By Philip Elwin

To set the scene, I had been very impressed with the idea of carrying standard gauge wagons on narrow gauge transporters having seen it done during annual holidays in Switzerland. Eventually this resulted in an idea for a wagon designed to carry gauge 3 trucks, representing standard gauge, on my 32mm gauge 1/19th scale line.

The project got under way and the wagon was completed 14 years ago.  Feeling rather pleased with it I wrote it up for Garden Rail and acquired a further couple of lengths of 1/4 inch brass angle to make another.  Nothing much happened after that and this material has been lurking in the corner of my workshop ever since, so this year I figured it was time to finish the job.

Main girders and other components during assembly

The design has been simplified as much as possible and the main elements are a pair of U shaped girders, in this case 1/16 inch brass about 20 inches long.  These form the long parts of the frame and the rail on which the standard gauge wagons run. To create this, the L shaped angle is joined together in pairs giving the U shape.  I did not solder a long seam but used four brass patches soldered inside the U profile.  They appear on the outside of the frame leaving the inside unobstructed for the stretchers.  One patch is fixed near each end and the others equally spaced along the length.

The assembled frames

These two long chassis channels need holding 2 1/2 inches apart to suit gauge 3.  For this, two box units, soldered up from brass strip, provide rigidity at the ends and provide a home for the couplings. I used 1/32nd inch for the shaped cross pieces and 1/16th inch for the short end spacers to provide more purchase when drilled and threaded.  Additional 1/32nd brass strip is formed into bridge shapes replicating the prototype bogie locations drilled in the centre for bogie pivots.  Two more simple stretchers are shaped like gables to support the roof protecting the centrally mounted brake gear. These have scrap chassis angle attached to each end for the mounting bolts.  All cross pieces must allow for the gauge three wheel flanges so they should not fit right up to the top of the main girders although they can be flush at the bottom.

The cross members are drilled for 8 BA. The bogie mounts drilled clear and fixed using nuts and bolts, the rest, using thicker section are threaded 8 BA. On the long chassis members all holes are drilled clear.

One of the bogies

The bogies are ordinary inside framed types, the fixed Brandbright wheel sets are held from dropping out by keeper bars.  I suppose the axle journals should really be taken off, but you never know, I might need the wheels for something else in the future.  The first version was given plain covers over the supposed springs but on this one I got extravagant and added dummy spring detail. Most of our narrow gauge model bogies are pretty well hidden from view but these are quite visible from above.

Prominent fittings are the long bars to which the standard gauge wheel chocks are attached bracketed on the outside of the mainframe. These allow the chocks to be adjusted for the wheelbase of the load and to be swung out and away from the top of the girder for loading.  I filed up 8 brass brackets, drilled and tapped to take the steel bar.  These are a close fit to the chassis channel and are fixed by soldering. You only need to tap and thread one end of each bar and bracket set, the other can be free.

Adding the long bars to which the wheel chocks are attached

The travelling chocks are filed up from 1/4 inch brass bar soldered to thin brass sheet which is folded round the bars so they slide and swing out as they should.

Fitting the wheel chocks

To make a model convincing I think some additional detail is essential. I have tried not to overdo it and the list includes handbrake wheels, load/unload brake force indicator, brake hoses, lamp pockets and some assorted scrap bar and tube under the ‘roof’ to suggest brake cylinders and tanks when viewed from the side.  Fortunately the prototype wagon has a protective ‘roof’ over the brake mechanicals so not too much detail is needed there.

Handbrake wheel and other details

There are differing arrangements for coupling these wagons depending on the prototype railway you follow, mine have couplings but many, the Saxon lines for instance, have reach bars instead.

Bogie and coupling in place

What did I use?  Well most of the 1/32nd brass is K & S and the angle came from Live Steam Models at Little Eaton.  The soft soldering was done using a Proxxon Microflame butane blow lamp and 60 tin/ 40 lead solder.

The completed wagon in use