Central Locomotive Works (CLW) + List of O-Scale Diesel Models Kits they manufactured?

Here are some pictures of our CLW Alco PA.  And for comparison, next to a Samhongsa built Key model.  Bare in mind the CLW model was designed approximately 60 years before the Korean built brass model.  In that context, it doesn’t look so bad! (And of course it runs great).8B20143F-4833-472D-A3F6-0BAE9AA30708376AD23A-1B03-401B-9474-01F186C7FCACC8FFC609-F647-41CC-B269-BBD7A86E2691ED180C98-A086-4CA5-81D0-97E9F65054B9


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Beautiful paint.  While I agree some quarter must be given for the age of the CLW design, it should again be noted that Smith's very first PA castings were far more accurate dimensionally than were the better-detailed etched versions.

The later PA sprung trucks were the best!

You may find the following post interesting about CLW... I found and digitized my 3/1/2000 CLW current product list with future products announcements.

It seems that CLW had revised its product lines to include new transmission and drives systems (were these newer Weaver drives?).

New & updated Kits for CLW in early 2000 for EMD include: GP30 and GP35, GP38, GP40-2 ­GP50, GP35, F3, F7,  F9's, E7, E8, and E9's, SD35, SD40 and SD45, SD40-2 and SD45-2, SD40-T, and SD45-T2.

Revised Alco models were PA-1, FA-1/2, Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton 2400 HP Transfer Locomotive ("Center Cab").

New CLW EMD Kits were to include the GP30, SD50, SD60 and SD70 series diesels Has anyone seen or owns or has pics of these any of these CLW "New" EMD Kits?

Anyway, here is are the CLW documents...

Regards, Steve


17525 Alder Street Ste. 46         

Hesperia, California 92345         

PHONE: 760 244-9222

FAX 760 244-9322

www.centrallocomotiveworks.corn          clw2000@earthlink.net

General Information

Central Locomotive Works was originally established in 1947, by Mr. Robert A. Smith. Over the years 'Bob' produced some 40 different models of steam and diesel locomotives in kit form. Bob decided to retire and in August of 1998 the company was sold and relocated to Hesperia, California.

The new 'CENTRAL' plans to produce many of the former kits as well as new models. The models will also be offered custom built, or custom built and painted. Our objective is to produce models which accurately replicate locomotive layout and dimensions, and provide for a moderate level of detail. The former chassis and drive train, except for the gearboxes, has been updated with some new component parts resulting in substantially better performance and added weight for much improved tractive effort. Etched body parts have also been improved for detail and ease of assembly. The new models will be the best brass locomotives on the market when it comes to overall quality and price.


We have over 1,000 lost wax brass, bronze, and nickel-silver castings in our inventory. Also, new parts are being added almost daily. An updated parts and price list for diesel and steam is available for $3.50, postage paid, or the list can  be downloaded from our website. Prices listed are good through July 1, 2000.

Chassis/Drive Systems

Several diesel chassis/drive kits ('section I') are available now. These include GP30 and GP35, GP38 ­GP50, F's, SD35, SD40 and SD45, SD40-2 and SD45-2, SD40-T and SD45-T2. We continue to test the new redesigned chassis/drive systems for performance, durability, and overall quality. We have redesigned the chassis frame to reflect a more prototypical appearance and provide some additional weight. The frame, fuel tank, and air tanks are all machined from solid brass stock. Several of the models can be built in various configurations in order to correctly model a particular diesel. Fuel tanks will be offered in several different sizes as well. The new system is a high entry type, using CLW's chain tower to drive our rugged and reliable CLW gear boxes. The motor has been redesigned to incorporate ball bearings, dynamically balanced shaft, and dual flywheels. Overall drive ratios of 10:1, 13.33:1, 15:1 (standard), 16.67:1, and 20:1 are available to meet individual operating needs. With the 15:1 drive ratio, the test chassis for the GP38's through GP50's, pulled 45 Weaver 50' box cars, weighted to NMRA specifications, through two 72' radius curves at about 1.8 amps. We think you will be well pleased with the redesigned diesel kits. The new chassis can be easily modified to retrofit models form other manufacturers such as Weaver, MTH, as well as older existing CLW models. A chassis/drive kit will be available very soon for the Red Caboose GP9 models. Kit prices for the new chassis/drive systems will be $345.00 to $445.00 depending on model and options required. We can also provide them built-up for an additional cost of about $120.00. We also offer conversion work to retrofit new chassis/drive systems to existing CLW models as well as other manufactures products. Call for quotes regarding your re-power needs.

