Introduction to Locomotives & Other Motive Power.
Introduction to Locomotives & Other Forms of Motive Power
The impressive MTH RailKing G Gauge 1 4-8-8-4 #4004 Big Boy Steam Engine with Proto-Sound 2.0
Should you fancy acquiring on of these "Big Boys" I fear you may already be too late as I believe that MTH has already called for last orders before they close down later this year (2021).
The choice of name for these mechanical 'brutes' is comething of a contradiction as locomotives (or indeed any form of transportation such as cars, ships, and planes) normally have a metaphorical female gender and are conventionally referred to as "she", especially by men. I digress already. No wonder this manual is taking so long to write.
An Introduction to Large Scale Locomotives
The heart of any model railway or
railroad, and the main reason why
many enthusiasts pursue the hobby,
is the locomotive, whether it be a
mainline steam express, a small
shunting locomotive, or a sleek, streamlined, high-speed diesel-electric flyer.
That’s not to say that track, rolling stock, buildings and scenery are not integral to one’s enjoyment but we all recognise that the locomotive is invariably the star performer.
Fortunately, there is no immediate shortage of locomotive product offerings on the market to attract your eye. In fact, as I write this module I am forced to conclude that today’s garden railway enthusiasts have probably never had it so good.
Despite the demise of Aristo-craft as a major force in the industry a few years ago (briefly reincarnated as Polk's Generation Next although this "phoenix" company proved to be shortlived and has also abruptly ceased trading) there are a significant number of Large Scale equipment manufacturers and suppliers worldwide only too prepared to invest considerable resources in providing an ever-growing range of products designed to satisfy the insatiable demands of hobby enthusiasts who indulge in garden railroading.
This cornucopia of riches includes an array of motive power designed to whet the appetite and liberate the credit card of even the most tight-fisted large-scale modeller.
Whatever type of model railroading you favour you are most likely to discover a choice of commercial ready-to-run or kit form locomotives (and rolling stock covered in a later module) to satisfy your particular interests.
The choice of which locomotive or locomotive(s) to add to your roster is ultimately a matter of personal choice and even if a particular model that appeals to you is not strictly compatible with your themed layout you will probably find a justification for acquiring it nevertheless.
Let us start with Narrow Gauge which has gained a considerable following in the UK and Europe as a whole but also in many other parts of the world. In the UK I think there is a nostalgic and genuine fondness for quaint old steam locomotives working on narrow gauge lines as epitomised on many UK 16 mm garden railways especially featuring live steam.
The resurgence of narrow-gauge trains was spurred in the early 1960’s by LGB’s resurrection of two metre gauge locomotives and rolling stock based on European prototypes.
This trend was also evident in the USA which developed its own large-scale model steam locomotives typifying prototypes to be found on the numerous 2’, 2’6”, 3’ and 3’6” narrow gauge lines to be found across North America from New England, through the Mid-West to the Western Coast States.
Before I digress into giving a complete run-down of every locomotive type ever produced it should be pointed out that in the absence of a large-scale model train manufacturer (both in size of model and production volume) in the UK examples of G Gauge steam locomotives, of any variety, based on a domestic British prototype are likely to be quite rare. In fact, I know of only one but am welcome to be corrected.
Lenin's Funeral Train - Moscow
GWR No. 7029 "Clun Castle"
Bachmann 4-6-0 Steam Locomotive (Wood Burner) in Virginia & Truckee Railroad livery liberated from a "Silverado" Set.
Lynton & Barnstaple
2-6-2 No. 762 (SR)
For no particular reason (other than it is probably the most successful large scale model locomotive ever!) I think I will start with the 4-6-0-wheel arrangement which used to be found in many countries of the world including the UK, USA, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand often superseding the less powerful 4-4-0 type.
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives 4-6-0 represents the configuration of four leading wheels on two axles in a leading bogie, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles and no trailing wheels.
During the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries, the 4-6-0 was constructed in large numbers for passenger and mixed traffic service.
According to Wiki the most numerous 4-6-0 series locomotives in the world was the Prussian P8 passenger locomotive of which 3,556 were built for the Prussian State Railways and German railways between 1906 and 1923. Of these, 627 locomotives were given to other countries after the First World War. When exports and licensed production in Romania are included, their number reached almost four thousand.
In the UK between 1906 and 1925, the 4-6-0 became the most common express passenger locomotive type in everyday use and continued to be used as mixed traffic locomotive right up until the end of steam in the United Kingdom in 1968. Popular designs including the GWR “Castle” and “King” locomotives and the LNWR “Prince of Wales” and “Claughton” Classes not to mention the GER “Class S69”. In the United Kingdom the 4-6-0 remained in service from 1894 until the end of steam in 1968.
In the USA the 4-6-0 (affectionately known as the “10-Wheeler” for obvious reasons) was the second most popular configuration for new steam locomotives in the United States of America.
