Home Forums Conversions Ruston shunter

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    (This is really a test to see if I can create a new topic.)

    Back when these toys were still current I found that although the yellow shunter ran well on all kinds of track and could pull a good load it was  too high for all my other O-gauge rolling stock. So out with the hacksaw and off with the top of the cabin. Then I shortened the cut-off piece, turned it around and glued it back. Finally I painted it all green.

    Unpacked for the latest grandchild – she loves it.

    (If this works I’ll post some more)


    (Ok, so I can start a topic, but I cannot edit my post to remove the comment. Apologies to the webmaster.)

    Cab end leading

    Cab end leading.


    Side view, with a few other O-gauge trains from my teenage years, and some incomplete printed models in the background.



    Hood end showing lowered cab.

    In my younger days I happily accepted broken clockwork trains and tin-plate track from fellow students who thought that they had outgrown their toy trains. The Big Big Trains ran well on the tube rails and could outrun the clockwork engines, of course. However getting trains between the two systems needed rails fixed to a thin baseboard. It was not tidy! For the 50 year revival I printed adapters that allow the tracks to connect accurately and easily.

    The gondola car was one of my favorites for reliable running on the outdoor line than ran through three properties (the neighbors had kids of the same age). I painted it matt black to match the NSWGR stock at the time.

    These days such alterations would be heresy and vandalism to collectors’ pieces. However in those days they were just toys.

    Richard S

    Those 040 shunters are fast!

    Ingenious changing the cab around and It’s amazing how much a coat of paint changes how both the engine and wagon look.

    I also like your 3d printed track adapter.


    Thanks Richard.

    I used to run it with two D cells in parallel to make it run more slowly. Presntly it is back to 3V operation to impress the baby.

    I published the adapters on Thingiverse ( https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5024058 ) in case anyone else wants to make them.

    When I get around to it I shall start a new thread to comment on the new(well relatively new) printable OS railway system and its similarity to Big Big Trains.

    Richard S

    That is certainly a big range of adapters you’ve got going there!

    I might have to try the two batteries in parallel thing as currently when we run an 040 around and around on a tight circle it wobbles so much as it careers around that my wife refers to it as ‘The suicide train’.


    Great to see you posting here Tom. I love these stories and also the pictures.

    And don’t worry about the comments. If you prefer I can delete them.




    Not really a conversion …

    Here is a rough model of a smaller model Ruston that I threw together so that the toddler would have something other than historic trains to break.

    Mixed traffic on Lima and Big Big track

    I did not manage to make it low enough to match the carriages but it will be a few years before she gets to play with them so she won’t notice.

    The engine has a Big Big Train coupler on one end. The other has a rotating magnet so it can pull Brio-style wooden trains.

    It uses two cheap “yellow” motors actually it is the gearbox that is yellow. They cost about $3.00 each. I think that they are sold for people making small robots. I run them at 3V which gives a reasonable speed or an O-gauge train. However it is faster than I would like when it is hauling trains on wooden track. The electric “Thomas” engines are painfully slow but that gives plenty of time for a baby to reach out to start or stop the train. My engine is too high and too fast for her at the moment.

    The duplo block cars variously have duplo train hooks, fixed magnets or slots for Big Big couplers, rotating magnets or plarail drawbars.

    The photo is staged for release of my Lima to OS track adapter I finished today. The carriage and my Lima points and track section will soon be packed away for another few years. Well maybe the carriages will come out if ever nostalgic adult friends come to visit.

    Meanwhile she can play with the new shunter and the block wagons and run them on the floor or on her wood or plastic track.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by TomBTR.

    Just thrown out for being here for 60 minutes! Otherwise I would have made the yellow motor para above more intelligible.

    … motors, actually …

    … speed for an O-gauge train …

    Never mind, one topic per session in future.


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