This is my second LEGO train model, a modern light rail vehicle (LRV). It is inspired loosely by the new vehicles that have recently entered service for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in Santa Clara County, CA. Like the VTA LRV's, it has three sections, with the middle one having a wheelset fixed to it, and has a "low floor" design, so that there are no steps to climb from the platform. This gives easy access to those in wheelchairs, with strollers, or with other limited mobility.
The LEGO train motor is in the center section, so the floor is elevated there, unlike the prototype. Also, it only has one set of doors in each section, rather than two. And of course, being 6-wide, it has room for very limited seating.
The articulation is done by having wall and ceiling sections that bridge the different parts of the body. The wall sections are held in place with rubber bands on both ends. The ceiling section is held with a swivel hinge at one end and a rubber band at the other. The body parts are connected together using ball and socket hitches.
It navigates just fine around the sharpest LEGO turns but it does slow down a bit on a tight curve due to friction. It has no problem with switches, since it uses standard LEGO wheels.
This is my first ever LEGO locomotive model and I'm very pleased with the result. It is a 4-4-0 (4 leading wheels, 4 driving wheels, and 0 wheels under the cab) "American" classic steam engine uses the old LEGO wheels from the "maxifig" era. It can be pushed on straight track, but any curves or switches derail it instantly. Yellow represents brass.
Notes on construction: A lot of SNOT (Studs Not On Top) and half-stud offset work is used to make the boiler taper from 5 studs wide to 4, and to provide the brass bands around it. The smokestack is attached to an upside down Technic 2x2 brick with peg, which is attached to a right-side-up Technic 1x2 brick internally. Since it is held in place on the sides it can't rotate.
Unlike the rest of my models, this was not built using my own LEGO collection. During a trip to Germany in August 2001, I visited with some German LEGO fans and we built some accessories for their train layout.
Last updated: 09/19/2007 William R. Ward, email@example.com