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Large (1:20.3) Scale Workbench

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Though I would keep my Large Scale stuff on a different thread to my Irish small scale stuff. Started tracklaying o the garden layout shortly after we moved to our present home almost 17 years ago so a lot of maintenance required at this stage if the Jackson County is to stay in operation. The first owner when our home was completed almost 100 years ago was a Jackson and have Jackson family connections.

First job was to get RGS Motor #4 running again  in order to keep the Mail contract and the railroad open.


Motor 4 was bought second maybe third hand eight years ago from UK used equipment dealer Ellis Clarke Trains for £600 plus GST (VAT, Duty and NZ Customs fees)

Motor 4 was supplied as a non-runner wired for battery RC and retro-fitted in the shops with sound and possibly a RCS (Remote Control Systems) receiver-power controller.

#4 gave good service but like the Drumm Battery Trains of the 1930s the (NiMh) batteries require replacement after nearly 8 years service!


#4s new batteries (10X1.2V 2300mAh) are partially hidden under the rats nest of wiring and the radio receiver-power controller.

The receiver-power controller was supplied by RCS owned by the late Tony Walsingham in Australia. Large scale battery RC equipment is was largely a cottage industry business with RCS supplying equipment internationally. #4 receiver transmitter used a Spektrum 27Gh receiver widely used in model aircraft in combination with RCS circuit board and power control unit. Its only in recent years that miniature combined receiver-power control boards became widely available similar in size to a HO DCC decoder.

One puzzle re-assembling #4 was the purpose of a pair of brown and red leads on the receiver board. No wiring diagram in the instruction manual and the RCS archive no longer accessible after the business closed after Tony passed away. Managed to find a wiring diagram on YUMPU likely to be for 'binding" the receiver to the transmitter, but had that "lightbulb moment" when I looked at the underside of the model. The wires were for a binding switch to allow #4 to be bound to a transmitter without having to remove the body! 

Basically in order to operate a receiver has to be 'bound" to a particular receiver, the binding switch allows #4 to be bound to different receivers similar to but cruder than selecting a particular loco address to a DCC throttle.


Took over an hour to charge #4 batteries for 1st time use followed by test, re-assembly and post assembly test that everything is working correctly.

Yes the radio antenna is intended to stick out of the body through a hole by the tail light, to avoid problems with poor radio reception as a result of the all metal van body.




Next vehicles to be returned to working order were RGS Motors #1 and #6.

Motor #1 is a Bachmann Railtruck & Motor #6 is a Berlyn Locomototive Works Korean Brass model acquired from a US dealer in 2016, both had been track powered and had not operated since track power operations had ceased several years ago. The nylon final drive gears in the Bachmann railtruck had split several years ago and replaced with lost lost brass castings of the orignal gears which appeared to be ok. Although the real #1 had been dismantled and parts re-used in #6 I though it would be nice to have both Motors in operation on the Jackson County. Unfortunately there were meshing problems with the new brass gears under test so Motor #1 may be retired to a display case (not really practical to have a spur for dumped/dead stock on a garden railway!

Preparing #6 for conversion to battery RC revealed a few surprises, I had converted the motor to DCC complete with a 'stay alive" decoder.  Also the electronics for the lighting (incandescent) are on a separate module. Assembly is unusual because the motor is mounted on rubber mounts on the underside of the chassis.



Planning to power #6 with 10 AA NiMh cells from a stock or re-chargable batteries bought several years ago in the RGS second hand/junk yard tradition.


Mock up of batteries control circuitry #6, motor drives on the rear bogie


Motor #6 seems to have been used for PW work and light switching, try a flat 10 battery holder to lower the profile of the load. #6 seems to have been used for carrying ties (sleepers) or the bed covered with a tarp.  Its a fine and delicate model with a low top speed in comparison with Motor #4 and the locos.


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Completed conversion of Motor 6 to RC, wiring is a bit agricultural using existing stock. A flat 10 battery holder replaced the 6 & 4 in the last post.


Tested the lighting with a temporary hook up to the receiver before installing the permanent wiring, as I was unsure if it was set up for directional lighting. The both the headlights and lamps on the cab roof are on a single circuit fed through a diode only lighting when the motor is moving forward.


Receiver temporary set up, motor leads feeding the lighting.


