Project Notes for The Gilded Age Locomotion

(A working title)

So CheshireCat, MorosePanda and I were talking at dinner about this idea for an art car train project. My eyes, of course, lit up at train, as I love them very much. So we discussed that it would be super cool to build out a mutant vehicle that was made up of several cars, and that there would be a design spec so that you could Bring Your Own Rolling Stock (BYORS) and join the train.

We batted some ideas around, and while watching a movie, I sketch out some thoughts and come up with the following specifications for this idea…


The locomotive for this project could be made from an electric golf cart, or some other small motor vehicle. Drivetrain could be gas or electrical, but this author is going to assume electrical for the rest of this guide.

These are the specifications of the locomotive:

  • At the rear of the locomotive shall be a shackle attached to a 1″ square post.  The shackle shall be oriented horizontally.
  • The shackle shall protrude 9″ from the rear of the vehicle to allow for adequate turning radius of connected cars.
  • The shackle shall be 6-8″ above the ground, and centered on the vehicle
  • The locomotive will provide a minimal amount of power and brake signaling over four-wire trailer wiring

Rolling Stock

gilded age express - rollingstock skeletonThe rolling stock is a modular design that allows for genderless orientation of the car (no side is required to be the front.)

  • Each car shall be 36″ wide and at least 72″ long
  • The frame of the car may be made of any material that meets the strength requirements (several cars may be attached to yours!), but this author recommends fabricating the base frame from 1″ square tube steel
  • Wheels shall have axels mounted 9″ from the front and rear of the car, and shall freewheel
  • Wheels shall be 12″ to 14″ in diameter
  • Each car shall have pass-through four-wire trailer wiring for signaling information
  • Each car shall have a shackle with a 1″ wide jaw width mounted horizontally

This design is a work in progress…

gilded age express - rollingstock train

Do leave a comment with your thoughts if so inclined.

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