Thursday, 10 May 2018

Introducing 3088

There are several gaps in my collection of locomotives. I focus on those that operated in the Upper Hunter in late 1960s/early 1970s. However, with the opening of the Kingston Plains line, inspired by the Merriwa  branch, perhaps the most glaring gap was the C30T. This was a class of diminutive locomotives which gave sterling service on remote branch lines throughout NSW until the end of the steam era. Earlier in the year, I had placed an order for one of the recently announced Austrains models (3090) but these are not expected until early next year.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was given a 'heads up' about a second hand brass 30T that was up for sale. (Thanks Bob!). A quick negotiation, a funds transfer and the new addition arrived. Incidentally, until it arrived, I had not actually seen the model. I had been told that the locomotive included a six wheel tender although the locomotives that I wanted to model were fitted with the larger ex 50 class eight-wheeled tender. That was not a problem as I had a surplus tender from the time when I fitted a 5000 gallon turret tender to my DJH 50 class back in early 2014.( ) From the description of the model, I anticipated that it had a drumhead superheated boiler, so it came as a pleasant surprise when the model turned out to have a saturated boiler. It was a no-brainer, the locomotive would be rebirthed as 3088, a saturated boiler engine, located at the Muswellbrook depot in the late 1960s before being replaced by 3090.

After fitting some additional insulation and wiring to support the use of a decoder, the top of the new tender was removed to allow storage for a decoder and stay alive. A new removable coal load was then fashioned to permit ongoing access to this space.

A headlight also needed to be fitted and this was fabricated from a old brass casting that I had kept from the time when I built my Lloyd's 30 Class model many years ago. It just goes to show the wisdom of never throwing anything out!

The tender was repainted but there is a slight difference in the shade of black between it and the engine. I suppose I should have repainted the locomotive as well but the existing painting had been done so well that I couldn't bring myself to redo it. Hopefully, weathering, once applied, will minimise the impact of this slight differential.

As the locomotive was being tested, an intermittent short made its presence known. It appeared on a few large radii curves, so the pony wheels were immediately suspect. After a few hours of fiddling and the application of several coats of superglue on various parts of the chassis to act as an insulator, the problem appears to have receded (at this time I'm not going to say 'fixed').

Unfortunately, my stock of steam locomotive decals has been reduced to the point where a replacement sheet has had to be ordered. So this activity and weathering have yet to be completed.

I have to say that the TCS KA4 stay alive makes a significant difference to the performance of the locomotive. I appreciate that I'm well behind the times here, but this is the first time that I have used this product and it provides for much smoother running while allowing one to ignore those pesky hesitations on my old Atlas points. That said, there is still  one point (in this instance Peco not Atlas) which still continues to frustrate me. Clearly a different approach is necessary for this location.

By the way, based on feed back after my previous post, I had thinned out the grass in the Kingston Plains turntable well but to look at the photos, it seems more work is needed. Perhaps HO scale Roundup is needed!

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