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Doc's Classic Period Erector Train

Hi all, Doc here. Recently, I posted a feature on the new Meccano/Brio Special Edition Erector Train (shown at right) here on Girders & Gears. It represents the newest train to officially bear the Erector name. Also, earlier this year G&G reader Michael V.V. sent in pics of his prize winning Type I "Mysto" Erector train model. That design was the first train to bear the Erector name. Both of these models can be seen here in the Model Gallery. And, I'm sure many of you are familiar with the most famous Erector train, the late Classic Period Hudson.

But, between the time of the Mysto train and the famous Hudson another Erector train appeared in Erector manuals. During the early Classic Period, Gilbert designed a series of new train models that took advantage of some of the newest Erector parts. These models included a locomotive, tender, tank car, flat car, gondola, and caboose. The illustrations for these models from the 1926 No. 7 Erector manual are shown below.



For this pictorial I built two models: the locomotive and the tank car (or "oil car," as Gilbert called it). The locomotive is a 4-4-0 design of somewhat mixed heritage. It features a boiler/smokebox made from the (then) newly introduced T boiler part, and it uses 3 of the new W boiler stacks, one for the smokestack, and two for the outside cylinders (these are capped on each end with Z flanged wheels). Since this model was designed as a toy to be "run" on the floor, and not a scale model like the later Hudson, no attempt was made to have the wheels match in terms of "gauge,": the rear drive wheels have a wider stance than do the front wheels. Another design peculiarity is that the front (leading) truck, that would pivot on a real loco, cannot on this model since the outside cylinders are mounted directly onto the truck assembly. Once the connecting rods are in place between the drive wheels and the piston rods, very little rotation is possible. In terms of overall design, I think the front half of the loco looks like an early 20th century British Rail loco, while the back half looks more like a mid-19th century American loco. If you were to invert a black U boiler top and set it atop the smokestack, the effect would be even more pronounced.

The tank car is a simple design that shows how a few parts carefully assembled can effectively represent the real thing. The "tank" itself is composed of 8 C girders attached by CH angles to two BN turret plates to form a cylinder. This structure is bolted to a frame built primarily from C girders and P small base plates. The car rides on P7 pulleys, and the tank is capped with a crown gear.