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Discussion Starter #1
Well, 2021 got off to a good start.
I recently had a very fortunate opportunity to add this special Aster model to my collection : an unopened, factory-built SNCF 232.U.1

I’m hoping to give her a test on rollers later this week.

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Such a beautiful elegant loco, and what a great find.
And such a good use for a ping pong table!!
Enjoy running it.
Regards,
David leech, Delta, Canada
 

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Congratulations - it is an awesome machine and very powerful - one of my favorites.

Mine has, however, been the most accident prone of all my collection - possibly a direct result of its power and willingness to leap away at 200 scale mph if freed of load. Part of the challenge is that a typical load would be a rake of heavy J&M wagon-lit coaches and, if any coupling fails, you can get in a lot of trouble very quickly as the beast accelerates away and comes off the track at the next corner. (I know this true of any loco but two factors come together here - the big wheels allow the engine to accelerate quickly and the hook/loop coupling on J&M wagon-lit coaches are not very strong.)

One weakness is the connection between the engine and tender - mine failed possibly as a result of damage from a previous incident.The water and alcohol tubing held things together for a few seconds before they separated and the engine ran away coming off the track at the next corner.

If you are planning to pull J&M Wagon Lit coaches, my recommendations would be to change or strengthen the hook/loop coupling. I would also replace the engine/tender coupling with something that gives a more positive connection.

Or maybe I am just accident prone :)

Robert
 

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Or maybe I am just accident prone :)

Robert
The next story is from my book on ASTER (free to read or download:The Unauthorised History of ASTER – Many different model railways in all scales & gauges):

The next horror story proves the ease of starting of the U1. At a steam meet someone brought a RC controlled U1. He had raised steam while his RC controller was lying on a chair which stood inside the gauge 1 track oval. His wife wanted to sit and took the controller of the chair and laid it somewhere, not noticing that she moved the controls doing that. The U1 started to run and soon at high speed turned over at the third curve. I saw it happening (but could not intervene). There was some damage (to the locomotive, I do not know about the wife) and the run was prematurely ended.

Until now I myself had no accidents with the U1;it is a great runner:

Regards
Fred
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Such a beautiful elegant loco, and what a great find.
And such a good use for a ping pong table!!
Enjoy running it.
Regards,
David leech, Delta, Canada
Thanks David,
I was very lucky, as it basically fell in my lap !
I’m looking forward to its first steam test.

The ping pong table is currently being prepped to build my C62-3 kit
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Congratulations - it is an awesome machine and very powerful - one of my favorites.

If you are planning to pull J&M Wagon Lit coaches, my recommendations would be to change or strengthen the hook/loop coupling. I would also replace the engine/tender coupling with something that gives a more positive connection.

Or maybe I am just accident prone :)

Robert
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Thanks Robert,

My first Aster was a PLM 231A (still one of my favorites), with big drivers and a sensitive regulator.... so I quickly became cautious of the runaway potential.

The U1, being a lot more powerful, increasing as she starts compounding, will certainly be getting some close attention while running.

My U1 will only be running on excursion duty for the time being, mainly on GWR lines with a rake of 6 x brass Choc / Cream Bowande coaches.

I now have 3 French locomotives, so I should probably start considering an appropriate train !

Hopefully Covid will get controlled soon, so I can take the U1 over east to see Graham & Russell. They’re on the opposite side of the country.

Russell has the perfect train and layout for her to run on ! 👍🏼
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Regards
Fred
I read that story a few weeks ago, with horror / anguish / amusement.
Your book is great.

I’ve also enjoyed your U1 videos, amongst the many great ones on your channel 👍🏼👍🏼
 

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You would be welcome any time Clayton.
Though I am still not sure Russell is talking to you due to the bargain price you paid and his love of French locomotives...
 

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HI Clayton and Graham, yeah I have got over locomotive envy now so I can't wait to see this magnificent loco run behind my rake of CIWL and Nord coaches ! When covid goes away you must get over here Clayton and now you have 3 French loco's it's a must to get some suitable rollingstock.
By the way a large table like the ping-pong one you have is ideal for loco assembly and that C62 will be fantastic, another one I want to see run!
Anyway have fun with both of these and all your others. I'll get Graham to film a "French" running day soon on my layout to give my collection a public outing.
Russell
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You would be welcome any time Clayton.
Though I am still not sure Russell is talking to you due to the bargain price you paid and his love of French locomotives...
Thanks Graham,
It’d be great to get over to a GSSU, or alternative occasion.
Let’s hope COVID is squashed ASAP.

Russell is all OK. 😜😜👍🏼
He’s as keen as I am to see the U1 run on his layout with his “Etoile du Nord” train and French stations.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
HI Clayton and Graham, yeah I have got over locomotive envy now so I can't wait to see this magnificent loco run behind my rake of CIWL and Nord coaches ! When covid goes away you must get over here Clayton and now you have 3 French loco's it's a must to get some suitable rollingstock.
By the way a large table like the ping-pong one you have is ideal for loco assembly and that C62 will be fantastic, another one I want to see run!
Anyway have fun with both of these and all your others. I'll get Graham to film a "French" running day soon on my layout to give my collection a public outing.
Russell
😁😁😁
For sure, mate.
It’s definitely on my to-do list !

The French coach search will need to be a savvy one...... the last few additions have certainly dented the budget 😁

I’m always clicking on my subscriptions, hoping for another one of Graham’s uploads, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for your French running day.

The ping-pong table will be a great place to build.
It’s just outside of my home office, so it’ll be a good option for the occasional work break etc.

the C62-3 is another stunning model.
I’m a sucker for 4-6-4’s with big drivers !
 

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Discussion Starter #14
As long as the family don't want to play table tennis!
Also over such a large area, it might be easy to loose pieces.
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
Funny you should say that.
The table hasn’t been used for a good 10-12 months, yet as I was cutting the wick sheets for the U1, my boy came upstairs with his friend to play Table Tennis 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️

It’s only a 3/4 size table, so not overly big.
I’ll be keeping the building to one side of the net 👍🏼😊

PS : she’s got some serious wickage with the manger burner configuration !

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Funny you should say that.
The table hasn’t been used for a good 10-12 months, yet as I was cutting the wick sheets for the U1, my boy came upstairs with his friend to play Table Tennis 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️

It’s only a 3/4 size table, so not overly big.
I’ll be keeping the building to one side of the net 👍🏼😊

PS : she’s got some serious wickage with the manger burner configuration !

View attachment 60824
I really like this wick arrangement and much prefer it to the conventional stranded wicks. I've modified a couple of burners on other engines and think they work better and more consistently - but that could just be confirmation bias.

Robert
 
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