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The Speeder for the Pickled Cabbage Railway "PCR"
in 3" scale on 7.25"/7.5" gauge track

It was at the parade during the IBLS2000-meet at Train Mountain Museum, that the owner Quentin Breen announced to held such a big meeting every 3rd year in future.
Absolutely impressed from this wonderful layout, I decided just hearing this announcement, that I'll return for the 2003-meeting with my own engine.
During our IBLS-rumble 2000 trip down to Los Angeles I thought over, which model would be small enough to be shipped/carried with me, but also useful on the grades at Train Mountain. And suddenly I remembered my 1/4" kit from Grandt Line for the RGS speeder. This model should be small enough and easy to handle. I told my friend Rudy van Wingen, Como Roundhouse Products about this plan, and he told me, that he has prepared speeder-wheels in stock at home.
I decided, first to figure out the overall dimensions, and than to decide, if I will take the wheels with me or not.

Following our IBLS-tour, my wife and I traveled eastward to Durango and stayed two days in Phoenix to visit Coronado Scale Models. I met Stan and Sheldon the first time during the 1998 Narrow Gauge Convention in Colorado Springs, and they are rally nice people, good to deal with and also very helpful. And as expected, I could get a xerox-copy of the Grandt Line drawing from them.
So, with the drawing in my hand, I calculated the overall size of the 7.5" gauge model and figured out, that it would fit. So, returned to Los Angeles, picked up the wheels and flew back to Germany.

The following years where filled with much other works and model-construction in different scales, but during summer 2002 it was time to start the construction, so that I'll finish the model in time.
First, I had to worry about the needed battery-capacity. No one was able to tell me the size of the needed batteries to run the complete circle at Train Mountain without a power-failure. So, more and more I was thinking about a different energy-system.
I need something, where I can easily refill the energy-source, and that's only possible with gas- or diesel-engines (O.K., I can replace the empty batteries with filled-up batteries, but that's no easy refill ;-)))) ).
I looked around and suddenly I found a nice small 3.5 hp Briggs & Stratton gas-engine with a horizontal crank-shaft at the local garden-center. I bought the equipment, removed the engine and all drive-train components and sold the rest through eBay. So, I ended up with this engine with pulley and belt four under 300 Euro.

Although I was lucky to find on eBay a brandnew 24 Volt alternator, ready equipped with pulley, only 15 miles away from my home.
Now, with the gas-electric-drive, I had to change the scale. Correct would be 2.5", but that the model would be to small for all the needed parts. So, I switched over to 3" scale, which gives a little bit more inside-space. Also, this scale fits better for the wheels, they are now only 1/3" to big in diameter.
Also, with the aircooled gas-engine, I think, a wood-construction would not be really good.
So, I decided to start learning how to weld. My brother in law organized 1" square-tubes for me, and he also borrowed me his electric welding-machine.
So, on october 24/25 I most of the needed tubes for the shell-frame and layed them out for a first view:

Starting on november 22, I welded all the parts together. This work continued until december 07, 2002, because between this both dates I had two eye-surgeries for small metal-peaces in my right eye, caused by the grinding-job :-((((.

On december 13, 2002, I went to the machine-construction-firm, which produced the axle with changeable gauge. The first photo shows one axle layed apart with all the needed parts (from left to right):
single wheel, axle with the key for the removed wheel, the installed sprocket and the other wheel with the ball-bearing, distance-ring (1/4"), the single ball-bearing including housing and the crown-nut. On the right is a completed wheelset.

The next photo shows the installed wheel in close-up. This is the 7.25" gauge version, with the distance-ring on the outside of the wheel between the wheel and the crown-nut. To change the gauge, I have to remove the nut, the distance-ring and the wheel, than install the distance-ring on the axle between the bearing and the wheel and tighten the whole again with the crown-nut.

Also, in the meantime I got the electronic controller from 4QD from the UK and the needed u-shapes for the mainframe. During the next Indoor Livesteam Festival in Sinsheim january 2003 I will pick up the 24 Volt, 400 Amp motor.

On january 08, 2003, I got the welded frame back in stock. The morning, before I drove down to Sinsheim for the show, I temporary installed the wheelsets and was able to set the speeder for the first time on the track:

During the month after the show I had so much other things to do, that I had not much time to continue the construction. But some smaller parts I where able to do. Beside the installing of the 24 Volt Motor I started on february 15, 2003, installing the body of the speeder to the frame. The following photos shows, what I did in the meantime:

During this phase of the construction I put the gas-engine and the alternator into the body to see, how it will fit. Sadly I had to figure out, that it might be impossible to install the gas-engine and the alternator. I'll try it, but I have to think about building a pure battery-powered speeder.

During the following week, I put the speeder on my workbench (a 4-wheel-flat-car on two support-racks) and put again the gas-engine in the speeder. Sadly, it seemed, that their was no chance to install the gas-electric-version, because the V-Belt between the gasengine and the alternator would come in contact with the sprocket of the 24 Volt motor.
But then, on february 22, a new idea came in my mind:
If I would install the alternator not on the frame but beside (with angles as support), than it seems to be possible.
So, during the week up to february 28, I worked hard to produce the support for the gasengine and to install the engine. And than, at afternoon of february 28, I had my highball: The alternator on it's special support fit's between the sprocket of the 24 Volt motor and the body-frame. So, no problem, to continue as a gas-electric-engine.

A view, which soon will be gone. In near future, I'll cover the frame with steal-plates.

Frontview of the combination of gasengine, alternator and 24 Volt DC motor.
The V-belt between the gasengine and the alternator is too long and has to be replaced with a shorter version.

Sideview of the gasengine/alternator-combination.
This view shows really god the external support for the alternator
(The frame isn't bown, it only looks so.)

On march 01, 2003, I cut the pipes for the right door and welded them together. I also welded the door into the frame.

The right side with the door.

After receiving the needed u-shapes on march 21, I welded them to the frame on march 22, 2003. I replaced the wooden supports for the body with this shapes and used the same for the supports in the middle of the speeder. This isn't scale, but I think, it's stronger. Also, I welded all the screwed parts, as far as possible, following a suggestion from other backyard-railroaders. The welded points doesn't look really good - remember, I'm not a trained welder -, but I think, they will be strong enough.

The frame with the newly installed u-shapes.

After a long time planning, how to install a chain tensioner (because I have space-problems with the brake-rigging) I started on march 28 to install the sprocket, I had in stock for tensioning the chain.
After three days of gluing, drilling and cutting threads I was able to install the sprocket on march 30. After that, I cut the chain to length, and it fit without any problems. A little bit tighten the tensionor, and that's it.

The frame with the installed tensionor.

As next, I have to install the brake-system and the sheeting on the body.

Sadly to say, but the construction of the brake-system was a lost time. After more than two weeks I had to figure out, that the brake-system didn't worked as planned, and so I decided, to remove everything and continue with the remaining work.
So I soldered (supported by my wife, who works in a soldering-firm) the complete metal-sheeting (except the door-sheeting) to the body-frame.
On april 19, 2003, I welded a support for the 4QD-controller, installed the square-tube for the nuckle-coupler/ drawbar, screwed a fog-light support under the frame (for night-runs at Train Mountain) and fitted a wooden floor on the right side on the frame. After that, I used the free easter-days to paint the frame and the motor-supports.

The covered body with the tube for the couplers.

The painted frame and motor-supports.

May 08, 2003:

A lot of work was done since the above photos. After painting both wheelsets and getting some needed parts, I could reinstall the axles, the 24 volt-motor, the gasmotor-support including the signal-horn, installing a floor on the right side, and than the major task after installing the sheetings for the doors and priming the body, drilling more than 800 holes and installing small rivetnails to simulate the nails in the prototype.

The next photo shows the speeder in the late afternoon sun on may 08. The big light under the frontend is a fog-light for night-runs through the forrest at Train Mountain.

Next to do is to install the gas-engine and the alternator including getting a fitting belt, to organize a second headlight and install both, constructing of a exhaust-system for the gas-engine and than at last to build up the roof. And not to forget the complete electric-wiring.
And I'm still wandering, if I will be able to do this all in time for shipping (beside finishing the engine I have to go to get a Carnet and to the local custom-office, so that I'll have no problems going into the USA and back to Germany).

May 16, 2003:
I spent the past week to install the door-hinges and the supports for the headlights as well as drilling the holes for the headlight cables. Also, I was able to install the complete wiring for the horn, the foglight and nealy everything on the right side of the speeder.
The next photos shows the inside of my speeder with the batteries for the first time on board. Everything fits, also the alternator is very close to the frame for the batteries.

