2010 Arizona and Pacific RR Current Projects

Arizona & Pacific RR Projects 2010

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          This page of the website follows projects taking place at the Arizona and Pacific Railroad and gives visitors a chance to see the progress that was made in 2010.




          Sorry about the delayed update, I was out of town all week and just got home yesterday.

          In January, we installed stake pockets on both of our recently built maintenance of way trailers and painted the stake pockets, truss rod washers and nuts and the couplers to match the wood frame. We still need to letter and number the trailers, but that can happen inside this Summer when the heat is punishing on the outdoor projects.

Maintenance of Way Trailer

Stake pockets have been added to the maintenance of way trailers

          We finished our 1961 Allan Herschell Dodgem bumper car project and moved it into the game room. Oak and Walnut pedestals we designed support the rear metal wheels of the bumper car above my Oak floor. The pedestal on which the front wheel sits has a bearing concealed within which allows the top half of the pedestal to spin and thus the front wheel turns when the steering wheel is turned. It’s a little thing, but it is pretty cool to be able to turn the steering wheel. We shortened the pole slightly so that it would fit, but I thought having the pole and the electrical pick-up on the back of car was a nice touch. My brother David found an original sales brochure for the car. It weighs roughly 600 pounds. Five of us (totaling well over 1,000 pounds) struggled to get it out of the shop and into its current spot. It wasn’t pretty, but there she is…

Restored Dodgem

Restored 1961 Allan Herschell Dodgem bumper car

          We finished our 3+ month lighting project and couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We have our five light poles with seven lanterns installed, painted and fully operable. Located at key spots along the right-of-way, they shine enough light to make the occasional after dark operation in the Summer possible without “over lighting“ the area. We selected an older style 60 watt bulb for the lanterns that puts out a yellowish light that adds both light and ambience to the railroad

Light Posts

These two custom built light poles lead the way to the loading platform

Two Armed Light Post

A two armed light post for illuminating the loading platform and it's walkway

          The lantern poles are painted a tan/brown color to simulate the look of wood and structural washers are placed where they would be located on a wood version. The wiring is all concealed within the steel tubes. The outlets are always hot and thus I no longer need to drag out 250 feet of extension cords for some projects. Everything is code compliant with GFI, breakers, wire gauge, connectors etc. The poles and lanterns look good in the daylight, but they are very cool after dark!

Light Posts After Dark

New light posts after dark

Light Posts After Dark

New light posts provide night time illumination

          While we were painting our new lamp posts, we decided to get another coat of paint on our turntable which was completed in 2005. It didn’t really need painted that badly, but had faded a bit over the years and with the new lamp post standing nearby, I thought it was a good idea. We removed all the planking and recoated it with a water and termite resistant product. The ring rail was also painted and everything looks good. The turntable was reassembled over a couple of weeks and should be in great shape for many years to come.

Light Post in Primer

The planking has been removed from the turntable and a nearby light post sports a coat of primer

Turntable Masked for Painting

The turntable is masked for a fresh coat of paint

          About a year ago, we added two high-density seat pads to each of our gons to soften the wood seats a bit. The thought being that the adults might like the padded seats while the younger people probably wouldn’t care if the seat was padded or not. As it turns out, everyone wants a padded seat. We had four more seats made and installed this month in our two gons so now all the seats are padded.

Seat Cushion on Gondola

All the seats on both gondolas are now padded and so are the benches in the engine house

          Last year I designed and built couplers on the rear of our speeders to enable them to tow our maintenance-of-way trailers. When I later changed my mind on the design of the trailers themselves – it meant I had the couplers in the wrong place on the speeders. We had to cut out the original design and fabricate new ones that sit much higher. We also had to move and rewire the tail lights on the speeders. There was a great deal more cutting, grinding, fitting and welding than the last two sentences imply, but the changes are complete and the coupler assemblies have been reinstalled. I still need to sand, prime and paint them,but the balance of the work is done.

Speeder Coupler

Modified speeder coupler

          I also thought our trestle fire bucket/water barrel might look good as our engine house trash can and made that change from the plastic variety.

Fire Bucket

Sedona poses by the fire bucket

          I purchased the additional 3” thick mega pavers we will need for our expanded waiting area and the sidewalk from the waiting area to the boarding area. It took two of us the better part of a day just to get the pavers all moved to their staging area and divided into three piles based on paver size.

Mega Pavers

The mega pavers for expanding the waiting area are stacked and ready

Waiting Area

The current waiting area will soon be expanding and will connect to the loading platform.

          I still need to remove some gravel from the area, bring in and compress some dirt, buy a pallet of concrete and a couple of tons of sand before we are ready to start. I hope to have all the materials on site later this month and get started on this multi-weekend project. There will be a large number of time-consuming saw cuts so this project will take a while…

          I have had three metal benches in the engine house that have provided a place to sit while swapping stories and lies for some time. The metal eventually started to become uncomfortable. I added padding to the seats and back and covered the benches. They are much more comfortable and with some imagination - okay a lot of imagination - look a bit like coach seats from two centuries ago.

          I am still hopeful we can get the expanded waiting area done, the ceiling insulation in the engine house completed and a good start on the T & G ceiling in there before Summer sets in here – we’ll see.



          The waiting area patio behind the engine house was the major project this month. We removed our granite ballast to be used elsewhere later and brought in and compacted several tons of dirt under the patio footprint. Two pallets of concrete later and the pavers are all set in 2 ½ inches of concrete. The patio is a 60 foot by 17 foot rectangle with railroad tracks cut through it.

