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Author Topic: 2-Rail Conversion Alco PA ?  (Read 2891 times)

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« on: December 11, 2010, 04:50:38 AM »

Hi there folks, Im considering a 3-Rail to 2-Rail conversion: Is there somebody who has done that before - converting a Alco PA-1 to 2-Rail? I would need to know what diameter the axles have to get a set of NSWL wheel disks...

Any comments? Any hints?
Would be awesome!!! Smiley Smiley Smiley

Kind regards, Tom Wink
Joe Satnik

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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2010, 10:53:38 AM »

Dear Tom,

You more than likely know everything I'm going to say here, so this is for others that might want to try a conversion. 

No question 2 rail looks more prototypical, but 3 rail is much more popular in O scale. 

If I made such a conversion, I would want to be able to easily convert back to stock 3 rail when it came time to sell. 

I suppose if you belong to a large and thriving 2 rail club, you wouldn't have to worry too much about it. 

Don't forget about the coupler conversion.

Do you belong to a 2-Rail-O club?  Care to mention it?

Here is a favorite of mine to visit:


Joe Satnik



If your loco is too heavy to lift, you'd better be able to ride in, on or behind it.

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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 12:40:44 PM »

Hi there Joe,

thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me and all the people who read this too. 3-Rail is much more popular in the States, while 2-Rail becomes more and more important to a lot of people. Here in Europe, its 2-Rail whats more popular.

Well, Im not a member of a 2-Rail club, just running a D&RGW/UP O-Gauge Standard gauge and N.G. layout here. The coupler conversion is a snap while Im really a bit confused about changing the wheels and isolating them. If theres a way to convert a PA-1 (which is, apart from the clumsy wheels and movable buffer beams, quite a nice model) Ill  give it a try. Any other solution isnt yet in sight.
MTH seems to have a decoder which will take DCC commands too, but no one ever knows when they will go and have their Alco PAs in 2-Rail version again...

Beein a Rio Grande Modeller, I cant wait to have a Yampa Valley Mail running here...

Kind regards,

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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2010, 02:07:28 PM »

I know that Atlas O sells two rail conversion kits for freight cars, they might sell a two rail conversion kit for a powered engine. Go to Atlas O's website and see if they list anything for two rail conversion.

For two rail operation the wheels must be insulated from each other or you will short out the track. In H.O. some of the freight cars have plastic wheels.

Lee F.

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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2010, 06:50:13 PM »

 MTH has made convertable locomotives before, maybe you could contact them and get a set of trucks that are already flanged for scale. 

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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 12:04:40 AM »

Some web sites frown on the mention of other forums on their forum,so if this is not acceptable just delete this post.{That won't hurt my feelings.]

Both of the following forums have 2-rail sections that may be able to help with this conversion.

Again,if this is not appropriate,delete.


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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 11:41:24 AM »

Thanks folks. I have already checked the OGR forum, there are several solutions in the market,
but Ill check the Williams trucks first, if I can isolate and remove the wheels from their bearings, replace them with NSWL wheels and decide, if I can live with one truck beeing "+" and the other beeing "-", Atlas did this on their more recent engines.

While Atlas has the right trucks coming from their FM Erie-builts, Im not sure if I can buy them separate.
Ill give it a check.

Thanks to you all!
regards, Tom Smiley Smiley Smiley
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