The Heisler Locomotive Project
Nelson Riedel,
6/20/2004, last updated

At this time (July 2010) the Heisler project has been underway for 6 years and the end is in sight.   Early in the project I decided to use investment castings for much of the locomotive.  Unfortunately, the mold maker I teamed with lost his eyesight and was unable to complete the project so I had to retrench.  I connected with a pattern maker who successfully used some of the patterns I made for investment castings in sand casting patterns.   Crankcase castings have been produced and incorporated into a working engine.  Four different truck casting types have also been produced.  A total of  18 of these castings have been combined with the wheels and gear systems fabricated several years ago into three operating trucks.  These castings are available from the pattering maker --- see Castings page.

The locomotive was first operated on steam in late next spring and had a couple very successful runs over the July 4th, 2010 weekend.

Detailed information on the design and construction is available via the links in the table below.  The data are organized is a layered structure hopefully to both ease access to the data as well as keep this page clean. The links lead to the reference, design and construction information for the indicated areas.  The Finishing Details sections was added in late summer 2010 as a place to describe those finishing touches added to the locomotive such as foot pegs.              

Current Status (July 25, 2010): The following photo shows the first operation under steam outside the shop door in April, 2010.   A short video of this operation can be downloaded from the following link:

The only major problem found on this first test was that the use of a single regulator for the steam feeds to both burners didn't work very well.  A second regulator was added.

The locomotive with temporary tanks as shown above was run at Mill Creek Central RR over the July 4th holiday.  The only problem found was that the blower holes plugged.  I had the same problem on the Shay and I subsequently enlarged the blower holes.  I did the same thing on the Heisler.   The operation, based on these limited tests,  has exceeded all expectations.   The locomotive seems to have plenty of steam generation capacity and runs smooth.   The two burner operation is better than expected.  

The current task is to design and build the tanks and cab.  The tender tank is finished  and the focus has shifted to the cab and fuel tank. 

The photos below show some of the components.




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