N Scale Alco C-855’s Out On The Mainline

Last weekend I was at the Fordingbridge Model Railway Exhibition with our club layout, ‘Solent Summit’.  I’d planned on giving a full review of this very busy exhibition in this week’s post but, as we had a fairly large layout to assemble and run this year, I didn’t have time to have a good look around or take photos of the other layouts.  However I did manage to capture some shots of a pair of freshly painted locos out on their first trial run.

C-855 WIP 1

Locos 60 and 61 are still at the ‘work-in-progress’ stage.  The main painting and lining has been done by our friends at Model Railway Solutions but they still need their handrails adding, trucks painting and to be weathered up.  As you can see below even though the shells have been printed in Shapeways FUD material, which isn’t as sharp as the FXD, the detail has come out very well.  The lone handrail was simply positioned as a test fit.  Because the handrails fit into holes in the top of the sandboxes they’re self-supporting which makes them much easer to install than on my previous locomotive kits.

C-855 WIP 2

Both locomotives are powered and fitted with sound decoders; there’s a useful amount of space between the top of the chassis and the shell top so a sugar cube speaker could easily be added.  So once the main exhibition started to wind down the C-855s took to the rails to see what they could do.  This little trestle might be familiar to regular readers.

C-855 WIP 3

Arriving in ‘Solent Summit’ station the big Alcos pulled up next to the very locomotive they were built to replace, the General Electric 8500 Gas Turbine.

C-855 WIP 5 C-855 WIP 6

Even though I’ve become very familiar with the dimensions of the C-855, having drawn it from head to toe, I’m still amazed at the size of them.  The two C-855s dwarf the turbine.

C-855 WIP 7

Though the Alcos are using reconditioned trucks from the earlier 4500 Turbines, the chassis is totally new, pushing the trucks further apart and adding to the length.

C-855 WIP 8

As the Alcos rumble off the turbine takes the siding awaiting its place in history.

C-855 WIP 4

I captured the Alco’s on video running light loco across’ Hell’s Glen’ trestle on their way to collect their train and again pulling away from ‘Solent Summit’ and you can see it by clicking on the link below.

UP Alco C-855 with Freight Through Solent Summit (Fordingbridge Exibition 2016)

Although the Con-Cor chassis the C-855s are using is only powered on two of the four trucks they are very heavy, especially with the added weight of the 3D printed stainless steel chassis extenders.  They pulled the train as if it wasn’t there.  Once the C-855B is finished these three will be unstoppable!

General Electric also produced a similar locomotive for the Union Pacific, and later the Southern Pacific, in the U50.  Again this locomotive used reconditioned 4500 Turbine trucks and was of a similar size as you can see below. Note: Santa Fe never had any U50s, this locomotive is the donor chassis for my C-855B.

C-855 WIP 9Later that evening C-855 no 60 received its handrails and ladders which made a dramatic change to the appearance of the loco.  All that’s left now is to finish painting the trucks and pilots and weather her up.

C-855 WIP 10

The C-855 is part of Alco’s ‘Century’ series of locomotives.  The C-855 is by far the largest and the only twin-engine locomotive. Two locomotives down the list is the C-630 and, as you can see, there’s a considerable difference.

C-855 WIP 11

Because the trucks are grouped in pairs linked by span bolsters they push the locomotive up, giving it towering dimensions compared to most other conventional two and three axle locomotives.

C-855 WIP 12

Once the C-855B unit arrives, which is due next week, it too will be painted by MRS and then all three will be weathered and ready for service.  These three are destined for a place in the UP engine sheds on the ‘Somewhere West‘ which you can find in the Layout Gallery or by clicking on the link.  I expect we’ll be getting lots of photos and videos of them in service and I also expect them to last a lot longer than the originals.