Whiting Rotaside Rotary Dump and P:48


Hi David,

Just wondering a cuple of things - are the plans for the Whiting Rotaside Rotary Dump still floating around?

Also you ARE NOT doing p:48, correct? Is that due to the time and resources to convert everything or perhaps you do not find the diffrence between O scaqle and P:48 to be worth pursing.

Lastly - the brass roller guages used while hanslaying track - are those a speciality item or would they be available thru a supplier.

I am starting to get cranked up on my Oscale adventure, bur just wanted to be somwehat successful when I start.

Thanks & have a great weekend!

Eric Jennings
The Bluefield Railroad.


Eric -
The O-scale roller gauges we use were turned in my basement on a Sherline lathe to 5 foot gauge, not P48. I’m not much of a machinist so they take longer to make than I would like. They do prove helpful for holding the second rail while spiking, but the ultimate authority still needs to be the trusty NMRA gauge. One drawback of roller gauges is that they need to be sized to match the rail head, so a code 100 gauge won’t work on 125 rail. The attached photo shows code 125 and 148 gauges I made for Jeff MacDonald, one of the A&O 2.0 regulars.

David will have to field questions on the rotary.

All the best.


**Hi Eric-
The Whiting Rotaside was built from an article in the December, '79 Railroad Model Craftsman (pg85ff). It may still be in print, but if not and you wish to try your hand at one, I’d be happy to send you a photocopy.

Because that article was written to handle the much lighter mass of HO scale equipment, the mechanism I came up with to make the thing roatate is different from the article. Mine is not a thing of beauty beneath the surface- old 12v motor from a surplus shop, gears from a VCR, brass tubing, bandsaw-cut mounting brackets, etc. But it all works as intended which is all that counts. Your imagination may vary.

But the topside and the way it actually works is a per the prototype. It adds a lot of play value to the op sessions (as does actually loading the coal) and keeps me from having to go around in between sessions and handling each loaded car, dumping their contents to make them empty and ready for the next session. In fact, cars are often loaded and emptied repeatedly in a given session- a function of our model railroad distances being short compared to the prototype.

I did proto 48 for a couple years when I was pondering the change to O scale, thinking that I’d have a switching layout in P:48 and my main layout would be HO, but that was like having two wives- each needed attention. So I chose O scale and built a test switching layout in P:48 in the family room- which drew some comments. I found that while the wheel profile was very appealing, it was the overall mass of the O scale equipment that I most appreciated, and the trouble/cost it had been to convert even the few cars and locomotive I owned simply did not equal the benefit for me, especially since I was now planning to abandon the HO and would have a larger layout- too much for this lifetime to do in P:48. (The overwide track gauge is equivalent to the width of a rail head, something I could live with.) And I knew I’d want to do coal pusher operations in O scale as I’d done on HO, and the physical forces of pushing 35+pound coal trains up twisting 2%+ grades would be more than the P:48 wheels would accomodate- no matter how well I laid my track.

I have visited Jim Harper’s beautiful P:48 layout in Reno which runs flawlessly. But it is not a stress test compared to what we regularly put A&O 1.0 through.

Let us know how it comes along.


David & Bob,

Thank you both for your great response!

I think I am staying away from P:48. The small difference will not make that much of a difference. But I have ordered some NWSL wheels in different widhts to test - 172, 145 & 115.

I have never actually been involved in an ops session and there are next to none as far as other modelers go in this area, so if you don’t mind, once I have a working layout draft I may post for feedback so I can be sure to take advantage of the best possible operating opportunities.

Also, I would love a photocopy of the coal dumper. We (my 8 yr old son and I have negiotated rights for a small coal barge/river to protrude into his room. I need to take advantage of this before he gets older and decides it is not “cool”.

Again thanks for the response and the EXCELLENT resource for O scale inspiration!



Eric -
There are a couple photos of the rotary in the gallery at the following link, including an animated GIF of the rotary in action. Sorry for posting a link, but the GIF is too large to be uploaded to this forum.
bobsobol.smugmug.com/gallery/974 … 9556_SRtca

And a photo of the rotary in-use during an operating session.
bobsobol.smugmug.com/gallery/974 … 5035_Qzzmz

All the best.


I’ll need an address to send the photocopy of the article. Why don’t you send it to my email address as given on the Home Page and I’ll get it off to you. Construction on 2.0 is moving along at a good clip currently and when we get to Bayfield and its new home location I’ll get some pictures up for you.

O scale is a chance for people to still scratchbuild, as you’ll discover, and if you go ahead and build one I can walk you thru the steps I took to make it happen along with photos of the “guts” of the thing.


Excellent! Those photos are very inspiring to say the least!

You gentlemen are indeed masters of your art.

David, much appreciated and I will send the address shortly.