I've found several references to an interesting jeep conversion done by the US Army in certain theatres of operation to provide basic locomotion for rail equipment.

They took a basic 1/4 ton Willys GPW and replaced the rubber tyres with a suitable set of wheels for steel rail. Traction was apparently assisted using dry sand from sand boxes mounted fore and aft. I have found no mention of added ballast for traction, but it is expected that this was required.

Some related photos are available at Jeeps on the rails. Buzz indicates that once you lose traction, you have to bring the jeep to a complete halt in order to start it moving again.

Braking must have been accomplished using the manual train brake wheels on the rolling stock itself, as the jeep would lack the braking capacity to stop 10 or 20 tons of cars once they were rolling.

Word has it that Smoky Bottom Lumber Co. in the UK is offering a static plastic conversion in 1:35 scale for the Tamiya jeep kit. I am waiting to hear back from the company on price and availability. If I can obtain this product, a powered jeep and at least one piece of rolling stock will be built and a suitable diorama created to display it.


Charles Schuster said...

G'Day from Oz!
The Australian War Memorial/Museum here in Canberra has a restored WW2 "Rail Jeep". It was an Oz Army Engineer's adaptation to run on local narrow gaugr lines in Borneo at the end of WW2 in Borneo. The AWM Archives has B&W pix of the Rail Jeep in action.
Photos show the jeep heavily loaded with stores and towing flat cars loaded with stores. An old pre-war passenger carriage was used to carry "Brass" up to the front. Back loads were of wounded soldiers.
I plan to model the Rail Jeep in On30. I havePlastic kits in 1/48 and die cast metal jeeps in 1/43.5 and 1/50.
Probably I will use the metal models as they provide a nice heft to keep the model on HO track.
I have yet to work out how to motorise the model. Any advice/ suggestions would be most welcome.
Enjoyed your Blogg,
Charles Schuster.

bobcatt said...

Hello! Thanks for the info about the pictures; I'll try to look them up tonight.

I was originally planning to use a "Black Beetle" type motorizing unit, but I've recently had a lot of trouble with one of them.

It will need low gearing in order to be of any use in switching. Based on the size of the 1/35 model, it will be hard to stuff a motor and gearbox into the available space.

One solution is to build a hollow "crate" in the back of the jeep above the rear axle to mount a can motor vertically, but that's a bit cliche for my tastes.