model railroads of michigan
c&o light pacific w/vanderbilt tender conversion (+video)
The Chesapeake & Ohio rostered a wide variety of classic steam power: fast-freight VanSwerigen Berks and heavy-duty 4-8-4s, massive articulated coal-hauling beasts from 2-6-6-2 Mallets to the monstrous 2-6-6-6 Alleghany, and heavy 4-6-2 Pacifics that handled passenger service. However, when looking into their passenger locomotives (after buying a complete set of the new Atlas 60' heavyweight C&O passenger cars), I discovered a unique smaller class of USRA Light Pacifics. Obtained from the Fredricksburg, Richmond & Potomac, these lighter-duty locomotives were equipped with Vanderbilt tenders and provided passenger motive power over much of the C&O system.
Once I found proof of a Light Pacific in C&O livery, I turned my focus toward suitable 1:160 replicas. Luckily, I found a sound-equipped USRA Pacific from Model Power/MRC with a "shorty" Vanderbilt tender, which didn't quite look right. I found a six-axle Vanderbilt tender on eBay, and a visit to the MicroScale site yielded a set of C&O steam engine decals. After a re-paint and installing sound in the Con-Cor tender I was able to reproduce a reasonable facsimile. Photos provided on the right-hand side of this page show the process and the end result. (More on the fate of the MRC tender in a later installment.)
The prototype image below is courtesy of the Mark Miller collection, as posted and borrowed from a C&O steam engine web site.
Original MRC Light Pacific w/ short Vandy tender in B&O livery
Tender stripped and disassembled: decoder and C&O steam engine decals ready
fabricating new drawbar after loco and tender wired and tested for power/sound
Model Power Pacific w/Con-Cor Vandy tender: DCC & sound-equipped in C&O livery