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Gold Standard Engineering/Robert C. Hendrich Trains


Gold Standard GG-1 in Standard gauge first built in 1978 In 1974 Robert C. Hendrich partnered with John Trescott to model the famous Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 Electric locomotive in 218" Standard gauge for 3-rail tinplate track. Nothing like this had ever been made before. Bob Hendrich made the GG-1 under the Gold Standard Engineering name. These 28" long behemoths weighed close to 30 pounds and could operate on standard 42" radius track curves. The Gold Standard Engineering GG-1's are very robust and powerful. The bodies are cast aluminum and they were fitted with 2 large motors for power. The GG-1 could pull almost anything. The locomotive came painted in Tuscan brown or Brunswick green.

When Bob Hendrich was a small boy growing up his childhood ambition was to have a Standard gauge train. At the age of nine he bought a pile of sheet metal pieces that included a Lionel #42 loco and passenger cars. Over the succeeding years, Bob rebuilt, improved, added to, and frequently ran his #42. He also scratch-built several locomotives and cars in several scales including live steam and obtained career experience with casting and machining parts and the related manufacturing techniques.

Bob was inspired to build a limited number of Standard Gauge engines which would fulfill several objectives. His first priority was that it must be of absolutely first class construction, with a large wearing surface to endure for generations and which no one would ever be afraid to run and run with no fear of wearing out or breaking anything. Secondly, it should be of a realistic proportion, much as O72 did in 'O' gauge, thus combining prototype realism with Standard gauge. Thirdly, it must be able to negotiate regular track on the 42" circles that came with all Standard gauge trains of the period (72" radius track was not out yet). And finally, there should be adequate power to pull a heavy train as realism was not a 3 or 4 car set from the catalogue but 15 or 20 cars in a heavy limited consist. The GG-1 was selected as the intended engine to model, as it met these criteria, and it was unique.

The first step in the development process was to lay out a design of the basic engine on a drawing board. Then a chassis was made up and tried out. It ran well and had sufficient power and control. It was quiet and ran through S curves, and switches, pushing or pulling cars adequately. The body was the next hurdle. First just to make it and secondly to afford it. Some time was wasted trying for a fiberglass body but this proved impossible and Bob returned to using metal which he felt all along was more in keeping with what he wanted this locomotive to be. John Trescott was the mold maker. Many times during the course of body construction the pattern was taken to foundries and information gained from experts. These ideas were incorporated and a sample casting was made. It was just what Bob Hendrich had hoped for and it finished up beautifully. Several more were made but this next batch was a disappointment. There was nothing really wrong but the work had not been done with care and it was decided that this was just not up to par and they went back into the pot. The next group came out just as Bob wanted and everything was ready for assembly of a prototype.

Gold Standard PRR GG-1 in Standard gauge in Tuscan with 5 Gold stripes The patterns for the cast bronze trucks with steel wheels were straightforward and went well. Motors were no problem either. Bob had always planned to use commercially available motors and these 1/35 HP 12 volt universal motors had two field windings, twelve poles on the armature and spherical self-aligning bronze bushings on a quarter inch diameter ground steel shaft. The gears were industrial steel gears and Bob was certain that they would last for many years. All twelve wheels in the power trucks were geared and driven via the worm drive. The wheels and axles were turned from cold-rolled steel bar and it was just inconceivable that anyone could ever run an engine enough to show any wear. The prototype was tested thoroughly and it pulled as many as 26 cars, which was all Bob had or could borrow, around the layout of Gargraves track in his garage. This was a far cry from its first run which was over regular tinplate track, laid out on the front lawn. Only after the first run was it noticed that the gears were full of grass and weeds, but the power never dropped off! It was however the first and last time it was run on the lawn. Bob lived in Glendora, CA and he made most of his trains there in his Southern California home.

Around this time small Standard gauge train manufacturers and craftsman like Glenn Gerhard of Glenn Toy Trains and Willard Forney of Forney Trains were producing highly detailed freight cars using heavier plate steel and cast metal. These cars required a heavy locomotive to pull a decent consist, such as the Lionel #400E or #408E. Even better would be one of the huge GG-1's in Standard gauge which Bob Hendrich built.

There were only 58 of the Bob Hendrich designed Standard gauge GG-1's ever produced. They are sometimes also found in G gauge 2-rail, as several units were fitted with G gauge trucks.

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