The AFK's locomotives



The predominant interest of most modellers in examining someone else's layout is often the loco stud. Layouts frequently feature a large motive power depot, out of all proportion with the likely traffic needs of the railway modelled.  The AFK will be a disappointment to many in this respect in that MPDs are downplayed. Only two of the railway's four feature on the layout and of these one is little more than a dressed fiddleyard. The other is a remote subshed that is only partially modelled and cannot properly accommodate its charge, the branch's rack engine! The AFK's locos are expected to earn a living rather than lounging unproductively on shed!

The layout's motive power has been drawn from a diverse range of prototypes, selected from many countries and running upon different gauges. The models have been arranged to fit onto commercially available chassis which has necessitated taking liberties with their overall proportions. These discrepancies have been reconciled by using a 'flexi-scale' approach whereby items are built to roughly the same basic dimensions, irrespective of the size of the original, so that disparate prototypes can happily stand next to one another without looking (too) ridiculous. Components of the originals that I dislike have been omitted or altered to fit my personal preferences during the course of construction with the result that no model can claim to be an accurate representation of a prototype.

In overall terms the steam locos reflect German practice and are usually a credible pastiche of the originals whilst the railcars are generally based upon French prototypes. The diesel stud is less realistic. Some models are passable copies of real machines but there are a number of freelanced interlopers based upon early electric designs which have no provenance as internal combustion engine machines, let alone being representative of NG practice! Each loco has been provided with a thumbnail description. This includes the power category rating, with I being the most powerful and IV the least, although these are not allocated to railcars. The status of the model is shown as many are incomplete but are available for operating sessions. Each model has been allocated a theoretical builder depending upon how faithful to the original it is. Interested readers should not search out the relatively little known factories of Szabadúszó, Liberlaboris or Vigdis, however, as these are merely, according to Google, translations respectively of the Hungarian, Esperanto and Icelandic words for "Freelanced".   Finally each loco's plausibility has been assessed on a five point scale. This is obviously a personal rating and some may beg to differ but at the end of the day beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Others will undoubtedly find my products unsatisfying or even ugly but for me they look the part and do the job.
  
  

  
  
101 0-4-0TT  (O&K)
 Power category: III  
Status: complete
Plausibility: ***
  
    
This is the original locomotive built for the AFK, constructed in the late 1970s as I contemplated moving up the scales from OO9. The smooth running mechanism, compared to the cheap N gauged chassis under the smaller locomotives, precipitated the change of scale, well before any commercial products were available. It remains in service today, partly out of sentiment, although it has been cascaded down the list of duties performed, as befits a veteran. Built onto a Fleischmann 0-4-0T chassis the locomotive was styled upon a 600 mm prototype and provided with a tender to increase the pick ups and improve reliability. The loco has undergone a number of rebuilds, not least because the original motor gave up the ghost many years ago necessitating the provision of a new tender built around a Fleischmann 0-4-0 diesel shunter chassis. 101 nowadays finds employment on the pick-up goods that traverse the KTT although she would be grossly underpowered in reality. 
  
Plausibility rating:~ mediocre. The model is a reasonable copy of a 600 mm contactor's loco which would be underpowered on the AFK.
  
    
202 2-6-0RT (SLM Winterthur)
Power category: III  
Status: complete
Plausibility: **
  
    
 Number 202 is in essence a generic NG locomotive (nowadays adapted to rack working) and was originally the second AFK loco. It has had a chequered career having originally used the mechanism from a Roco DB class 80. This never performed well as the wheels seemed particularly prone to becoming dirty and, when the railway's coupling system was changed, the loco was set aside for three or four years. The purchase of a standard second-hand Fleischmann BR 80 chassis saw the fitting of a rack wheel into this mechanism and 202 was revitalised as a rack loco before, eventually acquiring a proper Fleischmann rack mechanism. The body also received a make over into a rather more respectable condition than it originally carried. 202 is outstationed at Jakarutu, although it also acts as station pilot at Ithilarak, the junction with the main line. 
  
Plausibility rating:~ somewhat questionable as there is no separate rack gear and the inside cylinders for this are dummies.
  