There are many more new and exciting changes going on at 'Central', so stay tuned and watch for our upcoming ads or drop us a line for specific information. Also, if you have access to the Internet, check out our website at www.centrallocomotiveworks.com.

The best to you and Happy Railroading!



Central Locomotive Works, Inc.

17525 Alder Street Ste. 46         

Hesperia, California 92345         

PHONE: 760 244-9222

FAX 760 244-9322


www.centrallocomotiveworks.com          c1w2000@earthlink.net

Kits and Built-Up Models


We manufacture several diesel locomotive model kits. These kits are fabricated from machined brass, three level etched brass sheet, and lost wax process brass castings. The diesel kits, when completed by the modeler, provide an accurate, scaled and moderately detailed model of the prototype. Kits will cost an average of 35 to 50% less than the comparable import models. Although the kits include many detail castings, several manufacturers have parts available for providing higher levels of detail as the modeler would desire. The same is true with respect to lighting, sound, and state-of-the-art control. Some of the major features of CLW locomotives are fidelity to scale and general layout, accurate detail, high tractive effort, durability, great performance, low maintenance, and if desired, they can be run outdoors.

Hood Units

Complete diesel kits ( sections I and 2) are now being processed. Artwork for etchings has been enhanced and films are being developed. The first kits offered will be the GP40-2 ( now available ), GP38-2 ( April ), SD40-2 (May), SD45-2 (June), and both 'Tunnel Motors' in July. Other planned releases include the GP30, GP35, F3, F7 and F9's, E7, E8, and E9's. Order forms are available for these models and reservations are now being taken. Other releases planned later for this year include GP30, GP50 and SD50. The new diesel kit prices will range from $535.00 to $775.00, depending on model and options requested. In addition, we will offer all diesels built-up and primer painted, and built-up and custom painted. Price ranges for built-up and custom painted models will range from $975.00 to $1,350.00. Order forms are now available for these models and deposits of $150.00 for kits and $300.00 for built-up models will be required to reserve your choice.

PA's and FA's

We will be bringing the PA kit back. We have obtained actual erection drawings and are reviewing best methods for redesigning the kit. Our current plan is to offer the PA's during the last quarter of this year. Meanwhile, thanks to the many of you who are using CLVV's various castings, trucks and drive kits to upgrade other manufactures models. The Alco 6 wheel passenger truck is now in stock as is the AAR type B truck.

Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton 2400 HP Transfer Locomotive ("Center Cab")

We are planning another run of this kit. Art work is being revised to provide 3-level etching detail and a new chassis/drive system is being designed. It is a fine model, and very popular with modelers who model north-eastern railroads, particularly the PRR. Santa Fe also had similar units. The Baldwin 3 axle truck used for this model and other applications such as the AS-616, is now available.

E's and F's

F unit chassis/drives kits are ready now and complete kits should be ready by early spring; F3, F7, F9 E7, E8, and E9 all with companion "B" units and all with the new chassis/drive system. Also, a chassis/drive kit is now available for the ALL Nation F3 for $335.00 plus $10.00 S&H. The E's will have 36' driving wheels with 13.33:1 or 15:1 overall gearing in order for them to run compatibly with the Geeps and SD's with 15:1 or 16.67:1 respective gearing and 40" drivers, without use of decoders or voltage regulators.

New Models?

Several new diesels, both EMD and GE units, are in the works. Along with the GP30, we will be introducing the SD50, SD60 and SD70 series diesels.



Central Locomotive Works, Inc.




