There are some trains around the world that can only be described as eccentric, but this post is only partially about the stranger things seen on narrow gauge railways, this is about strangers on the FCPyF.

Not long after I bought my Bachmann railtruck it suffered from the maker’s infamous gear stripping problem. Rather than send it off for repairs I fitted a coupler on the rear and ran it back to back with railbus 22, until #22 herself stripped a gear. This left the railbus with just one powered axle so it has been limited to running as a single car since then. Its trailer has been converted into a push-pull coach and the truck was put away and forgotten about.

While watching some old Ferrocarril Internacional videos this morning I was reminded of the failed railtruck and searched in the cupboard for it.


When running with the railbus the truck had a water tank mounted on the rear but I have removed this and re-decked the flatbed with coffee stirrers. I have also removed the Kadee coupling and replaced it with a tow-bar made from a paper clip, this latches into the chassis of the Fiat railbus so that the railtruck can be run again. This arrangement also means that the bus/truck duo can be driven in either direction without being turned. Which in turn means that they can terminate at any of the intermediate stations, adding flexibility to the operating timetable.

The other stranger, found while looking for the railtruck, was never used on the Ferrocarril Internacional (or later the FCPyF) because it was a poor runner and appeared to be under scale too.


However, I have cleaned and oiled the mechanism and it now runs a bit better than it originally did. ‘Running in’ should loosen it up some more. That leaves the scale issue to be addressed. As it looks like a Tralee and Dingle loco I suspect that it is a 1/55 scale model of a three foot gauge Hunslet. A cheap and cheerful conversion into a 1/48 scale model of a smaller 30 inch gauge loco just entails making more headroom in the cab.


As a start I have removed the top of the cab side openings, a new roof of thick styrene sheet will add slightly to the height and it is possible to give the impression of a lower footplate inside the cab by extending the sides downwards above the rear pony truck. As shown in the photos I have added these downwards floor extensions but I’ll let the styrene cement set overnight before fitting cab doors to hide the interior floor level.


A cowcatcher gives the loco a more colonial appearance.


One of the FCPyF’s Hunslet Prairies seen in the freight yard at Cuarto.



About Bob Hughes

Ex railwayman, life long railway modeller, lover of real ale and spicy food.
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