   
303 2-6-0 Diesel (Relforka rebuild of steam chassis)
Power category: IV  
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
 
      
303 was inspired by a rebuilt steam loco on the 600 mm Toury-Pithiviers system. The loco is usually based at Fenditavalat, where it acts as pilot and works the transfer runs to Rivabordo, the CFS exchange. The chassis is the Roco HO version of an 08 shunter, as used on the Dutch railways (class 500/600). One of the older models on the system, it was built during my student days and has given good service, perhaps a reflection on the mechanism's simple construction. A deliberately boxy body was built and fitted with the ‘engine’ from an Airfix fire engine, supplemented by the radiator grille from the 08. I am not sure how the authorities would view such an exposed contraption wandering up and down the main streets of their town but there is a hood available if there are too many complaints.
  
Plausibility rating:~ high given that it is a shunter. Although the prototype was a 600 mm loco it was common to re-power the chassis with a diesel engine during the interwar period in France.
  
  
404 2-6-2T (Krupp)
Power category: IV  
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
    
    
The prototype was built for the metre gauge Harzquerbahn and was meant to be the basis of a new standard class for the German NG, but no other class members ever materialised. The first ‘big’ AFK loco this was based on a second-hand Fleischmann class 64 bought as a student, which gave endless trouble over the years, spending more time in bits on the work bench than on the layout. I finally bit the bullet and replaced the chassis with a much more modern version which has never given any trouble, once pick-ups had been fitted onto the pony wheels. Downgraded in importance 404 is a secondary jack of all trades being equally at home on goods or passenger trains. 
  
Plausibility rating:~  high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
505 2-8-2T (Henschel)
Power category: II  
Status: complete
Plausibility: **
    
  
This is a freelanced loco inspired by the big powerful SG tanks once found in Germany and Eastern Europe. Many of its leading characteristics were based upon an amalgam of the Czech Railways 436 and 464 classes. Power was initially supplied by a Rivarossi mechanism of an Italian prototype but it proved impossible to persuade this mechanism to run reliably and it was eventually replaced by a converted Bachmann WD 2-8-0 with new pony trucks added fore and aft. The loco’s most distinctive features are the ‘elephant’s ears’ smoke deflectors, a little over the top for the NG perhaps, but they do convey an illusion of power. The current mechanism's medium speed results in it often being assigned to the banking duties on the Vulpafaŭkangulo, as it provides a reasonable match for most train engines. 
  
Plausibility rating:~ the high pitched boiler and smoke deflectors make this loco look like a scaled down SG loco ~ which of course is what it is!
  
  
606 2-4-0T (Szabadúszó)
 Power category: III  
Status: complete
Plausibility: 0
  
  
This was a freelanced ‘quickie’ built for a small exhibition layout I once owned. Loco size was limited by a sector plate and a shortage of the locos that would fit onto it suggested that it might be prudent to have a reserve on hand. A spare Rivarossi dock tank chassis was used to quickly create the new power. Visually the loco's most arresting feature is the Brotan boiler which was a primitive feed water heater used extensively in Hungary during the early twentieth century. An oil bunker has also been added onto the tank top with a hole through it to allow limited sighting from the cab during shunting operations whist coal is fed to the fire from a roof top bunker. The model could pull the side off a house but is rarely used on the layout as its running is a little rough. It can usually be found dozing, out of steam, at Aspargo, Lacono’s shed, waiting for an infrequent call to cover for one of the other engines. It is deputising here for the Eromarbordo branch loco.

Plausibility rating:~ approximately nil. These modifications were very occasionally applied to SG locos and even less so to the NG.
  
  
707 0-6-2T (Corpet Louvet)
Power category: IV  
Status: complete
Plausibility: ***

  
Lacono's station pilot duty is often covered by this generic shunter. The chassis is converted from a Roco 08 chassis with some amended Fleischmann valve gear added to give an impression of a Joy mechanism. The loco is the ‘pet’ of Aspargo shed and, although it has been converted to oil firing, it is the only AFK steam loco not to be painted in black, retaining the 'older' green livery. This mechanism has had a chequered history as an attempt was made to convert it to a rack mechanism years ago, but this had to be abandoned because the rod drives produced a jerky action on the rack sections. Running nowadays is quite reasonable but I have never quite been able to exorcise a ‘knock’ and so the loco's forays onto the main line are restricted.

