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Mike Toney 12-20-2019 02:32 AM

Pearse 0-4-0 Switcher
Making good headway getting this old Pearse 0-4-0 switcher on its feet before the holidays. This will be my wife's engine to run at the steam up's she goes to with me. A friend made Chessie System decals for the tender and a road number for the cab(Chessie is her favorite railroad). This old loco took a hit sometime in the past which bent the frame over from about the mid point between the drivers. This put the front axle in a bind. I got the loco partially apart, enough to adjust the frame enough to free up the bind. This has an odd "T" flue boiler, there is no smokebox like we normally see. I cannot figure out how to get the boiler off as the steam line runs thru the flue tube and out the bottom of the "T" to the reversing block. I can see where Accucraft UK got its ideas for the valve gear we see on many inside simulated Stephenson models. She ran well on blocks but is a very slow steam raiser due to the very large boiler(water goes all the way to the smoke box door!! She has a Spectrum receiver fitted which linked up to my RCS palm controler that I also use on my Earl. The Switcher cleaned up nice as can be seen in the picture. Tender is still on pieces while I fit working lights and clean up the radio gear install. Mike

boilingwater 12-20-2019 09:18 AM

Nice job Mike! You can really see the Pearse pedigree on the form of that engine. The Nevada was one of the first engines I owned and it ran beautifully for many years. I had the #2 serial number—Les Knoll had #1. Bob Osterhaus (sp) of Rio Pecos was a great guy and really helped me when I first got into the hobby many years ago.

I’m sure your wife will enjoy the running characteristics of the breed. It’s unfortunate that you don’t see these locos much anymore but they were great starter engines. I have seen a Colorado fairly recently but little else. I didn’t know Peter K. even had one until I discovered it among the many.


zubi 12-20-2019 12:04 PM

Mike, Ian Pearse started Accucraft UK, he had their (his and his father's, both of whom founded Pearse Locomotives in 1993) ideas ready for use on their projects. Best wishes from Warsaw, Zubi

Mike Toney 12-20-2019 01:50 PM

Thanks Sam and Zubi. Here is a pic of an ad from the Sept/Oct 1999 issue of STiG with a younger Ian Pearse with the late Bob Osterhoudt of Rio Pecos and the Sierra Nevada model in the bumblebee scheme(photo credit goes to Fran Osterhoudt). I still hope to add the Colorado to the stable if one ever comes up for sale. Ian said very few of the Nevada's got made, so I dont have much faith one of those will turn up for sale. The second pic is the Rio Pecos ad for the Switcher. Bob also helped get me started in live steam back in the early 1990s. He was a great guy and fun to chat with on the phone(pre internet era). When I got my engine from Bob back then, he sent me a Rio Pecos "Steam Team" T shirt. I still have it and it only gets worn to steam ups I am amazed I can still fit in it consideirng i got the shirt in my late teens and I am 46 now.

Mike Toney 12-21-2019 03:23 AM

More progress on the old Pearse Switcher. Got the RC all done with front and rear lights lighted.custom cut vinyl decals made by a friend installed. Still need to repair the broken roof hinge, the rear arm is broken off/missing. I need to make a duplicate of the front arm and solder it to the roof bracket so the roof will stay on while running. I replaced the scale couplers with a LGB one at the rear and a Bachmann one in link pocket on the pilot beam. Both are hooked up to the cut levers and function just like the real ones. Track test and hopefully a video tomorrow while she is off at work. Mike

Mike Toney 12-22-2019 05:16 PM

Here is a short video of her running on the railway for the first time. Just a short run and thankfully she didnt stall on the far size where the yard is just mud right now. She is still very very slow to build pressure, it holds ok once the steam stop valve is opened, but drops quickly to around 20psi when running. Everything down to the cylinders themselves is steam tight, with no external leaks from cylinder heads, rod glands or the lines from the reversing block to the cylinders. So once she cools, I am going to take the cylinders apart to see what the O rings look like, maybe getting blowby there. Mike

chooch 12-23-2019 12:12 PM

Mike, I've owned my Pearse Colorado (which I also purchased from Bob O.) since I believe the mid 90's. I've always called her "Old Faithful" because she has hardly ever let me down. If you are having trouble keeping pressure up, I believe Jason Kovack has gas jets in larger sizes that may help.
One interesting story I have is a while back one side was out of time and not only did it not sound good, it had slightly decreased power. No matter what I did, I could not get the timing correct. So, I brought it to Diamondhead for some help from Norm Saley but instead saw Ian had come that year. I fired up the loco for him to see run and asked what he thought I needed to do. He pointed to one of the side rods, said to losen the retaining nut and move the rod in a specified direction a few degrees. I did exactly what he said and have never had a problem since. I could not believe just by watching the loco run for less than a minute he could decipher the fix to that extent.

I have always loved that engine and doubt I would ever let her go from my stable.
Good luck with yours. I know your wife will enjoy running her!

Mike Toney 12-23-2019 12:33 PM

I swapped in my spare Roundhouse jet and that seem to help. It had a #6 in it and if you turned it up very high it would really howl. The Roundhouse jet, probably whatever they use stock in their burners, seems to be able to be turned up to a higher setting without the howl or shrieking noise the #6 was doing. On the final run on the rolling road, once she hit safety valve pressure, she only dropped about 10psi when I got her running and it seemed to hold that pressure fairly well. I also rebuilt both cylinders as I foiund that both piston head O rings were falling apart and had chunks missing from them. I suspect that timing is a bit out on one side from the kinked frame. I need to figure out how to get the boiler completely off the frame so I can bend things back into alignment.The steam line at the front is whats keeping the boiler in place after the screws are removed. I love the model and hope to add a Colorado if one ever comes up for sale. I am also getting an Aster Climax out of that estate(thank you FCA contract bonus!). Will have to see how I like that model or if I use that as trading fodder for a Colorado. I wouldnt mind having 3 Pearse models as I have a nice stash of parts for them from Anything Narrow Gauge in the UK.

placitassteam 12-23-2019 07:54 PM

what is going on with this thread that causes the page to be so wide that I have to move it back and forth to read it?

Dave Meashey 12-23-2019 08:46 PM


Mike does not resize his photos, so depending upon the speed of your system's internet link, they can take a very long time to load. While they are still loading, the pages stay oversized. Once the photos have all loaded, the page size should normalize.

Hope this helps,
David Meashey

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