Pacific #9 has been out on test runs again this afternoon. First off was to check that the new draw bar between the tender and loco worked properly, especially on the reverse curve entering the carriage shed at Grande and on the compound vertical and horizontal curvature between Grande and Bodjio.
The draw bar is critical for the #9’s operation because the motorised tender is often pushing the loco rather than the (also motorised) loco pulling the tender. Once satisfied with its performance I turned to maximising the tractive effort. The loco is perfectly balanced on its driving wheels, I did try adding some extra weights to the rear, hence the cab being removed, but these proved not to be necessary.
The weights in the tender were originally evenly distributed but this lead to wheel slip because only the rear axle is driven. Things improved with the weights biased towards the rear (A) but there was still some slip so an extra weight was added above the motor (B), eventually to be hidden under the coal.
Things may improve further when the loco is pulling its train rather than pushing (C) and there is less force and more drag on the draw bar to even out the tender’s relative axle weights. Up to now though there is no coupler on the rear of the tender so testing has been by propelling the train up the hill.
On returning to Grande with #9 and the test train I cut one of the Christmas train’s cylinders from its moulding to make a new, larger, headlight (D). The existing (HO scale) headlight in the middle of the smokebox door will be removed and the hole filled. The push pin resting on one of the handrails will be turned to make an O scale bell to replace the original, which is now hidden underneath the new headlight. The new bell will be mounted on the cab roof and the whistle will be relocated to the top of the firebox.
I’m really pleased with the way #9 is turning out. When completed the new headlight will make a huge difference to the engine’s appearance. The only major remaining HO scale boiler fitting is the sand dome, which would be far too difficult to enlarge because it is saddle shaped and the sand dome from the Christmas loco is round. All in all though #9 is beginning to look like a proper On30 model instead of a bodged HO conversion.