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Creating Steam And Smoke In An AF Locomotive


American Flyer®

Connecticut S Gaugers

For Scale, Hirail and American Flyer S Gauge Model Railroaders

Creating Steam And Smoke In An AF Locomotive

by George Leidinger

Edited by Craig S. O'Connell

As a child growing up in the fifties I remember watching a New York Central steam engine operating in a Brooklyn freight yard. What impressed me was the smoke that was coming from the boiler smokestack and the steam being released from the cylinder brake.

A few years ago I watched videos showing steam engines in the 30s and 40s and restored steamers of today. All the steam engines had boiler smoke and steam released from the brake cylinder. I wanted to recreate that total system using American Flyer parts since American Flyer trains are what I have enjoyed throughout my life.

Using a smoke-in-tender AF locomotive to produce steam being released from the brake cylinder combined with a later model smoke-in-boiler unit, I was able to simulate both the smoke and steam effect.

Here's how I did it. In the smoke-in-boiler unit I inserted a fish tank air pump "Tee", connecting it to the smoke-in-tender hose. (The "Tee" is used commercially in aquariums to provide air for two separate fish tanks from one air pump.) With the front end of the boiler facing your left I installed the "Tee" unit just above the second set of wheels in the cow catcher. The steam release would be from the upper right side of the brake cylinder. To provide the steam, a hose from the smoke-in-tender entered the boiler just below the 4 wire panel. This hose is attached to the "Tee" unit. The later model boiler smoke units will pinch the hose not allowing "steam" to be released. Remember, the boiler unit front is facing your left hand. Part of the smoke unit in the boiler has to be filed down so that the hose will not get pinched. In order to secure the "Tee" unit in place, work with a thin metal (copper) strip that can be folded under the carriage body. Wrap one end around the "Tee" unit. After folding and bending the metal strip till it goes over the second screw from the front (behind the cow catcher) drill or tap out a hole in order for the screw to secure the metal strip and the "Tee" unit in place.

Special thanks to Bob LaRiviere for assisting with the metal strip to secure the "Tee" unit in place.

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