I currently have insufficient running space for my recently purchased Beyer Garrett, so my Dad borrowed the loco to see how it would get on around point work and curves. After a few weeks my Dad highlighted some issues regarding derailments over points. I decided to investigate further and took the Garratt for a test run at the Swindon Model Railway Club.
I did a little bit of work adjusting the gauge of the pony wheels just before the tests in Swindon, but this didn’t seem to make too much difference, as it still derailed sometimes on points. Despite the occasional derailment, I had a great time at the club and I had the opportunity to do some consist running with x2 Garratts. Here is a video of the two Garratts double heading:
A couple of bits broke off the Garratt while it moved around the rather tight curved platforms on the club layout, but I had already considered removing some of these finer details anyway (knowing that they wouldn’t stay on the loco too long while being run).
Garratt on the work bench.
On returning to my workbench I decided to remove some of the detail more likely to go amiss. I clipped off some of the detail beneath the boiler and removed the ultra fine steps from the buffer beams. I also taped down the wires leading between the two motors so they are completely concealed. Very simple jobs, but these changes looked good and made the Garratt easier to move around in my hands (an awkward task).
Pony Wheel Brakes
The version of the Garratt I have is one that had the brakes on the pony wheels removed. I have heard some people compaining on model railway forums that these brakes shouldn’t have been present, but they are a doddle to remove. I just used some sharp plastic cutters and within a few seconds the brakes were in the bits box.
Pony wheel compensation
I started to wonder whether the cause of derailments was due to the pony wheel jumping over point work. I looked at my other locomotives with pony trucks and wheels and found that most are sprung or weighted. I removed the pony wheels and roughed up the top of the pony wheel with some wet and dry paper to act as a key for super glue. I then super glued a spring to the top of the bar attached to the pony wheel. This modification provides a little bit of compensation to the pony wheel, which should help keep them firmly on the tracks.
I haven’t had the time to conduct a further test run, to see whether the sprung pony wheels have done the job, but I will report back when I have to let you know whether this modification was a success.