Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

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marland
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:02 pm

Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby marland » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:00 am

I’m sure I cannot be the only person who purchased some P4 parts ,gauges and track years ago and then life got in the way
and everything has resided in a drawer since.
Recently I got the bits out again and decided I really must do something and finally use those wheelsets in packets marked Cove Models.
Like others the other dilemma is wether to go P4 or EM as one of the Items I want to convert is some EFE tube stock but their design like the prototype has the wheels protruding into the seating area so limiting the bogie swing quite a lot, a test after filing away some of the sole bars seems to have gone well and the test car goes around a sharp curve around 30” , later I’ll complete the motor car with a long stored P4 Black Beetle and see if the cars go around under power.
If it objects then EM is a option , some EM track appears to have slipped in amongst the P4 lengths I bought of the old C and L years ago so I could do a test curve as I have some EM wheel sets and a spud to play with but I do have a lot of Bill Bedford tube bogie etches that have been stored.
Anyone any experience of using them.

Has anyone converted a Heljan Metropolitan electric to P4 and is it a reasonable proposition for a first attempt at a RTR conversion?

G.Harman

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Rod Cameron
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Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:01 pm

Re: Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby Rod Cameron » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:19 pm

marland wrote:Has anyone converted a Heljan Metropolitan electric to P4 and is it a reasonable proposition for a first attempt at a RTR conversion?


I haven't done mine yet, but there's plenty of room and it looks as straightforward as other Heljan locos. Unclip the bogie cover plate (it looks like it's the entire bogie frame in this case), remove the stub-axle wheelsets, remove the gears, reinstall the gears on P4 wheelsets and fix with Loctite, replace and off you go. I think they are 2mm axles and 14mm wheels, so Black Beetle coach wheels would be my choice. You could file off the pinpoints, but you may not need to. You've spurred me on to doing mine now (maybe later next week)!
Rod

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kelly
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 1:59 pm

Re: Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby kelly » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:38 pm

The Met Bo-Bo should be similar to the 33 in bogie design I'd expect (I have one, but haven't looked yet to convert it). As Rod says, take the cover off the bogie and the wheel sets drop out, pop the gear on the axle and refit. If it is like the 33, it'll be an axle rather than stub axles I expect.

The wheelsets Branchlines sell are perfect for these usually.
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Philip Hall
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Re: Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby Philip Hall » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:57 pm

With the tube stock P4 might just help with clearances above the flanges, as the flanges are smaller. The wheels are effectively smaller over flanges. I do agree about the Branchlines wheelsets, although I have had the occasional eccentric set. As a definition of eccentricity I am, as my friends will tell you, a bit of an obessive, so I always spin them and look how they are. The only exception to this is Ultrascale - I just put them in and I know they will be bang on the money.

Philip

marland
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:02 pm

Re: Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby marland » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:14 pm

Thanks for the replies, looks like the Heljan loco should be reasonably straightforward forward to convert whichever ever std I go for It hadn’t occurred to me that the finer P4 flanges could be a better choice than EM even with the wider gauge.
I would like to go with P4 if possible not least because I have a considerable investment in P4 track gauges ,wheelsets and New track point kits which though made many years ago would be a shame to write off ,if the stock proves to run around an off stage 36” curve reliably to enter a fiddle yard. It will only ever be LT stuff using it , I have no intentions of ever using long wheelbase steam locos.

Looks like an order to Branchlines then ,,though I may have some Exactoscale wheels of the right size in a box I haven’t found yet. Originally ordered to convert a Harrow Models Met Electric,did I say they had been stored for a long time.

Thanks

G.Harman

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby Rod Cameron » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:48 pm

I just did this conversion this afternoon, took about an hour and taking my time. The bogie cover plate is conventional Heljan, start to prise it off from one end with a small screwdriver and gently pull it away from the clips. I did it from the inboard end but still managed to break one of the cross rods, but it's not visible when the loco is on the track.

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One important thing to note with this one is that the drive axles are insulated on one side only - one side on one bogie, and the other side on the other.

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The wheelsets easily unclip, leaving the rest of the gear train in place.

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You should be able to remove one of the wheels from each axle by twisting. The other might come with gripping the axles with pliers and twisting, but I put the axle in a hole in a block of wood that is just bigger than the gear, and tapping the axle with a small hammer and a hexagonal jeweller's screwdriver of a diameter just smaller than the axle until the wheel separates.

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Now you just have the gear on the axle. I put a few washers over it to support the gear for the next bit.

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Put the axle into a hole just bigger than 2mm and gently tap the axle, using the screwdriver for the last bit.

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You now have a disassembled wheelset.

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Take your P4 wheelset and remove one of the wheels, and push the recovered gear onto the axle. It was a nice firm fit in this case, even so I will probably fix it with superglue at the end.

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Replace the other wheel and check the back-to-back using your device of choice, a Sissons gauge in this case. When the B2B is right, fix the replaced wheel with Loctite.

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Repeat for the other three axles and clip back into the bogies when the Loctite has set. You may need to tweak the pickups a bit. Make sure the insulated wheel is on the appropriate side, and mind you don't trap the pickups on the outside. There's room for the pinpoints, but I did grind mine off partially to make it easier to 'roll' the wheelset into place. Once clipped in the plastic brake shoes don't foul the wheels.

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Then put the loco on P4 track and test.

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I ended up with the insulated wheels on the opposite sides to the original 00 setup, so on DC it goes the wrong way. I'll be chipping it for DCC though so it's not an issue. I'll give it a good run on the DRAG test track on Monday before finally putting the wheelset covers back on, just in case there's any trouble. Then it can be used as an enthusiast's excursion loco on Balcombe haha (Sarah Siddons was converted to 3rd rail use at one point, and it's our train set).
Rod

marland
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:02 pm

Re: Tube stock andHeljan Metropolitan electric conversion

Postby marland » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:38 pm

Well the recomended wheels from Branchlines arrived this morning so decided to give it a go this afternoon,
Took my time removing the keeper plate from the 1st bogie till I found the knack,second one a lot quicker.
The wheelsets turned out to be straightforward axles with the gear on them so as advised it was fairly easy to carefully remove the gear from the Heljan axle and reposition it on the Branchlines one , replace the removed wheel and set the correct back to back with a gauge and get the gear into the Center .I haven’t applied any Loctite yet as they seem quite firm enough to drive the loco on the test bit of track . They just fitted with the pinpoints intact but I decide to take the sharpness off a little anyway with a file.
Pleasantly surprised to find the brake blocks are only slightly too narrow for the wheel tread and the job of adjusting can be left for another day.
Before the p4 sets were installed the phosphor bronze current wipers were adjusted so when the wheels were in place they reached the wider setting.
Loco was then tested on my sharp test curve and it ran back and forth happily.
Not sure what the radius is as it just temporarily stuck to a table with some bits of double sided tape,a few Hornby 3rd radius curves being used as a rough track setter with the P4 track on the outside so a bit over 20” radius. That is sharper than I expected it would cope with and so should have no problem with the eventual sharpest curve into a fiddle yard which will be around 30”.
So thanks for the advice it seems to have gone right.


PS. , I have had this in the draft box since 5pm and I see Rod Cameron has since posted a very helpful post on doing the conversion today.
Looks like mine went much the same route except I used a GW models gear puller to remove the gear from the Heljan axle.

It was nice to see confirmation that it was the right way go about the job.

G.Harman


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