17525 Alder Street Ste. 46 Hesperia, California 92345


760 244-9222

FAX 760 244-9322 clw2000@earthlink.net


CLW Trucks

We produce several diesel truck types: EMD Blomberg (3 styles and type M), EMD 6 wheel Flexicoil (all brake configurations), EMD HTC, EMD 6 wheel passenger truck, AAR type A, AAR-type B, Alco `Trimount', Alco 6 wheel passenger truck (PA), and the Baldwin C truck as used on the Baldwin-Lima­Hamilton Transfer locomotives (Center Cab) and AS-616's. As you may already know, all CLW's diesel trucks are fully sprung and in most cases, mimic the prototype. We review each truck for possible improvements in performance and detail accuracy. The PA truck, for instance, has received a new bolster and transoms. New truck journals with rotating bearing caps will be available for the HTC, Flexicoil, Blomberg type M and AAR type B trucks for modeling contemporary prototype practices.

CLW Drives

As for those rugged CLW drives, we will continue to offer the current configurations of gear boxes. We think they're pretty tough to beat! The assembled combination of individual component materials gives the CLW gear box 'lubrication free' qualities. The drives should have a performance life of about 2500 hours The gear boxes themselves have a ratio of 1 0: 1. The drive systems for new chassis will be of the high entry type, using a chain tower to transfer power from motor to gear box. We have looked at and tried several methods of transfer, such as gear tower, belt drive, etc. We found the chain tower to be the best overall method. It also provides a choice of various gearing options to the modeler at no extra cost. The new CLW kit will be offered with 15:1 overall drive ratio or 83 scale mph's as standard. Other ratio options are 10:1, 13.33:1, 16.67:1 and 20:1. Another benefit of the chain tower is that E's with 36' drivers and GP's, SD's, and others with 40' drivers can run at the same speeds without the aid of voltage regulators or decoders. New universals and shafts for the motor-to-tower connection, made for CLW by NorthWest Short Line, are now standard. These universals operate at high shaft rpm and have minimal vibration.

CLW Motors

The two CLW motors previously used for the diesels are no longer manufactured by Pitman and as a result we've had a new motor built by Pittman. The new motor ( #8224 ) is custom made for CLW, and incorporates some improvements. The shaft is dynamically balanced and supported by ball bearings, and dual flywheels are also added.

New Wheelsets

We will be offering .145" width, .115" 'Proto-O', and .115" 'Proto-48' blackened steel wheelsets made for us by NorthWest Short Line, as an option to the standard .172' CLW wheelset. We'll also offer nickel-silver wheelsets on special order basis.

Axle Roller Bearings

We also offer roller bearing inserts for those of you that require long steady hours of run time. These are normally placed in models used in museums and other public display situations. The bearings which are only 3/16' in diameter, have a load rating of 30 lb. each!

Check our parts and price list for current prices.

"The Road less traveled is far more interesting !"

I believe CLW offered or manufactured three different versions of the BLW  centercabs, the first an early cast version related to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry layout (recall seeing one there in 1964) the second version much later with the more conventional wrapper and castings approach, the third (and one of the last projects in the CLW pantheon as noted) like the second with a more sophisticated etched car body.

The original post question though is obviously a good one. Wouldn't it be nice to have a comprehensive illustrated history of Bob Smith's work and a nod to the successor business which deserves some recognition  for picking it up?  Conversely who's doing All-Nation now?  (queue crickets)  

Kudo's to Questor for starting a great string.



Some day the story of the new CLW will be told.  Lou and his spouse (Betty, I think) are wonderful folks, but may have discovered that sincere effort is not enough to make a profit in the model train business.  The new CNC-machined chassis was a work of art, but the brass alone drove the price to the sky.

I think, but am not sure, that the gears were slowly moving toward what Jay C is now offering.  Surprised to see that Lou was staying with chain - every one of my sprockets is now split, and it is time to go tooth belt.

Re-reading this thread, I suspect that Cary's E7 is an Adams model - I am not aware that CLW did a sand cast E7, although I have been quite wrong about Bob's production of such things as the brass NW-2.

I also note that I have not yet re-posted my CLW H16-44, which I have converted to an H16-66, using Bob's fine lost wax Baldwin transfer trucks.  So herewith - hopefully all the wheels are on the display track:Cast H 16-66F-M doorstopFM 16-66 doorstop



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Thanks for adding this here Bob, really like the  way you did this one,  a few questions

1. Powered with a clw drive right?

2. Really nice finish on this, opinion one of your more complete diesels scheme wise; any details on the paint/decals etc.?

