Steve Johnson Modelmaker
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R A Lister of Dursley, Gloucestershire built a number of of small three wheeled auto trucks from the 1920's. From 1928, they made a narrow gauge rail version in order to try and break into the market dominated by the Motor Rail Simplex locomotives used in World War 1. Some 350 of these were made and were one of the lightest locomotives built.
Below is a short video clip of the Lister pulling twelve skips on my test track.
To try and build one in 009 gauge is a bit of a challenge as there is not a lot to them. Fortunately, RT Models make a white metal kit designed to fit on the Kato Portram motor bogie. Keen to add one of these to my fleet, I bought the kit.
RT Models Lister Rail Truck Parts
An investigation into acquiring the Kato Portram revealed that I would have to buy a very nice model costing some £100 just to take out one powered bogie. It seemed a shame to me to ruin the Kato model, so I sought an alternative. Fortunately, help was at hand following a chat to some members of the 009 Gauge Society at a recent exhibition. They suggested that a small chassis obtainable from Japan might fit the bill. The chassis in question is contained in a complete kit made by the World Craft Company for the diminutive N gauge Japanese EB4111 locomotive. A kit was duly obtained for only £25 and the chassis tried against the RT Models kit.
Two views of the EB4111 Chassis
This is a tiny chassis using a coreless pager type motor. It only drives one axle but does pick up off all four wheels. Surprisingly, it works extraordinarily well and is the correct wheelbase. The real Rail Truck couldn't pull much, so I am not overly worried by the haulage capabilities.
As soon became apparent, the chassis was too long, too wide and a little high. Width and length are easily dealt with and was expected. The height was another problem. A little think and a cup of tea later and I came up with idea of not using the RT Models base, but to attach the components directly to the chassis. Testing revealed that this option would work. The chassis was adjusted for length and width and sideframes and endframes were attached. a little fettling with a file produced a nice even and level platform for the surface components. These were then cleaned up and fixed in place. The engine casing, handbrake column and seat with pedestal fixed in place. A little adjustment of the driver was needed to get him to sit nicely in place. The RT Models base has a number of raised rib detailing on it. I reproduced these on the top of the chassis using plasticard sections. Finally the two levers, made of wire, were fixed in position. The whole model was again tested to make sure it still worked and the couplings added. I was pleased to see that the Rail Truck managed to pull twelve Roco skip wagons at least! (I only have 12 skips!). The model was then primed in grey primer before painting green.
Lister Rail Truck complete and primed
The completed model can be seen at the top of the page. It is very small and such close up photographs show all the rough edges! I decided to print out a grill with the Lister logo as it was difficult to pick out the detail on the casting. Another interesting addition to the fleet at a fraction of the cost of a Portam chassis!