Plausibility rating:~ reasonable in that many similar NG locos were used in France. The rating would probably increase if the oil bunker was removed from the rear, which can easily be achieved as it is a clip fit.
  
  
808 I-C-I (Relforka rebuild of steam chassis)
Power category: III  
Status: complete
Plausibility: 0
  
This is a totally freelanced design based on the remains of a Fleischmann mechanism which had been bought with an initial view towards creating a rack tank, which developed into a complex story. Eventually I was left with a smooth running inside framed 0-6-0 chassis which fitted no known continental prototype. Two pony trucks were added, using wagon wheels, and a jackshaft drive was arranged using a spare pair of Fleischmann drivers. Given the ancestry of the chassis I decided to go the whole hog and create the kind of model that got NG modelling such a bad name in the days of Eggerbahn. Various remnant parts from a large scale tank kit were fitted as was an outside boiler with chimney for carriage heating, as if anyone would ever think to allocate such a contraption to a passenger train. In all probability it should probably be viewed as an abomination on a serious layout but it runs well and I like it so it stays, usually working local goods trains in the Kasatritikakamparoj.

Plausibility rating:~ none whatsoever!
  
  
909 0-10-0T (Hartmann)
Power category: II
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****

  
This is a simple rebodying of the Fleischmann Deutsches Bundesbahn class 94 to represent a standard German NG design for the 750 mm gauge, as was common in Baden-Württemberg. The engine is one of the few models based upon a 750 mm prototype. As a throwback to my childhood, with memories of the Tri-ang M7 in mind, the smokebox door was made to open and a representation of the blastpipe and boiler faceplate was placed inside. The only drawback with the mechanism is the rigid chassis which can cause the loco to rock on the centre axle in the many places where the track is less than perfect, causing intermittent electrical contact. Skates have been added to improve the current collection and the loco performs well on a wide variety of duties.

Plausibility rating:~ high. The model is a reasonable representation of a 750 mm prototype, although there were variations between batches and the model is generic.
  
  
111 2-10-2T (Schwarzkopff)
Power category: I
Status: complete
Plausibility: ****
​​
  
The German railways had various 2-10-2T designs on both the metre gauge and the 750 mm lines. This loco is an amalgam of the features that I prefer from both gauges and a number of sub classes. It is based on a Fleischmann Deutsches Bundesbahn class 95 chassis, which is of a modern design. This has caused a number of problems resulting in the loco being prone to derailment in a manner that its older forebears were not. These problems have gradually been addressed until the loco has reached a reasonable level of reliability although it is one of the first candidates called to test suspect track formations, the reasoning being that if this loco can run over the track the chances are that everything else can. The loco is a good puller and equally at home on freight and passenger duties.

Plausibility rating:~ quite high, although the mixture of details from the metre and 750 mm prototypes results in a generic rather than accurate depiction.
  
  
212 0-4-4-0T (Hartmann)
Power category III
Status: complete
Plausibility: **
  
  
This  loco is based on the Rivarossi model of the Deutsches Bundesbahn class 98. The chassis was originally bought with the idea of converting it to a Mallet tank. One look ‘under the bonnet’ scotched this idea and so the obvious choice for the loco was to base it upon a 750 mm gauge Saxon Meyer. The body was constructed without any difficulties and provides a change from the more conventional AFK locomotives. The only problem is that the complicated articulation method favoured by this manufacturer absorbs much of the motor’s power leaving it struggling to pull a reasonable load. For this reason the loco is usually allocated to the Eromarbordo branch where its shortcomings are not as apparent as they would be on the steeply graded mainline. 

Plausibility rating:~ low. Although the prototypes were 750 mm locos the spacing of the bogies was much further apart mitigating against a truly realistic appearance and a compromised body. I quite like the effect however and my only regret is the inability to increase the cylinder sizes.
  
