The real B&O C16 “Docksider” was used in the extremely tight turns of the Baltimore docks that were originally designed for horse and wagons. The turns were so sharp, that the cars were occasionally pulled out of the building with a chain, as can be seen hanging on the cylinder.
The C16 was very popular with model manufacturers, made by Varney, also called a “Little Joe”. Like the Varney, my C16 was mostly sold as a white metal kit. They were made by Rex, very similar to the HO companies, Varney, the original Mantua and Tyco and Roundhouse. The Rex is S Scale’s only small steam locomotives in any commercial form. There was a Prairie, a Suburban, and 0-6-0 that sort of looks like the PRR B6. They were chopped at and cobbled into endless forms by S modelers over the years.
Rex was sold to Terry Putt as Putt Trains. For a while Terry made some great improvements to the line with better can motors and gears. A very few even got real gearboxes instead of motor worm gear right to the axle gear. Terry briefly offered some models ready to run. My C16 was sold to my friend Ken Davis as ready to run. I bought it mostly as shown below from Ken who was a great fan of the Rex/Putt locomotives.
Putt Trains is no longer in business.
Most early S rolling stock was designed to use the Kadee #5 coupler. Much debate has happened over the correct size of a coupler for S Scale. Kadee makes ONE coupler for the S market, the 802 in black or 808 in brown. One size does not always fit all.
As a sign of need and ingenuity, in the early 1990s, I took about 100 Kadee 802 and customized them as an “up coupler” and a “down” coupler, but mostly put the 802 S Scale head on #5 style coupler shanks, some longer and shorter as well. It was VERY time consuming. I sent the modified couplers to be cast in brass. It is a 1 for 1 process. There are no molds for any of them, so none can be easily reproduced.
The C16 coupler height was very low, so luckily I had some “up’ couplers to use. It is a long shank as well, so I wanted to make it center. I soldered some .010 phosphor bronze wire to a washer and made a spring of sorts. It really does not move much but that is OK.
In August 2016, among many other projects, I was continuing the upgrading the DCC electronics of all of my locomotives, by adding sound decoders to some locos that did not have it. But it was mostly about eliminating the incandescent bulbs for headlights, by changing to all LEDs, and adding capacitor banks aka “Current Keeper” and “Keep Alive” for better operation. They will keep running if there is an interruption of power.
Ironically the C16 was a very early convert to DCC for me, and possibly my first ever installation. I dated the job as 2002. I used a NCE D13sr. It worked fine and was removed still working. I found the TCS KAT22 decoder was reasonably small with a capacitor bank built in. I usually use Miniatronics plugs to separate the drive from the boiler but did not this time. Even though I had room for larger LEDs I used the surface mounted which are very small but very bright. I made an insert bushing to keep the LED centered in the headlights. I was surprised at how much room there is in the C16 for such a small loco. Adding sound is easily possible, and might happen at some point. But this upgrade is good enough for now.
Done and Running
Watch my YouTube Clip from 9-27-12 of my C16 running. It is the last train shown.
There is no extra weight added. Count the cars as they just keep going by!
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