Large Scale Central

Transporting locos around the site

I have been pondering this issue for quite a while and have yet to come up with a solution I like…

I have to move my G-scale locos and tenders from shop to train room to outside track fairly frequently.
Moving the loco while attached to the tender via the drawbar is an accident waiting to happen. Plugging/unplugging the drawbars frequently is guaranteed to cause failure of that part.

Picking up the loco without proper support for the wheel sets leads to broken mounts - I done that to
both my G-scale Daylights. So I want to develop some way to move the loco and tender as a single unit, with proper support for the wheel sets.

My first idea was a 4’ 1x6 with straight track attached. You attach it to an end point of the track and drive the loco/tender onto it. Strap it down and move to new location, rinse, repeat. This would work, I’ve seen others describe variations of it, but somehow it doesn’t feel like the best solution.

I’m pondering a device that clamps against the wheels along both sides just above the top of the track. It also has a cage that then fits around the loco/tender, cushioning it. When the loco/tender are on any straight section of track you lower it over them and clamp it in.

Then you carry it to the next site, place onto the track and un-clamp. I can kind’a see how to do this in my mind’s eye, but could be some rather extensive machining involved.

Any one have any ideas?

You really don’t need track, just 2 grooves sawn into a board that has a long taper on one end and a incline support movable leg on the other. Just roll the locos and tenders on and off.

for safety and support some small side rails and a carry handle that runs the length of the cradle with pads that go down and lock against the top of the loco and tender. Works really well.


So does this “long taper” allow the board end to be placed on top of existing track, so that when you roll the loco off/on it looks like a continuous section of track? Ie. the loco doesn’t know that the board grooves and existing track are not one continuous section of rail?

I wonder what the minimum radius in the Z plane would be to keep my BigBoy happy?
Specifically so that middle wheels do not lift above the track as it rolls thru the transition point?
(ok, so its really an angle, not a radius, but I think you get the question…)

Steve, use the search in the upper right and search ““Engine carriers””…

Topic has been discussed many times, and there are links to lots of talk about them…


I made this one for a fellow club member to carry his Airsto Mallet


Looking good - so it sits on top of a section of track, with the wheels supported by the length of strapping steel?

You can then drive it on/off the carrier to the track under loco power?
Is there any taper on the end of the steel strap, or is it more or less blunt?
Seems like @ 0.025" it would work ok…

Here’s a thread with a number of designs: [link]

And here’s another: [link]

That second link has a design by the late Chuck Inlow, which is the design I use. Works great. Oops. Just checked and Chuck’s design pics are gone…

Here’s a kind of crappy video showing one of my loco’s coming out of its carrier:

Not the best picture of one of mine, but it’ll give ya an idea.

Steve said:


Looking good - so it sits on top of a section of track, with the wheels supported by the length of strapping steel?

You can then drive it on/off the carrier to the track under loco power?

Is there any taper on the end of the steel strap, or is it more or less blunt?

Seems like @ 0.025" it would work ok…

Yes Steve the carrier sits on top of and straddles the rails. The strapping is at gauge.

Yes, that was one of the premises of the carrier, drive in/out under loco power. It will work with track power as well as for battery.

There is no taper on the end designed in. As you comment, at 0.025 the loco has no issues making the transition.

This was designed as both a carrier and storage for the end user. It also works well for transport to shows or other layouts. One item of note, it is up to the end user to determine how much foam padding is required, and provide the foam. Although I knew what locomotive it was going to be housing, I did not have the loco available for sizing the foam.

Most folks here on the forum could easily adjust dimensions to suit smaller locomotives, although it sounds like yours might just be right at home.

I want to thank everyone for all the useful ideas and links. I have a lot of info to churn over.

I suspect I will be doing a variation of the carriers that straddle the rails and hold the wheels with 3" aluminum angle.

I’ll need to figure out how to set up a 4’ chunk of aluminum angle in the mill and cut a 6" long taper at the proper angle for the designed incline of the box. (yeah, I know, I’m way too anal.)