  
313 2-6-6-0T (Piguet)
Power category I
Status: complete
Plausibility: ***
  
  
This loco was inspired by the metre gauge Reseau Breton mallets and was originally intended to be an 0-6-6-0T. It is built around a Mantua mechanism for a SG 2-6-6-2T although the pony trucks were removed from the original as they had very small wheels with outside framing. This mechanism has proved to be a very reliable runner although it is one of the older varieties featuring full metal valve gear. I understand that more modern versions incorporate plastic components making them more susceptible to wear and breakage. It quickly became apparent that the locomotive was too ungainly as conceived and so a leading pony truck was added to balance the machine's visual appearance. The loco performs a wide range of duties and is seen here on a mixed train which will run the full length of the line.

Plausibility rating:~ reasonable. Although it obviously is not a Reseau Breton machine there were other locos of this wheel formation along with the unlikely 2-4-6-0Ts of the Portuguese Railways.
  
  
414 0-8-8-0T (VIgdis)
 Power category I
Status: incomplete
Plausibility: 0
  
  
The big mallet has become something of a cause celebre on the AFK. The Rivarossi chassis was bought many years ago from a reputable dealer before the rise of the internet. After removal from its factory packaging it promptly threw the drive shaft out of the universal couplings upon being reversed and the problems continued from thereon in. Part of the gear train had to be removed to persuade the mechanism to move at anything more than a crawl and its sluggish performance required the use of a specially allocated ancient H&M controller in normal service. Even then there were problems and the model was recently re-motored with a Mashima can. Although performance has improved it is still less than overwhelming as the drive train absorbs most of the power output. The loco has been 15 years or so in gestation and I would seriously advise any modeller contemplating using this mechanism to think again. The freelanced body styling has also proved to be an issue and the front end bears more than a passing resemblance to American SG practice.

Plausibility rating:~ none. There was little need for such large locos on the European NG outside the Spanish mineral haulers and where they were required Garratts were the  preferred choice.
  
515 0-4-4-0T Mallet This number has been allocated to two mechanisms which failed for various reasons to reach fruition. After two false starts there is hope that a mechanism may have be found for this proposed loco but as yet no work has been undertaken on this third version.

616 2-8-2T This loco was started many years ago and based upon a Swedish prototype but was put into abeyance and left. The mechanism is still there along with a 'kit' of some body parts awaiting attention.

717 Potentially allocated to a proposed 2-8-4T outside cylindered loco based upon the Londonderry & Lough Swilly 4-8-4Ts. Little more than a pipedream at the moment!
  
  
818 0-8-0 (O&K)
Power category II
Status: a basic shell
Plausibility: ***
  
  
The model is based on a cross between the Polish 750 mm locomotives and the Pommersche Mecklenburg 600 mm prototypes. Although the most modern Polish Px48 prototypes had high running plates the older WP29 class had a more conventional appearance. These aspects have been combined with features of the Mecklenburg Pommersche locos to produce a semi-freelanced design. This is the most recent loco to enter AFK service and there have been problems The original mechanism was an old fashioned Fleischmann Deutsches Bundesbahn class 55 but the six wheeled tender providing the power would not run through some of the AFK's pointwork because of the gear wheels cast into the back of the wheels. The mechanism was substituted with a more modern one although there still remained problems due to the electrical pick up. The long fixed rigid wheelbase has had skates fitted and pick ups on the tender have been enhanced although there are still intermittent problems.

Plausibility rating:~ reasonable given that it is an amalgam of 600 mm and 750 mm prototypes.
  
  
121 BoBo (Gmeinder)
 Power category II
Status: complete
Plausibility: **
  
  
This loco is another survivor from the early years of the AFK, dating from the early 1980s. It was built onto an unaltered Roco chassis for an Dutch class 2400. At the time of construction I decided to leave the drive shafts of the mechanism alone which resulted in a short chassis and a hunched look to the model. The body, which was meant to be based upon a DB class V51/52 (built to both the 750mm and metre gauges) was also small and rather under-scale and as other motive power became available it was sidelined. A quick and lazy rebuild propped the body shell above a couple of girders, which at least derived some credence from the prototype machines, without really addressing the underlying problems and the loco soldiers on today.

Plausibility rating:~ poor because although it is based on a 750 mm prototype it is much too small to be realistic.
  
