I was curious to see if I could make a really large S-Gauge locomotive, something more than the eight drive-wheel set-ups usually made using the Gilbert Northern frame. I came up with the idea of joining two six-wheel engine frames together. The result is the Pennsylvania 2-10-2 no. 9859 pictured. It is loosely modeled after a Pennsy N2sa. Most of these locomotives had a doghouse on the tender but I managed to find a picture of one that did not, that is the one I numbered my model after.
The overall effect is pretty good. Some of the cast-on details from the Gilbert K-5 I started with did not apply to the N2sa class but were too hard to remove cleanly. I did remove the feedwater heater behind the smoke stack. The drawbar was shortened as much as possible, this also helps in the general appearance. I had this locomotive at a recent Virginia Beach show and it ran on the ACSG layout for about four hours non-stop (except for short pauses to fill the smoke unit). It ran very well.
The ten-wheel frame after the two six-wheel frames were joined. The axle holes for the rear driver of one (where the drive gear is) is lined up with the first axle hole of the other frame. The milling of the cuts was very well done by a retired machinist: the only thing holding the two frames together is the brass bushing inserted in the overlapping axle holes.
A close-up view of the joint. The front of one frame is cut to form a tab that is inserted into the slot formed by the opening for the drive gear (after the motor mount and smoke drive gear mounting are removed).
After the frame was done and it proved to be able to maneuver around a curve (it tolerates Gilbert track but likes the 54 inch K-Line track much better) I figured out how to extend the boiler. I cut the boiler at an appropriate place and inserted a section of copper pipe (one side was cut lengthwise and the section opened up to form an upside-down "U") to keep the sections of boiler lined up. The boiler was lengthened about two and a quarter inches. This picture shows the lengthened boiler being trial fitted to the frame. The gap in the running boards was filled with some strip brass.
This picture shows the locomotive with the boiler gap just about finished off, the long side rods installed, drive rods and crosshead guides from a Hudson installed (the N2sa class had crosshead guides similar to the type Gilbert used on his Hudson locomotives), and the modified pilot deck with ladders and pilot beam steps. This was a fun project that resulted in a rather unique locomotive. I tried to make it look like a Gilbert product, rather than a strictly scale creation (if Gilbert had made one of these it might have looked like this).
Here is a picture of the 2-10-2 running on the ACSG, Tidewater Division, modular layout at the NMRA show in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on September 20, 2009. It was pulling a long mixed freight past the Starlite Diner, animated billboard and IRS building.
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