By David Jackson

Many cash strapped railways often converted road vehicles into rail vehicles to provide locomotives or railcars.  When I saw this model of a Piaggio Ape pick up, I could also see the potential of converting into a permanent way scooter.

The first task was to strip it down to its component parts to see where the new drive motor would fit and how to fit ‘trailing’ wheels

I made a new cab floor to fit a motor and gearbox, the rear wheels were mounted into axle boxes which were fixed onto small pieces of wood and glued onto the base of the rear carrier area. I was able to drill out the original model’s motor so that the rail axle passed through.

To my mind no permanent way vehicle should be without flashing warning lights and these have been fitted into the cab roof.   All that remained was to re-fit the seat with a driver, wire up a remote – control receiver, connect a battery and start driving!

I have put tools and a toolbox into the rear carrier tray and fitted a length of coupling chain onto the rear drawbar and a front buffer beam so that this model can pull a wagon.

As my layout is end to end, this scooter is most likely to run front first as seen by the signal box above. I’ve used a motor and gearbox from I P engineering, a Swift Sixteen driver, and a Deltang receiver, powered by a small Li-Po battery from Component Shop (other suppliers are available).