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Simplex Loco

by JRinTawa    24th May 2011

Recently I purchased an IP Engineering Simplex locomotive from a fellow member of the Wellington Garden Railway Group, Chris Rogers, for the H&MGR.  While the Chris had done a satisfactory job of putting the principally white metal kit together, there were some things I felt would benefit from being reworked to suit the requirements of the H&MGR.

There was nothing major redone, just a few parts remounted by soft soldering rather than epoxy glue.  My preference with white metal being to either low melt solder or full temperature soft solder where I can get in and out of the joint quickly.  I felt soldering was particularly desirable for the axle box guards (with a couple of extra “rivets” added) and debris bars under the headstocks to the term rigors of garden railway use.  A minor adjustment with a file was needed to better align the motor worm drive gear with the idler shaft, and to suit our grades I also fitted IP Engineering's chain drive to get both axles driven.  The chain drive is a worthwhile addition regardless of your railways grades.  A cover plate made from styrene was added later as otherwise the gears are exposed to the leaves and debris of operation out in the garden.

I also reworked the wiring, mounting the 2xAAA batteries on board rather than in a training wagon as the Chris had done.  IP Engineering intend the kit to be used with on board batteries but there is not a lot of room and it took two goes to get the positioning correct.  I also squeezed in a charging socket for the batteries which IP Engineering don't design into the kit but it saves an awkward job getting the batteries out for recharging.

Visually the biggest change to give a bush feel to the Simplex, I imagineered a roof frame from brass rod and channel with a corrugated iron (well corrugated styrene) roofing.  It was sized by eye with reference to a few photos of similar locos to look right rather than to any particular plan.  


Final touch was a repaint and weathering and a little bit of surgery on Chris the driver to seat him better and suit where I had adjusted the foot pedal.

The Simplex has now had a bit of testing out on the H&MGR and performs sterlingly hauling 2 pairs or log bogies up our 1:50 grades.  Operation is either go or woe, forward or reverse simple switched control, but it ambles along at a very industrial speed and such rudimentary control is adequate for this wee beastie.  
Possibly the project would have been easier if I had been assembling the kit from scratch, certainly it would have given me more options for how to do the wiring, but I am more than impressed with the model and can see me buying some kits from IP Engineering ( http://www.ipengineering.co.uk/ ) in the future - their Lister is very tempting indeed.