Friday, June 17, 2016

Ormsby Now in Service

The Virginia & Truckee's Ormsby sits on the Oakdale turntable. On lease from the V&T, the locomotive will add some power to the S&C's fleet. The number "2" on the headlight lens is for night running so the engine can be identified by an approaching engine. The long rod reaching from the cab to the front of the boiler operates the cylinder cocks.
The Ormsby finally rolled out of the shops today and is in service on the railroad. The past couple of weeks have been spent in installing the decoder, tuning it and finishing the small details. I decided to try the relatively new Soundtraxx Econami steam decoder and am very satisfied with it. It has considerably more options in bells and whistles (literally) and a much better single-tone whistle than the Tsunamis. You can also set the cylinders cocks open at the start of a run and time when they will be closed. Synchronization for engine chuffs is much, much better as well. I'm happy with it and the price is right.
A torque arm was added and screwed to the 28:1 gearbox. It attaches to the motor with silicon caulking. 
 The motor for the engine is a 12mm diameter Sagami which just barely fits within the boiler. I used a NWSL 28:1 gearbox and connected it directly to the motor. Lettering for the engine was developed using Adobe Illustrator and then printed on decal paper. The distinctive Union Iron Works builder's plate is a decal applied to an etched brass backing plate. Engineer and fireman figures completed the engine while a wire rope and hook completed the tender gear on the rear.
To get enough clearance with the small driving wheels, the bottom cover of the gearbox had to be removed. Electrical wipers are installed on the left-side drivers to get more pickup.
  One problem occurred when I tried to run the engine; it bumped along the track. A close examination showed that the gearbox cover on the bottom was hitting the ballast and the rails at turnouts due to the small driver diameter. The bottom of the gearbox was cut away and the problem was solved.
     Ormsby only has 40" drivers and is about 15% smaller than the other engines. That's the way the prototype was and why these engines sadly did not last into the 20th century.
The Ormsby alongside the Calaveras. It is easy to see that difference in size between the locomotives.
Most of the moguls I use on the S&C are V&T prototypes and have 48" drivers. This engine is quite a bit smaller than the larger ones  but I liked the looks of it and the fact that it was built in California unlike the remainder of the engines which were built in the East.
    One of the unexpected pleasures of this little engine is its pulling power. I tried it out with a few cars and kept adding more until I got to 15 and it was still pulling well on level ground. I can't complain. Part of this happy result was undoubtedly due to the tungsten weights I used instead of lead. Woodland Scenics makes a line of these weights designed for Pinewood Derby cars. They were just the right size (3/8" diameter) to fit in the boiler and under the cab roof.