Waiting Area

The waiting area is starting to take shape

          The pavers are all set and most of them have been cut to shape, but many cuts remain. The number of cuts was almost overwhelming. Then all the cut edges have to be treated. Some of the smaller edge pieces will be affixed with thinset and then the polymer sand will be added throughout.

          Once that phase of the project is completed, I can start on the wood walkway between the rails that will connect the two largest areas of the patio and connect the area with the loading platform and pedestrian walkway. A great deal of time went into the project in the last two months and it still has quite a way to go, but I think you can get the idea of where I am going with this project. Everything except the wood walkway should be completed by the end of March – if it quits raining every weekend….

          We cut and fit another piece of Arizona flagstone to the north side of our engine house this month. This will be the third and final light fixture on that side of the building. The rough wiring is complete. The wiring will be finished and the fixture mounted this month

Wiring for 3rd light

Flagstone installed and wiring in place for a 3rd light fixture on north side of the engine house.

          Just when I thought we were done with lighting projects, we are adding a light switch and receptacle for a railroad drumhead inside on the west end of the building and adding lighting for the attic where we will have some storage.

          We got started on plumbing our G-16 this month. All of the plumbing had been stripped out before we bought her and what we bought was basically a shell with a few parts. Over the years we have tracked down most of the major components. As they always say though, the devil is in the details. We are mocking up the plumbing and cutting, flaring and fitting tubing. Locating and buying fittings, fabricating brackets and slowly moving forward. Dave is tracking down the gauges we’ll need for the instrument panel.

          We made some progress on the S-16 reassemby this month as well, but didn’t have much time to devote to it.

          We are just getting the mainline back together enough to start running the engines and start entertaining guests again. We had visitors from Yardley, PA and Salt lake City, Utah this month. Speaking of travel, I had two more weeks in Las Vegas this month on business. The Hoover Dam Bypass is really starting to take shape.

Hoover Dam Bypass

They continue to make progress on the Hoover Dam Bypass

          I have always thought it would be cool to have a stock car and a caboose to add to our train. I am a big fan of Sean and Melissa at the Hillcrest Shops in California and really like the stock car they produce. Over the years, I had purchased about ½ the metal parts that go into that project and this month purchased pretty much the rest of the metal components that they offer. I will still have to fabricate a few metal components and all the wood, but at least the metal parts will be here. The stock car is a long range project and may be five years away, but I like to plan ahead. The caboose will be after that.

          Happy railroading everybody!



          March was a very busy month on the A & P Railroad. I was in town every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and it didn’t rain on any of the weekends so we tried to make up for some lost time earlier this year.

          We extended our loading area in length from 15 to 40 feet. It was long enough to load and unload one car previously; now it will handle two cars and the engineer can also use the platform to get on and off the tender.

Extended Loading Platform

Phoenix waits at the newly extended loading area

Extended Loading Platform

The loading area has been extended to 40 feet

          We got the third exterior light mounted on the north side of the engine house. The area is now well lighted and a comfortable place to train watch - even after dark.

Third Light

Completed third light on the North side of the engine house

          We added two more high CFM exhaust fans to the engine house for doors nos. 2 and 3. We still have some finishing touches to complete on the duct work, but we are close to having the installation of these exhaust fans complete. This will provide 4 exhaust fans in the engine house.

          We started on the big insulation project with R38 ceiling and R19 second story walls in the engine house. It was a huge project that involved moving and rehanging the lights, trimming and fitting what seemed like hundreds of pieces of insulation and shooting almost 15,000 staples. We also had to finish the framing to box out the four vertical shafts that penetrate the ceiling to the windows in the clerestory area. We insulated and boxed in plywood a 8 foot by 4 foot by 30” high storage area in the attic and added a light switch and two light fixtures on opposite ends for light. I am not sure how much I’ll use it, but the space was free… The insulation work is about 80% complete and about 80% of me itches… I will be very glad when the insulation part of this project is complete!

Insulation and Exhaust Fans

Two more exhaust fans have been mounted and the insulation work has begun

Ceiling Insulation

Insulation work continues

          All of the concrete and paver work in the greatly expanded waiting area patio is finally complete. We still have some welding to finish and the wooden walkway connecting the two largest areas of the paver patio to complete, but it is basically done and looks pretty good. The wooden walkway is likely a summer project.

Waiting Area

Waiting area patio with Phoenix in the background

          My brother Dave located and purchased the Stewart-Warner gauges for the instrument panel of the G-16. There is just something special about the black face retro looking SW gauges that is very appealing. I am working to locate the balance of the components for the dash. Several special order copper fittings arrived for the vacuum systems (brake and throttle) this month and we fabricated the mounting brackets for the vacuum tank. They look pretty good and very similar to the original brackets.

Stewart Warner Gauges

The Stewart Warner gauges for the G-16 have arrived

          We received three boxes of parts for the trucks and another of bolt-on parts for a future stock car. I still have quite a number of metal parts to fabricate, but it is a good start

Stock Car Parts

More parts for building a stock car

          The wood frame and glass covers for our two display cases in the engine house were completed by my friend Steve this month. I am looking forward to displaying various park train catalogs and paper memorabilia in the cases.

Display Case

Display case with 1960 Allan Herschell Catalog

          We obtained several sunbrellas (aluminum patio umbrellas that were very popular in the 50s – 70s) this month through the hard work and persistence of one of our friends. I think we can make four or five nice ones from the seven bodies and parts. You can never have enough shade here in the summer. Thank you Dan!


Several sunbrellas rest in the foreground while Phoenix and Sandusky pose in the distance

          We received the donation of a really cool vintage Arizona park train sign this month. It was mounted on the side of one of the four NAD coaches that ran 40+ years ago at the Old Tucson movie studio. The National Amusement Device train that ran there for many years was purchased in 1959 and was in place when the movie studio opened to the public in 1960. One side of the sign reads Old Tucson R.R. and the other reads Southern Pacific. It will be proudly displayed in the engine house. Thank you Carey

Old Tucson Studios RR Sign

Old Tucson Studios Railroad Sign

Old Tucson Studios

Postcard showing the National Amusement Device "Frontier Locomotive" running at Old Tucson Studios

          I attended a work day on the F & MV RR in Camp Verde, AZ. We had to replace the pan on the Wisconsin motor of the S-16 without pulling the engine. It wasn’t pretty, but it is done and it doesn’t leak anymore.

          We had visitors from Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI this month.

          We had our first night run with friends – very cool!

          Happy Easter everybody!

Cactus Flowers

Cactus blooms signal another Arizona Easter has arrived

Cactus Flowers

Easter arrives in the desert



          As I shared last month, we obtained seven retro aluminum patio umbrellas each of which needed some work. Some needed a lot of work. We were able to salvage and swap parts and were able to make five nice ones from the seven bodies and parts. They are already placed in service here on the A & P as summer rapidly approaches.

Patio Umbrellas

Rebuilt sun umbrellas in use on the observation patio

          The controller on our engine no. 2 wasn’t performing quite the way we had hoped, especially on the low end performance. Brian Stepaniak, one of our friends from Redbridge, Ontario, Canada, came by and reprogrammed the controller with a lap top computer in less than 15 minutes and now the performance of that engine is really, really sweet.

          When Brian was in town we also made some adjustments to one of our switches which had been problematic at times. Boy, what a difference.

          Our custom duct parts were finally completed by the sheet metal shop and we picked them up. These components allowed us to complete the ductwork from the two newest exhaust fans in the engine house. We also completed the insulation in there. Yes, I am so glad the insulation work is finally done in there – for lots of reasons!

Custom sheetmetal duct work

Custom sheetmetal duct work for the two newest exhaust fans

Custom sheetmetal duct work

Ducting for the new exhaust fans

          We made a wood backing board and mounted the Old Tucson RR sign we obtained last month. It looks great in the engine house and allows us to preserve a historical piece of our Arizona park train past.

Old Tucson RR Sign

Old Tucson RR sign now on display

          We completed the wooden plank walkway between major sections of our waiting area patio. It is 90 inches wide and came out pretty nice. Now you can walk from the engine house to the loading area without stepping into the gravel and over the track

New wooden walkway

New wooden walkway across the tracks connects the waiting area to the loading area

          While working on the walkway mentioned above, I replaced eight ties in the track nearby. We also recoated the wood planking of our pedestrian walkway to the loading platform.

Pedestrian Walkway

The pedestrian walkway's wood sports a fresh coat of preservative

          We made a couple of minor modifications to the couplers on our speeder trailers. Dave made several laps with his speeder with the four foot trailer in tow and everything worked great – just the way I like it!

Speeder Trailer

Dave takes the 4 foot speeder trailer for a few laps

Speeder & Trailer

The speeder & 4 foot trailer wait at the loading platform

          I hosted a number of executives from the St. Vincent De Paul Charities and their guests. The St. Vincent De Paul Dental Clinic provides free dental care to children who have no other source of dental care. Dr. Ken Snyder and his team do a great job and with the generosity of corporate and private donors are hoping to expand the clinic and thus be able to offer free dental care to more children during these tough economic times. Gosh, the shirts, ties and skirts set a pretty high dress code for the A & P. Who says pretty girls don’t like railroads?

St. Vincent De Paul Executives

Reviewing plans in the engine house

St. Vincent De Paul Executives

Executives from St. Vincent De Paul Charities enjoy a ride on the A&P RR

St. Vincent De Paul Executives

Bringing the engine back to the loading platform

          One of the things we had been missing in the engine house was photos of our engines at their original homes and in their original livery. Dave had a photo of our No. 1 “Phoenix” running at the Phoenix Hiwayhouse circa 1961 and our No. 2 “Sandusky” running at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio also circa 1961 framed and we have them mounted on the wall in the engine house. What you don’t see (yet) is the awful condition they had degenerated into between 1961 and when we acquired them thirty-five years later…

Photos at their original homes

Photos of Phoenix and Sandusky at their original homes

          I attended two F & MV workdays this month. Trackwork, painting and pruning comprised most of the activities, but the trains were out later in the afternoons.


Workday at the Flagstaff & Middle Verde Railroad

          We had visitors from both North Bay and Redbridge, Ontario, Canada

          We are working on a couple of more things to make running at night in the summer more interesting – more on that next month.

          Happy Mother’s Day!

Ducks visit the A&P RR

Unexpected visitors at the A&P RR



          We managed to make quite a bit of progress on the “Bumble Bee” S-16 this month. We completed fabrication and installation of the pilot, fabricated the pilot beam support rods, mounted the new smokestack and headlight, cut out and replaced the front section of each running board, removed and replaced two of the truck safety hooks that were sheared off and modified the smoke box breast plate to closely resemble the prototype including the staybolts.

Bumble Bee Smoke Box

Bumble Bee smoke box under construction

Bumble Bee Support Rods

Bumble Bee pilot beam support rods

Bumble Bee Pilot

Bumble Bee pilot

          We finished the preliminary plumbing on the G-16 this month with all dry joints. Next month we’ll get them all soldered up. We finished the brackets for the hand valves, tubing braces and clamps for the vacuum lines and mounted the vacuum tank. We are working on the various hoses for the four vacuum systems: the brakes, the throttle, the transmission shifter and the vacuum pump to the vacuum tank. There are considerably more bends, fittings and transitions than on the S-16. We have decided to forego having an original trumpet style vacuum horn; we are staying with the trumpet style, but will utilize a 12V electric horn.

