Paul Brien

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Posted by Pontiac Guy on, 26 April 2012:

Paul Brien from Nashville, TN was definitely a mentor to most of us who grew up in the South. He was an exquisite machinist and boiler maker, and built many different types of engines. He loved not only steam locomotives, but also hit-and-miss models, and also the atmospheric (sterling cycle) engines. He would show or tell you how to do a particular operation and always made it sound very easy. He built probably 5 or 6 steam locomotives over his lifetime, in addition to all the hit-and-miss, stationary engines, etc... and all steamed well and performed well when he was done with them.
He was also a Charter member of the Mid-South Live Steamers, which was founded in 1966, and was a great inspiration to everyone in the early years. The first steam locomotive that I ever ran was his 4-4-0, which was based on the Miller Backyard Railroads 4-4-0. It used those castings, but Paul modified the locomotive extensively to make a better performing and better tracking locomotive. The thing had that coke-bottle boiler on it, and was painted red at the time. It was an excellent steamer, and was the locomotive that many people cut their teeth on.

Paul passed away in 2009.

Nashville Locomotive Works

From Mid-South Live Steamers website:

Paul Brien completed his 0-6-0 and started the Nashville Locomotive Works, producing miniature boilers for live steamers. Paul's first boiler was finished in 1974 and delivered to Norman Gracey in Orlando, Florida. Paul's careful work and attention to detail enabled his products to be certified, stamped, and accepted by the State of Tennessee as Code Boilers. Paul also built many other locomotives and stationary engines, in addition to building most of the steel bridges, steaming bays, and the original turntable at the club track. The club lost a true asset when Paul passed away in 2010.

2-6-0 Mogul

See also Scotty Mogul.

Wayne Davis wrote on

I built a Scotty Mogul with valve gear drawing from Paul Brien's 260. The drawings Scotty sold were from Bill Hall that he drew up from Carl Purinton's Mogul. Paul made improvements to Carl's engine and it is a sweet running engine.

Pontiacguy1 wrote on

That Light Mogul that was drawn by Paul Brien of Nashville, Tennessee is actually a re-drawing of the Pershing G. Scott Mogul. It beefed up a few things, gave a huge amount of details, and used larger rods, but the locomotive is the 'Scotty Mogul'.
This is Paul's redrawn 'Scotty' Mogul. Again, castings haven't been available that I know of for about 25 years. the casting kit was only 2 cylinder blocks, 6 drive wheels and 2 lead truck wheels. Everything else was fabricated or used from something else, mainly fabricated. It is a freelance locomotive, but it has good power for its size, and has good proportions and pleasing features. You could use another set of drive wheel castings, and the cylinders could be made from solid cast iron chunks if you didn't have castings available. The cylinder castings were solid iron with no cores if I remember correctly. It even had part-by-part drawings for the boiler, which is a true Belpaire.


LLR Ten Wheeler

Pontiacguy1 wrote on

Also add to the list the Miller Backyard Railroad 4-4-0, which used piston valves and 100% cutoff, with a plunger in the middle which changed it from inside steam to outside steam for reversing. Paul Brien built one of those 4-4-0s, heavily modified to make it work and track better. He then designed a 4-6-0 using those castings, which he called the LRR ten-wheeler. Unfortunately the cylinder casting (1 piece casting) which was used is no longer available.
Paul never built the 4-6-0 from those plans. By that time he was well up in years and he was very slow at moving around and doing anything inside the shop. He made drawings, and Greg Glos from Franklin, Tennessee built the locomotive. It actually uses Allen Mogul drive wheels, and the aforementioned cylinder casting, which Paul actually made a pattern for and had a few of them cast. The casting actually says Paul F Brien on the saddle right under the smoke box.
This is the LRR Ten Wheeler. If we had more of the cylinder castings, this would be a locomotive that would be simple and cheap to build (comparatively), and it's a real powerhouse too. Those looking for prototypical fidelity need not apply. It is, however, a simple and very robust locomotive that is a ton of fun. I have one cylinder casting (they are a one-piece casting), and some guy in Florida has another one. That's it that I know of.
The LRR Ten Wheeler built by Greg Glos of Franklin, Tennessee. Paul Brien designed the locomotive.

Experience with Nylatron

"Southern Steam", June,July,August 1970 Newsletter of Mid-West Live Steamers

Paul Brien had his Southern Pacific 0-6-0 under steam in time for the Spring Meet in Arkansas.

Trying to allow himself ample time to correct any faults before running at the meet, Paul fired up about a week prior to going to Arkansas only to discover severe binding due to the use of a new plastic compound for his bearings and packing. The terrific co-efficient of expansion of the plastic, called Nylatron, when exposed to heat, practically locked up the pistons and valve gear of the loco.

The plastic is a nylon/graphite compound and was thought to have good bearing qualities, which it still may, at room temperature! Anyway, back to Paul. That last week was the fastest loco re-shop I ever saw, with all new packing, bearings and even pistons going in four or five nights work. Anything that could have been affected by the heat was replaced. The result was an excellent running and terrific steamer. The last phrase is an understatement because after four or five firings her builder has gotten to know her and it's now a chore to keep water in the boiler.

In the last couple of months detail work has been going on and the basic engine should see completion before the end of the year. However several accessories are planned for the future, such as vacuum tender brakes and a steam driven water pump.

A note on the use of new ideas (such as Nylatron). Paul Brien related to me a story which I by coincidence had read, that appeared in an issue of the Model Engineer. It was about the late Gem Suzor, a well known Frenchman, who was a pioneer in the model boat circles. When visiting or corresponding with another modeler, and in his own work, Suzor was not so much concerned about what you had done that someone else had already proven, but what you were experimenting with, what you had done new. It was in this spirit that the decision was made to try this new plastic. So now we can provide by someone elses experience.

For the record: Nylatron is a good wearing bearing material. Terrific expansion and contraction occur when its termperature is raised to anything above room temperature.