We had some trouble steaming the Little Engines #778 that we acquired. My dad felt that one of the problems was in the blower nozzle holes being too big and letting too much steam escape. I suggested that we just turn down the air, but he countered that then there would not be enough draft as the draft depends on the pressure as the tip of the nozzle. He suggested that smaller holes letting the air escape would be better. I’m not a fluid dynamics guys, so I may not have the conversation correct… But my dad was, he worked for GE writing programs to calculate the flow of air across the turbine blades of jet engines (many of which are still flying today and many of his software programs are still in use)…Needless to say I accepted his statements. Time will tell if we observe improvement on the next firing.
So how to reduce the size of the holes? Dad proposed that we tap the original holes (#50 I think) and insert new nozzles with small holes (#70 I think). This smaller size is more in line with the Y4 project running in one of the mags. I turned the new nozzles. We made and acquired tools so that we could complete the job going down the stack. Then we set forth on the project. All was going well until the 3rd hole. On the 3rd hole we over tightened the tap and it broke in the hole. No way to get it out…
So finally we conceded, removing the boiler to access the holes. Yesterday dad removed the broken tap and inserted the new last nozzle. He provided the following image o fthe completed work.
The fresh nozzles added to the blower. Each is a one of a kind ,but seem to work well. The exhaust comes out the middle in a raised area that interfered with the nozzles, preventing them from being tightened all the way down. The nozzles are angled inward so the jets of air should go up the stack. The inward angle occurred naturally while drilling down through the stack.
I just was not liking the short stubby passing siding on the 28 foot radius plan. So I began to wonder if I could go smaller. Looking through old issues of …… I found 1″ scale plans operating down to 10′ radius and #4 turnouts. So I drew up a 20 foot radius plan with #4 turnouts. It looked so much nicer.
In review of the plan, my dad could not say with confidence that the 4-6-0 #6 would go around 20 foot radius. He remembered that Stokes stated 22 foot radius. So here’s a 22 foot radius version.
Proposed 22 foot radius version of the Woodlark Central
The plan provides ample space at the rear for garden and trees for a view block. The track avoids the three big trees near to the house with gracious 28+ foot curves. The Inglenook sidings is present for switching and the spur track goes into a shed for storage. If I want to expand the switching, storage or add a steaming bay, there is room at the upper right corner of the plan. I’ve always thought a steaming bay that looks like a coal distributor trestle would be a nice feature. It would do double duty for steaming up and a small industry.
The curves are adequate for our RS3, 0-4-0, and 4-6-0. The #300 4-6-4 and the T1 4-4-4-4 would never handle the sharp 22 foot radius. The latter engines are more power than required for such a small railroad.
Should I ever convert to 7.5″ gauge a Chloe 0-4-2T or Fitchburg Northern 2-6-0 could handle these same curves (If I ever build my own engine it would likely be one of these two….But I doubt I ever will)
In august, my brother and family came to town for two weeks. We decided it would be nice to spend a day running trains. In 2013, we had run the 305 for Carillon Park’s Railfest, but this year we decided to run 1″ scale trains instead.
My son Charlie and I met Dad, Bill and Nick at the Cinder Sniffer’s track. We brought the #778 and they brought the RS3, the handcar, and other rolling stock. The hope would was for this to be the first successful run of the #778 (we had one failure to maintain steam and one failure to a broken whistle, so 3rd time’s the charm).
I did not get any photos of the #778, but it did run. I still need practice in keeping steam. Actually, needed more care in keeping the water height in the boiler. More than once I was late in adding water, then added too much, cooling the boiler too much.
Here are a few photos from the event.
Charlie seen riding the handcar around the track with Papa Jim looking on.
Nick as engineer of the RS3. His mother in tow.
