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Love Of Locomotives Inspired Him To Build One
“Growing up I was always fascinated with steam locomotives and trains, so when I had time on my hands in my 70’s, I decided to build one of my own,” says retired farmer, carpenter, handyman and all-around inventor Don Sizer.
    “As a kid I had a foot-long model of an old steamer from Great Western Railroad, so I used that as my template. That little engine produced steam and made a chuppa-chuppa sound when it ran. It also had a whistle and bells on it, so I put those things on the one I built, which is about 1/3rd scale to a full-size engine,” Sizer says.
    The undercarriage and power unit for Sizer’s engine is an old Toyota Tercel automobile that’d been given up for parts. Sizer removed the body, tuned up the engine, and reconfigured the chassis to accept framework for his 20-ft. long steam locomotive. The car engine and drive wheels are at the rear of the unit and idler/steering wheels are at the front. He reconfigured the transmission to hydrostatic drive so it handled easier in parades.
     Controls that operated the car’s engine, steering and brakes are mounted in the engineer’s cab compartment. Sizer fashioned the steamer’s framework out of scrap metal that he bolted and welded to the auto chassis. He used sheet metal for the cab and roof and rolled metal to create the silo-shaped boiler. Sheet metal also forms the steam compartment and the smoke stack. A single beam headlight is mounted in the center of the steam chest at the front.
    Authentic-looking wheels and connecting couplers make the engine appear like it’s ready for the rails. The steam dome, air cylinders, sand box, a hand-painted name plate and oil reservoirs on each side behind the front truck wheels round out Sizer’s desire for authenticity.
    “Building the engine was more fun than work, and people are amazed at how much it looks like a real locomotive,” Sizer says. It took him about 3 1/2 years to build with the help of a few friends and about $20,000 in out-of-pocket costs.
    Hooked to the rear of the engine is a 16-ft. long, 20-seat passenger vehicle that Sizer built and painted to imitate an old time trolley car. A farm wagon forms the chassis with metal framework outlining the sides, windows and roof. Sheet metal is used on the sides and roof along and make-believe rail wheels extend below the framework. Bench seating carries the passengers.
    Sizer recently donated both items to the Western Development Museum in North Battleford, Sask. where they along with countless steam engines, planes, tractors, field machinery and hundreds of artifacts attract thousands of visitors every year.
    “They’re in a good place now and a lot of people get to enjoy them,” Sizer says.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Sizer, Box 119, Landis, Sask. Canada S0K 2K0 (ph 306 948-7309).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #4