Kalamazoo 4-4-0

The pride of the Frankfort Terminal Railroad fleet is this restored, updated and detailed Kalamazoo 4-4-0:

Re-quartered drivers
Re-glued smoke box to boiler
Re-attached headlight
Balloon smokestack
Replaced plastic bell with brass
Added glazing to cab windows
Added side window panels
Added water injector to boiler
Added brass whistle with pull cord into cab
Swapped plastic lead truck wheels for metal wheels
Added directional LED in headlight
Added LED marker lights
– Green forward, red in reverse
Added modified fireman and engineer with seat
Added steam powered air compressor
– Added air tank with drain valve and plumbed air system
– Air intake filter is automotive oil filter
Added steam powered generator
– Plumbed and wired steam generator
– Used hemi carb to simulate electrical box
Added direct (uncontrolled) battery power capability
Added battery powered Radio Control capability
Added electrical noise suppressors to motor
Chiseled off cast-on #11 and replaced it with ex-C&O #32

Swapped plastic for metal wheels
Added power pickup
Swapped wood load for removable real coal load
Added Ram sound with volume control (slot car bevel gear for knob)
Added chuff timer to rear truck
Added direct (uncontrolled) battery power capability
Added battery powered Radio Control capability
Added directional LED in backup light
Added rear LED marker lights
– Red forward, green in reverse
Moved front bulkhead and added control panel
Swap plain water fill for detailed one
Added temporary ‘Frankfort Terminal’ lettering
Swapped hook and loop for Kadee coupler

“Not all this stuff is authentic but it makes me smile…..”
David Palmeter November 14, 2013

Photo tour below –

The engine was purchased from an online auction; it arrived with problems:

Locomotive Mine HdLt Off 2011-02-08 012 w

Above – 2011-02-08 -As soon as I opened the box, I noticed that the headlight was off. I missed the fact that the smokebox was partially broken away from the boiler.

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Above – When I took it out of the box, the smokebox separation was more apparent.

Locomotive Out Of Quarter Mine 2011-02-08 008 w

Above and Below – When I did the first test run, the locomotive had a very jerky motion. A closer look at the drivers showed that they were out of quarter; that is the attachment points for the side rod was not properly lined up.

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Locomotive Mine Rt Out Of Quarter 2011-02-08 011 w

Above – With the connecting rod detached from the front driver, the out-of-quarter condition between the drivers is more apparent.

At this point it was apparent that the locomotive was not useable as received, so I contacted the seller to decide next moves. I had purchased it with the idea that it would be restored and detailed so I really didn’t want to send it back. The seller agreed to refund half of the price and also suggested that I contact the post office since some of the damage was inflicted during shipping. After some back and forth with the USPS and some months of waiting, I got back most of my remaining investment so the locomotive ending up only costing me a few dollars and some hassle time.

Then the assessment and disassembly began –

Locomotive Mine Ft Truck 2011-02-08 010 w Tender Mine Bottom 2011-07-27 082w

Above Pictures – 2011-02-08 – Research indicated that keeping the highly articulated 4-wheel lead truck on the track could be a problem, plus, plastic wheels leave a residue on the rails, particular outdoors on a hot summer day. The tender also had plastic wheels so the search began for small metal wheels. For the tender, I ended up using Bachmann 92422 Wheel Sets which are 24.5 mm, larger than the originals but much better looking. I got the engine lead truck wheels from Hartland; they have much of the Kalamazoo tooling and still have a lot of parts available. The metal wheels provide significant weight to the truck and it does track well.

I was pleased to see openings for a sound system speaker in the tender floor.

Locomotive Mine Broke Boiler 2011-08-06 029 w

Above – 2011-08-06

Above – 2013-03-23 – Disassembly complete

Above – 2013-03-26 – Rewiring begins – my biggest mistake was tying the all the wiring for the lights to the motor power. When the train stops, the lights go out – not good!

Above – 2013-04-13 – The tender is the control and sound center. The speaker and control panel are installed.

Above and Below – 2013-04-30 – The volume control for the sound system has a 1/8″ shaft, where can I find a knob? How about an unused slot car bevel gear? Yep, works fine! The switches are for changing from track power to direct battery power or radio controlled battery power.


Above – 2013-06-18 – I was raised in coal country, right? Using actual crushed coal from a friend.

Above – 2013-06-21 – Tender almost finished, just need a water fill port.

Above two pix – Let’s add the missing windows.

Above – 2013-09-19 – We need an air brake system – Ozark Miniatures has the parts.

Below pix – 2013-11-18 – Finished and ready to hit the high iron!


Above – 2013-11-18 – Showing off the reverse and bi-color marker lights. The marker lights are green front, red rear when moving forward and the opposite when backing up.

Above Pix – I am pleased with  the result.

Below – And so is the California Kid –

2020-04-18 – Next step is battery powered radio control. Picture below is my Hartland (originally Kalamazoo) 0-4-0 conversion – Deltang Rx65c receiver/motor controller and MyLocoSound system. This is the same tender as the 4-4-0, the more authentic switcher slope back tender didn’t have enough room.

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