While new visitors to the Steam Valley Railroad may discount this engine as a toy locomotive, the older members of the staff will tell you that had it not been for this little engine the railroad may have disappeared back into history.
About this creation
Built from the ground up in the SVRR's maintenance shops, Engine Number 3 as it was called at the beginning, was based on the LB&SCR A1 class tank engine, popularly known as Terriers for their distinct barking exhaust beat. During construction however the engineer in charge of the No. 3's building made a number of alterations to the initial design in order to save time and money. This gave No. 3 a unusual growling bark when underway, and when a crewman remarked during testing that it sounded more like his pet Bulldog than a Terrier, the name stuck.
But the same shortcuts that made Bulldog unique also caused the engine to be in and out of service for most of its first years on the line. Her crew often had to deal with random acceleration and sudden braking, along with faulty gauges and boiler tubing that was prone to coming loose of its housing during travel.
Its running gear was also a continuous problem, having to be rebuilt time and again due to derailments both on the mainline and in the marshaling yard.
Nevertheless, when No. 7597 went in for an overhaul in spring of 2006 it fell to Bulldog to work the line's freight and passenger services alone until a new diesel locomotive arrived in the fall.
Between Bulldogs near constant problems and the railroads drastically reduced hauling capacity, it wasn't long until delays began to pile up and shippers started to withdraw orders. Though railfans flocked to the railroad to see a steam engine hauling everything from tourists to container cars, it only helped so much.
Then one day one of the railroads younger employee's made a mistake when switching Bulldog and its train of tourists out of the station. Instead of changing the points to take the train onto the SVRR, the switch-man turned the train onto the commercial mainline, sending a train of tourists onto the same tracks as 2000 ton freight trains!
The headlines Bulldog made because of that accident saved the railroad, and guaranteed the SVRR's problem child a special place in local hearts. A little over a month after it raced alongside mile long freight trains and steamed into Brickton Union Station alongside modern stream-liners and high speed specials, Bulldog was taken out of service and given a complete overhaul from side-rods to safety valve. The engine and the coaches it pulled on that day also received a new red and black paint scheme to distinguish them from the standard black and green livery of the SVRR.
And the switchman responsible for catapulting Bulldog into local legend? Lets just say he took his career in a different direction after that little mishap.
Out of all my lego trains this little guy has to be my favorite. I had it built before I even received my first lego train set I don't know how many years ago, and as the story implies, it has been taken apart and rebuilt countless times since then, from a hideously out of proportion multicolored lump to what you see now. The drivers are Big Ben's Bricks Medium train wheels, a literal gift from god as far as I'm concerned. The coaches are sets I purchased from Lego Factory (yeah they're THAT old!) with designs based on the passenger coach from the Holiday Train set.
The problems referenced in the story are based on real problems I've had with this latest version of the engine, particularly when I threw together my first push car and tried to use it with the engine only for both car and engine to jump the track and roll right off the edge of my layout. But what is lego if not an eternal work in progress?
The design of the locomotive and coaches are nifty, and I like the back story that you came up with. How it reflects the problems you had when creating the locomotive is a neat idea as well. I like your work, so you should produce more MOCs for our viewing pleasure.