Last week I shared with you how I added a working Micro-trains coupler to the front of a Rowa 2-8-8-2 Y6B as pictured below; you can find the post here. The only thing left to do was a running test and this week I’m going to share how it went.
Although the 3D printed replacement pilot fitted perfectly, I had some reservations about the Micro-trains body mount coupler hanging down too low underneath the pilot and preventing the lead wheel set from swinging freely. This could prevent the locomotive navigating tight bends and turnoughts.
So to test this I took a pair of Rowa Y6B locomotives, and some rolling stock, down to a local model railway club, the Poole and District Model Railway Society, based in Poole, Dorset, who kindly let me use their N scale layout.
As well as having a test track setup for all scales the club also has a reasonably sized N scale layout under construction with a fast double mainline section and a single track branch line. All three lines run in loops through the layout and back to a large storage yard at the rear. The layout is designed for UK prototype operation and the double track mainline has some lovely sweeping curves, but I was more interested in the branch line. This was because not only did it have a gradient on a curve but also some very tight curves, particularly for large US outline articulated mallet locomotives, and as the intention was to test the pilot coupling this seemed ideal. Here are the pair working up the grade and around the first curve.
We had to have a couple of goes at this, not because the locomotive struggled but being big US steamers and wider than UK trains the cylinders on the front of the locomotives caught the platform and the guys at the club had to do a quick bit of sanding so the train could get past.
The two locomotives I used for the test run have different makes of DCC decoders installed. The lead locomotive, DRG&W’s number 3561, has a Hornby R8249 decoder and the second locomotive, Sierra Railroad number 39, has a Digitrax DZ125. This gave the locomotives different characteristics and having never run the locomotives together before it became clear that the lead locomotive was running faster. This was also a good test to see how the new pilot stood up to the punishment from the lead 2-8-8-2.
The tightest curve on the layout is at the rear where the branch line returns into the yard. The line at this point is also on a steep downhill gradient. As you can see from the video below, the new pilot on the front of number 39 had no issues at all going round the bend.
So now the pilots have been thoroughly tested I am happy to release them for sale and you can get them below in five versions…..
Thankyou to the Poole and District Model Railway Society for use of their layout.
I will have both these locomotives, and maybe a 2-8-8-0 EL5, double heading at my next exhibition pulling some nice long trains.