Westside 12 at the Colorado Railroad Museum

The Brymston RR – Episode 7 – Loco Trouble

In a literary break from the actual layout we’re on to a loco issue.

The next stage in the layout planning process is to sort out the lower level tracks, access to and the size of the engine shed.

Someone wisely suggested mocking up the buildings. This I intend to do but to do so their first has to be some thought about what is the largest thing to go in the shed. This diorama is the home for my geared loco collection so whilst the Uintah Mallet and a K class have appeared in images they aren’t going to live on this bit. What is needed for the planning process is my largest Shay. This is a model of Westside Lumber #12

There is just one problem. It’s in a lot of smaller parts and needs putting back together and its a bit more complicated than just putting it back together as it has never run in this format.

A little aside to explain my soft spot for #12. When I first went to the USA with two friends our host in Colorado, Ed Gerlitz, was a good friend of Lyndsay Ashby, the operator of the Georgetown Loop RR. We all met up in the old depot which is the opposite side of town to the new depot where the trains ran from. We were having coffee and passing the time when Lyndsay decided we could just make it to the depot in time for the train. A mad dash across town followed, into the employees parking, over a fence and up the steps onto the loco without a real look at the loco. As soon as I was on, it tooted and set of. Only then did it dawn on me that my first proper view of a shay was from inside the cab. Guess which one it was.

When new the Sunset Models Shays had a 1/4″ wide toothed drive belt from the motor to a pulley on the crankshaft. Over time these perished and lost their teeth. You could get spare belts but it took a lot of dismantling the loco to fit them. A well known modeller in the USA, Lee Snover, developed a re-motor and chain drive solution. Sadly, Lee is no longer with us since 2018 but way back on 2009 just the boiler section of my loco took a trip back to the USA for Lee to work his magic on it.

You can see in this image the gear head motor on a bracket and the delrin chain drive into the crank shaft.

The reason its still in bits ten years later is that it keeps going in the too difficult pile. No, that should be the too involved/complex pile. What I plan to do is not too difficult but it keeps getting deferred as taking more time than I can spare just now.

I plan to detail it some more, upgrade the rather poor pickups, add DCC, Sound and a Keep Alive, LED lighting  and then, of course, a full paint job and weathering.

The decision I need to make now is do I…..

  1. Put it back together enough to do the clearance trials with the aim of doing it properly later
  2. Get on and do the mods and installation even if it diverts my personal modelling time away fr0m the layout
  3. Put it back in the procrastination box

Answers on a post card to…….



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