County Donegal railcar

About April 2004, I had completed about 1 1/2 years' work on the Hunslet, and she didn't seem to be progressing much at all. My mind began to wander, and I thought about what I could build which would be:


Alan Westby's CDR Railcar design fitted the bill fine - he'd done the hard work already for ther design, so all I had to do was to build it.

Of course, being a muddle engineer, I couldn't leave well alone, so I changed a couple of things. Firstly, he uses a wooden chassis permenantly attached to the body. I decided to have a steel chassis, with the body remaining removeable. I had some 25x25x3 square tube 'in stock' so this was not a problem. When I added up the size, she looked about 100mm too long to fit comfortably into the car, so I removed a few mm here and there to shave off the excess length.

Construction was unbelievably simple - I've never used MDF before but it really is a dream to work with. A cheap router came my way and I used that to cut out the windows. Simple, but very dusty. The body is screwed and glued together, then filled using car body filler. The roof lifts off and is made of a central section over formers, and an end section from solid, then planed.

Mechanically, she uses a 250w motor and 60a controller from Parkside electronics, also sprockets and chain from the same source. The axles run in three ball-bearing plummer blocks, two at the back and one at the front. This is because there is no suspension, and the front axle can pivot in the horizontal plane to take up any track irregularities.

You sit on top to drive her, which really is great fun - and she turns heads wherever I go. The handbrake (much to my surprise) works very well (brake blocks are cut from an old railway sleeper...). My thanks go to Alan for this well-thought out design, which turns onto a lovely model.