This style of F-Unit chassis formed the basis of my first O9 loco back in 2003, when I purchased one very cheaply at a Toyfair as the basis of my first steps in O9 motive power. With a stylish body formed from Dapol railbus and drewery shunter parts I felt that the resultant loco captured the spirit of 1950s and 60s 15" gauge design and wouldn't have looked out of place at Dudley Zoo or Fairbourne.
These were early, perhaps pioneering days for me and much procrastination followed as to what the layout that would inevitably follow would be. At one stage the whole project hung in the balance but despite a half-hearted plan to sell up and return to 'OO', the blue diesel was not going to be sold. What eventually emerged was of course 'Shifting Sands', but by the time the layout was complete, the blue diesel had started to look a little on the small side next to 'Cumbria', my Ratty inspired steam tram locomotive.
A rebuild saw 3mm added to the height of the loco with a new frame below the body, and at this stage an Atlas mechanism was installed. The main reason for this change was that at this time I was using a set-up of old H&M control equipment and the setting required to get the best from the Atlas mechanism matched those used for the Kato 4w chassis found under many of my other locomotives. The original Bachmann chassis ended up under a 'twin' built for Andrew Blackwell.
Last years chassis purchase ended up under my 'Christmas Project' of a third locomotive. The long term intention for this was to actually replace the original locomotive in the 'Shifting Sands' fleet and allow the original bodyshell to be restored to it's original appearance for display with my older coaching stock. With the purchase of a further chassis, and another railbus and drewery shunter kit to hand to build another loco, the story is unlikely to end here!