Aster goes to Switzerland

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Next up for Aster Hobby Inc. of Yokohama, Japan, will be a Swiss switch engine that was used regularly up through the mid-1960s.

The Swiss Federal Railways E 3/3 (which would be called a 0-6-0 in Whyte notation) was a standard-gauge manufactured by the railroad between 1902 and 1915 and nicknamed “Tigerli” (or “tiger cub” in Swiss-German). The prototypes weighed about 76,900 pounds and were 28½-feet long, with a 10¾-foot wheel base. The two cylinders were 14-inches in diameter with a 19-inch stroke and the boiler carried 174 psi; the engine reached a top speed of 29½ mph.

‘Tigerli’: A preserved Swiss Federal E 3/3 at Buchs, Switzerland. Photo by Bobo11, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Swiss Federal, called SBB, built 83 locomotives for itself and four for other railroads. At least 28 of the original locomotives are preserved throughout Europe, with fewer than a dozen still operational.

Aster Hobby is creating a model on behalf of Aster Europa of Wohlenschwil, Switzerland. The companies have said the “Tigerli” will be an alcohol-fired engine with Walschaert valve gear. “The Aster concept represents the standard type E 3-3,” the companies said, “with front platform and original coal bunker design.”

Aster Hobby is on the Web at, while Aster Europa is at The U.S. distributor, Aster Hobby USA LLC, is at and at (864) 587-7999.