Written by Jeff Frost
In the early 2000’s Dad and I looked into putting brakes on the tenders to increase the braking capacity. When pulling long trains at the White Creek Railroad, we would choose our routes so we didn’t have a long, straight downhill, but wanted curves to add resistance and help keep the train from going too fast. Due to the Mikado being heavier, it had better braking capabilities and we also tended to run her more as the engine weight (and braking power) was not as small in proportion to the train weight as compared to the 2-4-0 or 4-6-0. In the early 2000’s we were eyeing up air brakes but with needing to get a small air compressor, tank, battery and car for it along with valves and not having much room for an air cylinder under the truck (connected to both brake beams of the truck) we decided against it. We also didn’t have a good understanding of how the foundation brake rigging was built on the full size so we didn’t consider that either.
When I decided to add brakes to the tender, I wanted something simple to use. Some people I know have hand brakes or vacuum brakes on the tender and would need to operate them separately from the engine brakes. I wanted the tender brakes to work in tandem with the engine brakes (which are steam brakes) so I decided to have the brakes on the tender be powered by a single cylinder and the force would be transmitted through levers to the brake shoes, per the prototype. The steam line for the tender brakes is plumbed into the steam line for the engine brakes so the same valve controls both the engine and tender brakes.
The Railroad Supply 0-4-0 is listed as having 270 lbs on the drivers. The tender for the 2-4-0 is based on an Allen Model’s tender and weighs around 150 lbs. If the engineer weighs 200 lbs, there is 350 lbs on the tender. If the tender has brakes, the braking power can be more than doubled than the braking power of just the engine.
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