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  1. "Sometimes, late at night, you can hear the whistle wail with a spooky, screechy sound like a wheel gone off the rail; and up in the smoky clouds, you can almost recognize the ghost of a crazy engineer with fiery cinder eyes; I say, Whoo-whoo! Can't you hear the haunted train? Whoo-whoo! Waiting on a haunted train I'm gonna, crash that engine, you know, only sticks and stones and old conductors' bones remain..." This steam loco was from the first animated train cartoon I ever saw when I was very small (three years old, from what I'm told), and is one of my favorites, easily beating The Brave Engineer (1950's Disney cartoon) and only being bested by The Polar Express film! I got the basic looks for the model from a single screenshot of the 1990's Nickelodeon cartoon show "Hey Arnold!". The engine seem to be based on Norfolk and Western K-1 class 4-8-2, but is apparently owned by Great Northern as evidenced by the tender writing. You can read more about the haunted engine, it's known story, and even potential theories for why it crashed here on the Arnold wiki. (yes, that's a thing, and credit to Paul Welch for bringing this info to my attention.) The following text is from the wiki page for the episode: "As shown in the episode of the same name (Haunted Train), the legend concerns the phantom locomotive, Old Engine 25. Forty years ago (from original broadcast date, so November 1956), during a movement from the train yard to Union Station, Engine 25's engineer suddenly went insane. Defying signals and warnings to slow down, he intentionally derailed the engine and its train which slid down a high embankment. However, no wreckage was found beyond the engineer's severed hand, still clutching a part of Engine 25's throttle. According to the legend, the engineer drove the train straight to the fiery underworld, and now once a year on the anniversary of the engine's derailment, returns aboard Engine 25 with the intent of collecting new passengers to return to the underworld with him." There is even a song used over the closing credits of the episode, sung by the ghostly crazed engineer who drove his train all the way to hell (see first portion of post for that song!) And yes, I know a steam engine is not a entire train... it may partially make up a train, but it itself is not a train. The engine has GREAT NORTHERN on it's tender in the cartoon, but i can't afford that many letters, so GNRR will have to do. The number 25 will go on the cab sides and smokebox door, as in the cartoon. Speaking of the cartoon, the engine is lit very poorly - sometimes it's black, sometimes dark gray. I wanted people to see the details, so I chose dark gray for most of it. Inside of the ghost engine's cab. (Severed engineer's hand not included!) NOTES: The engine's boiler is a highly modified version of one seen on this Rebrickable MOC by @Plastic_Goth (only the boiler is partially reused, I designed everything else myself). ...Would you look at that! It's the anniversary tonight of the wreck! Won't you go on a lovely train ride with me? (Thoughts welcome!) EDITED 11/19/22: More info added on prototype engine, and wheel arrangement corrected from 2-8-4 to 4-8-2. Pictures updated as well.
  2. Hey all, I'm finally getting around to sharing one of my latest MOCs, a Norfolk and Western GE U30B. The U30B is a four-axle second-gen diesel-electric locomotive produced between 1966 and 1975. 296 units were built for 12 railroads, of which 110 went to the N&W. With the U30B I wanted to make a "no compromises" Power Functions locomotive. I felt that my first three Pf implementations had gotten progressively better, but that they all still suffered from what I considered various compromises like not being able to change gear ratios or not being able to easily replace batteries. The no compromises loco would have to hit these checkboxes: good PF visibility easy to change batteries high structural integrity max traction/power for given form factor ability to use different PF motors/change them ability to use different gear ratios/change them Given these constraints, I chose the N&W U30B because it was one of the last modern diesels to have 1) a high short hood, which I really like, and 2) 4-axle trucks which are more easy to make with more structural integrity than 6-axle trucks. Those being said, U30Bs for other railroads were built with low short hoods, and the 6-axle U30C was twice as popular as the U30B. After a few months of on and off development and construction, this loco was completed in February, just in time for locomotive power testing! At my usual scale of 15" per stud, the 1100 part loco is 8-wide and a whopping 51-long from magnet face to magnet face - the longest I've ever made. The construction isn't really anything to write home about: like my HH1000, most of the model is studs up with large tiled plates forming the detail on the sides. The handrails are made of a third-party tubing, which isn't quite as good as flex, but orders of magnitude cheaper. There is one slightly clever bit where the roof has been raised by 1LU in order to not have a ridge between the "plate with bow" and the "roof tile" and said 1LU gap is filled with a bracket: But the real question is: how does it fair with regard to my original requirements? The PF receiver sits at the end of the loco with the dome exposed - I consider this generally the best case for PF; reception from the front isn't quite as good as it could be, but I'd rather have that than the top of the receiver sticking up further. As with my previous two PF diesels, I have used the big AA battery box in order to get the most amount of energy into the loco without going to a custom power source. This drives two L motors - the biggest motors you can fit in a 5-wide body - connected to a V2 receiver. The battery box is secured by two "crossaxle 3M with knobs". Pulling off the sides (which are connected with about 6 studs) and pulling out these pins allows the box to drop out the bottom. Similar to a Real modern diesel, most of the structural integrity is in the frame (blue), which is just a big mesh of big plates. Furthermore, the battery box is mounted to a set of technic beams (green) which rests on the gearboxes (yellow): the weight prevents the gearboxes (which are just studded together) from coming apart when a lot of torque is applied. But those L-motors are pinned into the gearboxes with a pattern (red) such that M motors would also work! And E motors! And I have left enough space and connection such that the old geared motor with the appropriate extra reduction could also be used (I think). Finally, the motors are oriented such that the drivetrain has an extra stage (green) where gears of different sizes can be used and the gear ratio changed. This screencap shows 3:1, but in practice I have been using 5:3 with the 20-tooth and 12-tooth bevels, which I find to be a better balance between speed and torque. EDIT: Instructions now available for sale on Rebrickable: