Aster Schools questions

artfull dodger

12 Apr 2012
Kokomo, Indiana USA
The Schools is an excellent starting point. I have seen them upgraded to have a tender water pump, axle pump with bypass, pressure gauge and even a sight glass. So you can get your feet wet, then upgrade her or have it done for you by someone that can silver solder the bungs in the back head for them. The Schools was the very first Aster model, built mostly to LBSC standards back then. The have slip return crank valve gear, so it looks like Walschaerts but the eccentric crank can move a few degrees in each direction on the mount to give forward and reverse direction. They need 12 foot diameter curves to run happy. I had one and it will not go around 10' diameter curves without some slight modifications. They do like to run fast if not given a good heavy load to pull(typical Aster). I have one of the B2 28 ton Shays that came out in 1978 and have also had a Reno. Once you get used to their quirks, they are a blast to run. Much more hands on than say your typical Roundhouse engine. The Pannier Tank is also a good starter model and has a sight glass and pressure gauge. It also has a sprung chassis, so it rides better over rougher trackwork than the unsprung Schools. I have a quick snap connector that screws onto the feed line of the Schools or a Pannier that allows one to use the typical water squirt bottle to replenish the boiler. On the Schools, stop filling when the blower starts spitting water droplets(while filling under steam). Good luck on whatever engine you chose to purchase. AD
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user


The Orchard Line
26 Jan 2020
United Kingdom
AD, thanks SO much. There is a load of incredibly useful information there and it's just what I was after. I really appreciate it