Vintage N Scale Motive Power #1
Once and Future Motive Power –
I know what you might be thinking, “Hey, where on Earth is your mind wandering this time?” That’s a fair question and the answer is “Keep reading.”
I have a somewhat long-term goal of building a “Retro-Layout” on which I will operate my vintage N scale equipment, I’m thinking anything manufactured earlier than 1980. By now it should be clear that, while there was plenty of Northern New England rolling stock available prior to 1980, there simply were no locomotives available to New England railfans during that era. My research has consistently revealed that if someone wanted an MEC, BAR, or B&M locomotive before 1980 they were going to have to make it themselves. I do not intend this to be a very large layout but I do want some ability to switch industries and perhaps even a little passenger traffic as well. With that in mind I spent some time researching pre-1980 N scale locomotives and comparing those options with locomotives actually operated by B&M, the list ended up being quite short but I sorted out two ideas I think would both look right and potentially satisfy my requirements.
Atlas (Roco) GP9 Phase III –
My current plans are to refurbish the mechanism and repaint the shell into the B&M Blue Bird scheme for operations on my future retro-layout. I have seen pictures of another example done up the same way and I think it looks pretty nice. My understanding is that these can be made to run respectably given their age, this will probably end up being my primary motive power when the time comes to put the layout together.
Atlas (Mehano) RS-2 –
Yes, I know Mehano didn’t make an RS-2 and that this locomotive is actually an RSC-2 (the six-axle version). I am also aware that these are notoriously poor locomotives best relegated to the garbage can. The problem is that I really felt like I needed an Alco road switcher for passenger service, since B&M was an enthusiastic user of them and nothing else was available on the market until Atlas teamed up with Kato for their famous RS-3 project. If I want a pre-1980 RS I am simply going to have to make it myself. As can be seen I have already replaced the three-axle trucks with more correct AAR two-axle trucks, that part was relatively easy. My next step is to play around with motors which were available at the time to try and figure a motor/drive train combination which will allow decent enough running to pull a short passenger consist. I am not planning on polishing this turd into something resembling a modern N scale locomotive. My plan is simply to put together an RS-2 which would have been within the means and capability of the average pre-1980 N scaler. Eventually I plan on painting my RS-2 into the maroon B&M Minute Man scheme, I think it will look nice and might cover up some of the ugly details on the shell.
To be honest, these are actually back burner projects… there is some possibility that I might get some work done on them this winter but I currently have a lot on my plate so they aren’t a priority. When I get them done, or at least more progress is made, I will do a full write up on each with more detail about the models and the prototypes. I just thought you, the reader, might be interested in my retro-layout idea and where my thoughts have gone in terms of motive power. Let me know if any of you have been pondering the same thing, I’m always interested to hear any thoughts others might have on these subjects.