Although its been two years since the inception of this project and the initial posting the project is alive and well. Hopefully this link will work to refresh memories.
Full funding is now in place and the mechanics of the project figured out. Assistance from members of this form has been instrumental in planning and I'm sure will be much needed during the execution phases. To date, the TT frame has been stripped of all bits and is being sand blasted and primed prior to some minor straightening and a crack repair of the front and rear cross members. The Ruckstell axle is disassembled for shortening to the required 36 inch railroad gauge and rebuilding. In the interest of safety disk brakes will be fitted to the rear axle. The front axle will be fabricated from a Ford Ranger rear axle with the differential removed and counter rotating axle shafts which when completed should replicated the original fairly closely and provide increased braking. We are still sourcing fabrication of the front elliptical springs and will also have to have new rear springs made. The engine and transmission will be professionally overhauled. One of the biggest hurdles was wheels but the steel tires have been sourced and the wheel centers will be made locally. The tires are a little over $1,700 each but should be the only ones we ever need. The goal is to have an operational chassis by the end of 2015 with the body to follow in 2016.
Hawaiian Railway Society
I think you will find disc brakes too "slippery" for this use--they will likely only slide the rear wheels, better for a softer brake--steel wheels on steel rails are not the same as rubber tires on pavement or ground.
Just a thought!
We plan to avoid locking the brakes although it will be possible. The front drums should be the first to activate followed by the rear disks. We'll also be using the Ranger "emergency" brake function instead of the TT parking brake. Steel wheels on steel rail can be a real problem if you're not prepared. I once got our 25-ton GE locomotive stuck on "grass grease" in an overgrown and unused portion of our line.
Ah yes, green grass on rail head, the bane of the little used shortline! Speaking of this, are you going to add sanders to your railbus?
"Plantation" style sanders will be used. A bucket of sand and good aim when throwing it.