          We had two new gas tanks fabricated out of aluminum for the G-16 which are really trick. We added interior baffles and placed the fitting mounts where they made the most sense for our year and model. We also added a shared air line to equalize air pressure in the two tanks. They will look great polished up for the final assembly after the rest of the engine is painted.

Old G-16 gas tanks

Old G-16 gas tanks

New G-16 gas tanks

New aluminum G-16 gas tanks

          We added two low voltage lights to illuminate our water tank for our after dark runs in the Summer. The wiring isn’t completely finished, but they work very well, are hidden in the daytime and provide the lighting effect I was hoping to achieve.

Spot light for watertank

One of two hidden spotlights that illuminate the water tank during night time runs

Water tank after dark

Two spotlights illuminate the water tank after dark

          We received one of the original Freestone Park railroad signs that was mounted on one of the two Sandley coaches that ran at the park in the early 90s. It will get mounted and displayed in our engine house in the next few weeks. Thank you Carey!

Sandley Coaches

Sandley coaches running at Freestone Park in Gilbert, Arizona in the early 90's

Freestone Sign

Freestone Railroad sign from a Sandley coach

          We rebuilt and repainted one of the old park style lamp posts near the baggage cart this month as it had some minor damage and was badly faded.

          The primary focus this month was getting issue No. 5 of the Large-Scale Railroading magazine finished, blocked out and to the printer. It is finally completed and will go to the printer this week. YES!!!

          We added a new rail hand to the Arizona & Pacific crew this month. Her name is Lodi and she is up to 11 pounds from the six pounds she weighed three weeks ago.


Lodi, the newest member of the A&P railroad crew

          Summer has arrived at the Arizona & Pacific Railroad and it's 110 degrees in the shade.

110 Degrees in the shade

Obligatory patio thermometer photo signifying summer has arrived in Arizona


The summer heat didn't prevent these two from visiting the A&P RR

          In April we had ducks visit the A&P RR. In May we had rabbits visit. In June we're expecting another visitor...

Wabbit Season

Duck Season. Wabbit Season.



          Our time was split pretty evenly this month between the G-16 and S-16 projects.

          The G-16 is now sitting on its power trucks and on top of the A & P Shops rack. With the plumbing of the various vacuum systems completed, the G-16 has started to be reassembled. The trucks, gas tanks, vacuum transmission shifter, and drive lines have been installed. Next month we’ll get the engine and fluid clutch installed as well as swap out the intake manifold for a low profile one we custom built. We will also start an assessment of the bolt-on trim parts we have accumulated over the years and see what fits and what we are still missing. We are also fabricating a coupler for the rear of the A unit as it had been removed from our unit before we acquired it.

G-16 On Power Trucks

G-16 on power trucks with gas tanks installed

G-16 Transmission Installed

G-16 with transmission, drive lines and vacuum transmission shifter installed

          Some of the hoses for the four vacuum systems I am building myself and the swivel head hoses I am having made. We’ll get all those installed in July.

          I brought the S-16 Bumble Bee tender to the A & P shops from the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad this month. It is generally complete, however, it lacks the coupler, some rivet work and a number of miscellaneous finish details. One of the trucks also needs some significant additional work.

Bumble Bee Tender

Bumble Bee tender arrives at the A&P RR

          We fabricated grab irons for the side of the engine cab and replaced the original engine handrails (tubing) with solid brass. We pressure tested the air tank and replaced all its brass fittings and pop-off valve. The drain cock was cleaned, rebuilt and reinstalled. A great deal of work went into this component that you can’t even see…

Bumble Bee Restoration

F&MV RR's Bumble Bee engine and tender together at the A&P RR

          I have acquired about 80% of the parts I need to rebuild the false drive wheel assembly of the Bumble Bee and am hopeful I can locate or fabricate the balance of the parts in the next couple of months.

Bumble Bee Restoration

F&MV RR's Bumble Bee on the A&P RR transfer table

          I rebuilt the bell cradle with new bushings, spacers and zerk fittings. It was also thoroughly cleaned and stripped with a wire wheel and hand sanding. It functions great and looks pretty good! We are close to being finished with the work on the front breast plate; another work day or two and it should be completed.

          There is still a great deal of additional work to be completed on both projects, but they are coming along and the level of excitement increases when components start going back together instead of coming apart. Both engines will be very cool when completed!

          Despite the fact that I live right in the middle of the city, I never know from one day to the next what short of wildlife might show up in the back yard. All the fruit trees and water do have something to do with it - or maybe they're all railfans... We had a very wet spring and it has been good for the rabbits and the quail.


Quail pay a June visit to the A&P RR

          We had a work day on the Flagstaff and Middle Verde Railroad interrupted by a large swarm of bees earlier this month. Two of us bundled up and swung the door up and tied it off in the open position. With the bee shortage nationally, we didn't want to kill them and hoped they might move down the road and find another spot to call home. Suffice it to say the bees were not amused at being in the direct sunlight and heat and we were hightailing it up the road after the door was tied off. These photos show the honeycomb three weeks later - there were still some bees in the area, but the large swarm had moved on.


Honeycomb 3 weeks after the bees moved on from the F&MV RR


Another look at the aftermath of the F&MV RR's bee invasion

          Work had me spending a few days in Las Vegas this month and I took a few more pictures of the Hoover Dam bypass construction project.

