May 2, 2012

River Raisin USRA GT 0-6-0

Just wanted to let everyone know that I started to customize this little gem.  I will hopefully post some photos before end of the week.

Here is what I have done so far:

- Added wipers for all wheel pick up.
- Installed a Tsunami decoder in the locomotive with a medium oval speaker in the boiler.  This is important to me.  Chuff sound coming off the tender doesn't sound right!
- Shorten the coupling spacing distance between the locomotive and tender almost to scale.  In theory, it should still negotiate a 32" radius but on my layout, the minimum is 50" and I use #8 switches, no problem at all.  Not sure if it will work Ok on a #6 switch or shorter radius.
- Installed a cam wiper for synchronized chuff
- Replaced the Kadee couplers with the Walter HO couplers.  This is not final. I want to evaluate this cheap oversize HO coupler for look and operation.  If I don't like, I'll install the SHS coupler instead.

Next step is to replace the number board with one of my own casting.  This is about the only flaw in this locomotive (IMO) to the prototype that is worth mentioning.  I will also replace the incandescent lights with LEDs and my own lens in the tender and engine headlights. Of course it won't look as new and will weather it to my taste.

I should be able to finish most of my modifications before Ottawa train show this Saturday. (maybe just the weathering portion won't be done). I plan to bring it so that she could take some switching assignment on the S Scale Workshop modules.

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