  
222 I-Co-Co-I (Vigdis)
Power category I
Status: complete
Plausibility: 0
  
  
This loco is a totally freelanced loco drawing inspiration from an SNCF SG electric loco and some NG electrically powered machines. There is no diesel powered equivalent but as I like the variety of wheel formations and body designs adopted by the early electric loco designers the decision was taken to build this model. The chassis came from a Bachmann class 45 and was left unaltered as it provides plenty of power and runs smoothly. The body was almost finished when a I decided to retrospectively add a luggage compartment in the centre of the body. This was quite a common feature in both SG and NG continental electric locos and allows trains to be run without an independent brake van if necessary. 

Plausibility rating:~ none.
  
  
323 C-C (Liberlaboris)
Power category I
Status: complete
Plausibility: *
  
  
Although there is no actual prototype for this loco it draws inspiration from the little known 750 mm gauge V3648 machines provided for the Deutsches Reichbahn. Two experimental machines to this design were provided for evaluation on the East German NG and should not be confused with the much more common V36 SG shunters. The real machines were unsuccessful whereas the model leads a more productive life, albeit that its chassis has no resemblance to the real things. The chassis was taken from a Roco DB class E91 which was a pre-WWII electric loco. Although it is a solid puller it lacks the speed to be more than a freight engine and there is a noticeable difference in speed between directions. The mechanism has been orientated so that the slower direction points downhill. The body is in three sections with the two engine compartments moving independently of the central cab. I have never been able to discover position of the East German locos' exhaust but as there is no room for a fuel tank on the model as built this seems to be a minor consideration. As befits a freight engine its disreputable finish reflects a hard life toiling unseen outside the public eye.

Plausibility rating:~ very low. The real machines were much larger and had outside framed bogies.
  
  
424 0-6-0 (Relforka rebuild of steam chassis)
Power category IV
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  
This model represents another steam loco conversion based upon a process that was quite common on the French metre gauge. The prototype selected ran on the Blanc-Argent line, although its roof carried a number of cylinders. The model is built upon a Bachmann 08 chassis which has had its performance improved with skate pick ups. The bonnet has been left open, partly because the prototypes often ran without their side panels, presumably because they were prone to overheating. An aftermarket aircraft engine for large scale WWI models has been installed to hide the gearbox and, although the sliding doors can be opened, the motor is in the cab. The model usually deputises for either the Lacono or Fenditavalat shunter to provide a change.

Plausibility rating:~ high particularly given that these locos were do-it-yourself conversions carried out in local workshops.
  
  
525 Co-Co Power category I (MaK converted at Relforka)
Power category I
Status: completed but awaiting minor repairs
Plausibility: *****
  
  
The prototypes for this large locomotive were the metre gauge Co-Cos used on the Harzquerbahn in East Germany. These were converted from DB class V100 SG Bo-Bos, which were built by numerous manufacturers. The loco was built upon a Heljan class 47 chassis but there proved to be problems with the performance of this, as supplied, on the AFK's demanding route. It was dismantled as a result and the components were rebuilt into the current mechanism. The loco is now a powerful performer, although there are sometimes difficulties in persuading it to restart on the stiff gradients necessitating the mechanism to be reversed before proceeding. There were originally plastic steps in the access wells but these were knocked off by the rocks in the Aepto Gorge and the loco is awaiting replacements.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the difference in gauge.
  
  
626 Bo-Bo (Grazer Waggonfabrik)
Power category I
Status: complete (possibly?)
Plausibility: ****
  
  
The prototype for this loco was the 2070 class (OBB 2093) which was an early attempt at dieselisation on the Austrian 760 mm lines, being built in 1927. The design included a ventilated clerestory and had large exhaust silencers on the roof, although these have currently been omitted from the model but may be added in the future. The running gear of these locos was provided by large American bar frame bogies, which are absent from the AFK version. The model's chassis was obtained from a Roco class 215 and was installed without modification. It was one of a batch obtained cheaply. They perform well without modification giving smooth running and good haulage capacity and are easy to lengthen if necessary. Some changes have been made to the model's bodywork to represent the AFK's preference for left hand drive locos in contrast to Austrian practice.

Plausibility rating:~ high although there are discrepancies from the prototype.
  
