Tag Archives: locomotive

Hauling up Hills

This is a BR44, a heavy steam locomotive built from 1926 to 1949 to haul giant loads across Germany’s mountainous regions.

Able pull 1,200 tons through the hills, or 600 tons up steep inclines, the BR44’s were hugely impressive machines. We suspect much of what they hauled from the late-’30s was rather different from that originally intended though, with a simplified versions (ironically given the least simple title of ‘Übergangskriegslokomotives’) designed to speed up production during Germany’s phase of, er…. European ambition.

This brilliant brick-built recreation of the BR44 comes from Bricks_n_Trucks, who has not only replicated the design beautifully, there are two Power Functions L-Motors and a BuWizz 2.0 hidden inside to bring it to life.

There’s more of Bricks’ creation to see on Flickr, and you can travel into the mountains of wartime Germany via the link in the text above.

Tiny Tracks

We’re often guilting of favouring enormous million-part creations here at TLCB. This is because we’re eight, and also because ‘subtlety’ isn’t really in the TLCB Elves’ vocabulary. To be fair to them though, very little is in their vocabulary. Anyway, today we are going small, because Thomas Gion has produced this lovely micro-scale railway vignette, complete with the tiniest trees, teeniest tracks, and littlest locomotive. All look wonderful despite their miniature size and there’s more to see (although not that much more) at Thomas’ photostream. Click the link above to go on a teeny tiny train ride.

Acid Train

The elimination of acid rain by the U.S and Europe (but not China, cough*) is one of very few environmental success stories in world we are still polluting much faster than we can clean it up.

In the ’70s and ’80s forests were dying, lakes became barren, and those living in affected areas suffered respiratory problems. A concerted effort** to lower sulphur and nitrogen emissions – despite the usual environmental denials and refusal to accept blame (sound familiar?) – reversed the catastrophe, and nature is – miraculously – healing itself of the damage.

Back in the early 1900s though, there were no such concerns, and pretty much anything could be dumped into the air, water, or soil in pursuit of profit. Acid included.

This beautifully constructed Epoche 1 ‘Säuretopfwagen’ (acid wagon) and Bayerische PtL 2/2 shunter comes from previous bloggee Pieter Post, who was inspired to recreate some commonplace turn-of-the-century environmental vandalism by the news that a Dutch chemical company has been granted a license to annually discharge up to 14,000kg of micro-plastics into one river.

And thus over a century later, even with the success of halting acid rain (except in China), nothing has really changed at all.

*Seriously, cough cough. China’s acid rain has actually worsened in the most recent data.

**Unless you’re Volkswagen

Choo Choo!

If there’s a more ‘Choo Choo!’y Lego creation than this, we haven’t found it. Wonderfully built by Owen Meschter, this is a Class Y14 steam locomotive, as used by LNER at the turn of the century who classified them as J15s, and which saw service on British railways right up until 1958. But that’s enough boring train facts. You now have permission to run around your house or place of work shouting ‘Choo Choo!’. If anyone stops you tell them TLCB sent you.

Royal Württemberg

This is not a car. It is in fact a Prussion G12 steam locomotive, depicted here in Royal Württemberg livery (and in a wonderful snowy scene) by Flickr’s Pieter Post.

Around 1,500 G12’s were built between 1917 and 1924, when it became one of the first standardised locomotives in operation across Germany.

Pieter’s beautiful recreation of the G12 utilises a slew of third-party parts to maximise the realism, with custom valve gear, tender wheels, LED lighting, and a BuWizz bluetooth battery powering the LEGO L-Motor that drives the wheels.

The result is – as you can see here – spectacular, and you can check out the full description of both Pieter’s Prussian G12 build and the real steam locomotive at his photostream.

Click the link above to take a winter’s journey across 1920’s Germany.

State of the Union

This is not a car, as was pointed out by the reader that suggested it, but it is incredible, and we quite like trains.

Built by TLCB debutant Rouven’s Legoeisenbahnen this amazing creation is a Union Pacific EMD DDA40X Centennial locomotive, and it is unfathomably lifelike.

