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A Caledonian ROD 2-8-0

Dave John



Following WW1 the Caledonian, like many other railways, were short of locomotives. They therefore hired 53 surplus Robinson ROD 2-8-0 s from the large pool available locally at NBL . They ran 1919 to 1921. A comprehensive thread is available on the CRA forums


Really it is a decade out of my time period, but Hattons were selling them at low prices so I bought one ( BR, ex GWR version ) just to see what I could do with it.


First off loco chassis. I could buy all the stuff and make a proper EM version, but lets see what I could do with the Bachmann one. On examination the axles are 3mm with splined ends reduced to 2mm. These go into a plastic bush press fitted into a cast wheel.


I dug about and found some perspex rod just over 3mm.  Cut 4 bits , in the lathe, drill 2mm and superglue to the original axle  at one end . When set put the axle back in the lathe and finish the perspex to the axle diameter.





There followed a session of assembly adjustment and messing about. I made spacers so the front drivers have no sideplay. Even so the slide bars needed a bit of tweaking for the crossheads to clear the crankpins. The thing ran like a lemon first time, a fault traced to the second axle bearing being low. Well, when I say bearing I just mean the square slot in the chassis casting where it sits being low, so stripped down again and a bit of filing. It took a whole evening but eventually I got it running well enough. The bare chassis running round the layout and not derailing though riding a bit roughly through some pointwork. I could turn down all the flanges a bit but I’ll leave it for now.




You would think that the tender would now be a simple job. Er, nope.


The wheels have the same plastic bush and press onto 3mm axles with 2mm ends. These are a snap fit into the tender frames. Not going to go in if they are set for EM.




Second problem, the outer faces of the wheels foul those internal “splashers”. Ok, chop those out.




Well, I don’t like axles running in plastic anyway. So I might just as well make a proper tender chassis and bolt it on.






It has the added bonus that I can make a set of pickups while I’m at it.


Body next .


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The tender on the Bachmann N class SR mogul wouldn't accept an EM wheel set either - I cut mine longitudinally and moved them out slightly, and added a replacement functional chassis with inside bearings

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I was wondering about that. Did you also cut the RTR tender in two Dave? In order to fit in the EM chassis I mean?


Anyway I'm off to study your header picture again. I could look at it all day :)

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I've only just discovered your blog Dave,probably because I model 7mm and tend not to take in too many other posts.

The standard of modelling is quite superb and as an East end boy I'm familiar with the area you are basing it on.

I've spent some time looking back through your build and I will now be following your blog.Looking forward to next instalment.

Best regards


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The plastic tender frames are just wide enough to let the EM wheels go in if you remove the splashers and file back the rear of the axleboxes so they are flush, but maybe the N class frames are narrower. There would be a bit more of a clearance if agw wheels were used. Maybe its me but I have had disasters in the past trying to prise axleboxes apart to get pinpoint wheelsets in, never mind trying it with those square ended things. Making a simple chassis allows a bit of compensation and gives somewhere to solder the aj to. 


Glad you are enjoying it Alistair. I am pleased that many people take one look and identify the area, the whole look of the layout is something I have tried hard to achieve.



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