A sleight change of plan

No, not a misspelling, the “e” is intentional.

Those of us old enough, and lucky enough, to have played with real toy trains instead of the extremely well detailed, but equally fragile, models on sale today will remember that not all is what it seems.

Take Tri-ang’s three axle power bogies for instance. The sort found under the EM2 or Brush and English Electric diesels.

em2-a1aDid I say three axles? Mmmm. Not quite three.

So, where’s this going? Well, I’ve set today aside to get some work done on the FCPyF’s new Forney, originally planned as an 0-4-4T until I tried measuring up the main frames.


To allow room for a Kadee coupler on the front end there needs to be a bit of an overhang ahead of the smokebox. This leaves a void below footplate level.

Forneys built for urban elevated railways were configured to run cab first, in effect they were 4-4-0Ts, but those built for logging lines and other rural operations were conventional locomotives designed for running chimney first. To aid stability at higher speeds a leading pony truck was often provided, making them 2-4-4Ts.

You’re probably getting bored with the history lesson so I’ll cut to the chase…


The front axle is, like those on the Tri-ang motor bogies, a dummy. It is jammed in between the cylinders so the wheels cannot turn. I suppose I could file away the inside of each cylinder but that’s too much like hard work, so the wheelset is glued in place. It looks like a normal set of wheels, it just does not work like a normal set of wheels. The treads are very slightly above rail level, hardly enough to be seen but with sufficient clearance to negotiate the gradient changes on the main line. It has been tested, in both directions, it runs perfectly, and the dummy wheelset is close enough to the front drivers to go round curves without removing the flanges because there is some sideways play in the driving axles.

The next job was to build the frame upon which the loco’s bodywork will be assembled. This started with a rectangle of Plastruct square tubing then the rear footplate was added. This made the whole structure a lot more solid and easier to handle.

forney frame footplate

At this stage I cut out some card mock-ups for the cab and bunker.

forney cab bunker

All in all I’m quite pleased with the appearance of the Forney so far, it seems to have captured the proportions of the real things reasonably well considering that it is just being built by eye rather than from scale drawings.

That’s enough for this morning. Time for brunch.



About Bob Hughes

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