Monday, January 16, 2017

Building a Locomotive Roster

The biggest challenge any modeller faces when choosing a particular prototype is finding suitable motive power. The reason is simple, building a locomotive from scratch is far more demanding that cars and structures. Also, locomotives are the "face" of the railroad. If they are too far from the prototype, you loose a lot of the appeal.

In the case of Temiscouata, options are not numerous for someone who wants to bash a plastic model. However, there is some hope.

Let's start with the basics. We know that between 1910 and 1914, Temiscouata only ran 1887/1888-built old 4-4-0 and brand new MLW 4-6-0. In 1911, they experimented with a 2-6-0 but found it unsuitable and traded it for a 4-6-0 few months later. It means only 3 types of locomotives can be modelled. Since the Connors Branch was devoid of any critical grade and traffic was light, most of the time they used the 4-4-0 on that line.

Temiscouata #4 built in 1888 by Manchester (credit: Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent)

I'm not aware of any model that could be easily converted into a S scale 4-4-0 with 62" drivers. If you know of any, let me know, that could be a very nice project.

However, Jamie Bothwell point out that a 4-6-0 is available in On30. Made by Bachmann, this little locomotive can be converted to S scale using some conversion parts from NWSL. While not spot on, it can be modified to represent a decent model of a TMC 4-6-0.

Temiscouata #8 as built in 1909 by MLW (Al Paterson Collection, "Canadian National Steam! Volume 4)

Unfortunately, the real 4-6-0 had 51" drivers and 28" pilot wheels. According to what I've read, the Bachmann model, when scaled down to S, have 60" drivers and 32" pilot wheels. While, I can live with 32" pilot wheels or can easy change them for better, I'm not sure the same apply with the drivers. There's quite an important difference between a 60" and a 51" driver that can impact the overall look.

Would it be feasible to swap the drivers with new ones while keeping the original rods is debatable. Maybe some parts would require to be completely replaced with new ones. On the other hand, I could probably live with the discrepancies if the rest of the model is correct.

That raises a serious problem before moving forward. Actual dimension data about the Bachmann 4-6-0 is required to compare it with Canadian National locomotive diagram of ex-Temiscouata engines.

Once the driver swap is answered and dimensional data is known, it will be possible to decide how to make this possible or if other options must be evaluated. At this point, being totally newbie in that scale, I can hardly know about all locomotives available. Fortunately, I've got a lot of time ahead to find suitable power for the layout. Oh, and should I had it's a blessing not having to build up a large fleet! One loco and you're done!


  1. Hi Matthieu,

    If you are not worried about the number of spokes. You could try some 4mm scale EM profile driving wheels, from Alan Gibson, of a near diameter. Real wheels would be re-profiled when worn, so you can go a bit small, but something around 20mm in diameter would suit your needs.


    1. Thanks for the tip Simon. The number of spokes isn't critical compared to the diameter. I'll take a lot at Alan's wheels.

  2. Salut Matthieu

    I have 63" drivers from the CNR Moguls and Ten-Wheelers. I also have 60" tires that I will eventually use for an S scale friend that needs them (for 4-4-0, see ). You could probably hook up with Willy and he can share with you his research and 3D prints for his D&H American. You were also wondering in another post about 28" pilot wheels. You can use 36" HO RP25 wheels that ends up 26 1/2 in S. Considering the oversize flange, they really look like 28". Same for drivers, an S scale 60" driver will look very close to a full size 62".

    1. Bonjour Simon! Merci pour les infos!

      I didn't think about using HO wheels, but that makes so much sense! I've checked quickly what Willy's trying to do. Really interesting. You can contact me at matlac (at) gmail (dot) com, I'll have a few questions.