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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gentlemen

I thought you may like to see the sort of mods I have been doing to the Hornby live steam locomotives. The example is our old friend the A4 which I think looks a bit better now. I am sorry the pictures are not of a better standard but my loft isn't the brightest place around.

The mods carried out to this locomotive are:

* Closer coupling of loco and tender - an easy mod achieved by making a new loco/tender drag bar out of thin sheet steel. You do not even need to shorten the steam pipe; it works fine with an "S" bend in it. The new drag bar has 6mm holes drilled, 45mm apart and is then bent to the same profile as the Hornby one at the tender end. The shorter part is under the loco rear pony truck
* Scale size front bogie wheels from Romford/Jackson (Mainly Trains). These fit the A4 as is but must be machined down slightly for the A3. A little bending of the bogie bar is usually required otherwise the front drivers can lift off the track
* Dummy screw link coupling from Smiths (Mainly Trains)
* Real coal glued to the Hornby coal load with exterior PVA. Works fine
* Kadee #18 NEM coupler on the tender
* 3.5mm hole through chimney

The last point has helped prevent oil blocking the chimney on single chimney A4s. Gently increase the size of Hornby's hole using a 2.5mm, then a 3mm then finally, a 3.5mm drill. It is well worth the small effort involved.

The close coupling mod offers the greatest improvement but is probably only for large radius curves.

The photos:





 

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The front bogie wheels on the A4 seem to be distinctly courser than those on the A3 (I have one of each). The A3 runs happily through points that the A4 dislikes. I haven't had a chance yet to get the two alongside each other and actually measure things up.

I've fitted one of the small Hornby couplings to the front bogies on both models so they can haul trains in reverse. I know this wasn't common on the prototype, but my layout is based on an end-to-end 'preserved' line where such things happen regularly with the loco running round but not being turned.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I thought long and hard about EM gauge when I was considering the 4mm scale live steam line that was going to go around my loft. The drivers could probably be changed as Ultrascale make EM drivers with extended hubs that will fit on 00 gauge Romford axles and they might have been persuaded to come up with the correct wheels that could be fitted.

The front bogie would be a different matter. On the A4 you might just get away with it but on the A3 there is very little room before the bogie wheel will touch the cylinders causing a short and end of operations as we know. I suspect you would need 10 foot radius curves in EM gauge to prevent this fouling. I have just managed scale bogie wheels in 00 gauge using an absolute minimum radius of 4.5 feet. Otherwise you would have to use the standard Hornby tiny horrible bogie wheels which would defeat the object of changing to EM gauge somewhat. In any case, using SMP Scaleway track from Marcway gives a pretty good scale look and is easier than the EM gauge conversion would be.

Life is too short!!
 
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