Hoover Dam Bypass

Hoover Dam Bypass in July 2010

Hoover Dam Bypass

Closer view of the Hoover Dam Bypass bridge

          Have a great Fourth of July everybody!



          Did you check out our spotlight article on the Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad that we recently visited? (click on the railroad name to visit the page)


          Our rebuilt Wisconsin VH-4 engine is in place in the G-16. It replaces the original VE-4 in this unit. Parts are getting nearly impossible to find for the VE-4 and we decided to make the change. We also converted to 12 Volt from the original 6 Volt system.

          Our low profile custom manifold is in place and looks very much like the exhaust on the VE and VF models. The stock manifold on the VH model is a high profile design and would not fit under the hood of the G-16. We built our own low profile version and it leaves plenty of room under the hood. We are also building custom headers to direct the exhaust out the side of the locomotive through the wheel opening. We have a way to go on the headers.

G-16 Motor

Wisconsin VH-4 motor installed in the G-16

Custom Headers

Custom headers for the G-16's exhaust

          The fluid clutch and coupler halves from the clutch to transmission have been installed.

G-16 Fluid Clutch

G-16 fluid clutch

          We mounted the double belt pulley on the Wisconsin. The 12 Volt alternator is in place although a second mounting arm bracket will need to be fabricated; the vacuum pump is also mounted.

G-16 alternator

12 Volt alternator (background) and vaccum pump (foreground)

          We cleaned, painted and reassembled the oil bath air cleaner. We modified the mounting bracket slightly and have it installed in the G-16.

G-16 Oil Bath Air Cleaner

Oil bath air cleaner mounted beside the bell

          We had acquired trim from a handful of G-16s and a couple of after-market sources over the years. Some were just cleaned while others were cleaned, polished and rechromed. The dry fit went pretty well considering…

G-16 Trim

Trim pieces dry fit on the G-16

          I am currently working on the carburetor and the vacuum throttle. And I still don’t have the hoses complete or installed. Some of the hoses for the four vacuum systems I am building myself and the swivel head hoses I am having made. We’ll get all those installed in August – I hope…

          We had a number of our catalogs and literature for the MTC G-16 and AH S-16 dry mounted on foam backer board in preparation of displaying those items in our display cases this fall.

Miniature Train Co. and Allan Herschell Literature

Dry mounted literature for display cases

          We spent 6 man hours on S-16 No. 1 and an additional 6 man hours polishing the brass on S-16 No. 2 this month. That brass sure does look good after it is polished!!!

Polished Brass

S-16's with freshly polished brass

          Our time was split pretty evenly between the G-16 and S-16 bumblebee project this month.

          On the S-16, we pressure tested and mounted the air tank which powers the whistle. It has all new fittings, pop-off valve, tape and paint.

S-16 Bumblebee Air Tank

Air tank installed in the S-16 bumblebee engine

          We replaced the original hollow tube handrails with solid brass ones and added the brass ball at the end of each handrail. Work continues on the staunchons.

          Dave rewired the headlight and I plumbed it to conceal all the wires.

          Work continues on the rear coupler for the G16 and the drawbars for the S16 and it's tender.

          I continue to fabricate, order or commission missing or damaged parts for the S-16 drive wheel assembly. I hope to start reassembly of that component in October if I have everything ready to go by then.

False Drive Wheels

A few of the S-16 false drive wheel assembly components

          In conjunction with a business trip to Reno, NV, I had the pleasure of attending a railroad meet at the 15 inch gauge Trinity Alps Railroad of Russ Robinson and Susie Robinson in northern California on July 27 and 28. Brendon Hilton and a number of JT & S members were present with their fabulous steam engine. The railroad Russ has built is spectacular. Nearly three quarters of a mile of track is on the ground, much of it laid at four percent grade. Rough grading for an additional ½ mile of track is complete and the rail and ties recently arrived on site. A curved trestle, bridge, lengthy tunnel, water tank, engine house and more than a dozen switches are utilized on the railroad. Russ also built his own beautiful diesel hydraulic engine and fabricated each of his cars. The line winds its way between trees and clings to the mountainside in places. It is mountain railroading at its finest!

Reno Sign

Reno Nevada "The Biggest Little City in the World"

Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad

Russ and Susie Robinson's Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad Engine #89

Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad

Joshua Tree & Southern's Shay #6 runs at the Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad

Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad

Trinity Alps Mountain Railroad logging train

          Dave and I had a great visit with our friends Marty Melish, Bob Smith and Bob Panella of the Panella Pacific Railroad in Lodi, CA. It is amazing to see this 16 inch gauge railroad and what these guys have done with their G-16s and S-16s. Everything they have is gorgeous.

Panella Pacific Railroad

Smitty and Marty from the Panella Pacific Railroad

          It was a busy month and it will be good to be off the road and at home for a few days before I hit the road again.

Goldfield Nevada

We saw this engine in Goldfield Nevada

Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe is a short distance from Reno

Yosemite National Park

We stopped at Yosemite National Park on our way home and did a little hiking

          Happy and safe railroading everybody!



          It seemed like a very busy month, but I don’t have a great number of completed projects to share.

Three S-16's

Three S-16's in the A&P engine house

          We continue to make progress on our G-16. We mounted the fuel pump, filter and regulator. It took a couple of tries, but we finally tracked down the pulley belts for the alternator and the vacuum pump. I still have another mounting arm to fabricate for the alternator.

G-16 fuel pump

G-16 fuel pump

          We use 6 pin trailer connectors for our electrical connections between cars. We mount a trailer connection on each car and a wire loom in between to match the pins on the trailer connection. These connectors work great and are long proven technology. We got both connectors mounted on the rear of the G-16. The B unit will have corresponding connectors. We drilled the holes for the quick release vacuum connections, but I still have a couple of fittings to track down before I can finish them.

G-16 electrical connectors

G-16 electrical connectors

          We fabricated the rear drawbar for the A unit and the two drawbars for the B unit – they are not installed yet.

G-16 Rear Coupler

Rear drawbar for the G-16

          We added front and rear bars lifting/collision bars on speeder No. 2. They provide some protection to the front grill and rear muffler and tail light and provide a great area to lift from when moving the speeder. It looks very much like speeder no. 1 now.

Speeder #2

Front lift bar for speeder #2

Speeder #2

Rear lift bar for speeder #2

          The Bumble Bee S-16 got the majority of the man hours this month.

Bumblebee S-16

Bumblebee S-16 fabrication continues

          I had a friend modify the seat cushion to allow improved access to the throttle control.

Seat Cushion for the Bumblebee S-16

Seat cushion for the Bumblebee S-16 tender

          I have begun grinding off a number of non-original brackets and sharp edges and have begun filling numerous unnecessary holes in the front of cab

          I fabricated a new brass bar skid plate for the rear of the engine. The tender footplate rests on this component.

Brass Skid Plate

Brass skid plate for Bumblebee S-16 engine

          We got the 6 pin connectors mounted on the engine and the tender to facilitate the electrical connections between the two. We place a loop in the cable to allow for the changing distance between the cars on the curves.

          We replaced the original hollow tube handrails with solid brass ones. We added a brass ball at the end and added another staunchon near the smoke box for support. The two additional staunchons were originally on my A & P No. 1. Our four long staunchons were originally all different lengths and the two short ones differed in length by 3/8 of an inch. We took each apart, made the lengths uniform and spun the bases so that all the mounting holes are square with the handrail. That may be a little anal, but the overall appearance is much improved. The handrails look great and appear very much like the ones on the original Bumble Bee.

          In addition to building/rebuilding the false drive wheel (FDW) assembly for the Bumble Bee S-16, I am building two additional FDW assemblies at the same time. Several years ago I built and assembled my No. 1 and No. 2 FDW assemblies at the same time and it just makes it easier in the acquisition, fabrication and assembly of parts – other than the fact that I have parts everywhere in the shop… I am probably six weeks away from having all the parts gathered to start assembly.

          We fabricated twelve new counterweights for the twelve drive wheels. I design and build them to serve their intended purpose, but to also look good in the process. It isn’t rocket science, just time-consuming.

False Drive Wheel Counterweights

False drive wheel counterweights (ours on the left, original two piece weight on the right)

          I had eleven wheel sprockets which is pretty much the way things go when you take on a big project. I found a supplier that had something close that can be milled, bored and drilled to match the original for the twelfth wheel.

          I had fourteen false drive wheels bead blasted and will be using the best twelve. I am filing, sanding and filling minor aesthetic defects in the wheel spokes so once painted they will look trick.

False Drive Wheels

False drive wheels

          I am working on fabricating the six chain tensioners, six top frame bars, three chassis mounts and six spring tension rods. This is a lot of work and can just chew up the hours of available shop time, but doesn’t look like much…

Chain Tensioners for False Drive Wheels

False drive wheels chain tensioners

False Drive Wheel top frame bars

False drive wheel top frame bars

False Drive Wheel Chasis Mounts

False drive wheel chasis mounts

False Drive Wheel spring tension rods

False drive wheel spring tension rods

          I will be fabricating a third FDW frame as well as six brass cylinder drive rods and finials

          I am continuing to collect the required washers, spacers, bushings, nuts, bolts etc. for the three FDW assemblies.

          We hosted two park train enthusiasts from Southeast Ohio.

          Whew, I am exhausted just writing about the activities this month. I am starting to get excited about getting both of these engines on the tracks for shakedown runs this Spring!

          Happy and safe railroading everybody!



One of the bigger projects during the month was rebuilding my four gates and replacing the wood in them. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like a railroad project. The tracks of the A & P run under two of the gates and they desperately needed the makeover. Sanding, prepping, priming and painting the metal components and cutting, staining and sealing the new wood components was very time-consuming and ate into the actual railroad time. Thankfully, I had a couple of PTO days during the month to devote toward getting this project completed.

Railroad Gates

All new wood was put into the railroad and pedestrian gates

          We installed the rear drawbar on the G-16 and it looks good and functions well.

          I picked up half a dozen hoses, approximately 20 fittings, a dozen clamps and 10 feet of half inch ID tubing this week. Most of it is destined for the G-16 with the balance headed to the Bumble Bee. With some luck, I’ll get all of it installed this month.

          I tracked down and acquired some additional spring clips, door handles and grab bars that we were missing to complete our B unit and coaches.

G-16 Parts

G-16 parts for B unit and coaches

          Once again, the Bumble Bee S-16 got the majority of the man hours this month.

          The fabrication of the six chain tensioners is complete. The sprockets have been bored and milled and the bushings pressed into place. New mounting bolts, flat and lock washers are in boxes in the shop and ready to go; the snap rings just arrived from McMaster-Carr so these assemblies will be complete and ready for installation soon.


Chain tensioners for S-16 false drive wheel assembly

          It is easy to see what happens to the chain tensioners when they aren’t lubricated and badly worn bushings aren’t replaced…

S-16 Instrument Panel

Worn tensioner and newly fabricted chain tensioner

          The instrument panel on the S-16 Bumble Bee we’re rebuilding was bent, drilled and carved up by one of its previous owners. We replaced it with a standard Sayre Locomotive Works model. The tachometer, speedometer, air pressure and voltage gauges are rear lighted and the two glycerine filled vacuum gauge are front lit. We will get started on wiring the instrument panel next month.

S-16 Instrument Panel

Instrument panel for the Bumble Bee S-16

          We started work on the three brass bands that will circle the boiler. We will silver solder the brass bolts to the backside of the band for a clean, prototypical look. The bands are cut to length and laid out. Hopefully, we’ll get the bolts in place and get the rings mounted next month

          We installed the drawbar on the front of the tender and the drawbar on the engine. While we had the tender up in the air, we rewired it and fixed some plumbing issues.

S-16 Drawbars

Drawbars between the Bumble Bee engine and tender

S-16 Tender

Bumble Bee tender on horses for plumbing and wiring re-fit

          We replaced the trucks that were under the tender with trucks that we recently rebuilt in our shop. The new trucks are painted charcoal gray which is the color all the trucks will be when the train is completed

Charcoal Trucks under S-16 tender

Restored trucks installed under the Bumble Bee tender

          As time permits, we continue to perform body work on the cab. Until recently, she hadn’t seen much TLC and it shows, but significant progress is being made – one dent at a time…

          I am a big fan of the false drive wheel assemblies (FDWA) on the S-16. Yes, they need lubrication, adjustments, bushings checked for wear and frequent attention. The trade off is an eye-catching focus for your engine – they just look cool if you showcase them properly. There are several upgrades that I make to the original assembly. One of the components I upgrade is the cylinder rod. I replace the original hollow-tube cylinder rods with ¾ inch solid brass rod. I also add a turned brass shoulder on one end and a finial on the other. The rods on these three FDW assemblies mirror those on the first two units I rebuilt. In the final assembly, this will be buffed and polished

Drive Rods

The upgraded drive rod and the original drive rod for the Bumble Bee S-16

Drive Rods

Solid brass drive rods for additional S-16 false drive wheel assemblies

          One of my railroad buddies is fabricating the frame portion of the third FDWA in his shop. It should be completed in late October.

          I am continuing to collect the required washers, spacers, bushings, nuts, bolts etc. for the three FDW assemblies. The 7/8 inch by 2 inch round spacers that go between the wheels and the drive rods are finished. The chassis mounts and top mounts are done. I am still working on the spring tension rods and custom aluminum clevises.


False drive wheel assembly spacers

Top Frame Bars

False drive wheel top frame bars

          I was hopeful of having everything gathered to start assembly of the FDWA in late October, but it looks like that might have been optimistic. I am still waiting on a few parts that were out-shopped and it now looks like mid-November

          I have plenty to keep me busy. Happy and safe railroading everybody!



October was a crazy month, but we did have five weekends which made it easier to get a number of things accomplished.

          Mother Nature threw all of us in metro Phoenix a curve ball on October 5th. We had very high winds and ice cube size hail. Reportedly more than 250,000 cars and houses sustained damage. I was pretty fortunate in that the worst of the hail missed my place and both the car and truck were under cover. The wind was a different story. It sheared one of my trees off at ground level. The root ball was still in the ground, it just snapped it off like a twig. It took several nights after work to get it cut up and I got it hauled away the next weekend. My neighbor across the street had a 45 foot massive tree toppled, he is still nibbling away on its removal. All of our A & P equipment and buildings came through the storm just fine.

Storm Damaged Tree

Storm damage at the A&P RR

          Once again, the Bumble Bee S-16 got the majority of the man hours this month.

          There is a small shop in south Phoenix that does metal polishing like no one else. They have a three foot wheel about six inches wide and an older gentleman with about 60 years experience on that wheel and with his own secret polishing agent. His work is amazing and well worth the drive down there to have him polish brass and chrome parts. He is a little slow getting the work done, but so am I and his work is great when he gets it back to me.

          He polished the bell, cylinder ends, staunchions, handrails, sand dome (removed dents) boiler bands, boiler slide flat bars and brass tubing from the cylinder heads. They look great.

Polished Brass

Polished brass for the S-16 Bumblebee

          The brass pipe was missing from one cylinder head. We made a jig and after a couple of tries had a dead-on duplicate that was silver soldiered into place. We also repaired some old collision damage to the side of the cylinder head.

          It is pretty clear that the left side of No. 37 was in a significant impact at some point in its past. The pilot beam was buckled on that side as was the running board. The front section of running board was buckled badly enough that we replaced it early on. Significant body work has been done on the middle section of the running board. As I reported above, we repaired the left cylinder head for collision damage. The cylinder itself on the left side was torqued and twisted upward by whatever they hit – and hit hard. After several unsuccessful attempts to tweak it back into proper alignment, it was cut free of the chassis and was rewelded back in into place with the proper alignment.

          Dave wired the instrument panel, head light and the pressure tank. The fuse busses for No. 37 and for the G-16 finally arrived. We’ll get them wired in next month.

Instrument Panel Wiring

Instrument panel wiring


The fuseblocks for the G-16 and S-16 Bumblebee have arrived

          We started the plumbing for the brakes and the vacuum gauges and got most of it roughed-in. We’ll get that finished up next month too.

          The 3rd false drivewheel assembly was out-shopped and delivered this month. The chain tensioners are assembled and installed on each of the three FDWAs.The chain has been ordered.

Chain Tensioners

Chain tensioners for the false drive wheel assemblies

          The aluminum rod clevises are finished and installed on the brass cylinder rods. That entire assembly will get polished before the final assembly.