May 17, 2003:
Thanks to the free saturday I could finish a lot. Beside the construction and installing of the door-plates and doorknobs and as well the radiator-fence I was able to drill the holes for srewing the runningboard-holders to the frame, to fill where needed the holders with putty and to sand it smooth down. Also, I could install nearly the complete wiring to the frame. Still to be done is installing one cable for a ventilator, connecting the dc-motor to the control-unit and to finish the battery-cables including the fuse-holder.
To finish the day I installed the gas-engine (now for the last time) and the belt between the alternator and the engine.
Because I had primed the new parts on the body over the day, I could paint the body.

View over the dc-motor with the electric wiring on both sides to the gas-engine with the alternator and the installed belt.

And now a photo of the painted body. The dots in the photo is paintdust, reflekting the flash-light of the camera.

May 18, 2003:

And again time was wasted, as I tried to make the control-box removable. Sadly, the used connector had a mechanical failure, and so I had to open all soldered connections and install the connecting-cables permanent to the body of the controlbox. This cost more than 1.5 hours, which are badly needed. During the rest of the day I drilled the holes for the switches and made also holes for the running-time-counter and the dc measuring instrument. Not installed yet are the speed-regulator, the horn-button, the odometer and a switch for the dc measuring instrument.

May 19, 2003:

Today, another major step is done: it took around 1 hour for my wife and me to silver solder all the copper pipes and corners together, which form the new exhaust-system. Before that, I had build an fitting metal-sheet, which now is screwed to the muffler. Everything worked well, and next to do is to install the support for the exhaust.

May 20, 2003:

Today was the day to install the exhaust-support. Looking at the gas-engine, their where bolts just in the right place, but sadly to short. So I tried today to get fitting bolts, but the problem is/was, that they have american fine thread. I was at a local John Deere dealer, but he only had normal thread and wasn't able to get the fine thread wether in small orders nor in short delivery-time. So, my wife and me silver-soldered another bolt head to head with the existing bolt to construct a type of stay-bolt. And it worked, I was able to fasten the exhaust pipe.
Also, today I drilled the holes and installed the controller and a button for the horn.

May 21,2003:

The minimum amount of time, I had today, I used to install all the remaining parts into the control-box. The next photo shows the box, ready to install the wiring.
BTW, the time on the bicycle-computer is set for Pacific-summer-time, and the odometer will count miles per hour ;-))))

May 23, 2003:

Yesterday I wasn't able to do anything, because I was on business-duty. Today, I produced the runningboards, using the prefabricated brackets, which had to be drilled and a thread to be cut. I cut a fitting peace of wood to length, and than installed everyting for a testfit. After that, I primed and painted the brackets.
Also, I installed the (bicycle) headlights on both ends and wired them to that point, where the connection to the frame will be installed. Now, only this connection-cable is missing at the body.
And at last, I painted the underside of the body in black, so that it has a fitting colour to the frame.

May 24, 2003:

Nearly the whole day was spent for the construction of the roof. Sawing, gluing, srewing, smoothing over and lastly priming took it's time. During the waiting time, when I had glued another part, I wired the control-box.
The photo shows the speeder finally with roof, before I removed it to prime the underside.

May 25, 2003:


Exactly, not complete, but 99.9 % of the work ist done. After finishing the rest of the wiring this morning I srewed the runningboards together and installed them. And also, I installed two latches to hold the roof down. And than, the time, we've all have been waiting for, was come: The speeder operated for the first time under it's own battery power. As fast as I can check everything worked really well. Not tested is the gas-engine with the alternator, no chance to do this before shipping.
When tomorrow the roof, which actually is freshly painted, will be dry, I only have to regauge the speeder to 7.5" and to fasten the body to the frame with screws. After that, I have to remove the runningboards, putting the control-box into the body (for that I have to make a notch into the rear triangle-part of the roof, so that I can put the cable through), and than, the speeder can begin it's journey to California in it's shipping-crate, which still has to be build.

I wasn't able to construct the scoop on the roof and the grab-irons. But perhaps someone in the USA is so kind to produce them for me, so that we can srew them to the body after arrival ;-)))) Mai, 26 2003:

FINISHED (with the nerves too)

Here are the latest photos of the speeder with the painted roof:

And regarding the above mentioned nerves, that comes from my phone-call with the chamber of commerce of this afternoon. Their seem to be some major problems regarding shipping, where I need help from the US. If you firm with custom-law, please view my questionlist.. Thank you.

May 28, 2003:

After figuring out during the past days, how the custom-problems could be solved, I built yesterday and today the shipping box and fitted the speeder in. Now should everything ready for shipping, but a provisional weight-scaling gave a overall weight of around 88 kg, wich is too much for UPS-shipping. Tomorrow we will check it on a professional scale at the employer of my wife, and than I'll try to get the weight under the 70 kg. Seems, that I'll have to remove the alternator and the dc-motor and take it with me in my suitcase :-(((( May 30, 2003:

This morning, we scaled the weight on a professional scale. The complete weight including shipping-box was 74.5 kg (~ 166 lbs), and so above the limit of 70 kg (~ 150 lbs ). But with this small difference, I was able to bring the weight down under the limid by only removing the dc-engine, which now has to be transportated in our suitcase.
The next photo shows the speeder in its shippingbox:

Since 10.15 am Mideuropean Summertime, the speeder is via UPS on it's way to Los Angeles. It will travel over Herne to Cologne, where the custom-paperwork will be done. And than, the journey over the pond. I hope, that the box will survive this long trip and arrive in healthy condition.

May 31, 2003:

The actual trackingreport says, that the speeder is on hold in Cologne for the customs declaration. It will stay their until monday or so, before it will continue its journey.

Sadly, I hurt my back as I loaded the box into my vanagon for driving over to Essen. Actually, I have heavy pain during moving my body. I hope, this will not affect my vacation.

June 03, 2003:

Bad message, the speeder is still in germany and hold for security check beyond UPS-control..

June 05, 2003:

Good news, the speeder arrived on june 04 in Pennsylvania and should be delivered tomorrow june 06.

June 06, 2003:

It is done, the speeder arrived in San Marino.

June 07, 2003:

Today I got some photos (the following three are from Rudy), taken and send by my friend Rudy van Wingen, as well a excact description. It is unbelievable, what they have done with the box. It seems, that most of the damage was done during the security-check over here in germany. Nearly every speed-nut was loose (which caused problems by removing the bolts), some bolts where missing, additional wood-screws where inserted, and the transport wasn't really smooth. The speeder moved back- and forward and nearly broke through the frontend, and so damaged the box from the inside.

Oh boy, what have they done with the box. It looks, as if it was shipped in a coal-box.

Here you can see, how the speeder moved for and back in the box. The rivets marked the wooden wall. Luckily, the surface of the wood is really soft, so their are only minor paint-damages to the speeder.

And something to enjoy, the nuckle-coupler of Roll Models from Fresnoarrived in time and fits perfect. So, the connection to the riding-cars is secured.

And at least a cartoon of my friend Robert "Pop" Wood

This is the last report before I leave heading west. If it's possible, I'll try to report during the trip, if not, I'll post some photos after returning to Germany.


In the meantime, our plans for the 2003-vacation are fixed. We will arrive in Los Angeles on june 10 and travel over to the Joshua Tree and Southern to participate the meeting their during the TM-rumble northward. After a couple of days in Southern California we will pick up the RV on june 17 and travel northward to Train Montain, whe we plan to arrive late june 18 or morning june 19. After the Triennial we will drive southward to the Sacramento Valley Live Steamers and than to the Bitter Creek & Western for the july 4th meeting their.

And last, a small story my friend Robert "Pop" Wood send me with the suggestion to send it to our local newspapers. But I'm not that type of man, who request such a sponsoring without a chance to pay it back. So, from my side, this story will not be send to the newspapers, but it's really nice to read, and so, here it is:


Now that he has his steed he is determined to ride it at Valhalla.
Like warriors of old he need champions to transport his mighty steed to Valhalla.

After three years of dreaming of returning to Train Mountain to represent his city at the second Triennial Railroad Meet.
During the last three years he has designed and build an engine that he will to take to the "joust"
Now that the time is drawing near our 'warrior' needs help in transporting his steed to Chiloquin Oregon in the United States.
He is looking for a sponsor to ship his iron steed and would welcome anyone who would care to assist him to realize his dream to return to Valhalla.

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Copyright © 2002 Hubert Wetekamp, hubert@wetekamp.de[ last update: 06.14.2003 Hubert Wetekamp ]