Company Blog

Small-Scale Locomotive Manufacturer Switches to Perkins Tier 4 Engines

Jerry Shipman took the free time he had as a commercial airline pilot to build perhaps a child’s dream business – small scale locomotives. Shipman’s half-scale trains thrill children and adults alike at amusement parks, farms, zoos and entertainment centers across the country.

He’s used a variety of engines to power the locomotives over the years, but recently began working with our team to find a Tier 4 engine. He landed on the Perkins 404F-E22T and 404F-E22TA.

“I was talking to someone who is using Perkins engines and said he’s really happy with the performance,” Shipman said. “We decided to give it a try after talking with Perkins Pacific.”

The Perkins Syncro 2.2-liter engine is the newest member of the highly successful Perkins 400 Series. The 4-cylinder engine is designed to be reliable and offer a low cost of ownership. The compact design allows for easy integration across a broad range of applications.

Passing Time

Shipman began Railway Factory in 1975 as a way to fill the hours he wasn’t flying. The initial line of trains was built at 1/8 scale. But with little to show financially after eight years in business, Shipman decided to add a bigger line of trains, opting for a 1/3 scale.

In 1992, Shipman decided to go bigger one final time, opting for the ½ scale models. He found the right market.

Complete Solution

Railway Factory, based in Phoenix, does more than build model trains. The company offers a complete package. Shipman’s employees visit a customer’s location to map out the track routing to capitalize on the landscape’s scenic features.

Once the route has been decided, the Railway crew handles site preparation and track installation.

New Power Source

The Tier 4 Final 404F-E22T and 404F-E22TA Shipman chose to power his locomotives give engineers 67 hp from the four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The engine sits behind the locomotive in a tender along with the fuel and the hydraulics, which is piped to the locomotive to drive the big wheels.

“We’ve had this engine running in the shop and it’s very quiet,” Shipman said. “We like the new technology. It’s almost plug and play. The display unit is nice and it’s easier to put together than previous engines.”

Missouri Bound

The first locomotive with the Perkins engine is headed for Shepherd of the Hills, an amusement park in Branson, Missouri. The next two are destined for farms in the Midwest.

Shipman noted how the business has changed dramatically in the past few years as customers are increasingly asking for customized elements to the tracks and train. Those changes include the stricter emission standards that led to his search for a Tier 4 engine.

“In the future, we’ll use strictly Perkins engines,” he said.