Sarah,

I agree with Don. The problem you have is the left and right drivers are probably not insulates since all they had to do was pick up the same current while the rollers pick up the other. It's tough to avoid shorts. Even with RC you may get shorts with any current through the track.

Ron H

I have had great success converting Williams engines to on-board battery with radio control. Imagine operating with no shorts, no reverse loops to wire or cleaning the track.   We remove the center roller and remove the track pickup wires. This isolates the engine from the track. Now you can chase your others engines or run around them.  

Yes, this is a new investment but you can still use your present control system at the same time.   The battery runs 3-4 hours between charges. 

If you would like more details please contact me by clicking on my profile name to see my email address. 

Don

Very few folks can do this work profitably.  We (my brother, who is a machinist and not a railfan) couldn't keep the lights on.  Joe Foehrkolb realized that there was more to life than working your tail off for not very much money.  Jay C may still be doing some 2-railing.

But good brass Williams is not that big a problem.  Sell your 3-rail, and buy a 2-rail version.  I have a factory 2-rail "J" and Mikado.  I may someday sell the Mikado, but it is a nice model.  I have seen 2-rail N&W Class A and SP Cab Forwards.  I am sure there are others.

I am not automated.  It takes me around an hour to insulate one drive wheel, and at sixty bucks an hour, nobody will hire me.  That's the way I like it!

The locomotive tpe is not mentioned unless I missed it.    For a steamer I agree that if a replacement in 2-rail is available that is a good way to go.

If the loco is a favorite diesel model that is not readily available or whatever, another approach is a complete new drive train.    P&D hobbies still sells complete drive-trains and parts based on the old Weaver single motor drive design.    P&D has had various parts remade.     On some locos this is almost a drop in.    On others you have to do open some space on the frame for a gear tower.     On many  you have to make a truck mount bolster and locate it and attach it to the frame.    But these are relatively easy jobs with typical modeling handtools or light power tools.

Battery power is a good idea but I see two possible problems. The pizza cutter flanges could be a problem depending on what track Sarah is using and if she has any other 2 rail locomotives the battery powered one will short out the railroad and she won’t be able to use her other locomotives. 

It is unfortunate (if the locomotive in question has the China Drive) that no one can buy trucks that will convert these locomotives. Most China Drives that I have seen mount the same way then the user would be able to convert to 2 or 3 rail easily but I guess since most 2 Railers deem the Chine Drive truck undesirable there is no more market for it or the manufacturers don’t want folks putting locomotives together from parts. 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Before you go nuts trying to swap it out, I might be able to help you out....one of the fellas on the forum I do work for has a Williams 2 rail he wants 3 railed....send me an email and we’ll see what we can work out to help both of you two out.....this might be the better option for the two of you....emails in my profile.......Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

harmonyards posted:

Before you go nuts trying to swap it out, I might be able to help you out....one of the fellas on the forum I do work for has a Williams 2 rail he wants 3 railed....send me an email and we’ll see what we can work out to help both of you two out.....this might be the better option for the two of you....emails in my profile.......Pat

That sounds promising; hope it works out... 

Mark in Oregon

I have converted a few dummy 3 rails to 2 rail by builing in a new drive.   These generally use the same frames as the powered ones.    In my experience while the china drives are basically the same design drive, the mounting holes are different shapes or the stops to keep the trucks from doing a 180 are different or something.     I have not seen any that appear to be able to swap from mfg to mfg.    

You all are amazing!  Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.  The 2 locos are PRR F16 Sharks.   Beautiful paint jobs.  Brunswick green.  Once upon a time I was into PRR.  Now mostly  NH.   If any are interested in buying they are as New in original boxes.  Not having a 3 rail layout I haven't tested them.  Email me using the profile address.

Thanks

 

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