Weekend Reading: The Pennsylvania A3 Switcher by Kozo Hiraoka

I know it’s Wednesday. I am retired so every day is the weekend. 🙂 I received a most wonderous package yesterday in the form of the 5 book set of Kozo Hiraoka’s live steam locomotive construction books. In a triumph of common sense over ambition, I am at least reading the begginer targeted book before I dive into the ones for two different Shays, a Climax and a Heisler.

If you have more than a passing acquaintance with the live steam railway hobby or Live Steam magazine, you already know about Kozo. He has been authoring wonderfully explained and illustrated construction articles for decades. These books are hardcover roundups of five construction series. I am only about 30 pages in but I have already learned a few things. There is lots of photos and drawings with step by step instructions clearly matched to those photos and drawings. When I briefly thought some pages were missing they turned out to be on one side of a fold out drawing. These are very well done books.

The details are awesome in this book. So far, the only purchased items other than metal stock is a few screws. It even includes instructions for winding your own springs for the trucks. Even if I never do this project, I now know how to make springs!

3 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: The Pennsylvania A3 Switcher by Kozo Hiraoka”

  1. They are fantastic books. I have the A3 and Old Shay ones, and despite building a completely different engine (Bagnall narrow gauge steamer) in a different scale (1/3, instead of 1:16) I find both boxes extremely helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. have gotten as far as the cylinders and tee and definitely learned some things that will be useful no matter what.


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