One of the big problems I'll have is finding a Garratt locomotive for the C&BFT. In fact I'd like three. The British firm of Huttons may have come to the rescue with this model of an LMS Garratt, to be manufactured by Heljans in 1:76 scale, and expected at the end of this year.
So what would be needed to turn this into a reasonable 1:48 scale model of a 2'6" gauge Garratt? These are my thoughts so far:
1. Price. It is hard to see how I could go wrong. I estimated about $250 per unit delivered, and as any other option looks like being over $1000 per unit and I want three, it seems to me I’d just have to make it work. Plus I presume it will come with an operating mechanism that won’t have to be fiddled with!
2. Overall dimensions. I scaled the LMS garratt out at 55’ long in 1:48 scale. I can’t find a width but I’ve taken the British loading gauge, which is 9’ and that scales to 5’8”. This compares with a Victorian Railways G class, which is 50’x8’3”, and narrower than my rolling stock, which is 6’3”. I’d want to widen the running board by a scale 2’, that is add an additional 3mm to each side. It would still look a bit longer and skinnier than a typical Garratt for this gauge, but with no other Garratts around I don’t think that would be noticeable.
3. Driving wheels. Typically 2’6” gauge locomotives have driving wheels at 30” to 36”, with some passenger locos going to 42”. The wheels on this loco scale out at 39”, I think that is acceptable.
4. Tractive effort. I worked out what the tractive effort of this loco might have been, and I came out with a figure of 16620lb., which is pretty much ideal for me.
5. Inside/Outside Frames. We tend to think of larger 2’6” gauge locos having outside frames. However several 2’6” Garratt designs had inside frames, so this is quite acceptable.
6. Front water tank. With a wider running board, the front tank would not be the full width. While full width tanks are typical, there were one or two designs where this was not the case. I’d probably leave it as it is.
7. Boiler/Cab. I should think that the boiler will be fine with new stack, domes etc. Obviously it would need a new cab, built full width.8. Rear “tender”. This would need to be full width and a very different design. But as a typical NG Garratt rear unit is basically a box, I don’t see many problems.
The Heljan model will even come ready to run with DCC plug. Hard to see any problems.