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PECO SL-43 OO/HO Loco Lift


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I'm getting to the point where I need to start thinking of sorting things out and making future operation of my outdoor line as easy as possible. I remember some time ago seeing photographs in IanR's 'Kirkfield and Warmthorpe Railway' gallery depicting the method he uses to transfer loco's on and off track. Ian uses the Peco Loco Lifts housed in a custom made wooden box for storage of his loco's and I knew then that one day I would have to do something similar. A few days ago when I was posing some locos on track for a series of photographs, I realised once again what a pain it can be taking locos out of their boxes and placing them on track only to have to put them away again at the end of the session. There's also a significant risk of them sustaining damage whilst being handled and the ones that have a permanently coupled tender are especially awkward to handle. So taking a leaf out of IanR's book I have purchased several Peco Loco Lifts and thought that I'd take a few photos of one during assembly for anyone who hasn't seen them close up before.



On opening the box I was surprised to find that the base plate was somewhat sturdier than I had initially expected. In addition to the base plate and its aluminium channels there are two foam side panels and two plastic end pieces which double as stacking beams.


The instructions advise you to remove any burrs from the ends of the aluminium channels and after assembling the first Loco Lift I think it should be stressed just how important that instruction is in order to make assembly as trouble free as possible. The following photo shows the end of the base plate with the aluminium channels on each side. You need to slide the foam side pieces in and along the channels and the slightest burr on the channel ends results in damage to the foam and a difficult task inserting them. I used a small needle file to remove any burrs and to put a slight taper on the protruding nibs that grip the foam at the top of the channel - makes things a whole lot easier.


I find it easier to slide the aluminium channels off the base plate in order to insert the foam sides and then slide the channels back onto the baseplate again when the foam has been successfully inserted. The following photo shows one channel with its foam side inserted and replaced back onto the baseplate.


And here's then second foam side inserted into its aluminium channel ready to be slid back onto the baseplate.


Once the side panels are in place its just a case of adding the end stacking beams. A light spot of impact adhesive is placed in the ends of the aluminium channels to hold everything in place and the end pieces are pushed firmly home. You may find it necessary to adjust the foam sides slightly to keep everything neat and tidy.


The loco lifts also act as a re-railer so it's now an easier task to get a loco on track. Here's my WD 2-8-0 in the first assembled Loco Lift all ready to be placed on track with no further handling of the model itself.


As already mentioned, the Loco Lifts are 'stackable' although you are advised not to stack them too high. I'm looking to make a storage box/container similar to the one used on IanR's K&WR


I'm not sure how many of these Loco Lifts I will need. Obviously you only need enough to house the locos you have actually taken from their boxes and not one for each loco in your collection! When you feel the need to ring the changes, locos can be replaced in their boxes and others taken out. In the interim they can be stored in the Loco Lifts making it much easier to get them on and off track as necessary. The Loco Lifts cost me £11 each, which is about the cost of a decent wagon. Considering the cost of a detailed locomotive I think the ability to move locos around, on and off track, without the need to handle them is certainly worth the price. And if it means you don't have to get down to track level to put them on track in the first place then that's an added bonus.

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That description with photographs is so useful. I had seen these advertised but thought they were expensive for what they were but your explanation shows that there is much more to them than I thought and well worth the money. Perhaps something I should put on my Christmas list.

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Riddles said:

....I had seen these advertised but thought they were expensive for what they were.....

That was my initial thought too. Perhaps they are still a little expensive for what they are but that's why I tried to compare their cost to something we could relate to....a 'decent' wagon. Okay some wagons are a bit cheaper but it's about as close as I can get. The Hattons' website now states "No longer available - This item has sold out and we are unfortunately unable to obtain any additional stock of this particular product" so I don't know if Peco have now stopped making them? I bought another three from elsewhere making a grand total of over £88 including postage for the 8 Loco Lifts. That's become the cost of a 'decent' loco.

EDIT: This afternoon the Hattons site has been updated and the Peco Loco Lifts are now showing as "On order".

In comparison I ordered one of the DCC Concepts Loco Storage Boxes which are intended to be used in a similar purpose to the Peco model but are manufactured to a much higher standard IMO. I've pre-ordered a Garratt and thought it a good idea to get something that I could use to make getting it on and off track easier. The DCC Concepts Storage Boxes were recommended, and being available in 3 different lengths they're quite capable of easily accommodating a Garratt. The price was almost 4 times the cost of the Peco lift! I think if we are prepared to pay good money for our locos and rolling stock then we really should be prepared to pay good money to protect them from accidental damage.

The DCC Concepts boxes are available in lengths of 360mm, 460mm and 560mm whilst the Peco Loco Lift measures in at 310mm.

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  • 1 month later...

I have the DCC Concepts boxes and they double as a servicing cradle. They are very similar to the Peco Loco Lift but they have a hard foam cover which fits over the loco enabling you to invert the loco to clean it's wheels. After all for some reason Hornby loco wheels get far dirtier than Bachmann wheels. I can run a Bachmann steam loco on my railway and when finished there's only a slight greying of the wheel treads. Hornby loco steam wheel treads are positively grey to brown and although they still run they need more frequent cleaning.

Another thing I've found is that Hornby locos seem to be designed to "fall apart". I've had A4's and Duchesses valve gear drop off completely but not one of my Bachmann steam models has ever fallen to bits.

Now before I run a Hornby steam model I have to make sure that everything is tight. Even 6220 Coronations front bogie came adrift. She came to a halt at Faulconwood Station and the bogie kept going.

When both Bachmann and Hornby brought out the standard class 4 4-6-0 I bought the Bachmann simply because the Hornby models IMO are just too fragile and seem to be intended for cabinet display.

Many magazines poo pooed the Bachmann Standard 4 for lack of detail, but lets see how many of the Hornby models stand the test of time. Not many IMO.


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