Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How I made IP Engineering wheels compatible with LGB pointwork

You will see from one of my postings (How I constructed a cattle wagon from an IP Engineering kit) that the line has two IP Engineering cattle wagons which I later modified by replacing the heavy metal roofs with lighter plastic ones (see Progress Report 41). Whilst the wagons ran smoothly out on the main line, they struggled to negotiate the LGB R1 points which I use in the yard at Beeston Market station. Often they would derail on the frogs.

Careful scrutiny of the wheels showed the profile of their flanges were much narrower than those used by LGB and hence the check rails were not accurately guiding the wheels through the frogs.

I tried reducing the back-to-back measurements between the flanges by pushing the wheels closer together on the axles, but this was not always successful. I even tried adding brass shims to the check rails but this caused some of the other stock to have problems.

A thread on the G Scale Central Forum suggested the IP Engineering wheels could be replaced with 24.5mm diameter Bachmann metal wheels. This I did successfully but, because the Bachmann wheels are wider overall than their IP equivalents, the solebars on the wagons had to be carefully prised off and re-fixed. Fortunately I managed this without damaging the wagons but it was touch-and-go!

When it came to replacing the wheels on my Swift Sixteen corrugated van (see How I assembled a corrugated van from a Swift Sixteen kit), I ran into difficulties. The axles are mounted beneath the van inside brass tubes and would have meant engaging in major surgery to replace with Bachmann wheels.
Update: Since May 2012 Swift Sixteen kits are supplied with Accucraft wheels

I figured that if I could make the IP wheel flanges fatter, then maybe I wouldn't need to replace the wheels. Measuring the wheels passing through the pointwork I decided that 1.5mm thick discs could solve the problem.

Squares of 1.5mm thick plasticard were roughly cut from a sheet, slightly larger than the 23mm diameter wheels, and a 5mm hole drilled approximately in the centre and a cut made from the hole to one of the edges - to enable it to be slipped over the axle.

The plasticard was then superglued to the back of each wheel and held in place with small clamps .......

...... until set.

The plasticard was then trimmed off with a pair of scissors, leaving a little to spare round the wheel rim.

For the unfitted wheels, the axles was mounted in the chuck of a drill and the excess plastic filed off ....

....and then slightly chamfered at the back of the wheel.

However, this was slightly harder to achieve with the wheels already mounted on the van as they could not be removed and so the same procedure had to be done slightly more laboriously by hand.

As can be seen, the profile the 'disked' IP wheels (in the middle) now more closely resemble that of the Bachmann wheels (at the top). The original IP wheels are at the bottom.

The wheels are now a much cosier fit in between the check-rails and the wing rails of the LGB points.

However, the proof of the pudding ................................

Rewheeled wagons being propelled through two LGB R1 points in reverse-curve formation

Note: The first two wagons are IP Engineering cattle wagons (with Bachmann 24.5mm replacement wheels), the last (black) wagon is the Swift Sixteen corrugated van with 'disked' IP Engineering wheels..

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Progress Report 42

Prolonged running sessions

The weather this summer has been appalling from a garden railway modeller's viewpoint. Showery weather is a great frustration - do I assume the sunshine will last or will the heavens open as soon as all the stock has been set out?

However, a couple of days of almost unbroken sunshine/light cloud has enabled me to have some prime time out in the garden 'playing trains'. Interspersed with ongoing maintenance and other matters, I managed to work my way through about half the timetable. This included a fair amount of freight handling and shunting and also some re-runs of manoeuvres for a video I am compiling (more later).

The following pictures give some indication of the ongoing running sessions -
The first Down Train of the day about to depart Beeston Market
Early morning Up passenger about to depart Bickerton Station
Daily Down pick-up goods about to depart Beeston Market
Up passenger crossing the Down pick-up goods at Peckforton
Unloading the milk from the early morning Up passenger at Beeston Market
The mid-morning Down Passenger pauses at Beeston Castle - not many tourists in evidence!
A laden ore-train cruises through Bulkeley station having just emerged from the Mine Branch
Full ore train approaching Peckforton from Bulkeley while the mid morning Down passenger approaches Peckforton from Beeston Castle
Full ore train crosses the mid-morning Down Passenger at Peckforton
Up pick-up goods between Bickerton and Bulkeley
Up pick-up goods between Peckforton and Beeston Castle
Up pick-up goods arrives at Beeston Market - too long for the loop, the train has to be split to be shunted
Train of empty ore wagons being run round at Beeston Market
Mid-morning Up passenger approaching Beeston Castle
The prolonged operating sessions provided plenty of opportunity for the stock, the permanent way and the locos to be tested. The star of the sessions was Hunslet No.3 (Bickerton). Having spent some time in the workshops having more weight and a power buffer fitted, she is now proving to be a very reliable loco for slow, controlled freight duties (See Progress Report 37). The added weight has improved adhesion considerably - the somewhat elongated Up pick-up goods of eleven wagons proved no problem for her up the 1:40 gradient between Peckforton and Beeston Castle. I am now seriously considering adding a power buffer to Barclay No. 2 (Beeston) which seems now to be the least reliable loco, stuttering and stalling over quite a few points despite assiduous wheel-cleaning!

The newly acquired Atropos flat wagon is proving an asset - being used on the first passenger of the day to collect milk churns. The finer scale wheels sometimes cause problems over some of the facing R3 points - and there is no way she would go through R1 points, but with a little tweaking I feel confident the wagon will become a stalwart of the line (Update - see How I made IP Engineering Wheels compatible with LGB pointwork).