The 4-6-0 wheel arrangement was regarded as a natural progression from the existing 4-4-0 (American type) when railroads were looking for a locomotive with much more power to cope with the growth in passenger and freight traffic.
The first example was built in 1847 for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad which was one of the first raiulroads in the United States and required engines to haul anthracite coal from the mines to the city. The early 4-6-0s were quite similar to the 4-4-0s of the time except they were a bit larger.
The 4-6-0 went on to became the best general service locomotive of its time. Around 16,000 were eventually built and used on both fast freight and passenger trains.
The ten-wheeler was doomed when Atlantic (4-4-2) types were preferred for further mainline passenger power and when Consolidations (2-8-0) began head-ending tonnage trains. The 4-6-0 soon became almost extinct although several examples still exist either as museum exhibits or in active service on Heritage Railroads.
For a comprehensive list of where these locomotives were deployed please hit the button below where you will be connected to the excellent locobase website:
In 2013 it reached its 25th Anniversary (Bachmann said they introduced the “Big Hauler” in 1987) and to celebrate the event the company released a much enhanced “Anniversary Edition” (nicknamed “Annie”) of this classic workhorse which incorporated metal gears and an updated lead-truck and was still in production until quite recently. Bachmann have not yet announced whether there will be an upgraded replacement.
This series where far superior to those included in the train sets and are well worth trying to find and may still be available from certain retailers - otherwise try the second-hand market. The "Annie" locomotive comes in several liveries, five of which feature the impressive Walschaerts Valve Gear.
The following images are of the later upgraded versions with updated lead truck released in 2011 and bearing the 916xx product code range. They are all suitable for Narrow Gauge operations. For an informative video produced by Bachmann Trains please click the following link:
East Broad Top #10 – Item No. 91601 Narrow Gauge
Denver Rio Grande & Western #178 “Bumblebee” - Item No.91602 Narrow Gauge
Rio Grande Southern #25
Item No.91603 - Narrow Gauge
South Pacific Coast #22
Item No.91604 - Narrow Gauge
Denver& Rio Grande #10
Item No: 91605 - Narrow Gauge
Denver & Rio Grande #10 Item No: 91605 Narrow Gauge
East Tennessee & Western North Carolina #11
Item No.91606 - Narrow Gauge
Painted, Unlettered - Black
Item 91607 Narrow Gauge
In the later 2016 Bachmann Catalogue models 91601, 91603, 91604, 91605, and 91606 – 91605 remain the same but 91602 (Bumblebee) and 91607 were replaced with new versions 91608 and 91609 respectively.
Denver & Rio Grande "Bumble Bee" #168 Item No: 91608
Painted, Unlettered Black w/Red and Black Trim
Item No: 91609
Since writing this section and citing the ubiquitous nature of the Bachmann 4-6-0 appearing in almost every catalogue the firm ever published, they have suddenly decided to discontinue production in 2018 and the Anniversary models no longer appear in any form in the company’s latest Catalogue. Even the standard version is only available as part of two Christmas Train Sets.
C’est la vie!
All the Bachmann Anniversary Edition 4-6-0 Steam Locomotives came with operating headlight; smoke and speed synchronised sound (the latter is fairly rudimentary and is operated by a 9v battery in the tender), all new metal gears and an updated die-cast lead truck. New features also include metal side-rods; separate piping and all metal handrails. These models are far superior to Bachmann’s standard “10 Wheeler” production and naturally their higher price tag reflected this.
Each version comes with simulated metal valve gear – either Stephenson or the more complex Walschaerts type as per prototype.
Dimensions (Locomotive and Tender):
Length: 30” Width: 4.75” Height: 6.75”
Weight: (Locomotive) 5.5 pounds
Great news, hot off the presses (perhaps mildly warm by the time you are reading this), is that Bachmann Industries will be introducing yet another upgrade of this ubiquitous locomotive in 2019. Details below.
The new version of the popular 4-6-0 is expected to come with metal gears, operating headlight, smoke, metal side-rods, separate piping metal handrails and an all new tender (details awaited) in the 918** series.
So far, very similar to the Anniversary Edition (in fact the company are now promoting the latest "Annie" adaptation under this appellation, rather than as a new addition to their ‘Big Hauler’ line – the major difference being that the new models will be DCC and Sound-Ready (similar to the Spectrum range) that features an advanced non-proprietary plug & play circuit board to accommodate the control system of your choice, including conventional DC power, NMRA / NME DCC and/or Radio Control (RC)operation - a major step forward.
Equipped with factory installed speakers, it is ready for the installation of “plug-and-play” prototypical sound. (Plug-and-Play sound modules will be available separately for sound on-board performance.)
