Monday, January 14, 2019

Norm Leathers shows his Aerotrain model at Winnipeg Model railroad Club's monthly model display

In the 1950’s General Motors was asked to produce a lightweight high speed passenger train. The result was the GM Aerotrain which consisted of a streamlined locomotive and cars which were widened GM bus bodies. The four wheeled cars were rough riding and though some railroads tried them, no railroads bought them. Bowser eventually bought the dies from Varney for an ‘HO’ version and this is what Norm started with.

The Bowser kit was not powered and so Norm started by sawing off the cross member of the frame that was supported by the front truck. An Athearn switcher was used for power. The switcher body was removed and the frame was cut in front of the rear truck.

The frames of the kit and the switcher were filed so that the locomotive would be level when the frames were joined. The frames were joined using epoxy cement. The frames were placed so that the plastic bearing covers were in the proper positions at the ends of the switcher axles. A decoder was fitted to the Athearn Chassis.

The wheels on the cars were pushed into slots on the ends of posts fitted to the cars. Friction was so great that the locomotive could not pull the three cars in the set. Parts from Rivarossi three axle passenger trucks were modified to accommodate Kadee wheel sets. The locomotive now easily pulls eight cars.

Norm leathers is seen viewing an actual Aerotrain at a railway museum in the states.

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