  
727 I-B-I
Power category II
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  
The class 2041 (OBB 2091) locomotives were an attempt to deal with the sharply curved Austrian 760mm NG lines by incorporating pony trucks to lead the mechanism into the curves. They were built in 1936 but subjected to much revision in later life. The AFK's version is actually a I-B-I as opposed to the disguised Bo-Bo mechanism which is more commonly used to represent these locos in model form. A Fleischmann four wheeled shunter mechanism powers the model which at least allows the pony wheels to be set asymmetrically, although this results in considerable overhang at each end of the loco. The locos unusually incorporated a luggage van behind the cab and were technically classed as railcars. The AFK's version usually operates on local passenger services in the Kasatritikakamparoj as it is overtaxed on the mountainous sections of the line and too ungainly for regular work on goods trains.

Plausibility rating:~ high.
  
  
828 I-C-I (Vigdis)
 Power category I  
Status: a basic shell
Plausibility: *
  
  
This is another unashamed freelanced crib of a SG electric loco. The mechanism was supplied by a Roco DB class E32 but was factory fitted for 3 rail running. The vendor failed to make this clear on e-bay! It was easily reconverted to 2 rail running by dismantling the factory modified chassis and removing the central pick up skate. Rather more problems were caused by the traction tyres which quickly disintegrated necessitating infilling the groove in the offending wheels which reduced the electrical contact. To alleviate this both pony trucks pick up (on one side only) and a skate has been added below the central jackshaft. The loco is currently incomplete and usually used as a spare loco to run extra trains as required to meet traffic demands.  

Plausibility rating:~ low although there were some similar NG body styles used on the East European NG, albeit on BoBo running gear.
  
  
929 I-D-I (MaK)
Power category I
Status: complete
Plausibility: ***
  
  
This large loco was inspired by the Swedish NG class Tp3500s built by Maschinenbau Kiel for the 891mm gauge. These were an adaptation of an off the shelf product for the SG which formed the basis of the V65 shunters supplied to the DB. The SG models were 0-8-0s but their NG counterparts were adapted to a I-C-I formation powered by a dummy driveshaft as were the SG models. These were large locomotives, as witnessed by the cab towering above the roof line of Swedish coaching stock, frequently pulling long trains of SG wagons. The model's chassis was taken from a Bachmann On30 2-8-0 loco and the valve gear was removed. Initial thoughts about converting one of the wheel sets into a jackshaft were discounted, partly due to laziness and so the AFK's version, which is much smaller than the prototype, runs with eight coupled wheels. The cab and has had to made removable on the model because of its vulnerability to damage during servicing. The loco also houses a large engine intended for model aircraft use as the engine bay doors are frequently left open when running, as they were on the real thing, although they are closed in this photo.

Plausibility rating:~ fair allowing for the difference in gauge but there are discrepancies in the running gear and overall size.
  
  
131 I-B-B-I (Szabadúszó)
Power category I
Status: incomplete awaiting detailing
Plausibility: 0
  
  
In what has become by now a common theme, this is another SG inspired electric loco freelanced to the AFK's specifications for a diesel loco. The rather strange protruding cab was taken from a Hungarian class V40, which was a SG electric loco, although whether it would be practical within a normal NG loading gauge is open to question. The AFK's civil engineering is built to take SG equipment on transporters and allows this ungainly design to pass without problems. The chassis was taken from a Roco DB class E77 and provides the usual steady performance despite the liberties taken with the body, although it is geared to represent a lumbering pre war prototype. The model awaits final detailing and completion.

Plausibility rating:~ none.
  
  
103 (Billard)
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  
The model is based upon a Billard A 80 D, although these were metre gauge railcars in reality. The low centre of gravity made them a popular choice for pre war French concerns and many were built. The model has probably survived longer than the prototypes in that it was the second model built for the AFK during in the late seventies, although it has a an intermediate minor rebuild. The chassis was originally a Tri-ang Hornby Hymek left over from childhood, although this was soon re-motored with a Roco Dutch shunter chassis to improve performance. Pick up has been arranged from the trailing bogie and despite it's age the machine still performs creditably although it is prone to dirty wheels.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
203 and 403
Status: complete
Plausibility: ****
  
