.
The main advantage for us is the saving of having
to stock two different styles of side frames.
|Following on from the success of the
bogie kits, we now supply all bogies to this design. While there
weren't any problems with the old design, the new one offers better
performance of tighter curves. We have also added two holes on the
cross plate which allows you to put a couple drops of oil to lubricate
between the plate and nylon spacer block.
||With so much work on the books we
have been employing Barry (pictured left) on a part time basis. Barry
has quite a pedigree in 5" gauge having scratch built a Western and the
German loco pictured left.
With his input we are
slowly getting up to date with the orders. It is our intention to be
able to finally get some ready made stock on the shelves.
Merry Christmas and a Happy
Year - from Paul, Drena, David & Barry.
Look out early next year for new locos -
5" and 7.25"