An Oil-Electric for the Hillside & Eastern

The Hillside & Eastern hadn't intended to acquire a Diesel locomotive.  If anything, their motto is "Be not the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside."  As the President used to say, "Let the other railroads have the Diesels, let them work the bugs out, and then we'll see."

But when the foundry on the south side of town filed for bankruptcy, partial payment for the bills had been a 12-year-old Alco/General Electric/Ingersoll-Rand Diesel. 

It sat in the roundhouse until they found someone who knew enough to check it over and get it running.  How they got an engineer to run it is a whole 'nuther story.

The Boxcab Diesel produced by MDC/Roundhouse is a passable representation of the early oil-electric switching locomotives made as a joint effort by Alco, General Electric, and Ingersol-Rand in the mid 1920s, a venture later known as AGEIR, from the initials of the participating companies.  One of the most notable among their early locomotives is CNJ 1000, the first production-line Diesel-Electric locomotive, which is on display at the Baltimore & Ohio museum in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

The Fireman's side and rear of an early AGEIR Diesel.
I was able to find several pictures of the prototype on the internet.  Here's the links to some of those pages, but if you have a dial-up connection please realize the pictures are going to take a long time to download.
As of 4/2011, many of these links are broken, but some should still work.

Additional reference material can be found in the Train Shed Cyclopedia No. 43 and the March 1983 Model Railroader magazine.

Some of the changes I intend to make are:

This is a work in progress.

Lowering the body.
The I-beam frame that runs along the bottom edge of the sides should be at the same level as the end bolsters.  As made, it's about 1/16" too high.

After the cement has set, cut or file the tube into a wedge shape to form a latch, as shown in red.
I started by removing the two tabs on the frame (on the gear housing actually) that hold the body and frame together.  I also removed the toolboxes, since they are no longer needed.  I next removed about 1/16" from the bottom of the ends of the cab, leaving the sides and corners as is.

Removing the tabs leaves the locomotive in a perilous condition: If some unsuspecting soul picks it up by the body, the works will fall out, probably onto the floor.  I drilled a shallow 0.128" diameter hole in each side of the frame.  I made them slightly off center so I could put the body back on the same way every time.  I cut two pieces of 1/8" styrene tube about 1/16" to 3/32" long, to serve as latches.  The next step was finding a way to locate them correctly on the inside of the body.

After several attempts, I found the best way was this:  I put the piece of tube into its hole, shimming it underneath with enough solvent-resistant material to allow about 1/32 of the tube to protrude out of the hole.  I then slipped the body shell on to the frame, guiding it over the end of the tube.  When everything was place, I used a Touch-and-Flow applicator to place cement where the tube touched the body, and let it set overnight.

The next evening, I was able to get the body off the frame without dislodging the tube.  I cut and filed the tube into a wedge shape, with the upper side just long enough to catch in the hole and the lower side even with the body, then repeated the process on the other side of the body.

Sand hatches.
Cement the angled piece to some 0.010" material.
The sand hatches molded on the body are too high.  I used rail nippers to remove most of the material, then scraped the rest off with Xacto knives.  The advantage of working with a painted shell is that it's easier to know when you've removed the last bit of detail.

I made new sand hatches from 0.125 square styrene, cut to a 45° angle, then cemented them to some 0.010" styrene cut somewhat oversize.  (I used two pieces of scale 1×10 laid edge to edge, because that's what I had on hand.)  After the cement set, I cut the flanges to size: flush on the top and about 0.025" of the sides and bottom.  Round the lower corners.

I waited until the headlights were removed before reinstalling the sand hatches.

After cementing the hatches in place, I rounded the point and cemented on a lid.

The circuit for the headlight LEDs, with a lamp for current limiting.
I bought 3 mm. Yello-glow LEDs from Walthers, and they look good, but I chose to use a RadioShack 272-1141 12 volt 25 ma Mini Lamp in place of the resistors that came with the LEDs because tungsten bulbs have a lower resistance at lower voltage.  I wrapped the bulb in aluminum foil to block the light and provide heat dissipation.

I wanted both headlights on no matter which way the locomotive was going, hence the use of a diode bridge in the circuit.  Directional headlights would have been easier.

The spare headlight castings that came with the locomotive have a tapered rather than cylindrical shape, so I took time to file them square.  I drilled a slightly undersized hole for the LEDs, and used a small round file, working from the back, to open the hole up to the point there the end of the LED was flush with the front of the headlight.

The Roof.
Believe it or not, there is a front and back to this locomotive.  The clues are on the roof and under the frame.  The Engineer's side has a stovepipe and a whistle on top and a brake cylinder and poling pole hung from the frame.  The fireman's side has a bell on top and a large cylinder (air?) under the frame.  The exhaust stacks are closer to the front than to the back.

There is a large air tank under the frame on the fireman's side.  The mount for the tank sticks out past the frame, to where the tops of the straps come up.  I chose to make the tank out of 9/32" brass tube, the mount out of brass sheet, and the straps out of #18 AWG copper wire.
Yes, you can burn coal in an AGEIR locomotive.  They are equiped with coal-burning stoves, for heating the cab in cold weather.
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