  
These four wheel railcars are based upon the pre war four wheel railcars used by French metre gauge systems. 203 is based upon a De Dion-Bouton and 403 is a representation of a Billard A 50 DL. The larger railcar is powered by a second hand Fleischmann freelance industrial shunter bought in the late seventies and its reliability has been improved by pick ups installed in the permanently connected (non powered) railcar. The unit's bodywork is beginning to show its age although the mechanism is still reliable. These were some of the first models built for the AFK and errors were made in the radiator positioning of the Billard whist the larger railcar was, I suspect at this remove, a generic interpretation of a six wheel railcar unbeknownst to me at the time. Given their smallness the pair are usually rostered for the Eromarbordo branch shuttle service as they have insufficient capacity for other duties.

Plausibility rating:~ reasonably high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge and the lack of accurate information available at the time of building.

  
303 (Wismar)
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  

The railcars that ran upon the metre gauge Middlebadische Eisenbahn provided the inspiration for this model. Again this is one of the older inhabitants on the AFK. It was built onto a US shunter which was offered in the early eighties but I forget the manufacturer. The shunter's prototype was a 44 toner I believe. A very early version was obtained because both bogies are powered by a separate motor but this specification was soon changed to a single motor mechanism. The two bogies were simply fitted to a longer homemade chassis and wired to each other, although they do not provide a great deal of power. One slight problem which has occasionally caused difficulties over the years is that the wheel profiles are RP25, with smaller, finer flanges than European stock. An unsuccessful attempt was made to make all four doors open, although only one does so on each side. This has proved a useful aid in posing photos (as here) although the impression is spoiled by the visible motor when the door is opened.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.


403 (See 203) This was a railcar rather than the unpowered trailer of the AFK
  
  
503 (Renault)
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  
The inspiration for this railcar was a Renault KF. Only three of these metre gauge vehicles were built in 1923 and the AFK's version does not claim, as usual, to be an accurate model. In many early French railcar designs the engine was housed above the floor in the baggage compartment, as portrayed in this model. The engine housing hides the motor although the drive shafts pass between the seats and the tower mechanisms of the bogies are visible through the windows. The chassis was taken from a Lima OBB class 2067 which was treated as a kit of parts in that the motor, bogies and one drive shaft were reconfigured in a homemade chassis. One bogie was connected to the motor with a much longer scratchbuilt shaft than the original. The railcar was painted green as it was anticipated that it could pull expresses during the summer and offer extra accommodation. The model is powerful enough to do this but the option has never been taken up, as is reflected by its dusty careworn appearance..

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
603 (Fuchs)
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  
The chassis arrangement of this railcar is similar to 503, although two drive shafts of equal length have been fabricated. The model was based on a metre gauge prototype that runs on the Harzquerbahn in preservation although it was originally supplied to the Zell-Todtnau line. There are detailed differences between the state of the body shell during these two periods which excuses some of the model's inaccuracies. The prototype had underfloor engines and so the model's motor is hidden amongst the seats as far as possible. The dummy engines were intended to enhance a large scale tank kit and were sawn in two.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
703 (Berliet)
Status: complete
Plausibility: ***
  
  
Although the construction of steam loco 201 solved the problem of providing a rack engine it was felt that a back up should be available for use in emergencies. A Fleischmann Edelweiss chassis was therefore bought and this railcar body was built upon it. The inspiration was a French SG Berliet railcar dating from the 1920s, although the original had two compartments. The model's mechanism is untouched although it has had its electrical pick up improved by track skates. Performance is generally acceptable for such a small unit but there are traction problems with trains of the size shown in the photo when the railcar leaves the rack at the top of the hill. (These are inevitably resolved by finger poking!) The railcar is little used and spends most of its time in a drawer although it is brought out occasionally to ring the changes.

Plausibility rating:~ moderate as it usually runs with a carriage to supplement its minimal capacity.
  
