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The prime method of transportation to and from the North Pole for children is now arriving at your front door! So, grab your robe (but don't rip the pocket in your haste to get outside!) and head on the adventure of your life... "Well, aren't you coming!? This here is the Polar Express!" What happens to the steam-hauled Polar Express when the steam-era parts suppliers eventually go out of business in the mid-to-late 1960's? Elves know toys inside and out, but steam locomotives are a bit out of their wheelhouse. Enter 1231, the newest locomotive-set in the Polar Railway's repertoire of railroad vehicles / rolling stock, used as a eventual replacement for 1225, and current freight loco. Built by EMD in December 1959 as a FP9 for the cab unit and a regular F9 for the B unit, these engines use small steam boilers to heat the heavyweight passenger cars, just like the 1225 before them with it's (obviously much larger) boiler. 1231 is currently assigned to freight duties at the North Pole awaiting it's turn at the head of the Polar Express. (eventually) The whole Express train, headed by steam locomotive 1225. This steam engine began life based on my design of the Frisco 1522, a 4-8-2 Mountain type, which I had built into a 2-8-4 Berkshire for my Polar Express. I then saw a far superior model by @Plastic_Goth over on Rebrickable, as seen here. It was then purchased, and I added my own wheelbase to it from the pervious Frisco 1522-derived version as I try not to use those small friction wheels for the front pony truck, as it squeals too much. (as used by Lemon_Boy in his version) Then, I took the open bottom cab and added mine back in, albeit in 7 wide. I redid the tender to be seven wide as well, while shortening my passenger coaches by four studs. (I will put them on a 24 stud train-plate instead of 28 for each car.) this will give me nearly enough parts to add a firth car as a third identical coach. I kinda took inspiration for the Emerald Night for the firebox. Simple and elegantly held on by technic pins, it makes a good converter from the seven wide cab to six wide boiler. The tender retained its ladder to the deck, albeit on a smaller scale - about what I did for my Emerald Night tender MOD. This is the saddest car in the film: the recycled toys baggage car, which thankfully is empty here, but in the movie was full of tangled marionettes and broken toys galore. This car features a sliding baggage door in addition to the usual opening regular doors. (which in turn were styled after the Emerald Night's coach's doors) These two coaches feature opening doors on each end. The color scheme chosen for the cars was inspired by @SavaTheAggie's Polar Express, and not the movie. (Dark red windows and medium blue train cars are accurate, but way too expensive!) This is the observation lounge car, and features a viewing balcony on the end of the car. From left to right these people are: - Narrator child - Engineer (I'm calling him Max) - Fireman (now named Joe) - Conductor (named Charlie, as far as I'm concerned) - The mysterious ghost hobo (who I'm trying to write a story linking him between the movies Emperor of the North and Polar Express. It will explain how he got onto the Express, and how he died at Flattop Tunnel. Based on a deleted scene from the Polar Express.) Everyone knows about the Polar Express passenger train, but what about the other half of the railroad business: FREIGHT! Well, this problem is now solved with the "1231" Electro-Motive FP9 diesel cab + booster locomotives, along with boxcars for toy materials, hot cocoa tankers, coal cars (for naughty children and the hungry 2-8-4 steam loco 1225), and flat cars with varying loads, this one being Santa's backup sleigh w/ reindeer! This model originally was inspired by the EMD FL9 in the "Lego Train Projects" book from No Starch Press. I made it shorter and added a B unit, while changing up the color. I also make them into a regular diesel powered F-units instead of the dual electric / diesel powered FL9. The chosen color scheme is of my Polar Express train which, as you most likely know, is usually headed up by 2-8-4 steam loco 1225. Well, here is the backup / freight loco number 1231. NOTE: This idea of a later-day diesel hauled-Express is actually not new, as I've seen it in blue-and-dark red Lionel models for a while now in several Hobby shops... they even have a Polar Railroad GP-7 as a model too, according to my Google search! The engine will feature (once built) feature printed letters on the A-unit's sidewalls saying "Polar Railway", and closer to the nose, will have the "1231" as the loco number. The rear has a doorway to the first passenger car. The boxcar seen above is for for carrying toy-making materials, such as wood, and barrels of plastic pellets. This flat car is supposed to have three hay bales in front of Olive (the other reindeer, who is usually omitted from the regular team pulling the A-Sleigh because of his bad habit of calling team leader Rudolph names and being generally unpleasant while playing reindeer games.) Olive pulls the backup sleigh instead. This hopper car is for carrying naughty children's coal, which also happens to fuel the 2-8-4 steam loco 1225. A simple Hot Cocoa tanker car.. be careful, it really is hot! The last car in the freight train is a caboose. The letters "PR" (standing for Polar Railway) go on the side wall studs. As usual, any comments, questions or complaints are welcome. There is only so many days until Christmas, and then this train becomes relevant again, so I'm building this REALLY soon! EDIT 4/22/21: Added freight cars to the post.