          Four of the original long drive rods were repaired and rebuilt and four additional ones were fabricated. They still need milled and polished.

          We started work on the transmission shifting mechanism for No. 37; it will be similar to the way Flagstaff and Middle Verde No. 1 operates.

          I ordered the builder's plates and several other plates for No. 37. The builder’s plates are a scaled duplicate of DRGW No. 268 – the original Bumblebee

          I am only lacking a few parts from being able to start assembly on the three false drive wheel assemblies – we’re getting there…

          We did get a couple of things accomplished on the G-16 this month too. I finally figured out the correct lengths of the four hoses that serve the two hand-valves and had them made and we got them installed. I think it is a pretty clean looking installation.


The hoses for the G-16 throttle and brakes have been installed

          I tracked down the fittings and nuts we needed for the quick release fittings on the rear of the A Unit that connect with the B Unit and got them installed.


G-16 A Unit fittings

          The rest of the month was spent repainting several items in the backyard including the baggage cart and 3 lamp posts, four of our full size switch stands and targets, the braces of our A & P Jct. sign and the red portion of our AT & SF telephone booth. Next month the white trim of the phone booth will get painted.

Baggage Cart and Phone Booth

The baggage cart, lamp post and phone booth received fresh paint this month

Phone Booth

The phone booth with a fresh coat of red paint, awaits the white trim paint

          We also replaced the wood in and rebuilt two of the park benches that serve the waiting area near the engine house.


The benches in the waiting area received new wooden slats and fresh paint this month

          I mentioned that the storm early in the month snapped off a good size tree in the front yard. The root ball was still in the ground and instead of trying to get that mess dug out and replanting a tree, I brought in two pickup loads of dirt and built a hill that I landscaped with cactus and gravel instead. It doesn’t look like much, but there is a bit more work there than meets the eye.

Cactus Garden

New cactus garden after the storm

          Happy and safe railroading everybody!



          With all of the projects underway around here, it wasn’t too surprising that we managed to stay busy in November.

          We had multiple welding projects on the Bumble Bee engine frame continuing to fill holes, replace damaged brackets etc. Extensive welding was completed on the cab roof and on the tender end to repair prior damage.

Bumble Bee Cab

Lot's of welding took place on the Bumble Bee Cab

Bumble Bee Cab

Closer view of the Bumble Bee Cab

          We rebuilt the pilot making it 1 ½ inches narrower. It was a bit wider than the standard S-16 pilot and scraped along the loading platform here on the A & P. We wanted to rule out the possibility of damage or injuries later on so we narrowed the pilot ¾ inch on both sides, but kept all the same proportions. When we had it apart we also straightened and replaced a couple of the tubes that were bent. I think it looks pretty good. I still have to modify the uncoupling lever, but that will happen next month.

          We designed, fabricated and installed the transmission shifting linkage on the Bumble Bee. I like the railroad look of a lever and wanted to keep it entirely inside the cab and the boiler which took a bit of engineering, but we figured it out and it works great.

Shifting Mechanism

Transmission shifting lever and linkage for the Bumble Bee Engine

Shifting Mechanism

Transmission shifting lever

          We completed more, but not all of the hard plumbing. The fuel line remains to be finished. The brake lines and lines to the vacuum gauges are complete

          We drilled out the boiler rivets and removed the two small brass bands around the boiler. They will be replaced with three larger brass bands.

          I received via UPS the last of the bushings I’ll need for the false drive wheel assemblies.

          The plates for the side of the headlights and the boiler arrived and are ready for installation.

Bumblebee Plates

Builder's plate and one of the number plates for the Bumble Bee Engine

          We finished rewiring the tender and its back up light.

          We fabricated the pig tail wire bundle from the engine to the tender and completed the last of the hoses that connect the engine and the tender

          We received the short connecting rods that Russ Robinson fabricated for us on his CNC mill. They look awesome and even better after being polished. He also made our transition blocks which also look great. The false drive wheel assembly is starting to take shape in the shop.

Short Connecting Rodss

Short connecting rods for the Bumble Bee false drive wheel assembly

Transition Blocks

Transition blocks for the false drive wheel assembly

          We installed the carburetor and the fuel pump on the engine that will go in the Bumble Bee early next year.

          We also made some progress on the G-16 this month.

          We bent, fit and welded up our G-16 headers. They still need sanded and painted and the correct hardware, but they look great. We also got the carburetor installed. We located a number of the original light sockets we were looking for and got them installed. We got our number board castings back after some aluminum welding and had them polished. We are working on the number lenses and hope to have them ready in the next month or so.

G-16 Headers

The headers and carburetor have been installed on the G-16

G-16 Exhaust

G-16 exhaust pipes

G-16 Number Boards

G-16 number board castings

          We started reinstalling the seat in the G-16.

          We rewelded the four g-16 smokestacks to the hood from the bottom. They had torn partially away and we wanted a clean factory look from the top. We are going to hinge our hood and will get started on that probably in January or February.

          I spent some time on our display of Allan Herschell and MTC catalogs and sales literature in the engine house. There is still plenty of room for contributions…

Allan Herschell Display

Miniature Train Company (MTC) literature display case

Allan Herschell Display

Allan Herschell literature display case

          We sanded, stained and resealed the water tank and painted the white trim on the Santa Fe phone booth.

Water Tank

The A&P water tank's wood received fresh stain and was resealed

Santa Fe phone booth

Freshly painted Santa Fe phone booth from the turn of the 20th century

          The extra time off at Thanksgiving and a couple of PTO days really helped, but it was pretty busy around here when I wasn’t at the real job.

          Happy and safe railroading everybody!

          Merry Christmas!

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