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Smokey Joe upgrade to On30


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With The Paltryville Ridge and Peak Railroad now running services it is time to increase the size of the working loco fleet.

Task one was to DCC a Porter I bought 3 years ago. For 2 years I thought it couldn't be done because taking it apart was next impossible. Turns out, it was quite easy. So I did that last year. Then I spent a lot of time trying to workout how to hide the chip and wires. As is my usual practice, I left it in a box in bits for year.

Yesterday, with the new determination of lockdown life I had another go. This time it was going to happen. And low, it did happen.


I chose a different location for the chip, between the pistons rather than in the cab. this simplified and shortened the wiring. It became a simple job: cut, strip and solder wire.


More surprise than relief, it worked first time, headlight an all.

So on to the next loco that has been in bits for a year, or nearer two. Good ol' Smokey Joe.


Its a classic loco to convert to O-16.5 for UK modellers. I'm going freestyle American.

I hacked the cab off with a razor saw, the buffers had been previously been liberated by the same tool. The digital calliper went to work on the dimensions and graph paper sketches were draw to get a feel of a design. Lots of prototypes were viewed until something I liked emerged. This afternoon I fired up the plotter cutter and knocked up a cardboard prototype cab and coal bunker.


I'm adding a bogie to turn it into a 0-4-4. Seeing USATC 2253 "Omaha" on the NYMR last summer, I was taken with the design of having bogies under the tender. A trailing bogie isn't uncommon on US narrow gauge locos, and I had a spare...

I plan to make the cab from styrene. This will be the first time I've used it with the plotter cutter so there will be a learning curve.

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Two steps forward one step back. Most of yesterday was spent working on the trailing bogie. Getting the wheels to pick up power took an age. After a few test runs I found that my simple pivot system wasn't good enough and I will require a second pivot point. This shouldn't be too difficult to achieve, but having snapped one bogie yesterday I can't make that mistake again with my backup one wheel set.

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