Wonderfully realistic decals add to the accuracy, as do the twenty-four huge container trucks, each carrying two containers, and the second EMD DDA40X locomotive used to pull them.

All in Rouven’s build is easily the longest creation that this site has have ever publicised, and you can see just how enormous the complete train is via the link to Rouven’s ‘EMD DDA40X Centennial’ album above.

Lego Train Projects | Book Review

We can be accused of many things here at TLCB, but not reading isn’t one of them. The mass of emailed complaints our inbox receives don’t read themselves…

Requests for building instructions also land here with frequency, and as such a whole industry has sprung up to provide the online Lego Community with step-by-step directions to build all sorts of creations, from realistic real-world supercars to tiny micro models. Today we have another addition to this increasing pool of instructional resource, thanks to Charles Pritchett and the guys at No Starch Press, this is ‘Lego Trains Projects‘.

Running to 200 pages, ‘Lego Train Projects’ brings seven rather lovely train creations to life via step-by-step building instructions, with everything from a coal hopper to a hefty diesel locomotive. Each is compatible with LEGO’s own 6-wide train system, and matches their more advanced models – such as the 10020 Santa Fe Super Chief – for detail, only without the need for stickers.

Whereas previous No Starch books have offered small descriptions or backstories to the builds within them, there’s little pre-amble here, as Charles gets straight down to the building steps. A title page for each model displays the number of pieces, whilst a bill of materials (aka a parts list) and alternative colour suggestions finish each section.

The instructions themselves are fantastic, equal to LEGO’s own with clear steps, sub-assemblies, additions to each step highlighted in yellow, and probably a touch more complexity. The models aren’t necessary more complicated than the more advanced of LEGO’s own offerings, but they do pack in a variety of techniques that are probably above those within the grasp of the average builder, thus ‘Lego Train Projects’ could be a worthwhile educational aid for those wishing to up their game beyond basic studs-up construction.

The result is a set of train-based models that will up the realism of most layouts considerably, and which can be easily tailored to suit the preferred colours of the owner, with our favourite of Charles’ seven designs probably being the milk tanker, which could easily be converted to an Octan tanker if you prefer petrol over cow juice by simply switching the coloured rings.

Verdict

As we’ve become used to with No Starch Press publications, the quality of both print and paper is superb; ‘Lego Train Projects’ not only looks great, it feels great too, with a soft matte cover and beautifully crisp pages within. Whilst we personally don’t always understand the need for building with instructions, if you’re looking to use them to build yourself some really rather lovely train creations, they don’t come much better than this.

★★★★½

No Starch Press

Air Train

This is the most interesting Lego creation that you’ll see this year. By a mile.

Built by newcomer Alfred Boyer, this huge Technic steam locomotive really works, and is built from 100% standard LEGO pieces. Of course fire and plastic bricks don’t mix that well, so instead of superheating water to generate steam, Alfred’s astonishing creation uses air pressure to drive pistons, which is essentially exactly the same operation as a real steam engine, only without setting fire to coal to generate the energy.

Four LEGO pneumatic cylinders turn the eight drive wheels, with two speed ‘gearbox’ – if you can call it that – controllable from the cabin. Also controllable from the cabin are working brakes, with shows that press against each wheel through pneumatic pressure, and -amazingly – a working whistle, which diverts air pressure through some hollow bricks to create the sound. It’s a good thing the Elves haven’t figure this out otherwise it’s all we’d hear all day.

It’s a phenomenal piece of engineering and one that probably takes LEGO’s pneumatic system further than any model before it. The only way to really appreciate Alfred’s creation is to take a much closer look – head to Eurobricks by clicking here for the complete build details (where you can also find a link to it on LEGO Ideas), and definitely watch the video below!

YouTube Video

 

Bygone Times

Ah the age of steam, when no-on had to worry about catching a deadly virus named after a beer, and idiots vomiting ‘advice’ on social media in the name of clicks were just idiots vomiting advice down the pub that could be quietly ignored. There was polio, consumption and no National Health Service though, so on balance today is probably a better time to be alive, however romantic the past may look.

