This page in German
The Speeder for the Pickled Cabbage Railway "PCR"
in 3" scale on 7.25"/7.5" gauge track
on his tour through the USA





After arrival of the crate with the speeder on june 6th, 2003, in Los Angeles, I followed him and flew over to LAX on june 10th, 2003. After a night in a airport-hotel in Los Angeles, I drove over to Joshua Tree to the Joshua Tree and Southern where I found the crate with my speeder, which was transportated to their by my friend Rudy van Wingen.
After taking over the Caravan on the area, where we spent our nights, I started, to prepare the speeder for its maiden-run.


The above photo shows the speeder with the reinstalled dc-engine, which I brought over in my luggage.


After filling up the motoroil for the first time, I figured out, that the shipper produzed some major damage beside all the know damages (paintscratches, a bend railing, some damage to welding-seams).
Beacause the shipper didn't handled the box as careful as it should have been handled, the front motorsupport came loose and distroyed the thread in the frame. Through this, it wasn't possible to rescrew very easy the support, and so we had to figure out a different solution. Luckily, I had put some spare screws, stopnuts and tooth-washers into my box with the dc-motor and the tools to replace some screws, which might got lost.


Here I'm trying to rescrew the motorsupport, but without success.


Thanks the help of Train Mountain Member Lutz Braun, who is a native german from Berlin, it was possible, to fasten the motorsupport with longer screws and stopnuts.


Here we try to fix a stopnut behind the wheel, so that we can rescrew the motorsupport. Not easy to place the nut in fitting position for the screw behind the wheel, but Lutz hat some special medical tools with him (vein-surpresser), so that we could finish the work successful. The other side was a little bit easier, because I could remove the wheel (that's the side, where the gauge will be changed).

Normally, now everything had should work, but sadly, the available batteries did not fit into the availabel space, and at least, the german security-check had misplaced and not shipped the jumper-cable for the batteries. For this reason, a first run on june 11, 2003, wasn't possible.


That's me, as I try to put the batteries in.

After buying new batteries and the needed material for the jumper-cable, around noon on june 12, 2003 the speeder could operate for the first time as a gas-electric engine.
The first round was realy a pleasure, but after trying to get up the highline, which I had to quit after 2/3 of the line because the speeder was only slipping and not going forward, the next round wasn't a pleasure. I wasn't able to go up a grade, which I was able to do before.

A careful inspection showed, that the chain was heavily stretched. Luckily, I had installed a idler-sprocket, which works as a tensioner for the chain. Sadly, I used this sprocked for the odometer-magnet too, and so I only can lift it up (and tension the chain) for only a small length. But luckily, this was enough, and now, that the speeder again had a strength chain, he operated the rest of the day until the gastank was empty surprisingly good. After running the tank dry, I drove another two rounds under battery power. During this runs I also figured out, that it's enough to run the gas-engine with a rpm of around 50 % of it's top-rpm. With this rpm, their is enough power produced to operate the speeder, and if their is more power needed, you can here that by the sound of the motor.


With the fresh tensioned chain it was possible without any problem, to reach the endpoint of the highline. This photo shows my friend Bo from Danmark at the highest point of the highline.


Many thanks (also from my wife and Bo) to the team of the JT&S for the organization of this wonderful meeting and the great hospitality. It was wonderful, to see many new and old friends and to put some faces to well known persons.

Originally not planned, I was able to visit the meeting of the Los Angeles Live Steamers on their really nice layout at Griffith Parc on june 15. Although we arrived really early, we spent a lot of hours their. Sadly, beside the gasmotor-powered Goose #6 and a battery-powered Davenport (formerly D&RGW #50) no other narrow-gauge-locomotive was present. My speeder and also the C-19 D&RGW #340 and C&S #13 from Georgia where only present on the parking-lot in their transportation storage.
Beside this, I spent a lot of really nice rounds on the layout, because Lutz Braun picked me up just after I arrived and took me on board his train around the layout.


This picture shows Lutz, as he loads his train for the next part of the ramble north to the Bitter Creek & Western.

Luckily, we arrived really early at the RV-Renting-Station, and so we could start around 11.00 am heading north. After a break for spending the night we arrived on june 18, 2003, around 05.30 pm at Train Mountain.
As we - after a first short view around - drove down to the campground South Meadow, the last free spot with city-water and electricity at the Blue Caboose Camprground was offered to us. I think, you can imagine, how happy we were to get this spot, just at the serpentine.


Sadly, the quality of the brand-new (just one week old) RV wasn't as good as it should be. After the first night we discovered a leak behind the wall of the shower, just in the area of the valves. After getting the permission to fix it by ourself, we tried to seal the leak. But their was no chance, and we had to buy a new part. TM member Jim Lane drove with us down to Klamath Falls to get the needed spare-part. A big Thank You to him for his help with tools, material and time during fixing this problem.

On june 19 we unloaded the crate with the speeder and unpacked it. As I tried to start the gas-engine, it didn't work. Immediately a Gator was hired, the Speeder and the tools loaded and transported to the BackShop, where Jerry really fast discovered the problem. The choke was pushed to much in, and so the ground for the ignition was disconnected.

After renting a riding-car and the arrival of my friend Bo Dyja from Danmark we could start for the first long run at Train Mountain. On this trip we drove entered the Douglas Division and reached their the farest available point on the track:


The proud owner and builder at the farest-moist point of the Douglas Division just under Caboose Ridge
(Photo: Bo Dyja)


As we continued our run to the storage-track at the Coalmine just above the Blue Caboose Campground, for the first time the gas-electric-concept proved itself. We were running out of gas, but could reach the next siding with battery-power:


After arriving at the siding the gastank is filled up (Photo: Bo Dyja)


During the next days, we made more longruns on the layout, including a wonderful cold night-run, which had to be shortened for the cold.

It is normal, that more problems occure during this runs. After the first long run the Speeder derailed during speeding-up, because he started to jump. Reason was again a stretched chain. Another time at the BackShop was used to shorten the chain by half of a link, and the first oil-change was done, because the time for the first change nearly was reached. And why not use chance, when the engine is dissambled.
Another derailing, caused by a defect turnout, burnt the bulb of the headlight, but no more damages.

After another run over the Douglas Division during the afternoon of june 22 (following a long train of 27 cars towed by a Challenger), and most time under battery-power to enjoy the wonderful landscape their, we had a terrible experience: the Speeder derailed just after the railroad-crossing at the South Meadow campground, caused by a big gravel-stone. This time the damage was really heavy, the idler-sprocket under the speeder touched the railhead and bend the staybolts on the right side. Following this, the chain jumped of the sprocket.

After pushing the speeder back into the near siding (just passed before), I picked up the needed tools including a borrowed hammer from the BackShop and returned to the accident-site. Bo was able to bend the staybolts back und to reinstall the chain, so that we were able to continue our trip. Sadly, the odometer is now complete gone, because their is no more contact for the RPM.

Overall, the construction had proved itself, the running-time under gas-electric is now more than 7 hours, under battery-power between 1 and 2 hours.

I have to thank my friend Bo Dyja, who supported me during the repairs, to Jerry of the TM BackShop for the help, tools and working-track, to Carol, who made the upload of this site available, and especially to Quentin Breen for this wonderful layout.
Also I wish to say Thank You for all the nice comments about my site and my speeder, which I got during this ramble.

And now some photos of narrow-gauge-equipment, which was on the track on june 22:





During the nest days I made several trips over the layout. On one tour I was able to shot the following foto, which shows, what I love at Train Mountain, running during a forrest without being disturbed through other tracks or something else:


On june 25, 2003, happened, what I had hoped not to experience:
The Speeder stalled and braked down to zero-speed. And that out on the Douglas-Division, at the farestmoist point on the layout, at the last siding before the M&M corner of the Idaho-Mafia. And no radio-contact to the dispatcher.
We tried to get the speeder running back, but that was impossible.
So we asked a passing train to catch a Gator, which had passed us a short time before. We loaded the Speeder on this Gator and trucked it back to the BackShop. The riding-car was pushed to the main-yard by a train, which had stopped behind us. Thank's to the engineer.
(Sidenote: Inofficial, this siding was named "Hubert-Siding" by Allen Ratliffe (Joshua Tree & Southern Railroad Museum).)

At the BackShop I tried to get the Speeder back on to the track, but that was impossible. Everything was checked, but nothing worked, and after some testing it seemed, that the controller board had an internal-fraktur.
I knew, that 4QD has an US-distributor, so I contacted him by email and got the next morning an answer. I called him and ordered a new board, which arrived on noon june 27, 2003.
Sadly, the speeder didn't worked with the new board, and so I checked at least the cable, which connects the control-box to the board (I didn't checked this cable, because I had bought it ready produced). As I measured it through, I found a missing contact. So, I tried to install a bypass-cable, and as I opened the blade-type connector, the defect cable went out of the connector, with a small piece remaining. The cable was cut inside the connector.
Luckily, their was a new connector distributed with the new board. So I could produce a temporary connection.
As I removed the new board, which was an converted 12 Volt version, to reinstall my own 24 volt board, I forgot to disconnect the battery and shortened the board, which caused a broken lane on the underside of the board. But it seems, that all parts are undestroyed and the lane worked as a fuse.
After reassembling the Speeder, I could pick up the riding-car and drive down to the coal-mine, where my assigned track was (in the background you can see the Blue Caboose Campground and our RV):


Now back in working condition, I could participate at the big parade on saturday morning. The following photo shows my Speeder between all the other engines in the mainyard, which are lined up for the parade and the following run by:


After this, I made a complete run over the layout to finish my run, which so sadly was interrupted a couple of days before. On this tour I could made the following photo of the Leaning Tree:


In the meantime another model of the RGS Goose #6 (under construction by Paul Lavacot, JT&S) had arrived. Overall, this was the 4th model of this interesting prototype on the layout:


Late afternoon of june 27, 2003, a interesting narrow gauge train with all available cars (Kevin Doe, Ken Burns and his sons, and other) and the steam-engines of Kevin Doe was put together. The caboose in the mid of the train was caused by couplers, which didn't worked together. Although the C&S #13 and D&GW #340 never operated in front of the same train, it was a nice composition:


At the morning of june 29, 2003, the K28 #476, which arrived two days before, was steamed up for the first time at the meeting, and switched after that some cars.


After a stop at a privat layout we travelled south to the Bitter Creek & Western , where the Speeder operated for the last time on this trip.

The following photo shows the Speeder on the steaming-bay at Bitter Creek ready to take over the ridingcar.


After a couple of really nice runs over the layout (including some night-runs) the tour endet with a disaster:
Late morning of july 4th, the first truck of the riding-car derailed and throw the Speeder out of the track and tipped it over onto it's right side. Through this derailment the staybolts for the idler-sprocket where bend the second time. Also the gasengine run for a couple of seconds laying on it's right side and started to smoke, before I reached the motor to shut it down. The running-board on the right side was destroyed, the thread for the fastening bolts damaged and the paint and lettering scratched.

After rerailing the Speeder and the riding-car I pushed both into the next siding. Sadly, this event happened in the first third of the layout, so I needed another engine to push me back to the steaming-bay. The chain was so loose, that it hang down under the railhead. To prevent another derailment through the chain, I removed the chain at the siding.
The following photo shows the Speeder after removing the chain and a first clean-up from motoroil in the siding, waiting to be pushed back:


Because the staybolts for the idler-sprocket where bent the second time, I decided not to bend them back. The risk to brake them is to high, I have to replace them at home.
I couldn't start the gas-engine, so I disassembled the Speeder to remove the oil and the remaining gas in the tank. As we removed the gas, a lot of oil came out of the muffler and the carburator-area. Later I checked this areas and found out, that the whole air-breathing-area is oiled and needs to be cleaned up.
After reassembling I packed the same afternoon the Speeder for shipping back to Germany.

Although the tour endet with this bad event, overall, it was a success. I was able to run my Speeder on every planned layout under own power, and it operated pretty good. I was able to participate the big parade and the runby at Train Mountain and to operate it on july 4th at Bitter Creek & Western.

Hubert from Germany
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Copyright © 2002 Hubert Wetekamp, hubert@wetekamp.de [ last update: 07.05.2003 Hubert Wetekamp, Bitter Creek & Western, Arroyo Grande, California, USA]