The cartoon diesel shunting engine from the "Thomas the Tank Engine" series, comes to life as a 1.5" scale, 7.5" gauge locomotive by Ken Rhodes.

Ken has constructed a great locomotive, using the drive system from a Cannonball Super-Mack electric switcher. These are 12 volt motors on a axle/gearbox setup. The engine has 4 wheels, two axles, and a motor on each axle.


The engine has two 12 volt car batteries inside the hood, one for the motors. The throttle is a 4QD brand, Pro-120-12 control system. Its has smooth control, dynamic braking, ramp-up and down (momentum), and a dead-man system if the handheld is unplugged. There is also a sound system, using an LGB model train diesel sound board, tied to a car stereo equalizer/amplifier. All of this, built in a wood engine with a wood frame.

Rusty has spent many hours running on a local track. And most of that time, being run my children (with adult supervision). Itís that simple to operate and safe. And Rusty also gets attention by adults, because although heís a cute cartoon engine, the locomotive runs great and performs wonderfully.


Here is my son Jerry, at the throttle again. Donít let the missing "face plate" foul you, this is a powerful 1.5" scale locomotive. With the dual 12v motors, Rusty has established himself as a puller, taking 4-6 cars up a 1%-2% grade. With the 4QD controller and using only one of the batteries, Rusty has run all day at meets, only stopping to change passengers and engineers!


If you would like to learn more about the "Thomas the Tank Engine" series, or Thomas products, visit the web-site of Learning Curve, the folks who make the "Clickity-Clack" wood train system.

And here is Ken, finally getting a chance to run his own engineÖ


Check back as the 2000 running season continues. As we have more meets in the Alamo area and Rusty is run more, I will probably take more photos of him and will post them here!

Last revised on 4/8/00.