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< Driver Truck Modification >

Some weeks ago I traded in my old car for a new one. Recently mini van is very popular in Japan. I think mini van is good to carry many persons but not suitable to carry long locomotive. I checked utility of many kinds of cars and chose a station wagon that can carry C53 of 1700mm length. I took advantage of this opportunity and decided to modify my old driver truck.

The old driver truck is 990mm length. I had designed the length in order to keep it in my old car's trunk. But it is too short to carry passengers except a driver or myself. So I decided to extend the length to 1600mm so as to carry three passengers. I make a new body completely but take bogies and braking system from old one.

The body is made from medium-density fiberboard. I asked a timber dealer to cut a 15mm standard board to desired parts. Fiberboard has smooth surface and good uniformity. And it is cheaper than normal plywood. Strictly speaking, it is heavier and weaker than plywood, but the differences are small.

The body is built with glue and screws for wood, and then painted with acrylic paint aerosol. Fiberboard absorbs much water. So it also absorbs paint liquid and wastes much paint. Before spraying, I varnished whole job three times, so as to stop absorption.

The steps are also made of fiberboard. They are screwed onto painted steel crossbars. The crossbars are hung from the body with long bolts.

The seat consists of fiberboard base, polyurethane cushion and vinyl leather cloth. First, the cushion is cut, chamfered and glued onto the fiberboard.

And then they are wrapped with the cloth and fixed by 'tacker' that is a strong stapler for woodwork. I separated driver's seat because there is water tank inlet under the driver's seat.

I employed three plastic CD cases as water tanks. They are connected one another with brass tubes. The outlet nipple is at the bottom of the middle tank. Water is filled through the large hole of the front tank. The hole is closed by styrene foam disk glued under the driver's seat. Each tank have small venting hole on the top. The tanks' total capacity is 8 liters that is 5 times larger than the old one.

The water is supplied to locomotive through vinyl tube and elbow joint. The brake rod is extended according to the wheelbase extension. Other components are just taken from the old truck.

Now the new driver & passenger truck is ready to run. Total weight is 25 kg.

Whole items for service were loaded in the new car. One-third of the rear seat is folded and the truck is laid vertically. The locomotive and other tools are put in remained space in the trunk. Moreover four persons can sit in the car.

In order to put the locomotive vertically in the trunk, I had to shorten the locomotive carrying case. The case is made of CREFORM. Four members of the case are cut, shortened and reconnected with joints.

I joined the 20th anniversary of Seto-Ohashi Bridge. 35 locomotives joined the two days' meet and served for more than 3000 passengers. To tell the truth, this event is the first purpose of the driver truck modification.

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