I have been contemplating building a large rail motor for the TVT, but hadn't got past acquiring a motor and some gears, although a few concept drawings had been done, mostly based on rail motors operated by the EBR in Tasmania.
I remember the VR broad gauge Walker railcars from my childhood, although they rarely ran on our line. I mostly saw them on trips during holidays, which has probably left me with rosier memories than the real ones deserved.
I was aware that Trackshack were planning a model of one of the CDJR/IOMR Walker railcars, but they don't ship outside the UK. Then as you do, I was browsing Argyle Loco's website a while back and found that they had some Accucraft Walker railcars. Predictably they had sold the last one just before I rang them......
Anyway, to cut to the chase, Lesley managed to track down one of the last ones left in captivity and some of the kid's inheritance changed hands.
The model eventually arrived in Oz and was delivered safely last Wednesday. It is now sitting on the bench while I contemplate how to fit it out for r/c battery power. As it comes it is set up only for track power, although I believe Trackshack were offering to fit r/c battery power as an option.
The photos show it standing in the steaming bay on a dreary day between rain showers. The lighting is better for photography though.
The first photo shows it from the power unit end.
The next photo shows the back end of the passenger section, looking like the back of a bus, which they basically were.
The last photo shows it buffered up to a bogie guards van, showing that it fits in well with other TVT rolling stock. There's no space for goods and parcels in the railcar itself, so it will be getting a suitable trailer when I get around to building it. In the meantime a guards van will fill in for a bespoke trailer.
This model is too big to work on in the study, so the r/c conversion will have to wait until I can clear enough space in the workshop. Current planning is to use a Tx from the Aust supplier RCS, with one of the new Omega-10 ESCs also from RCS. The rest of the hardware can be sourced from the local Jaycar Electronics and a local model aeroplane shop.
That will at least get it working, so I can run it on the home track. Longer term it will get a dedicated trailer and the batteries will then be moved into that, so the big ugly battery box under the passenger section can be removed. It may acquire a new coat of paint and some detail mods at the same time. The early VR Walker silver and royal blue scheme appeals........
Why a Walker railcar, apart from nostalgia?
Well, the largest customer for Walker railcars was actually the Victorian Railways, who during the late '40s/early '50s had acquired twelve 102HP and fifteen 153HP broad gauge railcars, basically similar to the ng Irish ones, for branchline services. There were also twelve much larger 280HP cars for mainline services. There was also a ng Walker railcar in Aust., owned by the EBR in Tasmania and delivered during WW2 to a pre-war design. All of which makes a Walker railcar reasonably believable on a minor Aust. railway.
The 102HP VR cars are shown here on Mark Bau's VR website. http://www.victorianrailways.net/motive ... lk102.html
The resemblance between the VR 102/153HP cars built in the late '40s and the Irish ng cars built in the early '50s is strong and it may be that the VR ones were used as the basis of the styling of the Irish cars built for the CDJR and WCR. The VR ones were all double ended, but otherwise similar in construction, the bodywork being basically the same as a road bus of the period. The VR ones had bodywork built by Martin & King in Melbourne, who built bus bodies, among other things.
My story is that the TVT staggered into the post-war period in dire need of a major investment in track and rolling stock, like the rest of the Aust. railway system. The VR wanted no part of the TVT as it was busy closing down it's own ng lines, so some money was extracted from the State Govt. to keep the line afloat and some of it was spent on a Walker railcar to maintain the passenger service.
Prewar the TVT passenger service was a daily mixed train. Like the VR broad gauge branch lines after the advent of their Walker railcars, the service changed to a daily rail motor service and a weekly steam hauled roadside goods. The railcar providing a faster service and a more comfortable one than a road bus, while the last serviceable steam loco (the Bagnall) soldiers on with the weekly goods trains.
The pictures in the victorianrailways website seem to show spoked wheeled and uncoupled on the driving car. Are there other versions with coupled driving wheels?
currently building the 5" gauge Circle Line
All the small VR broad gauge Walker railcars had only one axle driven, the rear one on the power unit. The power units were built with disc wheels, but the VR changed them to spoked wheels within a few years.
The only Walker railcar that ran in Aust with coupled driving axles was the ng EBR Walker in Tasmania.
This link shows the railmotors the VR Walkers replaced, so yes they looked very modern when new. They certainly impressed this train mad preschooler at the time........
http://www.victorianrailways.net/motive ... c/aec.html
Big mistake, as it turned into a month of monkeying around to find out why it wouldn't work properly.
I already had a RCS Tx-1, so all I needed was an ESC and an RX and some batteries. The ECS and Rx came from RCS here in Australia and work started after the Ozpost delivery snail finally found it's way here.
Three weeks later and numerous emails between myself, Tony at RCS and Steve at FosWorks and it finally started working the way it was intended. The RCS and Fosworks hardware works well and I can't fault Tony's customer service. The issue was finally traced to the motor fitted to the model by Accucraft. Sigh...
The first job was to strip out all the pickups and wiring for track power, which is how these models are supplied. Not difficult, but I recovered enough wire for another couple of models.
The original plan was to fit the Rx and ESC into the cab and the batteries in the battery box already fitted to the model by the factory. There was enough space for 12 x Eneloops AA cells which are my preference anyway, but a 4S Li-ion battery takes up about the same volume.