Dad and I decided that I’d keep the #778 at my house, thus I needed to be able to transport the loco in my 2007 Pontiac Vibe and store the loco in my garage. For transport, I constructed a board that would have room for the loco, riding car, and one more car. For storage, I built a double wide roll around cart for the loco and riding car. There is room to store another car on a lower shelf with the other required gear for operating a live steam locomotive.
#778 and the riding car are loaded on the board in the back of the vibe. The rails are aluminum angle, the cars actually ride on their flanges. The cars and loco can be secured in a matter of minutes with a few bungie cords.
A 48″ long spanner track connects the storage car with the board in the car. The riding car is ready to be unloaded.
In December 2013, my dad and I acquired #778 a one inch scale 0-4-0 Little Engines loco. The loco was first run in July 1978, hence the number 778. It’s been owned and operated by 3-4 members of the Finger Lakes Live Steamers. We are happy to have it, as it is a small manageable loco that I can keep at my home and transport in my Pontiac Vibe.
Here are a few photos of the engine and trailing car.
#778 and Riding Car
Back head of #778. The cab roof is removable
The open smoke box for cleaning
Closeup of the engineer’s side
Under the seat is the water tank and hand pump. The tanks on the side of the loco have been decommissioned.
A battery powered pump enables the engineer to top off the boiler with the flip of a switch. Be careful, as it’s easy to over fill and kill steam pressure.
Dad seen cleaning the flues
Preparing to steam in the driveway. It’s been a while since firing a coal fired loco, so practice is needed.
Pop values work
Yesterday my son and I surveyed the grade. I setup a laser level on my camera tripod. It was not easy making it perfectly level when rotating round and round. Then my son rotated the level and I took measurements on a 4′ ruler mounted to a stiff 1×3. The measurements were taken at key locations around the proposed 28 foot plan (click here to see the proposal) and entered onto a copy of the plan. Then I entered the measurements into the plan which is drawing using XtrkCad model railroad planning software. Finally using the profile tool, I was able to see the grades as if the railroad was laid directly onto the ground.
Below is the profile as output from XtrkCad
Woodlark Central – Railroad ground profile of the 28 foot proposali
- The elevations are listed in inches at right
- A problem in program (or user) means that the loop is no 100% captured. The left side is at 16 inches, but the right is at 19 inches.
- The missing segment is about 30 feet the goes from 19″ down to 16″ elevation.
- The length of the RR show is 175′, but add the additional 30′, makes the overall length around 205-210′
- The maximum grad is 3.0 percent
- The measurements go clockwise around the loop and take the inside track (of the passing siding)
- The shed is about 1/3 of way across the profile, the trestle will be at the lowest point, the house is at either end.
- This is a very rough estimate. The level was not perfect, and my son was quite eager to complete the activity, and I guessed where to measure.
- I had though of a 12-16″ high trestle, but that would result in lots of fill. Significant amounts of water do flow through the yard, but 8-10″ seems sufficient
- 8-10″ is going to greatly reduce the grades and will not result in that much fill.
- If I do not mow the lawn, then the trestle might go be hidden. I’ll like put rocks and gravel below the trestle to impede the growth of gravel under the trestle.
Here is a proposal for a 28′ minimum radius version of the Woodlark Central. Click here to understand the Woodlark Central.
Woodlark Central – Proposal for 28 foot minimum radius (click to see larger version with 5’x5′ grid)
- The house is not shown, it as at the bottom of the drawing. The house sits 4-5 feet above ground level (basement foundation is visible), so it’s not possible to walk out to track level.
- The other borders of the image are the property lines.
- The passing siding is not long, maybe 200″ or so (engine and 3 cars). I wish it were longer and the siding and mainline were parallel.
- The inglenook would be the right end of the yard. One could switch.
- The spur goes into the shed, so one turnout is reused for storage in shed and switching operations
- As the curves approach the bottom of the image, the radius increases.
- If I want more switching a second switch could be added to the opposite side of the passing siding.
- The shed as drawn is 6×12′
- At this time, no proposal for gardens or plantings.