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Hello,

My father was an avid collector of Marklin trains, but while working on the inventory list, I came upon an Aster JNR 8550. It seems to be a one-off compared to the rest of his collection, and I'm not sure what the best way to handle it is. It's still in its box, and I'm not sure if it has ever been used. Is there a way to tell if it has?

I tried to post a link with photos, but apparently am too new to include a link. If you send me a message, I'll provide photos. I live close to San Francisco, and am not sure if there's a local Live Steam group around here. Appreciate any help.

AJ
 

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Hi David,

Just sent an email to their "Contact Us" address, thank you for letting me know about them!


AJ
 

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Most if not all 8550 were kits. They are quite common as thousands were produced. I paid about $700 for mine, and I have seen kits advertised as high as $1500.
A very desirable option was the additional cylinder conversion, as the original only had 1 plus a dummy.
Is yours a kit or is it built up?
 

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David,
Let me know if you do not receive a response from BAGRS and I will follow up. There are several live steamers that follow this site.
Mike Paterson, Sunnyvale
 

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Bill (Bille1906) and I are both BAGRS members. But I warn you: If you get in touch with one of the BAGRS live steamers they might convert you into a live-long addict of this fascinating hobby. Usually we have regular steam-ups on layouts around the bay, but due to the virus (not caused by oil/steam) we are currently on "Zoom". Unfortunately I cannot help you, as I am about to move back to Europe.
Regards
 

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Aster 8550 2-6-0

Hi AJ,
Henner, Bill, and I are members of BAGRS live steam group. Google BAGRS.org .
I have the Americanized version of the Aster 8550 and after quite a bit of work it runs very well.
You can tell if it has been run by looking at the bottom of the locomotive towards the rear you will see a cooper tube with 3 cylindrical cones protruding up into the loco. If they or the surrounding asbestos looks burned, then the loco has been run or at least fired up.

My loco is an original "Built-Up loco. Not a kit. It came in a long rectangular Aster box with Styrofoam lining. Since mine is the two cylinder Americanized version the steam oil tank is under the front pilot ( Cow catcher ). The single cylinder ( JAPAN ) version has the steam oil tank mounted where you think the right cylinder would normally be. You can see a brass screw on cap on either tank..
2000 of the original 8550 single cylinder version were made starting in 1975.
Only 200 of the Americanized two cylinder versions were made starting in 1982.

Naturally the 2 cylinder version is more desirable because then run much, much smoother having 2 cylinders..
You can send private mail if you want .
Bob
 

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When you find out the sale value, I would consider the use as a nice mantle piece - that you could also take for a spin with the help of some nice people in your area!

And perhaps, the piece is actually a bit like owning family paintings and photographs? Write down the history of your fathers interest in railway models, and put in the tender! :) It may well be a very evocative future family piece! You know your father, but there are generations to come! :)

Somehow, physical objects motivate people to preserve and tell stories about our previous family members. Odd objects, can be more evocative, than portraits. Like rifles won in Norwegian national ski-shooting competitions, an engraved goldwatch - that wasn't his favourite, so it is in mint condition ;-) The favourite lost in WWII. A champagne canon "lavette" (English?) A silver and bone knife. Even engraved snuff boxes and enamel ashtrays! ;-) A favourite book, with personal annotations. (I was stunned - I'ts the only poetry book I enjoyed - but so did an uncle on the other side of the family!!! He even had several translations, since it is 12-th century arabic! (Omar Khayam, The Great Rubiat, mine is by Edward Fitzgerald.)

Strangely, that locomotive may be the reason to remember other seemingly unrelated aspects of his personality.

One member of our society died the other year. He had no children. He was THE dominant propulsion for anything livesteam in Sweden. He thought his first Aster was a bit to expensive. But his wife told him -"Buy it!" For some reason, this is also a reason to tell, that he was an excellent pianoplayer. And his wife and him, were keen on dancing - whitch explained some rather surprising abrupt ending of livesteaming events! ;-)

And these stories will be told, emmanating from his steamboats and locomotives. :)
 

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I remember running a live steam loco belonging to my grandfather when I was 9 years old. No one else in the family remembers him having that but I am positive that I ran it. I wish I had it now as I really remember very little of my grandfather. I also remember owning a little pot boiler stationary engine that I owned when I was 10 or 11. I tried to make a power plant out of it by hooking it up to a little electric motor. All it would do is make static in a set of ear phones but that kept me happy for hours! I would love to have that too.
 
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