R C & G


RC&G #20 will be a Garratt type locomotive. Foreign looking to most they were originally designed and built by Beyer & Peacock in Great Britain and used widely in Europe, Africa and other locations around the world. The concept was to more equally distribute the locomotives weight evenly over the drivers and carry all of the weight of the fuel and water over the drivers and eliminate the separate tender.. There were other advantage and disadvantages The largest disadvantage for use in the U.S. was limited range due to the small amount of water and fuel carried on board. Alco had the rights to build and sell the design in the U.S. but I doubt they ever tried very hard to sell them as they would have had to pay a licensing fee on every one they sold. 

For those not familiar with the design the photo below shows a common form they often took. Many of the designs had sort of an art deco look about them with lots of curves and simplified looks.

Water was carried in the front tank and fuel and water in the one behind the cab. The engines pivoted where they were attached to the frame. The design typically used large diameter boilers that were shorter than those used on many larger American locomotives. Beyer & Peacock felt that extending the boiler beyond a certain point had diminishing returns as far as recovering heat from the exhaust gases.

My concoction is going to use the supposition that the RC&G had approached Alco about purchasing a Garratt style locomotive and was put off by the cost and instead purchased a used locomotive and rebuilt it using American appliances and design ideas. I liked the squared off look of the one shown in the next photo. This is a much larger engine but I figured that an Americanized version would be less art deco and more utilitarian.

For drives I was able to obtain a used LGB tank Mallet for a reasonable price on eBay. It wasn't in perfect shape but I was only interested in the drive blocks. They hadn't run in years apparently as the grease in them had all but solidified. A little cleaning and some new grease put them to right. It took a bit of thought to figure out how all of this was going to fit together. I started with a piece of 1/4" thick acrylic for the frame and created the large Belpaire style firebox, also common to the type, from a lamination of some teak scraps I had lying about. Why teak, well of all woods it has one of the lowest factors of expansion and it is heavy so will add some weight and it's easily worked with wood working tools. The photo below shows the start with the firebox and PVC boiler with a styrene wrapper sitting on the acrylic frame.
From there things progressed  fairly quickly once I figured out how to attach the engine blocks to the frame. In the photo below the engines have been attached to the frame, the bunkers have been made from solid blocks of wood just to give me an idea of proportion, when finalized they will be used as forms to fabricate them from styrene as those areas will be needed for the battery, receiver, speakers and sound card. a few other pieces have been added to help with envisioning the finished product. The boiler has had the smoke box laminated and the smoke box front has been made and installed.

The photo below shows a closer view of the boiler front, the smoke box rivets were embossed the front uses a lot of bolt and nut castings.

This project is currently on hold while I make some decisions on how to proceed. One issue is that the engines are from a Mallet so one has larger cylinders than the other. While my intention had been to ignore this, only one Mallet style Garratt was ever built and the piping required to make this work was a bit of a nightmare. As a result I may decided to replace the cylinder assemblies on both engines with some more American looking cylinders of the same size. When more progress has been made they will be posted.

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Updated 3/4/19