Cutting my losses on #10

Happy Easter!  What is the AAR-approved method for tying giant Easter eggs down anyway?

You’ll note in the cover photo that I still haven’t put #10’s tender back together.  After the recent Battle of Pembroke Hill, I drove this little train into town.  To say it was a success would be overstating matters significantly.

Despite tuning, the engine is still not smooth, and singularly fails to evoke a feeling of mass and realism.  In short, it completely refused to do this:

The decoder has to work extremely hard to overcome the mechanism’s rough spots, and the result is that the exhaust is far removed from the wheels’ reality. Finally, by the time the train made it to the station with its precious load, the drive gear was slipping on its axle, and the train was stalling.

I’ve always felt that #10 was a good first effort, and that the next engine will be better. However, I never thought I would abandon it completely! Yet, now I find that the best thing for #10 might be to replace the chassis. This will be very difficult as the superstructure was largely built to fit the chassis.

Ironically, the NMRA thinks I’m a Master Builder, Motive Power.  Mastery means command of a subject and yet I know that such a challenge is beyond me.  So, I think I will go on to building a second engine instead. Once my skills have grown to a point where I am confident to work more on this little jewel, I may return to it.

In the meantime, I promised back in December that I would get some rough scenery in place so that casual visitors to the railroad can appreciate what I’m aiming for.  My sister is coming in a few weeks; let that be the deadline.


11 thoughts on “Cutting my losses on #10

  1. So does this mean that you were a bit too hasty in tearing out the grade as well? Good luck on the rebuild.

    1. Perhaps I was hasty. Of course there is no guarantee that any subsequent engines would be able to handle the grade. So, it was the right decision.
      Thanks for the luck!

      1. Well, that’s a bummer. Like you say, If nothing else I’m sure a change of pace will do some good and scenery can be fun.

        By the way, that video is really something. I wouldn’t get too bummed about stacking up against it. The wheel arrangement is different for starters. Do you know the details about the loco – whether it was converted or built? It has nifty valve gear.

        I’ll be interested to hear the latest on your approach to engine number two when you get a chance.

        Andrew H

  2. To poorly paraphrase Steve Blank, the hardest decision is to pivot or persevere. But once you stop learning you must pivot to where your learning is increasing the fastest.

  3. I’m constantly impressed with the relationship you have with your work. Re-reading the threads on the evolution of the layout and building and re-building #10 I really enjoy this sense of persistent revision. In recent example, it really speaks to how the layout exists to provide a place for the 10 and how its design should work with the engine. In turn, how the engine itself should work within the context of the layout.

    Often, in the magazines, someone comments that a layout is never really done implying that there’s always room for another detail or some scenery to finish. Yours runs deeper and it’s fascinating to follow along with.


    1. Thanks, Chris.

      It is interesting to think of a layout as a larger system, of which individual models are merely components.

      My friend, Mark Dance, refers to his layout as a large and complicated machine, of which the mechanical aspects are only the beginning. The operating elements, from control systems to schedules to the wet-ware holding the throttles are all part of the machine. He is constantly tinkering in search of that elusive perfect operating session.

      I hope to get there with Pembroke one day too.

      1. That machine analogy really works. I like it. Almost as if the layout is working, in some fashion, and we shouldn’t tinker with it to revise the work based on what we learned.

        I’m impressed. Always.


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