Its quite disappointing how many of the pictures in the links have disappeared. Much info seems that it would be quite useful, except without photos its impossible to follow. I’ve been placing all the photos from my DCC++EX project on my personal web site. I’m pushing 70, so someday in the not too distant future mine will disappear also. I wonder if it would be possible to set up something in the will to “pay forward” on the web site to allow its content to live beyond me. For others stumbling onto this thread, this is the most complete document I found:

David Leech designed what I and many others who have seen and used the same design as the best solution. Send me an E-mail and I will send you a drawing. [email protected]

I suspect I will be doing a variation of the carriers that straddle the rails and hold the wheels with 3" aluminum angle.


The guys at the Riverbend & Southern layout in Fort Myers have several sheds in which stock is stored, and they have ‘cartridges’ which are standard sizes so they fit in multiples on the shelves of the shed. Similar cartridges are used for locomotives, but those are kept at home under tighter security!

There is a siding on the layout with a recess in the end that takes any cartridge, and allows the stock to be rolled on/off. No track is needed - just wooden strips at the right gauge.

As you indicate you only want to move things around the house (not to carry them 1,000 miles to your summer home, as I do,) then the cartridge is just a variation of the 1x6 that you mentioned. It has sides and a handle and a removeable end to stop things falling out.


I’ll be carrying them more than around the house. From the trainroom to outside involves 2 flights of rather awkward stairs. And the LA thru SF route is about 300’ from the house… And that involves a 30’
elevation drop, creek crossing, then 30’ elevation gain - not to mention that it is very rocky mountain terrain!

Funny you should mention the cartridge idea - (very) long term I am considering such a system
for the sunroom which is next to the main yards. I want to build a “hump yard” device where I slide
rolling stock out of an XY array of cubicles and place on track that starts in the sunroom.

I let it roll out the door and to the yard. There the yard goat sorts and stores. At the end of the day
the yard goat starts pushing stock to the sunroom track, which has a cog system (no choice, a 3’ elevation in 20’ is involved). The cogs drag each car back to the sunroom, where I grab and store.

The route between Ogden and Sacramento (the “as the train rolls” route) does this:

I would recommend Dan Patterson’s carriers. While you CAN build your own, THIS is much more like a piece of art -

PLUS the handle goes the way that makes it a LOT easier to carry - VERY important when you attempt to carry a loco out to the track.

I’m long on time and short on money … and those hillsides are no place to be carrying around pieces of art.

Plus building things is what I do do.

the hell with carrying that beast that far. I’d start with a large wheel hand cart or wagon then create a case for the loco Just MHO YMMV

Eventually I will be able to drive them on the track to all locations - when I can afford 900-1000’ of G-scale track.

I’ve cleared the whole circuit from Cheyenne to Ogden, across to Sacramento, down to San Jose and each way from there to LA and SF. That almost 900’ of mainline, a whole hell of a lot of switches and another 500+’ of depot/yard track.

I surveyed the whole thing in the beginning and made sure to maintain a 0% grade (within an inch or so).

That’s the rub … it will cost more for track and switches than everything else combined.

Steve, while considering a carrier for hauling back and forth from storage to your railroad,

you might want to consider building something that you can use to transport the engine

to another layout to run… Sometime you might have that ability to run on other layouts…

Just a thought…

Here’s one that Dan Patterson makes.

That one was built by Dan for Jim Agnew. Jim eventually gave it to me a few years back out at Andy’s.

I run the engines in nose first so the charging outlet is toward the back and easily accessible for charging.

Now the ones I build for myself ain’t all that fancy. Just a plain plywood box with grooves on the bottom and a ramp the folds down to unload the loco.

I put a foam pocket in the front to hold the TX for that particular engine.

And they’re very useful for transporting them in your car when you visit someone else’s layout.


Could you give more detail on the ramp?
It appears that you have a raised spacer the width of the inner wheel spacing to guide the loco.
Are there any groves in the ramp?
Any chance of a picture of the ramp end?
How thick is the ramp?
Is there any taper cut into it?