[MOC] Caltrain MP15DC with Power Functions
jtlan posted a topic in LEGO Train TechSilicon Valley, California, is not particularly well-known for trains, nor public transit in general. Caltrain operates a commuter service along the peninsula. While most of its modern rolling stock is too large for regular track at my typical 1:48 scale, they also own and operate a pair of MP15DC switchers: EMD offered the MP15DC as a successor to the SW1500 series of switcher, the key difference being longer standard trucks and a higher top speed. Caltrain's two units (#503 and #504) were acquired from Union Pacific, which in turn acquired them from Southern Pacific. I believe the two are usually based in San Jose, though they can be seen up and down the peninsula running various maintenance-of-way jobs or "rescuing" stalled Caltrain commuter sets. This is the first "normal" diesel locomotive I've built in a long time, and the first time I've built something local. It's relatively straightforward mechanically: two 9V "mini-motors", one driving each truck, with the battery box in between them and the receiver in the cab. Pulling power is plentiful as the locomotive is reasonably heavy for its size. Pressing down on the single exposed stud on the hood powers the battery box on/off, and the power state can be checked via the small clear window on the hood. I took advantage of many recently-introduced parts on this model, such as they grey Collectible Minifig base which I used to plate over the sides and hide the works. Grey 1 x 2 x 2 windows, truncated corner tiles, and 2 x 1 wedges are relatively recent parts that help capture the shape of this locomotive. One innovation is an improvement on the technique I used for the cab windows on the TP56 locomotive. In this model, each "half" window is held captive by rotated tiles, greatly simplifying construction (a technique that @Commander Wolf absolutely loathes). The full Brickshelf gallery is here, pending moderation. I also took a number of work-in-progress screenshots in LDD, which you might find useful. Until next time, and may your commuter train never have to be rescued by one of these! INSTRUCTIONS: https://reb.li/m/137017
Alco RSC-3 CP1500 series
rahziel posted a topic in LEGO Train TechHello, here's a little contribution. I'm almost finishing this interpretation of the Alco RSC-3, a portuguese CP1500 series diesel locomotive. I'm still not happy with the main front and back light, the home made stickers are far from perfect but I love this simple 6 wide :) rahzmoc1500wip02 by Rafael Costa, no Flickr rahzmoc1500wip03 by Rafael Costa, no Flickr rahzmoc1500wip01 by Rafael Costa, no Flickr
[MoC] TP56 Industrial Switcher Locomotive
jtlan posted a topic in LEGO Train TechWant an SD40, but can't afford one? Here's a half-off deal for you: ...literally. These little locomotives are made by cutting an SD40 in half, attaching the frame to the truck, and installing a new and efficient prime mover and cab. I kid you not: Link to the manufacturer's website. I went about building this model the same way I usually do: Gather reference images, find an engineering drawing, and overlay grid paper over the scaling drawing. Complicating the matter was that the diagram in Tractive Power's specifications brochure was very obviously wrong -- there's no way the SD40 truck is that long! Comparing the drawing to photos of the real locomotive confirmed my suspicions. I overlaid a drawing of an SD40 truck on the diagram of the body, and worked from that. As with my Standard Class 2, I selectively compressed the wheelbase to make the axle-to-axle distance a whole number. This made building the truck frames much easier: After working out the frames, I worked on designing a drive train that would power all three wheels (once again, I picked a small prototype, which didn't help). Here's what I came up with: That's the ungeared 9V motor driving a shaft with a belt, powering all three axles with worms. The center axle slides to traverse curves: As a side bonus, I get to check another motor off my list of "motors to power a locomotive with". Because of the belt drive, unlike any of my other locomotives this locomotive's pulling power is limited by torque instead of weight (because the belt will slip first). It still has plenty of pulling power for something of its size. The locomotive traverses almost all track arrangements -- strangely, it will skip switches coming out of a curve, but only in one direction. The hood hides the battery box. One section isn't held on by anything, and comes off to reveal the power button: The other sections are only connected with one stud (and some interesting panel spacing to grab the power connector), making it easy to change the batteries. The receiver sits on top of the motor in the cab and receives signals through a hole in the roof. Unlike the other locomotives I've built, this one has great reception from all angles. I really wanted to build this locomotive in Curry Rail colors, but the parts I needed weren't available in either teal (too old) or bright green (too new?). So I built it in black, but left the frames grey to show the details better. Thanks for reading! Full Brickshelf gallery, pending moderation.
[MOC] British Rail Class 08 Shunter
Kumata posted a topic in LEGO Train Tech(apologies for any mistakes made in posting) A Lego diesel-electric shunting engine, based on the BR 08 class. Although I'm not a huge fan of non-steam locomotives, this brick-on-wheels is an exception. I love 'em. I'm happy with how this one turned out, especially since it presented several challenges - the detailing on its side being one of them - and an area in which I sadly failed is its hazard stripes. I like to try and limit myself to official Lego bricks and stickers but I might have to admit defeat and print out a custom sheet. Its rear end looks oddly bare when it ought to be covered in hazards.