March 2015

Train Chassis Testbed

As part of my on-going experiments into alternative Lego train chassis and drive-train arrangements, I totally stripped down and rebuilt my GO Transit F59PH locomotive as a "technology testbed". The body was completely redesigned to be separate from the chassis and to mount to its chassis "clam-shell" style like scale model trains. This allows me to develop and iterate the chassis design independent of the locomotive. I intend to use this configuration for all my locomotives in future because I like the idea of being able to perform maintenance and tuning without a traumatic disassembly and rebuild of the entire locomotive. In fact, I hope to be able to interchange chassis among some locomotives with similar wheelbase for flexibility. I hope to be able to keep all of the mechanical and electrical infrastructure (controller, battery, motor, lights, etc.) mounted to the chassis with minimal connection to the body shell.


Illustrated above is some of the progress made to date. I have rebuilt the F59PH body shell--its still not finished, but very close. The chassis is my 3rd version built to date. It is powered from a centrally under-mounted PF L-motor. This keeps the centre of gravity lower and allows for more room inside the body shell. The motor drives a central drive shaft connected to gear driven 2-axle bogies. The tractive effort of this arrangement is impressive, especially with the L-motor vs. the M-motor.

The next steps will be to develop a power pickup from the metal wheels and to fabricate and develop my hybrid DCC + PF electronic control module. Lots to do, but its great fun!