The first two photos shows the original electronics fit in the cab and the battery setup.
That's when the fun started. The first problem was that the Rx/ESC didn't respond to the Tx. It turned out my Tx needed to be calibrated to the ESC. With this done, the model then ran on the bench, so the chassis was taken out for a track test.
That was the start of rounds 2, 3, 4, etc......... The model started to run, then stopped and had to be turned off to reset everything.
It looked like some sort of RF interference was going on, so the electronics were rearranged so the Rx was as far from the motor as possible. The rough lashup is shown in the photo. In the final setup the wiring is all under a false floor and is invisible to an observer.
No improvement, so then various suppression components were fitted. Some days it worked, some days it didn't. To cut a long story short, the problem was eventually traced to the motor.
The motor fitted to the model is a Mabuchi, one of the numerous variations of their RS-385 motor. Works fine when used with DC track pickup, but it seems to generate spikes that cause the micro controller chip used in the ESC to reset, causing the model to stop until the controls are reset.
For some reason 385 size motors are as rare as hen's teeth in Oz, so we had to wait for a Como RE-385 to arrive from the UK, as the local importer doesn't bother stocking them. After the replacement arrived, I found out that Jaycar sell a 385 size motor locally, but you wouldn't know it by reading their catalog.
Replacing the motor sorted out the interference problems and the model was then re-assembled, after some modifications with a Dremel so the body would fit the chassis properly, without resorting to rude words. The model comes fitted with a headlight and internal passenger lighting, which now has an on/off switch. The LEDs were blue white, so they have been given a few coats of Tamiya transparent yellow paint, as Walker railcars had 24V incandescent bulbs and a pale yellow glow would be more appropriate.
It rained yesterday, but it held off this afternoon, so the next two photos show the model during a flawless test run on a gloomy SE Aust winter afternoon, just as the light was failing.
The new motor is a little slower than the factory original, which is not a bad thing. Top speed is now about 20 scale mph from a 14.4V battery and radio range is at least 75', which is as far away as I can get and stay in line of sight on my block. On previous experience with 2.4GHz r/c in a brass bodied loco, that seems pretty good to me. If it goes out of sight the ESC has cruise control, so it just keeps running anyway.
The next step is to build a 4 wheel parcels/luggage van for the rail motor. It may eventually get a passenger trailer along the lines of the West Clare ones, but my metalworking isn't up to that level yet. Either way, the battery will be moved to the trailing vehicle, so there will be daylight under the rail motor. That and the threatened repaint can wait though.......
Yes, the bodywork is well made and captures the subtle curves of the original. The only problem was the flaky Mabuchi motor......
No sound card is fitted, as I couldn't find one that sounded much like the Gardner diesel installed in the VR Walkers and lost interest.
What you saw is the RCS Omega 10 ESC, which is a custom built version of a Fosworks ESC. An Omega 10 is overkill with the new motor in terms of current rating, but it is the only low-off ESC that RCS currently sell and has other features that I found desirable, like cruise control.
Peter in Va
What wonderful memories, Peter. I have a great affection for CDR railcars. At some point I intend constructing one or two, though not sure if I too have the manpower to install turntables. .....IrishPeter wrote: ↑Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:58 pmMy recollection of riding in the CDRJC railcars on the IMR when I was a kid is that they were lively runners even running as a back-to-back pair. The state of the track on the IMR in the late 1970s was such that you did not push it, but they could do 30mph on the level with some still in reserve. According to Walker's they were capable of either 38mph or 41mph (one is for the CDRJC cars, the other for the WCR ones, but I cannot remember which is which) and they were certainly up to it. The only catches I could discover - other than their lively riding characteristics - was that they had lorry type crash gearboxes, which became more problematical as the older Road Services personnel retired, and the synchromesh generation took over. The IMR had plans for turntables at the termini but by the early 1960s they did not have the manpower to install them.
Peter in Va
The riding qualities of the VR Walkers when I rode on them in the '70s was pretty ordinary and varied depending on where you sat. It was bad if you sat over the bogie at the passenger end and even worse if you sat at the end near the motor unit. Needless to say, the first class section was at the better riding end of the passenger unit.
The interesting thing is they were described in the press as smooth and quiet when first put into traffic. I suppose that compared to what they replaced that could well have been true, as their predecessors were based on an AEC Y type truck chassis.
The VR Walkers were double-ended, so had more sophisticated transmissions that could be remote controlled. From memory they were fitted with fluid flywheels and Wilson electro-pneumatic gearboxes. The VR ones were built in the late '40s, so presumably the Wee Donegal specified crash boxes to save money when they ordered theirs a few years later.
The little 102hp branchline units (called pie carts by railway staff) were limited to 45mph, but the big 280hp mainline units could get up over 60mph. The ride got interesting at mainline speeds though..........
I gave the Walker railcar it's first run in sunshine and the photo shows it heading north along the back of the track in late afternoon sun, trailing a guards van until it's bespoke mail and parcels van is completed.
The run was accompanied by by the sound of a turf war between the local rainbow lorikeet flock and the resident gang of noisy miners. The rainbows seem to have won, as they were still in possession of the disputed flowering eucalyptus when I went out at lunchtime.
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species ... haematodus
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species ... anocephala
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