Jim O'Connor

Illinois Live Steamers Turns 50!

Written by Dan Miotti The Illinois Live Steamers will be celebrating our 50th year as an organization on August 17-20 (Thu-Sun), 2017.  This year’s meet will have auctions of live steam items, raffles, vendors, food, music and a host of characters. Originally formed as the Northern Illinois Live Steamers, the group has come a long way since we were founded back in 1967.  The idea was to have a place where

WWI 40hp Protected Simplex - Tin Turtle

Written by Martyn Redfearn.   It all started with the need for a test bed for a ‘gas electric’ loco. By using bits that were kicking about the workshop, 4 days later the ‘test bed’ was ready for Brian to wire up.  After a bit of head scratching we realised the motor was ‘series’ wound and it ran in both directions using the existing solenoids from a 12v battery, so it looked

Replacing Ties

Written by Jeff Frost In mid August 2016, I replaced 7 ties. I am using treated 2×2’s and the ties I replaced were on the track panels that I bought. I believe they were treated, but am not sure and don’t know how long they sat outside before I laid my track. I did not use ballast as stone is considered to be a non-permeable surface and I would need to get

Building a Truss Rod Flatcar

Written by Laurence Johnson   This 40’ truss rod flat car was in use around the turn of the century before WWI. It had a strong oak deck and stake pockets that allow all types of cargo to be loaded and transported. The Hooppole, Yorktown & Tampico Railroad, a shortline railroad from the northeast corner of Henry County into the northwest corner of Bureau County and then into the southwest corner of

The Truth about D-Valve Slide Wear

Written by Jeff Frost Myth: D-valves/slide valves will “wear in” as they wear Answer: No. They will wear convex and the valve seats will wear convex. When the slide valves and the valve seats are new, they are flat and create a steam tight seal so steam can’t leak into the piston chamber or out the exhaust. The steam pressure in the steam chest pushes the valve onto the seat. As the

Pre-Estate Sales

 (for what it’s worth) By Rick Henderson   At some point, we ALL pass on, there simply is no getting around that fact. Also the saying that “He who dies with the most toys wins”, is often quite the opposite. When we pass on either expectedly or unexpectedly, if we leave behind our trains and other toys, we usually just burden our heirs with our collections and often they wind up

Tender brakes on the 2-4-0

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

Blind Tires and Flanged Tires

Written by Jeff Frost   Myth: to make an engine take sharper curves, install blind tires.   Blind locomotive tires are tires that do not have flanges. The sketch shows a flanged tire and a blind tire. On the outside the tires have a lip that will bear against the wheel center for its proper placement on the wheel center. The flanged tire has a 1:20 taper from the outside edge to

Building the 1940 Soo Line Russell Snow Plow

Written by R Grosser An Overland brass O scale model of a 1940 Soo Line Russell snow plow #183 (not shown), was 3d scanned by Jay Gross of JG Conversions  jgconversions@yahoo.com and DWG drawings to 1.6 scale created from that. These were made so the main body parts could be laser or water jet cut out including the rivet holes. My dad was a Soo Line freight brakeman but I do not recall him

Realistic Caboose Door Knob on the Cheap

Article by Don Pearson While I am not always adverse to buying detail parts, sometimes I get a little bit OCD about a project being home-built in its entirety. I started a caboose project and the door knobs were simply not available, at least not with the appearance I wanted them to have, so I decided to try making my own. I purchased a box of ¼”-20 machine screws ¾” long. I