This particular piece of romantic looking past is a Thompson Class L1 steam locomotive, produced between 1948 and 1950 and run – in this case – by the London North East Railway.

Built by Britishbricks it’s a breathtaking replica of one of the ninety-nine Class L1s constructed, with custom valve gear and beautiful decal work too. A convoy of superb trucks follows and there’s more to see of the complete train at Britishbricks’ Album on Flickr. Head to a romanic looking past via link above. Toot toot!

Trained Eye

Today’s creation probably goes a bit beyond what many of us think of when building with LEGO. Newcomer Britishbricks’ beautiful LNER Class P2 steam locomotive is almost entirely wrapped in custom vinyl, from the bespoke wheels to the smokebox, with many parts coloured or – look away purists – cut, in order to replicate the real locomotive as accurately as possible.

Whilst not to everyone’s tastes Bristishbricks’ creation shows what is possible in pursuit of perfection, and you can view an insight into how this model was made via his LNER Class P2 ‘Prince of Wales’ album on Flickr, which not only shows the finished locomotive that you see here but also the digital and pre-wrapped steps along the way.

Training Gagarin

We don’t really know much about trains (we are a car blog after all), but we do still like them. Especially when they’re as detailed and colourful as this one is. A PKP ST44-1112 ‘Comrade Gagarin’ (apparently…), it’s been built by Mateusz Waldowski of Flickr, and it is quite wonderfully made and presented. An assortment of five beautifully-built trucks are in tow behind the locomotive, making Mateusz’s model really rather large indeed, with lovely attention-to-detail throughout. Head to Flickr via the link above to see more of the train tribute to the first man in space.

Not a Car

But a pair of Abt locomotives that are, well… beautiful. We thought Abt were a motorsport company specialising in Volkswagen Group products, but then we are a car blog after all. Sharing a name but otherwise totally unrelated are these Abt locos built for the Mount Lyell Mining Company’s narrow gauge railway on the Tasmanian West Coast. And they really are built for Tasmania’s West Coast, as builder Alexander (aka narrow_gauge) was commissioned to create these for The West Coast Wilderness Railway who now run the real restored locomotives. Custom decals, 3D printed valve gear and motors complete the realism, and there’s more to see at Alexander’s photostream via the link above (or at the The West Coast Wilderness Railway Museum).

Not a Car

Lego Prussian T3 Steam Locomotive

TLCB Elves haven’t brought much back over the past few days, but fear not readers, we have some cracking cars for you tomorrow! Until then, here is something that is definitely not a car, but it is rather lovely. This usually-scaled steam engine is a Prussian T3, as built by previous bloggee Nikolaus Lowe of Flickr in 12-wide Lego form. There’s more to see of this neat German steam locomotive at the link above, and we’ll see you tomorrow with some particularly awesome cars…

Not a Car

Lego NSW AD60 Steam Locomotive

But one heck of a beautiful steam train. And who doesn’t like steam trains? This particular locomotive is a New South Wales AD60 Class, of which 42 were built in the 1950s. Coming right at the end of the steam’s reign on the railways the AD60 Class were the most powerful locomotives ever used in Australia and this 97 stud long replica packs a punch too, being powered by twin Power Functions XL motors. Alexander of Flickr is the builder behind this stunning recreation of the AD60 and there’s lots more to see, including some ingenious ‘how to’ photos detailing the hidden building techniques, via the link above.

Blue Comet

Lego Blue Comet Steam Train

Operating from the late 1920s until the early 1940s in New Jersey, the Blue Comet pulled carriages between New York and Atlantic City, taking just three hours to complete the journey (including a ferry crossing to Manhattan Island), and able to reach speeds of over 100mph. This magnificent recreation of one of America’s most beautiful locomotives comes from Flickr’s Cale Leiphart who has faithfully recreated not just the locomotive, but the tender and carriages too. An extensive gallery of superb images is available to view at Cale’s photostream – click the link above to buy your ticket.

Lego Blue Comet Locomotive