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The BR78 is a strong performer on the track that can easily be improved.

The boiler is relatively small, and needs topping up with water frequently.
Adding water while in steam can be easily done with a "plant spray bottle". A ball valve is already mounted to the boiler. You just have to replace the brass cap on the right side of the cab with some tubing to connect to the bottle.

The alcohol sump is also small. 50 ml is gone in about 5 minutes.
Adding alcohol can ONLY be done safely when you close the tap before unscrewing the filler plug. Otherwise fuel will leak on the track, and will certainly ignite!

For those who can't/won't operate alcohol burners, several vendors in Europe provide conversions to a gas fired boiler. I'll keep burning alcohol in my BR78.

Because the driving wheels are not sprung, the track needs to be pretty level. I've encountered several derailment of the leading and trailing bogies. This was due to too little downward pressure and the wheels hit the frame. Reducing the diameter of the wheels in the bogies by ~2.5 mm and mounting stiffer springs is the cure against this. Turning these wheels down in a lathe was much harder than anticipated. Aster made these wheels of very hard cast steel.

The BR78 does not drive to tight curves very well. The above adjustment and some additional tweaks are required to get it through LGB R3 curves.

The ORIGINAL (Fulgurex) regulator/blower valve is a pain in the [email protected]#$! It is functional, but opens too far very quickly. You can hardly open it a little to run the engine a normal speed. The later USA-rerun is suposed to be fitted with 2 separate valves.

I'm currectly modifying my Fulgurex BR78 to the 2-valve setup, negotiating LGB R3 and will install RC-control.
If possible I'll also mount a steam whistle.

If you are interested I'll post my actions.

Best regards, Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Hello Rob,
thanks for your reply!
in the meanwhile I have bought an Aster 231A PLM, that has similar problem for the boiler, since it is a Smithie, although bigger. the previous owner took away the water tank in the tender and enlarged a bit the alchool tank, which I doubled afterwards. I provided RC for throttle, blower, valve gear and drain cocks, these ones i build myself.
my only regret is that I don't have a track to run it on, except a short straight rail on my balcony...
let us updated with your upgrading!
regards
Alberto
 

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Perhaps a bit obvious a tip, but fitting different couplings at the ends of a wagon, is a very simple way to use two different types of couplings. For screwcoupling hooks, there is an adapter to Märklin claw couplings. I only run the more modern rolling stock, that can be fitted with screw couplings though.

Though not French, the outline of Märklin old style compartment coaches, match French period passenger cars. Also, even though it's an express engine, it most likely ran goods freight trains as well. And quite short ones as well - like 6 wagons or so. I'm saying this based on German practices, but I don't think the French had "stricter" practices than the Germans!

A club member ran J&M French Wagon Lits coaches behind this locomotive. They are heavy though. Very large radius is adviceable. I also seem to remember they are not fitted with ball bearings.

On valve gears, my experience is that locomotives are almost exclusively run forwards. Very few do switching. So slip eccentric really isn't that bad, and hence is very common.
 

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Hi Rob, re your BR78 4-6-4 tank loco I have the French version and you may want to have a look at one of my previous posts where I put in water pumps and side tanks. I really need to also change the regulator as you are about to do, so have you done it yet?
Go to Modifications to an old Aster
Russell
 
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