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A friend gave me a few boxes full of Westbrook freight cars, at least that is what I have found so far, have not had the time to check them all.  A while back he gave me a homemade 2-14-2 loco where the same builder of the Westbrook cars, used an 8 and 6 wheel loco drivers and motors under a nicely modified boiler shell, with a tender modified with real coal and other attributes to make it as real as possible.  The cars are nicely built, wood floors with steel frames, metal doors and slide, great graphics, and it appears that the trucks need some cleaning and lubrication as the only work they need.  They have body mounted scale couplers that have a pretty good swing to them.  I read somewhere that these will not operate on Lionel track, but do not understand why that is, as long as  the curves are broad enough to allow the couplers to not force the car off the track.  The trucks are a combination of rigid and sprung, and the flanges look like they would handle Lionel tubular or the modern stuff just fine.  My main line has 72 inch curves.  Any Westbrook car users out there with some insight?  Thanks.

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The cars will operate just fine on 3 rail track with the issues you noted.    Tubular would be very problematic unless the flanges are fairly large.   Modern track with flat top rail should be just fine.    As you mentioned sharper curves could cause problems.   If your curves are wide enough there should be no problem.    When you say 72 inch curves do you mean radius or diameter ie. 072 ir 72 inch radius?    In either case 40 ft prototype cars should be ok as long as there is some coupler swing.    Longer cars could become a problem, but I don't think Westbrook made any long cars.    The track gauge (distance between the rails) is the same in 2 rail and 3 rail.

2 rail cars in modern times have one wheel insulated.    That is not a problem.   These older cars may not have insulated wheels, but that is not a problem on 3 rail track either, most 3 cars do not have insulated wheels because one pickup is on the center rail, and the other is both outside rails.     In the 40s, a lot of fellows built layouts with "outside 3rd rail" basically similar to NYC subways.    They often bought uninsulated wheels.

Body mount couplers let cars track better if the curves can handle it.  

Did not realize Athearn made cars of this construction.  All of them have wood floors, some have metal doors, some plastic, some have metal grab irons and ladder rungs that are nailed to the wood sides.

OK, I had put it in 3 rail as it has a center pickup, but will post it here.  It is a bit furry, I have not cleaned it up any.  The soldered on bell fell off, and part of the valve gear on the right side that was soldered on was off too.  A lot of solder work on this, as is all the locos I have gotten from this fellow.  What you might call and E unit in the tender appears home made to run the two power trucks that were put in it.  The loco does have its own motor, so this must have been a puller in its day, or it ran very poorly.

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@CALNNC posted:

Did not realize Athearn made cars of this construction.  All of them have wood floors, some have metal doors, some plastic, some have metal grab irons and ladder rungs that are nailed to the wood sides.

Yup!  Athearn as well as AN made cars that were assembled like that....plastic doors I end to associate with later versions sold by LWS.

@atlpete posted:

Wow, spectacular old-school technology there! I'm impressed with that tender drive. Anybody recognize the manufacturer of the boiler and chassis? I'm not that familiar with the Westbrook line and I've never associated it with a locomotive model but rather freight car kits. Thanks for posting these!

Varney//All-Nation but those tender drives look a lot like old Walthers traction drive units. As far as I know Westbrook never made locos of any kind; just freight car kits.

I don't know what the loco is.    I would be suspicious it might be scratch built, of perhaps kitbashed from a Hines or Pierce Mikado kit.    Or there also some other builders back in the 30s that might have done a 4-8-2.

the tender looks like it was made with tinplate.   All the All Nation/General Models locos I have seen have cast tenders, or brass wrappers without rivets.    the rivets look a little crude implying had shaped.    Also the rivet lines are good, but not perfectly straight.  

I can't see enough of the wheels and rods up close to tell if they have the unique All Nation/Varney/General Models wheel mounts.    All that I have seen use a slotted, threaded cyclinder that screws on to the axle.    The end of the axles are threaded.    When I built an AN kit, the instructions explained how to take a screw driver and file a slot in it  to install these.   they fit into the wheel hub.

All Nation Did make a 4-8-2 and it is relatively rare.    I have seen a few over the years and I remember them looking bulkier than this loco.    the loco driver flanges appear more like 2 rail, but the lead truck flanges look like 3-rail

It would be fun to see some photos after it is cleaned up some and also show the under side.

For what it's worth ... The Evergreen car was perhaps manufactured by Kris Model Trains, or Frank's Roundhouse; anyway, it appears to be descended from the AMT / Kusan tooling. The former owner evidently tried to detail it some by adding corner steps. Don't know about its trucks, but the wheels are modern Lionel or compatible. The NKP boxcar has what look to be MPC wheels in the truck on the right of the photo, unsure about the left one. The L&N car is fitted with Postwar Lionel "AAR" plastic trucks with the appropriate wheels.

I clarified with my friend who gave me all these, plus more to come later, that it was his father in law that built all of these, and had a massive layout in the attic of his house, and this was in SC, so summer time would have been a cooker.  The father in law was the son of a man named Buckwalter, (I forgot his first name, will dig it out) the primary inventor of the roller bearing.  Lea, the son in law who is 85 now, so we are talking 1930-40's for the main build, his son  ran the layout with his granddad as late as the 1960's.  The layout could be run automatically with a mechanical clock that could be programmed that the granddad built that did things like cut in and out different track blocks, and moved turnouts allowing the train to take different paths on each pass, selected by the minute hand.  Trying to get any photos of it,



I'll clean that engine up a bit and get some better photos, but its 8 drive wheels and trailing truck are not kit bashed, but the lead truck is.  I don't think this was originally a 4-8-2, but a 2-8-2.  The center rail pickup is a bit kluge, perhaps he had to repair it at some point.  I wonder how he got the loco drive and the dual motors in the tender to all work together?  The E unit in the tender also was wired to the loco drive, and judging by the type of wire used to hook loco and tender together, almost looks like aviation grade Teflon, it was redone much later than the original build.  The valve gear and piston remind me of an O scale live steam loco.

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