Bringing Power To The Railroad


The Pajaro Valley Consolidated had a small stable of narrow gauge locomotives. One roster I've seen lists 11 engines, including two 2-4-2T, six 2-6-0, two 2-6-2T, and one 2-4-4T. The first ten of these were built by Baldwin, while the 2-4-4T was built by Schenectady. I believe an early 2-4-2T was sold off to make room for a 2-6-0, giving them a maximum of ten engines at one time, which is nice because that's a realistic number of engines to model, should I attempt to model them all.

PVCRR #6 abandoned, photographed in 1930. Photo by L. Slevin, Courtesy The Western Railroader The Western Railfan March 1981

For my first PVCRR locomotive project, I decided to create a standard gauge version of one of their 2-6-0s. PVCRR #6 was built by Baldwin and delivered to the railroad sometime between 1898 and 1900. In October of 1914, while crossing the Salinas River, a span of the just-rebuilt-due-to-a-flood-nine-months-earlier bridge gave way, sending #6 and a handful of cars crashing the dry river bed below. The engine was repaired and put back into service until its abandonment in the early 1930s.

Bachman sells a DCC equipped Alco 2-6-0, which for my purposes is great starting point.
The donor model

The most obvious difference between the Bachmann model and the prototype is the tender. Early in its infancy, the PVCRR converted their coal burning engines to oil, which as I understand was common among western railroads. At the very least, I knew I would need to convert my coal burning east coast model to a more appropriate oil burning westerner. 

Bachmann makes this relatively simple. The coal load pops out, and a few scrap pieces of styrene make a believable oil bunker. Prior to this project, I did this to another 2-6-0 to make an ATSF model. For my PVC locomotive, I decided to lower the side walls of the tender, to better reflect the prototype pictures I had seen. The hardest part of this was making sure that each side was the same height when the cutting and sanding was done. When I was happy with the final height, I applied a strip of styrene to the tops of each side. Rounding the edges completed this phase.

Strip styrene was added to the lowered tender sides to model a finished edge.

Next, I turned my attention to the fuel bunker. This was created with misc. scrap pieces I had laying around. The tool box is white metal piece is an upside down N scale bench, the brown cylinder at the rear is a 1/35 scale gas mask container (I think), the third cylinder is a random N scale detail part.

The rivets are 3D resin decals from Archer Transfers. I used random strips from their Pullman Car Rivet Set (Part #88128). I used the rivets to add depth to the model, so I wasn't really concerned with how prototypically accurate they were, I just wanted something there. 

I next turned my attention to the locomotive boiler and the modifications I needed to make there. 

This appears to be taken after the locomotives were abandoned in the late 1920s. I found this online, it's labeled Martin F. Hansen Collection, so thanks to Martin for providing this.

The above picture clearly shows the tender for #6. The locomotive is slightly different than the one at the top of this page. The steam generator is located near the stack in the top image, and not visible in this one. The model didn't have room for the generator behind the headlight, so I left it in place near the cab. Other locomotives on the PVCRR had the generator here, so I'm ok with this difference. 

Highlighting the changes I made to the model.

The above picture shows the modifications I made the boiler. I don't know the names of all of these parts, so I won't try to list everything I did. In the end, I filed down the dome nearest the cab, moved the bell to where this dome was, used some scrap parts to create the whistles and whatever else on top of the large dome, and some random bit was used to model the hatch on the small dome. 

Boiler-in-progress. This was taken before I decided to file down the dome nearest the cab and center the bell. The green bits are telephone pole insulators, the whistle (?) on the side of the dome is a small scrub brush from a Preiser figure set. 

The final major change to the model was to replace the stock couplers with True-Scale Couplers from Micro-Trains. These only work with each other, so committing to these requires a commitment to change the entire fleet. I'll be building most of the cars and kit bashing the locomotives, so I don't have a huge backlog of cars to convert. 

The Salinas and Alisal branches of the PVCRR didn't have facilities to turn locomotives, so they ran backwards on certain legs of those routes. To model this, I needed to add a headlight to the tender. This was not easy or quick.

The decoder came equipped with two solder pads for a reverse light, which is helpful. These are located in the corner of the decoder, rather than the center. This is not helpful.

Reverse light connections are provided in the corner of the decoder.

I needed to get a tiny LED to the center of the tender, and I had about 2mm clearance between the decoder and the tender shell. After a lot of fretting and confusion and external input, I ultimately used a nano LED from Woodland Scenics' Just Plug lighting system (as suggested by the guy at Arnie's Model Trains.) The LED was pre-wired, and after some careful clipping, I was able to attached the LED to the solder pads, and place the LED in a hole I had cut in the decoder. This hole lined up with the hole in the tender shell where the headlight could go.

The rear light was scratch built from a truck bolster pin thing. Not sure what it's called. It's small and round, with a hole in the center, and is used when the pre-drilled hole is too large for the truck mounting pin in freight cars.

I included a guy sitting on the cab because I saw a picture of this and thought it was a nice touch. I took the head from one guy wearing a hat, and placed it on another guy sitting down. There's a small wire going through the cab roof into the guy. Hard to see, but there is also an engineer and two seats inside the cab. I also modeled the rope used to sound the bell and horn with individual strands of electrical wire, painted tan.

See the guy sitting on the roof of the cab? Photo courtesy Steinbeck Country Narrow Gauge, courtesy UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library. 

The decals were custom ordered from Modeler's Decals and Paint. They provide custom printing quickly and affordably. I had to guess at the font used for the lettering and numbers, and I think they turned out pretty close to the real thing.

In the end, this wasn't too difficult a task. While my version of the Pajaro Valley Consolidated isn't narrow gauge, I am pleased with the version slowly developing in my basement.

Products used:
Bachmann - DCC Equipped 2-6-0
Micro-Trains Line - True Scale Couplers
Woodland Scenics - Nano LED
Archer Transfers - Rivet Decals
Evergreen Scale Models - Part No. 100 - .010" x .020" Strips
Misc. scrap parts and figures


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