A petite Plymouth for the HO scale Petra Pizza micro layout means no more large 4 axle diesels locos need to be used for motive power.

For some time now I have wanted to find some motive power for the Petra Pizza micro layout that better suits the short trains sharp radius curves on it. I had been using GPs and FT-A which are somewhat over powered for the short trains, and the sharp curves caused a lot of overhang, and required a caboose between the loco and the other cars. Recently I ordered and received a Walthers Plymouth ML-8 4 wheel switcher (or is it a rail tractor?)

It is not much bigger than the X200 class NSWGR rail tractor I received a week or so ago, so it could probably be classed as a rail tractor. It would haul similar tonnages as the X200. I ordered the Plymouth through eBay, and I thought that it would be DCC equipped. But alas, I mis-read the listing – it is able to be fitted with a DCC decoder, but is not DCC equipped. Not to worry.

ML-8 at the Petra depot.

I have a number of locos that I no longer use, for various reasons. One of them is a Bachmann DCC equipped GE 70 tonner, which has a dodgy drive train which I haven’t been able to fix. So I decided to butcher that GE 70 tonner and remove the decoder and do what I did with the Tropical Pizza layout: I wired the decoder from the GE 70 tonner into the Petra Pizza layout.

ML-8 with 3 open hoppers loaded with stone from the Petra quarry loader

This means that I can run anything on the Petra Pizza layout whether DC or DCC (any DCC equipped loco used on the layout will just it is being controlled by a DC system).

ML-8 with short passenger train of MOW cars.

After a bit of testing, and experimenting with trains, I found that the Plymouth ML-8 will haul about 4 heavily weighted 33 foot open hoppers, or a few passenger or box cars without any problems. And it looks great on the layout going around those sharp curves!


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