Upgrading SW1 Drivelines


A while back my Soo 320 project SW1 broke a horned ball on it’s front truck drive, while searching for parts I found NWSL had instructions for upgrading the rear truck drive which was somewhat notorious on these models.


It’s basically a rubberish straw, for a closer look:


The NWSL solution is to create a cardan shaft between with the standard horned ball/cup arrangement on either end. You start by cutting a 0.250″ long section from a 2mm diameter shaft.

Press fit the cups onto the shaft making sure they are aligned


And finally installing horned balls on the motor and truck shaft and you’ve go an improved drive (some fiddling about may be required)


As I have two SW1 (which you  might have guessed from the pictures it was at this point I started working on the second one. I made it as far as pressing the cups on a shaft when it slipped out of my pliers bounced off my forehead and landed somewhere in the room… yet to be found. I don’t expect to find it until long after I’ve given up and cut another one.

BN 97 Decoder Install


I’ve briefly mentioned BN 97, it’s a Walthers SW1 (old one, not the currently available one) that I found on eBay with the thinking of scavenging it for parts. Being a sucker for EMD switchers I just couldn’t. It’s a pretty cool model but could use some fixes and upgrades, in the meantime it runs well enough and just needed a decoder.

In the Soo 320 I had installed a TCS T1 as some searching around led to a couple of write-ups that claimed it to be the best option for the SW1. I managed to get it shoehorned into the cab just barely so for BN97 I decided to do a little more looking and basically ended up with the Digitrax DZ126.


I think it’s going fit a little better, so much so that I’m going to re-do Soo 320 with the same decoder as it’s going to be much easier to fit.


In fact it almost looks like it was designed to be there, this is where the old light bulb lived, since I’m using 0603 LEDs I don’t need that much space.


All I had to do was trim the PCB board that held the light (as I wouldn’t need the end of it that held the light) and build some supports so it wouldn’t interfere with the drive.


It’s not terribly clear but that vertical piece of styrene on the far left of the picture is set back slightly from the edge to make a cavity for the LED.


Things obviously start to get a little messier as wires are actually hooked up but I was able to get the hood down on it. All that’s left on the decoder is to install a rear light which will involve an enclosure for the LED and then plumbing the wires back. I just didn’t feel like it today and once I do that the cab will become tethered to the rest of it so maybe I’ll save that for one of the last projects.

(Pre) Weekend Update 25

Trains, Weekend Update

As it’s likely to be a busy weekend I’m getting this out much earlier than usual. It has been a somewhat busier week so I didn’t really get any big changes tackled. First up is a bell on BN 97 (EMD SW1). It ships black but that seems wrong so a little Vallejo 71.067 Bright Brass and I think it looks pretty stunning. It should probably be weathered whenever I get around to weathering the locomotive.


Next up is something small (and a penny)


Ok, sure that’s just a part of it but it’s a fairly important part of the Sergent coupler.


I was planning on doing a full post but had a bit of a hiccup. Basically the compatible shank (the ones that drop in a standard coupler box) are out of stock until sometime in January but the narrow shank for scale draft boxes like the Accurail #1031 or #1081 are in stock. And I had at least one Accurail piece of rolling stock with scale draft gear not a problem right? Well… I had one that had pre-drilled holes for scale boxes, in frustration I just assembled all six couplers without taking any pictures. Then I found some scale draft gear and was back in business and have converted 2.5 cars for some test operations.

If we zoom out a little on that photo we get this:


Which is another section of track that’s been laid, this means all that’s left is to the left of that picture is two sidings which are to be the primary operation area.

This is my Christmas break project, it’s an Alkem Scale Models Department of Defense 100 ton flat car.. the one that can carry one M1 Abrams tank. This is something that doesn’t really fit my prototype but is really really cool. Modeling northern Minnesota you probably wouldn’t see one but maybe I can just say it’s part of a strategic deployment to keep the Canadians out 🙂

I will say though, I was way more confident looking at the instructions online than actually seeing the brass and acrylic in the flesh. It will definitely be a challenge!