Steam locomotives are the main drawcard for visitors to our track. Many man hours are put into constructing a steam locomotive and it may be project built from the plan, built from kit form components or it may be purchased as “ready to run”.
If you have an interest in building a steam locomotive, there are many club members who can offer a wealth of knowledge to guide and assist you. Not all modellers are engineers so don’t think you have to have special skills to pursue such an endeavour. Many suppliers can provide components in different forms. Some of the larger locomotives can pull many carriages and the head count can be surprising. The power they exert is remarkable. Locomotives operate on our ground level or elevated track and consume coal and water, just as the full size ones do.
If you’ve had that interest in steam but thought of something smaller, locomotives that run on our elevated track may be worth looking at. While the smallest gauge of 2½” allows for very small locos, the 5″ gauge elevated track offers popular interest. These locos can be relatively light yet still pull several adults on a riding car.
More passenger hauling motive power at our track is provided by model “diesel” locomotives. In fact these are rarely powered by diesel engines, and are normally battery-electric or petrol driven.
The technology employed today makes battery-electric a very desirable alternative to steam. Battery power to powerful motors via very efficient control units allow for huge amounts of power to the wheels. They happily pull passenger wagons lasting all the hours of a run day.
Petrol engines can be used to drive a generator which in turn provides electric power to bogie motors, or alternatively the engine drives a hydraulic pump which in turn uses a hydraulic transmission unit coupled to the bogies. Ready to run kits are available with members also building them from scratch.
The diversity of model engineering activity is certainly shown by those who build complex aero engines. Models of rotary aircraft engines have been built where these early designs had the cylinders and propeller fixed and the whole assembly rotated around the pistons. Also built are scaled jet engines that can spin in excess of 100,000 rpm. Complete miniature engines have also been constructed where all components have been created in the home workshop.