Neff Model Manufacturing Company

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Neff Model Manufacturing Company was owned and operated by Roll G. Neff of East Worcester, New York.


Nickie, Classic Toy Trains, wrote on 8 March 2006:

There was a complete history of the Neff Model Manufacturing Company printed in Live Steam Magazine (see References).
Roll Neff was a machinist of exceptional skill. He built his first O gauge locomotive in the late 1930s as a test platform to see what would work and what would not. Over the next 25 years, he custom built many O gauge locomotives - they were propane fired some were remote controlled. Usually this was not necessary - with a heavy train and a good track with well banked curves, additional control was not necessary. The locos would run until the fuel was exhausted - the boiler capacity and tender water supply being sufficient to keep the water level up so as to avoid running dry.
Neff's locomotives ranged from a 4-4-0 with Stephenson gear to at least one 2-10-4 and several UP Big Boys. He was located in New York state and died either in the 1960s or 1970s. I had a letter from him in the mid 1960s when I was trying to find an O gauger - at that time he had only one Big Boy in stock which was too big for my purposes.
Martin Lewis sold about 600 sets of O gauge castings over the years. Occasionally I see one of their locomotives but they are few and far between. Neff built between 50 and 100 locomotives. There were other custom builders during the 1920s and 1930s however most live steam locomotives were either Bassett-Lowke low pressure models or Bowman oscillators.


From The Live Steamer, March-April 1951

Neff O Gauge Live Steamers
On hand for immediate deliver.
* 1 Custom Heavy Pacific - $445.00
* 1 Custom Light Pacific - $345.00 (Lobaugh chassis)
Both are good looking, sweet running models.
Neff Model MFG Co., E. Worcester, N.Y.


The Live Steamer, September-October 1951

Photo is of Roll Neff's latest O gauge custom built Mallet which uses propane gas fuel stored in tender fuel tank. This engine uses an ounce of water per three minutes of running, pulling a 30 pound load on a tight circle test track and has a tractive effort of 1-3/4 pounds. Boiler is of Neff's firebox watertube type and supplies steam to all four cylinders. It would be interesting to see what this engine would do with a good load on a load straight track. An unusual feature in O gauge is the Neff working cylinder cocks in this size, which have been mentioned and oulined in a past Live Steamer article.
RollNeff Mallet OGauge 1951.jpg

UP Big Boy

A Roll Neff UP Big Boy 4004 live steam locomotive was sold at auction on eBay, July 2016. The final bid was $15,100US. The description listed the weight of the locomotive at 20 pounds and 34 inches long.

UP 9000

Posted by Anonymous on Model Railroader blog:

The engine has been positively identified as being scratch built by Roll Neff. It is one of his later engines. Possibly in the 1970's. Mr. Neff built just over 50 engines in his career spanning 40 years from the 1930's to the 1970's. He built a variety of engines specifically to fill custom orders. This is probably the only example he made of the famous UP 9000.
I had been under the impression that the motor in the tender was to feed water to the boiler. It is actually a throttle! Power is supplied via the rails and when the motor turns it pushes or pulls a cable connected to the throttle. No need for remote control!


Neff live steam Pacific. O scale propane fired. Extremely rare.This is a live steam locomotive made by Roll Neff. It is estimated that Roll Neff only made about a total of 50. Published on Nov 1, 2012