First look at Sergent couplers

Last days off (hard to believe I’m already halfway my hitch after that!) I managed to assemble and test the Sergent couplers I had ordered while at work. I ordered compatible shank type E couplers, with the goodies needed to make them work (assembly fixture, reamer, height gauge, and uncoupler), with enough couplers for 6 pieces of rolling stock for testing. Assembly went really well and ended with (in part) what you see in this picture.20140814_163507

I got lazy and really didn’t take many shots of the assembly process. The instructions on Sergents website, and included with the various pieces do a great job of covering the process. I was lucky that my daughter had a plastic (non-magnetic obviously) pair of tweezers from some crystal-growing kit that I was able to use to insert the ball into the casting. Definitely work on a piece of paper towel or something similar, or you will lose some of the balls!

I chose a cross section of my fleet for testing. I installed couplers on my Proto 2000 0-6-0, an Accurail stock car, a Tichy flat car and tank car, an Athearn (blue box) boxcar, and a Roundhouse caboose. That gives me a tidy little local freight to play with. That’s a Kadee #5 laying beside the Tichy flat for comparison.20140814_164712

These things look great! I also love the lack of slack compared to normal Kadees. I have a couple that are a little bit stiff in the knuckle, but I suspect that will work its way out as I use them. In testing at the club, I was able to couple and uncouple even in an area where the tracks are fully 24″ from the aisle. I only have one or two spots in my plans (mostly around the roundhouse!) where there is anything deeper than 24″ benchwork, so I don’t anticipate that being an issue.20140815_16033620140815_160348

I need to do a bit more testing next days off, but I’m definitely leaning towards converting the entire fleet over to Sergents. I did take a couple videos illustrating coupling and uncoupling, but I can’t get them off my phone with the laptop, so they’ll have to wait til I get home and can use the desktop computer again.

Odds and ends

It’s been quiet around here again, for a variety of reasons. My last post was just days before days off, and days off were rather eventful. In no particular order I had to do some renovations, had a wheel take off from the boat trailer (at 100 km/h!), had the other side’s wheel bearings go out enroute to camping, and had a few days of camping south of Revelstoke BC. Since then I’ve been back at work, and that’s been busy enough that today was my first opportunity for a post here.

One really nice thing about camping out by Revelstoke was a chance to visit the Revelstoke Railway Museum. I don’t have any photos to share here yet, though what I did take may appear on the main site down the road. I was able to get a couple pictures of an old flatcar, and some older boxcars typical of the cars of my model era. Hopefully those will help me out later!

I had hoped that I would be able to give an early report on the Sergent couplers that I ordered (last hitch), but they didn’t arrive at home until the day *after* I returned to Red Deer for work. Seems to be that’s always the way it works out! I did get the equipment I plan to use for my tests sorted out, so it’ll be a matter of assembling the couplers, working them in, and putting them on the cars and engine. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they work for switching, as I love the way they look.

On the layout design front, I haven’t quite finished version seven of the A&C. Version 4 never did get completed, but what I did get drawn up will be featured in a post sometime when I’m home, as I have a few bits and pieces of plans to share. If I have time in the next week and a half (the time I have left at work for this hitch) I may post some of versions 5 and 6 which did get completed.

As for equipment, I couldn’t find any time last days off to work on any of my models! The cab for my Consolidation is mostly finished, but I need to assemble the running boards and start putting the engine back together. I need to gather up what pictures I’ve taken of some of the cars I’ve assembled and painted, and put a post together one of these days. Oh well!

To finish off today, I’ve scrounged up a pair of steam pictures here. If all goes well on days off, I’ll have more fodder, particularly regarding the couplers, to post here.bm2360-psgr-bradshawbm2360-psgr-larkhall1

Passenger train for fun pt 1

Seeing as it’s another boring night shift in the hotel in Red Deer, let’s do another photo post. I had one of my passenger trains set up behind a set of diesels from the club, but for some reason I never got around to grabbing pictures of that set up. I do have pictures of the club’s stainless steel cars behind a beautiful set of C-Liners so let’s go for a tour following them around the layout.20140328_104111

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Alberta & Columbia v3

It’s been a productive hitch so far both on the work front, and on the blogging side of things. Let’s look at the third design I came up with for the planned layout space in my basement this time. I’ll try to get another photo post up in a few days, depending on my workload up here in Red Deer.

As with last time, this is a multi-level plan (you could call it 2.5 decks). I’ll post the drawings, then get to a discussion of the plan below.

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Thoughts on wheels and couplers

aka taking the plunge?

I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on wheels and couplers in this edition. While I don’t have my own railroad yet, I have the opportunity to run my equipment down at the club. The standard there is metal wheels on cars, and Kadee number 5s for couplers. Based on past experience, I was planning on running metal wheels, and using Kadees as I got back into the hobby anyway (I built a non-scenicked layout in my teens, but barely got it to operating condition before moving out of my parents house).

The first wheels I got were from Intermountain. I was very satisfied, but modeling the steam era, I wanted to try find a batch of wheels with the ribbed back characteristic of the cast iron wheels of the day. I outfitted a few cars with ribbed back wheels from Kadee, but they don’t seem to roll nearly as well as the Intermountains. Since those few cars, all of my cars, both freight and passenger, have been equipped with the Intermountain wheels, either 33″ or 36″ as appropriate. I’m not dissatisfied enough with the Kadees to swap them out, but I might. I also weight my cars either to, or slightly above, the NMRA recommended weight, which helps with the operating properties thereof.

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