Western Coil Zephyr

Back in 2016 I purchased a Consoli reissue of a Western Coil Zephyr. Since it needs 0-72 curves to run, I had not been able to run it on my layout, but last night I brought it over to Hollis Cotton's new O gauge layout for a spin. First made in the 1930's by the Western Coil & Electrical Company of Racine, Wisconsin, they competed with Flyer's Zephyrs and Lionel's Flying Yankees of the same era. They were re-issued in the 1970s/80s by Tony Consoli, who purchased the remaining stock of parts from Western Coil and then made  more parts to create complete trains. The first two photos show mine posing on the layout shortly after I purchased it in 2016, and the third photo/videos show it on Hollis' layout last night. A Lionel Flying Yankee also turned up at the gathering and is seen in one of the videos.

Western Coil Zephyr on layout Nov16 2Western Coil Zephyr on layout Nov16Western Coil Zephyr

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Western Coil Zephyr 2
Western Coil Zephyr 1
Original Post

It's interesting to compare the finish of the Consoli Zephyr to the original Western Coil.  It's obvious that Consoli took some time to polish the aluminum whereas Western Coil looks to have grabbed the casting out of the mold, added decals, and shipped.  Like most originals mine is missing the paper diaphragms. I plan to correct that in the near future.

Western_Coil_Electric_Zepher

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Nice- I've seen original units come up on Ebay. Another interesting thing I've noticed- apparently there is a variation among the original Western Coil  models, some have hand rails applied to the shells, others are like the Consoli models with no added handrails.

MFA Burlington modelOriginal Western Coil Zephyr

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The motor on my Consoli version runs pretty hot. How well/cool did yours run?

I have just finished finding the last of the parts to convert it to a can motor while saving/keeping the original motor.

How would one recreate the diaphragms?

RoyBoy

The Consolis learned how to hand fold the paper diaphragms in order to sell the sets. It is said they also designed a matching vista dome car but I have yet to see one. Apparently the locos and observation cars were purchased in bulk and the Pullmans were made from the Western Coil molds and vista domes they made themselves.

Jim O'C

Upstate NY/So VT

RoyBoy posted:

The motor on my Consoli version runs pretty hot. How well/cool did yours run?

I have just finished finding the last of the parts to convert it to a can motor while saving/keeping the original motor.

How would one recreate the diaphragms?

I haven't noticed any problems with the motor, although as noted I've just run it once. It needed oil and grease of course. Regarding the diaphragms, here are some photos, there are four per train (two in each articulation area). They're just folded cardboard that's been painted, but they look great. Very cleverly done, each consists of three pieces, two "striker plates" with an "accordion" in between. Presumably they just copied the original. Note one of them was not painted on its underside, revealing the material used- looks like the brown cardboard found in an "accordion" expanding file:  https://www.staples.com/Staple...-Each/product_595372

Consoli Western Coil Zephyr diaphragmsConsoli Western Coil Zephyr diaphragms 2

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RoyBoy posted:

The motor on my Consoli version runs pretty hot. How well/cool did yours run?

 

RB, I acquired a virtually new one 10 yrs ago.  Ran a few laps and when I picked it up, I burned my hand. Put it away and forgot about it.... If anyone has an idea, that would be great!

Prewar Tin...Any maker, any gauge, anytime!

In the Fall 1973 Train Collectors Quarterly, there is an article entitled "Care and Feeding of Toy Train Motors." In it, the author wrote about the induction motor used in the Western Coil Zephyr. They stated the "Motor is a rather poor motor for this kind of service. It has a poor starting torque and its RPM is limited by the line frequency (measured in cycles per second)..." They went on to explain "the speed of this motor is governed by the frequency of the line supply coming into your home" and after the motor reached its maximum RPM "you can pour on all extra voltage you want and...you will not speed up this motor although you will probably succeed in burning it out."

The Instructions for the Western Coil Zephyr state "Trains operate normally at 12 volts. Do not use over 18 volts or motor may heat excessively. For continuous operation, 10 volts should be sufficient." My advice would be to keep all moving parts well lubricated and operate the train at a minimum acceptable voltage.

Jim O'C posted:

The Consolis learned how to hand fold the paper diaphragms in order to sell the sets. It is said they also designed a matching vista dome car but I have yet to see one. Apparently the locos and observation cars were purchased in bulk and the Pullmans were made from the Western Coil molds and vista domes they made themselves.

I have a set that includes the Consoli Vista-Dome...if I get free moment I'll dig it out and take some pics.

I have an original, and I had the Conosoli gold set, that I sold a few years back. I've had no heat problems and no problems running on O-31 track with mine.

They're great trains, and run well, IMO. I won't be selling my original any time soon.

If anyone here does have a supplier for diaphragms, I'd like to purchase a couple more as spares.

Also, recently I have been looking for information on a Western Coil device made for the trains called the Midget Dispatcher. It was supposed to be a rotating drum that could control accessories and trains. I've seen only limited information on one, and I think a picture of a real one.

If anyone has any info on this, I'd appreciate it. I believe that General Trains used/marketed the same device under their brand.

I'd like to find one at some point, just to see what it actually did and how it worked.

jsrfo posted:

I have an original, and I had the Conosoli gold set, that I sold a few years back. I've had no heat problems and no problems running on O-31 track with mine.

They're great trains, and run well, IMO. I won't be selling my original any time soon.

If anyone here does have a supplier for diaphragms, I'd like to purchase a couple more as spares.

Also, recently I have been looking for information on a Western Coil device made for the trains called the Midget Dispatcher. It was supposed to be a rotating drum that could control accessories and trains. I've seen only limited information on one, and I think a picture of a real one.

If anyone has any info on this, I'd appreciate it. I believe that General Trains used/marketed the same device under their brand.

I'd like to find one at some point, just to see what it actually did and how it worked.

From our friend Graham Eldred at www.binnsroad.co.uk  

western coil midget dispatcher ad

Jim O'C

Upstate NY/So VT

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It looks to me to be similar to a washing machine's timer mech, with the motor speed being adjustable and drum swappable to allow quick customization. My guess is the anti collision claims are based on using it with traditional track blocks and methods. (Similar to stations made with stop capability) 

Still a pretty neat idea with plenty of potential.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





“RoyBoy posted:

The motor on my Consoli version runs pretty hot. How well/cool did yours run?

I have just finished finding the last of the parts to convert it to a can motor while saving/keeping the original motor.”

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I just picked up a Consoli 4 car Burlington at York. I will not negotiate my o54 curves and on the straight the motor seems to be straining . I would be very interested in seeing your design for a can motor RoyBoy. 

The first truck connection is tilting . Is this something anyone has any experiance adjusting out?

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