Scratch build PE
In their early days I had some control of PE wagons which didn't count for much after QFC wagons were introduced. However in the early 1960s QR was asked by the Army to transport Centurion tanks (52 ton stripped for transport) from Clapham to Gympie for Tin Can Bay. PE Wagons were unsuitable as is, but I never gave up easily. I asked the CME design staff could PE wagons be strengthened to carry these 11ft 6 ins wide and 52 tons tanks. The answer was yes with considerable strengthing of the underframes, increasing the floor timbers to 2 1/2 inches thick and 9ft 4 wide. The extended timbers to be further supported by a heavy angle steel welded on the outside of the solebar. It would be necessary to change the 12TAL bogies by 15 ton axle load bogies. I arranged this by using new 15 ton axle load bogies being built for the new WHO wagons for the Mt Isa line.
PE Ipswich, Auto Couplers, Container spigots, disc wheels, painted grey.
Looking at the prototype and comparing the differences between NSWR standard gauge couplings and QGR narrow gauges couplings there is very little for the modeller. The height above the rail being the main difference.
QR coupling on yellow wagon coupled to NSW standard gauge wagon
So all wagons could operate together on the layout without to much trouble, I fitted Kadee # 711 H0n3 couplings on the hook wagons and Kadee # 5 coupling to more modern steel wagons fitted with auto couplings. This worked OK for trains running around the layout. The # 711 looked good set between the buffers. The # 5 looked a bit big, but they were the same size as standard gauge wagons on the layout. The standard Kadee # 5 box (# 242) left little room between the wheels on the QR rollingstock, some wagons had wheels on the end of the wagon. This left very little room for the bogies to turn. Not being a fan for gluing couplings, as much a possible I would use a screw to fix the coupling. Open and platform wagons made thing a little difficult and some time there was no choice. I often fitted the # 5 coupling without the box, screwing the coupling and the brass spring to the wagon floor.
On changing the # 711 to scale whisker couplings I used a 2 mm machine screw with a 1/8” brass collar in the same fixing hole used for the 711. The hole was drilled out with 1.5 mm drill and thread added with a 2 mm tap. The brass collar was made from 1/8” brass tube cut to the same size as the coupling shank. A washer was added for extra support. The treaded screw provides fine adjustment to allow free movement and to keep the shank straight without sagging. Most wagons were box wagons or open wagons with a load. A couple of open with vehicle loads I covered the screw with some rubbish. Often dunnage from a previous load was left in the wagon. If you took it out of the wagon, you created another job for yourself, what to do with the rubbish. Laptop screws with a fixed washer is being considered for the next batch. I see them on e-bay in the modeller’s favourite colour, black.
Standard HO gauge on top, H0n42 gauge on the bottom