3. What did you do with those tri-mount trucks that you replaced with the cast frame Commonwealth's?

Really interesting prototype too, I recently got Boyd's book on FM's and have developed a latent appreciation for these road switchers in particular.  Did you have a Milwaukee Road version of this model or am I thinking of someone else?


I tried to respond this morning, but somehow got in a loop.  The system never took my typing, and I couldn't recover and re-post.

Not powered.  I have almost 200 locomotives, and am not really an operator - if you leave them sit, they die, just like cars, airplanes, and boats.  All my Diesels get an 8x24 motor over a truck, with a Delrin chain drop-down.  Unfortunately, all of them are getting split sprockets, so I shall go to tooth belts, and will be prevailing on our local expert for the setup (Jay).

Those few mechanisms that still work will pull the plaster off the wall.  Each truck gets three CLW plastic gearboxes, properly lubricated and set with one solid shaft to absorb the wrap-up from the chain.  Each truck has all wheel pickup, sometimes by wipers on the tread, and each can run without the locomotive attached.

Paint on the 16-66 was old style Scale Craft, shot through a Paasche model H.  Decals by Jim Wilhite (RIP).  It was sparked by some work I did for Jim Seacrest involving shortening MTH Train Masters, and by a factory painted MTH SD-(9?).  I decided I liked the paint scheme A LOT!Baldwin 60000 0362 baby TMs


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Wow, that's a lot more than I asked for but yes-just GREAT! 

That 50's C&NW scheme is indeed the bomb. You could do a decent 50's era C&NW suburban pike with that roster. I like those baby H16-66's and the SD too, the MTH shells are very nice. Would be an interesting proposition to reverse engineer a casting out of them as you've done with your PA or Erie-built projects.

In the interest of the string topic do you have any more CLW "strays" in your larder?

Here are some photos of Bob Smith's CLW etched-side ALCo passenger units with added details, including revised  windshields on the A-units, with the proper shape made by overlaying thin brass on the original bronze casting for the cab.  I've read that Bob wouldn't admit that the windshield shape was incorrect, but I never tried to discuss this with him. I visited Bob one time in the 1970s in Florida, where he appeared to be running his business out of his garage.  His E-unit Blomberg trucks were designed with an equalizing mechanism for all axles, but it was a little tricky to assemble. I built some F-7s and I had the kits for the transfer unit, but never got around to finishing it.













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Very nice - the best I have seen.  Allan Wehrle sent me a nose that had been carefully split so the nose could taper inward, but I figured that the windshield area was too high, and the nose ahead of the windshield too short.  

Yes, Bob was sensitive about this nose - but he knew better; his sand cast PA was "spot-on".  He would not admit it.

It might be worth it to attempt a new master.  A nose would be around $100 in lost wax brass, small quantities.  That's just a guess, based on recent experience.

And here is the tapered nose that I figured I could never quite salvage.  You can see how we tapered it - first slotting the top part, then splitting the nose and clamping, and finally soldering.  The windshield area is plated but not cut.  The nose next to it is MTH, which is pretty much as accurate as any PA out there, although the new Lionel is slightly better in the windshield area.  Note that the MTH nose is longer than the CLW nose.  If anybody wants to get more nosey, I have lots of comparative photos of noses, including these, the early CLW, Lionel, and Overland.  I have seen Key, and believe them to be dead-accurate, but I do not have photos to prove it.  PAs are, in my opinion, honorary steam locomotives!

nose mod 002


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Nice Bob, that GM&O #291 finish is gorgeous too, I appreciate the first generation caste version's nose too. The second version's shortcomings are obvious in side by side comparisons. The most frequently seen mod I've seen to compensate for the excessively large arched windshield issue is having the top edge of the windshield extended downward with putty or somesuch, using brass to alter the shape is an interesting idea. Yet neither addresses the nose curvature or length but does fool the eye to some extent.

