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I have just picked up one of Tom Hodgson's NYC Dreyfuss engines and need a bit of help in one area. It has what looks to be an AF 322 chassis under it which is fine but the one bit that never got finished was the light at the front. It is missing the lens at the front but more importantly I don't have any idea on how Tom suggested fitting the bulb/assembly, does anyone have one of these and still have any instructions they could post which might help?

Original Post

Mine has a custom-made mount made out of ~1/2" wide sheet metal about 2" long with several bends in it and a light bulb socket installed on the one end.  That positions the bulb horizontally just behind the lens.  The other end is slipped under the smoke unit and is held in position by the forward smoke unit screw.  Clearly made for this purpose with a little 1/8" winglet bent up to keep the bracket centered on the front edge of the chassis.  I think there were supposed to be two winglets, but one must have snapped of when originally bent 90 degrees into position.  See photo of loco below.  Took me what felt link an eon to find and buy one (5-8 years of looking, bidding, and once just missing out by minutes on one Doug Peck had on his table at York by someone who chanced upon it and thought it was cool,  sheez that was so close).  Finally bought this one off eBay a couple of years ago.  Pretty happy with it.  Had to paint the fin and headlight cowling silver, the valve gear dark grey, and the cylinder caps silver.  Had some help with colors for those from the great folks at the NYCSHS.  Someday, maybe another eon from now, hope to have the time to upgrade it to TMCC, fan-driven smoke, maybe Scullin or Boxpok drivers, driver lighting, etc, but for now, just happy to have one that looks pretty good and runs well -- even if conventionally, for now.

Where and when did you find and buy yours?  Please provide photo(s).  Thanks. 



Images (1)
  • American Hi-Rail 20th Century Limited Hudson: iconic design and styling

Yes I was the person that purchased it from Doug Peck at York.  I have taken American Model early smooth side passenger cars and painted them in early NYC 20th Century colors to go behind the loco. While not  a  perfect match to the originals they look great.  I also painted the locomotive like you have to improve it's appearance.

Thanks SGAUGIAN, I picked this up just before Christmas here in the UK along with a number of other Flyer items from a friends collection. I haven't done much to it so far but I started with removing the chassis on the engine to clean and rebuild it. When I ran it on a loop of track it was very erratic and would stall at slow speeds. I looked at the tender and realised that it didn't have any wiper pick-ups so I borrowed a couple from an old Atlantic tender chassis and it now picks up on two axles from each truck. I also put some 1mm spacers under the smoke unit so that the red plastic smoke tube now just sits in the body rather than under it. It could do with a better set of valve gear that is shiny as this set is a bit tired and not looking its best. 

Thanks for the advice regarding the front light assembly, I have an old 310/312 chassis that I will see if the front light assembly can be used with some changes, otherwise it will be a complete new piece which will need to be fabricated. Like you I have looked at what else I can do with it later and I think to start with I will install a new can motor and an old Lionel reverse unit I have. At the moment it is hard wired for forward direction only. After that I will look to see if I can get an old Northern chassis for the wheels on eBay, lastly I might upgrade it to TMCC, depending on cost.

I also have a Budd? rail car that is from Tom,  this again needs some attention as it doesn't run too well. The last item I have of Tom's is a 952 heavy weight car that I purchased to pad out my 5555 set. The colour is not exactly the same but it is pretty close.

The pictures below are not perfect but it should show what she looks like.




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I've always liked Tom's takes on things, and recently come across a nice diesel he made.  As far as your Hudson's headlight, I think fabricating one will be the best way to go about it.  Looking at the photos you have, the drive roads don't look bad at all, but if you want to clean them up some more, I'd suggest using a good automotive chrome/metal polish.  I have used a product called Wenol, made in Germany, and not readily available here in the US, but maybe so in the UK, but any good metal polish will do.  Here's the results on a K5 I repainted years ago as a fugitive from a junk box.  Sorry about the poor photo quality, but back then, I wasn't so interested in documenting the process so well:



 I painted it a prototypical color, installed an LED headlight, can motor and a solid state reverse board.  Runs great!


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Last edited by poniaj
Ukaflyer posted:

It seems Wenol is is not readily available here in the U.K. There is another product that I have used in the past called Autosol but the last time I used it must have been 20 years ago and I can't find the tube I had.

i'll have to go and get another tube and give the valve gear a polish.

Funny.  We use Autosol at Greenfield Village to polish the radiators and other brass items on our Model Ts...   Great stuff too.

Last edited by poniaj

I still have my American Hi-Rail Dreyfuss Hudson unbuilt in the box as I purchased it from Tom Hodgson. According to the instruction sheet, Tom recommends a

"Radio Shack miniature lamp with leads, 12 volts, .025 AMP, Cat No. 272-1141A"

His notes mention that the Radio Shack bulb has a plastic cover which must be removed in order to fit the bulb in the housing. Anyone who has built on of these kits knows that the instructions are sparse, leaving details largely up to the hobbyist. 


Ukaflyer posted:

It seems Wenol is is not readily available here in the U.K. There is another product that I have used in the past called Autosol but the last time I used it must have been 20 years ago and I can't find the tube I had.

i'll have to go and get another tube and give the valve gear a polish.

Just in case it is available in the UK, I have used Blue Magic metal polish cream with some success.

Thanks to everyone re polish products. In the end I went to my local motor factors shop today and got a new tube of Autosol.  I used it with my dremel flex line with a polishing mop. It certainly made a big difference. If you look closely you can still see some of the original rust pitting but not many people are going to be looking for it.

While I was looking at the engine I noticed that it seemed to be a bit low at the cab end, just didn't look correct. Off came the body, removed the chassis brackets mounts and put a shim under each one, it was only a 1mm but it looks a lot better now.

Continuing saga of my engine, I decided that having it run just forward is not ideal so I have been digging into my boxes to see what may help to update it a bit more.

I found a spare Lionel reverse unit which is numbered 691-DREU-A  It came in a box of other odds and ends some time ago.

What does the AO2 on the chip mean?

I believe this is used for DC motors as I want to use it with an SNS can motor, will this be OK?


Below it shows the naming of the pins that the plugs connect to but I just need to clarify what they are if someone can help me out here please.

The two SW1's must be for a switch, is this for the smoke or directional control?

SM- and SM+ must be for the smoke unit I hope.

What is the voltage output for the smoke supply and its maximum current?

M- and M+ must be the motor

GND and 3RD I assume are the AC supply in


The last picture is something I must have picked up many years ago and it looks like someone was trying to put a set of scale wheels on an AF chassis. They are of the Scullin type but who made them and if it was a kit, for which engine? If they hade been for hi-rail I might have used them.

The chassis is an early Pacific or Hudson with buttons on the bottom.


Looking at photographs of the prototype 5445 it seems some show it with drivers similar to the AF style while the majority show the Boxpok style. What is the history of this engine and the different style driving wheels?


Images (3)
  • IMG_0227: Reverse unit
  • IMG_0228: Reverse unit
  • IMG_0226: Old AF chassis

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