Charging Jack and power switch, large scale modellers are not too bothered about hands free operation 🤣


Permanent hook-up receiver re-positioned towards the rear of the bed. Brown and white wires motor hook up, blue lighting the - lighting circuit is hard wired to a pair of solder pads (F1 & 2) on the receiver the + connected to the red on the terminal block! Receiver is mounted on double sided foam pads on a piece of plasticard to ensure receiver is isolated from power sources. The "receiver" includes integral RC receiver, power controller and function controls, similar size to a DCC chip.


More wiring bodgery. I had to run the motor and lighting power leads from the rear of the truck cause the battery holder takes up most of the space on the bed.

The universal joint end near the motor had split at some stage and is Lockset to the motor shaft.


Motor 6 should be busy on track renewals during the next few months as I urgently need to replace the ties (sleepers) on approx 40+' of the main line that have failed after 16 years as a result of UV damage. 

Thinking of making up an inverted box to protect the electronics and as a base for a load.







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Posted (edited)


Motor #6 now got a load of ties (sleepers) to hide the batteries and electronics.


In true RGS struggling light railway fashion, the load includes salvaged ties once used on the raillroad.

The Jackson County was originally laid with AMS (Accuracraft) flexible track, switches (points) were a combination of Sunset Valley and hand laid on yellow-cedar ties machined to match the profile of the AMS ties as (luckily) no AMS switches were available. The plastic AMS ties began to deteriorate after 4-5 years as a result of UV exposure and gradually replaced on with Sunset Valley ties over the past 10 years. As the AMS/cedar ties were to a heavier profile cedar ties/crossing timbers gradually replaced with Sunset Valley.  

The ties were glued with exterior pva to a plasticard box that protects the batteries and electronics. Need to stain the cut ends of the cedar, though we once used second hand standard gauge sleepers cut in two on a Welsh narrow gauge line broadly similar in appearance.

Building in background is a loco shed which requires repairs to free up the outdoor workbench for a major track refurbishment programme. One side of shed looks reasonable, windows and frames missing on the opposite side and require replacement.

Motor #6 is slow just about capable of what appears to be a scale 10 mph, but nice to have it running again after several years out of use.


The throttles. Basically a single throttle allocated to a locomotive particularly an operating session with a number of different operators walking around running locos/trains. I usually set the large knob to control speed the small knob direction

Edited by Mayner
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  • 3 weeks later...
9 hours ago, LNERW1 said:

How similar is Number 6 to the Colorado Southern “Galloping Goose”?

#6 is considered to be a Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose although never used for mail or passenger/tourist traffic.

Although RGS management put in a bid to take over and operate the Colorado and Southern "South Park" line and operate it with 'motors" similar to the RGS the bid was not accepted and the South Park remained steam work until abandoned/converted to Standard Gauge.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Quite a break through this week repaired/replaced the windows in the Large Scale loco shed freeing up space on the outdoor workbench, to allow track repair work.


Shed built 2008-9 using treated construction ply overlaid with ripped down trellis rail and steel roof from an estate agents sign, similar in architectural  styling to the 3' gauge  East Broad Top, works at Orbisonia Pensylvannia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Broad_Top_Railroad_and_Coal_Company. Windows on one side had fallen out and wooden flashings (surrounds) needed replacement. Still got to sort out roof covering, vents and plumb up the post in the doorway! 


Ran a lifting train RGS style with caboose behind the loco to recover the rails from the 1st 20" section to be refurbished.


First rails removed, ties left in place. Rail fastening had basically failed after 16-17 years exposure to Sunlight. 

Replacement panels dropped to one side.

Rails were basically removed from the ties on the old RGS moved by train to the nearest roadside loading point, ties removed and trackbed tidies up with a dozer or a Drott.


Ballast bed  16-17 years after the track was 1st laid fabric material is the remains of weed mat. Ironically the first section of track to be lifted was more or less where we finished the last section of Main Line in a garden railway meet in 2008.


Taking realism to new levels the mark of baseplates clearly visible of the foot of the rail.


The real RGS was plagued by K27 tender de-railing during its final years of operation, in this case misaligned joints on the Wye Track.


Just like Portlaoise? re-conditioning rails by running them through the rolls to ease out kinks and other distortions before threading on the new ties.


Repaired panel in centre stock of tie strip on right.


Stock of replacement ties from supplier Sunset Valley Railroad, United States




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