  
803 (AEG)
Status: complete
Plausibility: *****
  
  
This is a mechanical railcar, rather than a diesel electric, powered by a rod driven bogie on one end. The model was based on a 1930s German prototype which ran on the Rendsburger Kreisbahn before ending its days as a de-engined trailer on the Emden-Pewsum-Greetsiel line, being a typical AEG design of the 1930s. The model uses a Fleishmann Magic train diesel shunter chassis for power and a spare coach bogie adapted to collect current at the other end. The powered bogie was originally intended to be one half of a rod drive B-B diesel similar to those used on the West Clare but various practical problems prevented this coming to completion. As it stands it is underpowered for use in anything other than a railcar and the running is a little erratic despite having been dismantled to check for binding.. The railcar sees use on the AFK's secondary railcar services, such as the schools trains or on the Eromarbordo branch.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
903 (Brissonneau-Lotz)
Status: incomplete awaiting detailing
Plausibility: *****
  
  
This Brissonneau-Lotz "Var" class prototype was a multiple unit with driving cabs at each end. This was unusual because most NG railcars before the modern era were single units pulling adapted coaches and running round at each terminal. The prototype was one of a batch supplied to the Chemins de Fer de Provence's Var system just before WWII. The prototypes were sold to Spain after the war and gave good service in the Bilbao area for many years before withdrawal. The model uses a modified Roco 215 chassis and the trailer was fitted with cosmetic side frames from similar redundant bogies to give the impression of the unit being built as a piece. The mechanism was lengthened with home made drive shafts. This is a powerful railcar well capable of dealing with the tail traffic on the steep grades and it is intended to work the long distance services.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
55 (De Dion-Bouton)
Status: dismantled awaiting a rebuild
Plausibility: *****
  
  
These metre gauge De Dion-Bouton RG 2 railcars were built in the aftermath of WWI to a six wheel design, a configuration that became common in France. The units were single ended and were turned on an integral turntable (verin) lowered from the body, although quite how successful this was may be open to question. Pictures of people hanging off the back of those being turned on the Hedjaz Railway suggest that there were problems with the centre of gravity but other lines seemd to manage without problems. The model had a scratchbuilt chassis powered by a Portescap motor although given the difficulties of supplying weight to the single axle drive it was somewhat lacking in pulling power. The turntable mechanism, which originally could be lowered and rotated, eventually disintegrated and the chassis followed suit. The component pieces survive. The model no longer runs but there are plans to revive it. The roof radiators on the model mimic those of the Hedjaz Railway and were needed, I assume, to cope with the heat in the desert.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge.
  
  
21 (Relforka rebuild of road vehicle)
Status: complete
Plausibility: ****
  
  
This very small railcar rarely sees use on the layout. It was built around the mechanism from a Piko Kof, the very small shunting tractors used on the German SG railways. Its main modelling function was to provide a short, easily railed bogie to test for track defects, electrical and mechanical, during the construction phase of the layout.  It is kept to check for defects when repair work is needed. It was never intended that it would be developed into an AFK model but eventually a body was built. This was inspired by the small railcars used on the three foot gauge County Donegal Railway in the earliest days of railcar development. These were soon overwhelmed by the traffic that they attracted in the remote rural areas and were replaced by larger versions. With only seven seats the AFK's example is similarly taxed and is usually placed at the disposal of the line's manager. As can be seen the model is unbalanced and a little too enthusiastic application of the controller can result in undignified 'wheelies'.

Plausibility rating:~ quite high but it suffers from the same problems as the prototype in that it is too small for frontline service.
  
  
CFS 202 (SIG Neuhausen)
Status: complete
Plausibility: ****
  
  
Although technically not part of the AFK's stock, CFS railcar 202 is included in this survey as it supplies the connections to the three-phase electrified Calviero Secondary Railways at Fenditavalat. The railcar is based on a type built for the metre gauge Berninabahn before WWI and follows standard Swiss minor railway practice in that passenger access is via the driving cabs. The three-phase system required two separate contact wires, similar to trolleybus wiring, with dead sections at points and crossings. The prototypes were therefore equipped with four pantographs to avoid stalling in these areas. The model was built onto an unmodified Heljan class 17 mechanism and its performance is sluggish and underpowered, just like the real thing!. These problems are probably a virtue in disguise as the railcar merely shuttles a few feet from a fiddleyard onto the layout's upper terminus.

Plausibility rating:~ high allowing for the discrepancies in gauge, although many three-phase installations had been converted to more modern systems by the early sixties, using a single contact wire.