A generic Beyer Garratt in N-scale


Since no manufacturers make an N-scale Beyer Garratt, some people have successfully made one from existing steam engines. Our model is based on 2 Roco BR80 steam engines, that were picked up for a reasonable price at a trade show. See picture below for an idea of the

looks of a BR80. Althought the picture is small, it is easy to see the BR80 has very well

detailed driving rods. In addition, it does not sport anti-slip elastic bands, improving its running quality. Electrical pickup is from all 6 wheels.


Price is another matter. At Reynaulds Chicago the BR80 is priced at

US $ 92.22.


Now strip the engine of its shell. The picture at right shows you what you now have left. This picture was found and copied from the web site of Stefan Nilsson of Valberg, Värmland in Sweden. 

At left you see the gear tower, at right the motor, a Roco specific torsion spring drive in the middle. Take out the motor and the torsion drive. In the gear tower you can later on replace the Roco universal with one from North West Shore Lines, or any other make of your liking. Since the original driving rod points downward, you need to file a little off the gear tower.


Now remove the parts of the engine as shown in above drawings 1, 2 and 3, using a fine saw.


The Roco BR80's are of strange construction. The shell holds everything together, including the steam cilinders. On the bottom you’ll find a screw that holds bottom and top plate, including pickup springs. (see figure 4, lower right drawing, screw A) Screw A is positioned exactly right to hold the middle boiler frame. Only screw A, a 1.8 millimeter screw needs to be longer. The top plate of this assembly already has a nut sunken in the top plate.. Put the longer screw in, then an MT bolster pin washer, and then the boilerframe. You’ll need an extra nut to hold the boilerframe in place. (See overview drawing item 13).


The original engine shell held the steam cilinders in place. Now that the shell is no longer used, you need to fasten these using 2 screws of 1.2 millimeters in appropriate length, see picture 4 on the next page.


Electrical pickup was changed slightly. Instead of picking up power from the wheelbands,


it is now bent in such a way that power is picked up from the flanges. The net result is less dirt on the power pickups and wheels. Also the wheels not do not wear down, but the flanges. Run the engines long enough and they will become RP25 like!!

Before fastening the steam cilinders, mount a Micro-Trains coupler in the coupler pocket.


Now is the time to start making the boiler frame. The one in this example was made out of 1 millimeter brass stock. The width chosen was 17 millimeters, the length should be around 1½ times the length of the engine frame. This results in an acceptable length of the boiler section, compared to the overall length of the engine. You can also use printed circuit board for this section.




A bad graphic representation of the boiler frame.

The black part is the hole where the motor will be mounted. Therefore the size depends on your choice of motor.


At both ends I have draw a vertical line, with a little block in the middle. These small sections are 2 millimeters wide. The black spot is where the frame will be mounted on both engines.

Cut away both sides of the center black spot. That spot should be drilled to accept the 1.8 millimeter screw end from the engine.


This diagram shows the almost assembled Beyer Garrett. Note that the universals have been added.

Also the boiler frame has been attached to both engines using the 1.8 millimeter screws.

Take excess length off the screws with your favorite cutter, and then add a small amount of contact cement to the nut. Tighten the nuts so there is eneough swing and play. The contact cement will hold the nuts in place. I hope you did not forget the MT bolsterpin washer between the engine frame and the boilerframe.


The next picture tells you how to make the cardanic rods to go into the universals.

Step 1. Cut 3 small pieces of brass wire. The long piece needs to be long enough to just fit into the universals.

Step 2. Make a fair drop of solder on the crossings of the wires.

Step 3. Cut the wires off as shown in the picture.

Step 4. File where needed to fit.



Next, solder thin but very flexible wires as shown, from the engine to the motor. And test, test, test to make sure it all runs smoothly.


Here is an overview with legenda and the tender, boiler and water tender drawn too.



1.         Cab from Roco #2152 A

2.         Boiler, part of a Rivarossi/Atlas Y6b boiler

3.         Styrene strips

4.         Tender folded/soldered from sheet brass

5.         Lamp from Roco BR80

6.         Sheet brass 0.5 millimeter

7.         Sheet brass 1 millimeter

8.         Nut 1.8 millimeter

9.         Mabuchi 605 motor

10.       4 * screw/nut 1.2 millimeter

11.       Roco BR80 engine frame (modified)

12.       Lead skirt and weight

13.       1.8 millimeter screw (needs to be longer than the original one)

Further items:

Universals North West Short Lines sells them

Cardanic rods, see description 

Couplers MT


Lastly, an example based on 2 Fleischmann engines.



This is my first try at bashing a Beyer Garratt. The front water tender came out ok. I think the boiler is too stocky and a little high. It was made out of brass tube. Therefore the cab, partly German, also does not look right, and lastly, the coal tender is simply too high. Note: coal tenders were either high and narrow, or low and flat (about like the water tender).








This picture shows the uncovered Garrett.






 The last picture shows the drive, a little different from the Roco based Garrett. This one is based on 2 Fleischmann engines. The worm runs free in the brass block and locks into the topgear. The worm also functions as universal.


Drawings by Ruud Bergsvoort. Pictures by Roco and myself, unless otherwise mentioned.

Have fuN, Maarten Vis (mailto:maarten.vis@hccnet.nl)