| September/October 1988

233 Country House Road, Clarkboro, New Jersey, 08020

The contents of our great magazine deal primarily with traction engines, sawmills, steam shows and such. With the editors permission, I would like to deviate and tell you the story of my No. 90.

No. 90 is a 2-10-0 of the Strasburg Railroad (Pa.) still running today, and according to Ron Zeil's book, The Twilight of Steam, it was used in Colorado for hauling sugar beets. The first time I saw this engine, I was fascinated with it for here was an engine quite unique. That long extended smoke-box and all those 52 inch drivers that give one the impression of a caterpillar when in motion. It expresses power from no matter which end you view it, and, I says to myself, 'I'm going to create you in 1?-scale'! I have built quite a few 11/2 inch engines but this was the toughest!

During September and October 1985 I took numerous pictures of 90, also a few measurements with a tape. During October I spent several nights on my drawing board with pencil, dividers, and a calculator transferring the information I had gathered into a 1?-inch likeness. Trying to measure from a photograph is rather difficult, for when you take the photo you are never at absolute right angles to your subject. This makes the right wheel say a size different to the left.

During November 1985 I started the frames, and the top half was 3/4 x 1 cold-rolled steel. The lower half was ? x 1. Pedestals were ? x ? inch and all welded in place. For quite a lot of information I found those International Correspondence Books very helpful for No. 90 is much stock Baldwin. I carved my own cylinders from solid and I cheated regards the valves, for I made mine plain slide rather than piston. They are disguised though and one cannot tell only upon close inspection. Cylinders are 2 3/8 x 3 inch. Trying to purchase wheels I came upon a problem. 90 has 52-in. drivers with 13 spokes and I inquired around the hobby for such a wheel or similar. No one had anything like this, yet this is the standard size for the American freight engine wheel. Another thing with 90's wheels is that the counterweight of the main drivers takes almost half the wheel. The second and fourth drivers have about a quarter of the wheel in counterweight and the first and fifth have very little at all.

The only way I could think of to obtain the wheels I wanted was to make a pattern and have them cast. A pattern was made containing the 13 spokes but no balance weights at all. My idea was to fill them in with lead after turning. I got in contact with our casting engineer at my place of employment, and through him I was able to speak with the foundry-man who would do my casting. After a week I received a phone call to collect my wheels. I must say they were beautiful casting and the cost suited my pocket very well.