Neat stuff

Yes, the two I got were indeed built to be C&NW.  I think John got them in a batch of stuff he bought from an estate maybe.  Whoever had them cut the pilots and put KD couplers on them.  I stripped the paint off them and had to order and install new pilot castings on them to restore them to as built, add plows and some other detail parts. One is done and in primer.

Here are some photos of Lou's machined-brass frame for an Atlas F-3 with P&D trucks. The last photo is of my A-B-B-A set of Rio Grande F-3s with new frames and trucks and CLW drive in one B unit (sufficient for my layout, which does not have any grades).





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oscaletrains posted:

I have never owned any Atlas F's.  What is wrong with the frames, trucks, drive that come on them?

I may be wrong, but it seems that some Atlas F Units have problems pulling heavier loads on 2-rail track. 

It seems Atlas F Units need more weight for better traction with these heavy car loads and the Atlas original frames are unable to maintain that added weight within the plastic fuel tank (?could break easily?) or elsewhere.

However, this added weight in Atlas F Units may cause more strain and premature failure on the Plastic Gears in the Trucks, Drive Transmission, or the ?Sagami? electric motor that is installed. This weight could cause additional concerns with the engine torque, drive gears, and/or gear ratios used with the Trucks.

The 3/1/00 CLW OEM product description mentioned in the above message says, "With the 15:1 drive ratio, the test chassis for the GP38's through GP50's, pulled 45 Weaver 50' box cars, weighted to NMRA specifications, through two 72' radius curves at about 1.8 amps."  This might be great for a CLW engine pulling occasional long freight trains, but I doubt an unmodified Weaver transmission drive would last long with regular heavy pulling use unless it were upgraded. 

I wonder what CLW's owner Lou Houlemard (?sp?) would say about this thread, problems with Atlas F Units traction that requires modified CLW parts, and what he may suggest as CLW upgrade kits for Atlas frames...

"The Road less traveled is far more interesting !"

I wish I could say I had painted these units (because they look so nice) but in fact they are stock Atlas Rio Grande F-3s. I wanted to replace the original vertical can motors with a horizontal drive for better performance characteristics, and I wanted to use P&D trucks (from OCS - Oriental Casting Service) because they are nicely equalized and sprung, and are beautifully detailed. The F-3 set with one motorized B-unit draws about 0.95 amp at 11 volts (ca. 55 mph) with a train of 28 freight cars, all of which roll on Intermountain wheelsets in Athearn trucks (not all are weighted to NMRA standards). I really like the yellow-on-black paint scheme from the 1940s, so these F-3s are proxies for as-delivered Rio Grande FT and early F-7 units. The A-B-B-A set was assembled from dummy Atlas units in both 2-rail and 3-rail versions. I use a Dallee diesel sound system that plays through a pair of large floor speakers. The real F-3s, of course, were delivered for use on the California Zephyr, and were equipped (as are the models) with steam generators. 

I purchased some drive parts from Lou at the "new" CLW when they first opened in California.  I felt that their sprockets, gearboxes, transmission tower and U-joints were a little sturdier and better quality than the Weaver / P&D stuff.  For one example, I'm pretty sure their upper sprocket was 10 or 12 teeth (Weaver used eight), and that was the one most prone to splitting in my experience.  Their axle gearboxes were 10:1 self-locking worm and a similar form factor to the Weaver / P&D boxes.

If you're really going to pull 45 cars with one loco, you should probably consider using a dual-shaft motor (or two motors), and two transmission towers so all of the torque is not going through a single chain.

A newer approach is to use 1:1 back-drivable gearboxes on the axles, and obtain all of the reduction through a central tower, or through use of a 19:1 gearhead motor.  The 1:1 boxes are heavy-duty 0.7 mod gears, and designed to handle heavy loads.  My $.02.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

Center-tower gear-reduction and 1:1 gearboxes with symmetrical skew-cut gears (back-driveable) on axles were used to advantage by the late, great Doug Cockerham in his diesel rebuilds. My CLW unit has a dual-shaft motor with flywheels driving a sprocket chain tower at each truck. It has worked without fault for a good many years thus far and does not appear to be over stressed.

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