Hello All, I have a 1922 Model T Touring and got a crazy idea to possibly use it on some of the Railroad Tours. I understand that the wheel width is close to the Railroad track gauge standard of 56.5 and was wondering what would be needed to convert it for use on the rails.
Having no idea what is involved, I was thinking off the top of my head, possibly a wheel set that matched the rail width and had the proper flange might be all that is required. Bolt those on and go but does anyone have any idea what it would take to make this happen?
I would like to do the rail tours and then quickly convert back to normal Model T street driving operations.
Thanks for all the help
Those I know with railcar conversions have spent lots of time in making them so.
I suspect the word "quickly" is a no-go in this application.
Yes, the Model T wheels fit the standard railroad gauge perfectly, down to the half inch. I believe all the conversions I've seen in old pictures had the car wheels replaced by railroad wheels. For a relatively quick conversion I think you'd be better off with a device like the railroads use now, a guide to keep the car's tires on top of the rails. Either way, you'd want something to lock the steering so the front wheels don't swivel.
Adam, I have no experience with this, but first of all, where are you going to come up with flanged railroad wheels that will simply bolt on the existing T hubs? Original railroad wheels are cast on the axle: not bolt on. so custom fabrication is the only way I know. Secondly, they will need to be made of aluminum or some lightweight material or they will be a chore to move around; haul around; install and remove. Last, they will be to be near the diameter of the original T rim and tire. Anything less than that is going to slow your final gearing down by increasing the RPM of the flanged wheel. If you don't mind switching out front and rear hubs for every rail trip, buy yourself a set of 26-27 wire wheels and hubs, the wheels can be modified by welding on a flange to provide the proper spacing and the drop center rim can be made flat by welding a piece of steel around the outside of the rim beads. Be sure to add an air horn or exhaust whistle!
Here is a wheel supplier
Possibly some ideas here...
https://www.google.com/search?q=model+t+railcar+for+sale&espv=2&biw=1103&bih=878 &tbm=isch&imgil=2OsLTUb7iSUdeM%253A%253BLjm65zn3kms-QM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25 252Fwww.ebay.com%25252Fitm%25252FSJ-E-RR-Ford-Model-T-Rail-Car-2-8-by-10-photo-% 25252F160950915429&source=iu&pf=m&fir=2OsLTUb7iSUdeM%253A%252CLjm65zn3kms-QM%252 C_&usg=__VV4UVbw0kZ5dyRTSkptfmds6bl4%3D&ved=0CD4Qyjc&ei=ze4WVf69GcL1ggT7soSACQ#i mgrc=2OsLTUb7iSUdeM%253A%3BLjm65zn3kms-QM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fi840.photobucket. com%252Falbums%252Fzz322%252Fwarhawk-repros%252FRR_PHOTOS%252F8x10_Photos%252FSJ E_Ford_ModelT_RailCar_2_c1928_7x1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.ebay.com%252Fitm% 252FSJ-E-RR-Ford-Model-T-Rail-Car-2-8-by-10-photo-%252F160950915429%3B800%3B557
These are lightweight composite. If the T tires ride on rails, it seems these wheels could keep it on track.
Thats what I had in mind. It looks like he just put correct wheels on a Model T.
He being Henry Ford. That conversion would have more than likely been done at the Fordson Shops at the River Rouge Complex. Henry was meticulous when it came to the rolling stock for the DT&I.
Regards, John Page , Australia
We have one still running about 1.5 hrs drive from where I live at Pleasant Point in South Island of New Zealand. I'll take some pics next time I pass it running and post them on here.
Im actually working on 1914 Model T Railcar as we speak. It of course it will have road wheels to putt around town too! I can get special access to certain tracks to run on, so that idea hit upon me a couple years ago. And I do a couple of railcar runs every year, normally. A friend of mine has a 1944 build, Fairmont S2 railcar with a 8HP hit miss motor that I normally run for him.
What I have for my project, are old 20 inch railcar wheels (they may actually be from an old handcar). They took me a few years to find, so they are not easy to get at all. 14 inch and 16 inch Fairmont wheels are easier to find comparably. These are all just pressed steel wheels with a separate hub. I go lucky on my set, in that, the bolt pattern for the hubs is identical to the the Model T hubs! The hubs on my wheels are riveted on, but I will drill those out and add a spacer (if any needed) between the wheel and the hub to bring it in gauge. Probably machined out of aluminum or steel depending on the thickness. Then I can bolt everything together. The 14 and 16 inch wheels are a bit different and have an 8 bolt pattern I think. So it will take some adaptation to get them to work. Of course you need a way to lock the steering as well.
So it is possible but, please, please, please make sure you either know of a private SAFE place to run, or join NARCOA (The North American Railcar Association). They have special categories for railcars, and have many many runs throughout the country many times a year. They may have a local chapter near you, and they can help you out. Some runs only allow regular railcars, others have anything from what we are doing with Ts to actual steam rail cars! So it just depends on the host for the trip.
The 17" plastic wheels are barely more than half of the diameter of a model T wheel, but if you are planning to use the flanged wheels as just something to guide you down the tracks and using the T's rear tires as contact motivation on the rails, either the 10" or 17" ought to work. Even though I live on a dead end spur of UP, they would frown on me riding their rails.
Was there ever a conversion that just replaced the rims of demountables with a rail rim? That would be pretty slick, no?
The rail car guys come to our town to ride the Appanoose County Railroad. It is a private railroad, about 46 miles of track and it goes over the Chariton River on a rather large bridge. Several other smaller bridges. It is a very scenic ride.
We have a Planes, Trains, & Automobiles day, the first Saturday in August. You can get a ride in a small airplane, tandem parachute jump at the airport. There is a big car and tractor show in town, and we get as many as 30 rail cars show up and we give rides all day long with rail cars on the Appanoose County Railroad.
I would love the get my Model T set up to ride the rails with the rail cars.