At the time of writing the following versions have been announced (but no official pictures of the actual models are available):
"Flying Grande" #17 Item 98101
Pennsylvania #867 Item 98102
Denver & Rio Grande #176 "Bumblebee" Item 98103
Painted, Unlettered - Black
Item No: 98104
North Pole & Southern #1225
Item No: 91805
Although Bachmann rarely publish the exact scale of their products (preferring to use the term ‘Large Scale’ or “Big Hauler’) it is thought that these locomotives will continue to adopt the 1:22.5 scale made popular by LGB.
Whilst Bachmann “Old-Time” 4-6-0’s used to dominate the field as regards low cost entry models there are other models with different wheel arrangement from some of their main competitors such as Piko (although so far they have not introduced a 10-Wheeler to their range.) This does not mean that you cannot obtain other makes of 4-6-0 (Ten Wheelers) as Accucraft for one, often feature such locomotives in their catalogue but they can hardly be described as “entry level” as they usually cost several thousand pounds like this splendid Southern Pacific version.
Accucraft Live Steam 4-6-0 #9 in Southern Pacific Railroad livery
2-6-0 “Mogul” Steam Locomotives
Possibly the second most frequent steam locomotive reproduced in large scale is the ubiquitous 2-6-0,
commonly called a “Mogul” wheel arrangement.
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-6-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, usually in a leading truck, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles and no trailing wheels as illustrated below.
Early 2-6-0's had a fixed truck and it was not until 1860, after the single-axle swivelling truck was patented in the United Kingdom, that the first true 2-6-0's incorporating this refinement were built in North America.
It is possible that the locomotive class name was derived from a locomotive named ‘Mogul’ but, as is often the case, there are conflicting views as to where this particular engine designation originates from.
Southern Region U Class 2-6-0 31806
In the UK the 2-6-0 wheel arrangement was found to be ideal for mixed-traffic locomotives. Although the first examples were built to a design of William Adams for the Great Eastern Railway in 1878-79 and proved unsuccessful many later designs of 2-6-0’s were subsequently brought into successful service. This continued under the Big Four British railway companies after 1923 to the point where the 2-6-0 became the principal type for medium load mixed traffic duties.
Notable new designs included the Southern Railway’s U class (1928), the London Midland and Scottish Railway’s LMS Hughes Crab (1926), the LMS Stanier Mogul (1934), the LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 (1946), the LMS Ivatt Class 4 (1947), the London and North Eastern Railway’s LNER Class K4 (1937) and the LNER Thompson/Peppercorn Class K1 class which were built in 1949-50 after the nationalisation of British Railways.
British Railways continued to build the Ivatt and Thompson/Peppercorn designs and then introduced three standard designs, based on the Ivatt classes. These were the BR Standard Class 2 2-6-0 in 1952, the BR Standard Class 3 2-6-0 in 1954 and the BR Standard Class 4 2-6-0 in 1952. 2-6-0 locomotives continued to be built until 1957 and the last ones were withdrawn from service as late as 1968.
Well over 11,000 Moguls were constructed in the United States by the time production had ended in 1910
Moguls were also used in Australia, Belgian Congo, Canada, Finland, India, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa. (All the above information courtesy of Wikipedia)
Strasburg Railroad #89, formerly of the Canadian National Railroad, is a 2-6-0 "Mogul"-type built in 1910.
Large Scale Model 2-6-0 Moguls
There is no shortage of “Mogul” reproductions in Large Scale with Bachmann, Piko, LGB, and others all regularly bringing examples to the market-place.
LGB were one of the first companies to introduce a compact Mogul locomotive to their narrow-gauge range as far back as 1984/5 no doubt to appeal to the growing demand in the United States for an American prototype. Since then the locomotive has rivalled the omnipresent “Stainz” for longevity and there have been at least 30 variations released up until the time of writing.
Although they had previously addressed this overseas market in 1975 with a Porter style 0-4-0 modified from a German prototype the 2-6-0 was their first serious attempt to move into that marketplace with a 2-6-0 Mogul tender locomotive based specifically on the type to be found in service on almost all narrow-gauge railways in America.
LGB Mogul Tender Locomotive 2018D
Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad 1985 - 1988
Initial production was liveried in the colourful Red, Green and Black livery of the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad (D.S.P & P.R.R) and featured an impressive smoking balloon stack, highly polished “brass” fittings and large spark arrester for wood burning locomotives. Several variants were released in later years and some came with a set of decals to enable the tender to be altered to ‘Denver Rio Grande’ or ‘D. & R.G.W.’ During the late 1800s and early 1900s, more than 10,000 of these versatile locos were built for freight and passenger service throughout North America.
Narrow gauge railroads proliferated in the late 1980’s and made possible the opening up access to the rich ore resources in the Rocky Mountains – especially the gold reserves.
A dozen or so 2018D’s were repainted black at the Lehmann factory and may have found their way into private collections.
Length: 665mm Weight: 4.6 Kilos Catalogue: 1985 - 87
(26.2 “) (10.1 lbs.)