New fleet additions

After finishing blast furnace 5 it was time for something a bit different. As I already have more engines than I can use on the layout, well, why not make 3 more? So, here we go.

See? no such thing as having too many locomotives.

Fauvet Girel

Espérance-Longdoz had 4 locomotives made by the french company Fauvet-Girel, 72 ton diesel electric engines that look unmistakably French, sort of like a stubby version of the SNCF BB63000 class. After the merger in 1970 these locomotives ended up with Cockerill, numbered 70-73.

In their Cockerill days these engines were mostly used around their old home in seraing, serving at the old esperance blast furnace department, unloading ore and coke trains. Some pictures of the era can be found here and here.
It seems during the 1990’s they were no longer needed, 70 and 73 ended up in a scrap line at cockerill, 71 was rented out to Usines Gustave Boël in La Louviere while 72 found a similar job at Forges de Clabecq.

The story didn’t end there though, as two engines of this series were refurbished by Cockerill and went to La louviëre as well, where they still run. Looking at specific details like bogies and bufferbeam shapes (none of these 4 engines were exactly the same) I believe the post-cockerill-careers of these engines were like this:

  • 70 ended up being scrapped at cockerill a little after the year 2000
  • 72 returned to Cockerill after its service at Clabecq, was rebuilt by Cockerill and went to Boël, La Louvière, where it still runs as number 701
  • 73 somehow escaped the scrap line and now lives on rebuilt into number 702, also at la louviëre.

Enough anorakking. On to the model.

First: find a drawing. Then poke around the internet looking for suitable locomotives to scavenge parts from. In this case a Roco DB V100 seemed to supply a nice pair of bogies and a good motor. After that was sorted the usual oldschool 2D cad design started, then figuring out all the subtle differences between the original 4 locomotives etc, deciding which ones to build, I chose 71 and 73, as 71 ran at Boël and 73 was the only one featuring the white and green fronts used for radio controlled locomotives at cockerill, so it would look a bit more interesting. Also, 73 seemed to be different from all the other engines (different bogies, different engine compartment, slightly lower cab) to keep the build a bit more interesting… Well, now that matter was settled, turn the drawings into a cnc-milled model kit with some photoetched bits (engine compartiment doors and railings mostly)

bogie sides. Left the normal version as found on 70-72, right the special version for 73. Bogie sides would be cast in resin to save some hours.
71 and 73 in front of the ougree workshop
Roco V100-bogies and motor crammed into a much shorter cnc-milled plastic chassis. ESU lokpilot decoder in the engine compartment, stay alive capacitor in the cab, stay alive circuit in the short hood. Note how all electronics go into the body, a 4 pin plug connects track power and motor wires to the chassis. Very convenient for analog test driving the chassis.

Then some paint. Both engines got a coat of dark brown, then yellow, both engines a slightly different tone. After this lots of fun™ with 1mm black line decals to create the black body line and warning stripes on the buffer beams. Of course both engines had those at a different angle.

fun™.

71 has a slightly higher engine compartment so there is a bit more space for wiring, so it got an instrument panel with lit gauges. The lights on the cab side are radio control indicator lights

Then some more detail painting and here they are, all fresh and shiny.

Then a bit of weathering. I sprayed the horizontal surfaces and areas that looked dirty on pictures with a mixture of humbrol 29 and 33, then before the paint was dry I started cleaning it off, wiping it away in vertical motions with a brush dipped in a white-spirit-like substance we call wasbenzine, it’s a bit more volatile than the turpentine I use mostly for this kind of thing, so the paint gets streaked out rather than just getting washed away.

weathering in progress: cab and short hood still with untouched paint, engine compartment and frame already cleaned off

Then a long wait for number decals. As usual the folks at the workshop once again did a delightful job, aligning the blue sticker neatly under the center of the cab, then also aligning the number nicely under the center of….. the window.

Undoubtedly because of Reasons, 71 does have the number centered on the cab. Note the delightful font called masking tape and some newspapers used for the 1.

And now some fun with Fauvets (back then still without numbers) on the layout with sound of the real thing, mixed in by Rocco Roberto, who took many videos of similar engines around Hayange

real 80´s vibes:

80 ton Cockerill

During the 1960’s Cockerill wanted a heavier shunting engine for jobs where the usual 2 and 3 axle rigid frame engines could no longer manage on their own. To save on maintenance costs many parts of the existing locomotives were used, so the new locomotive was basically a frame with a big engine placed on top of two frames of the well-known cockerill 2 axle shunters. The engine powered two hydraulic drives, each driving one bogie. Cockerill built 7 of these engines in a very heavy 80 ton variant powered by a 625 hp engine for use around their new LDAC steel plant in seraing, another lighter (68 t) but more powerful (890 hp) locomotive of this type was then built for the dutch Oranje-Nassau mining company, who returned it after about a year of service, indicating performance was less than stellar.

Meanwhile Cockerill’s own 7 engines seemed to have done a little better, being in service for about a decade (there is a picture of 84 in service in 1975, it seems they were all gone by 1977), it seems Cockerill quickly realised a locomotive sharing some running gear parts with the smaller engines was less efficient than just using two of the small locomotives as 1 big one by removing the cab from one of the pair and controlling both from the remaining cab. As my layout is situated in 1988, I clearly needed one of those locomotives that had already gone for over a decade by then. I don’t care, they’re cool.

Because of their short careers there are hardly any pictures of these engines it seems (I assume there must be something more lurking in an archive somewhere), so I had to draw up my design based on a simple drawing of the one dutch engine and 3 photos of the cockerill engines.

To power the locomotive I used some roco bogies of some cheap german diesel, 215 maybe? I had to shift around the axles a little and fiddle with the gears a bit to make that work, it’s all a bit sketchy but seems to work so far. As the bogies are for a mainline engine the gearbox ratio is a bit tall, so despite two fat flywheels slow running is a bit jerky at times. Oh well, for an engine I don’t need at all that’s plenty good enough. Surprisingly for an engine this size there was absolutely zero room for lead in this locomotive, the fauvets are real heavy bricks but this one… not so much. Still pulls decently.

The workshop crew doesn’t seem particularly impressed with the idea of having to keep thins thing going…
especially the lack of coupling rods seems concerning.

….and a little video of this one as well:

Some work for the workshop

As by now I already had three new engines, why not just keep going? So I reworked the drawings I had for the Cockerill cow-calf-pairs into a suitable design to make a dummy cow and calf for the workshop, with all doors open (cow) or the entire hood lifted off (calf). The cow has working couplers so it can be shunted around like a wagon.

cow (left) and calf (right)
because you’ll never see it anyway a lot of time had to be wasted on the cab interior

….and after a splash of paint…. I have to admit it felt very weird not to weather a loco!

well, there was a bit of weathering, to be honest. On the right the engine hood of the calf unit.
cow interior.

In a classic moment of planning, I’d call this the Pro Modeler Move™ (being a pro modeler I feel I have the authority to do this), after finishing the models I went to Flémalle where one of these cow/calf pairs is rotting on a siding to take pictures, then never checked those pictures with the model and just assumed I had done everything right without the extra info. In case you want to check, go ahead. 😉

Well, that’s it for now,

Cheers!

Floris

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