A year or so ago, an old friend who is very keen on small railways, and had put down a "scenic" 0 gauge line, wanted a small tank engine to work a suburban train, haul a local goods, and do a bit of shunting; and as he has been the means of bringing a little comfort into my life at various times, I said I would build one for him, and did. The tiny engine was externally a replica of the L.M.S. 3F class 0-6-0 "maid-of-all work" tank engines, but she only had one cylinder and was of such simple construction that the job was completed in less than a fortnight, working at intermittent periods of two or three hours at a time She was remarkably powerful, and a good steamer, hauling a considerable load equally well whether running chimney or bunker first, and would do it for twenty minutes or so non-stop on one filling of the boiler.
At the time, a discussion had been going on in a contemporary journal about the length of time taken to do various jobs; so I cited the little locomotive as an example of how a job might be done quickly, and yet not suffer in the matter of workmanship or efficiency; and gave a short description of how the engine was built. Readers were invited to try their hand at building a similar engine, and see if they could equal or beat my own time on the job. The little thing "caught on" at once, and enjoyed a great popularity; dozens of them being built, especially towards the end of the year, as presents for budding locomotive engineers who had not yet reached "double figures." Others were made to supplant toy engines operated by electricity or clockwork. Anyway, the upshot of it all was that many of the builders asked if a similar engine of the same simple type could be built in the larger sizes, l¾-in. and 2½-in. gauges; and in deference to their wishes, I gave some sketches and a few brief notes of a similar 0-6-0 engine in gauge 1¾-in. but very slightly elaborated, this time to L.N.E.R. outline, and with an internally fired water-tube-boiler in place of the O-gauger's simple "pot." This locomotive also "did the doings," and proved very popular, especially among beginners. Now, just recently, I have been again asked to give, a still larger version for those who want something easily and cheaply built, able to run on a 2½-in. gauge road, and at the same time traverse a sharp curve, so that if needed, it could be run indoors on a circular track laid down temporarily! One stipulation was that it must be a fairly accurate copy of some existing type of engine (as were the 0 and 1 gauge locomotives) and not what is popularly known as a "freak." Therefore, by kind permission of our worthy Editor, I offer here a simple Southern-type trailing-bogie tank engine in 2½-in. gauge, which can be built by any ordinary beginner in a matter of weeks only, need not cost more than a few shillings for material, as "scrap" can be easily worked in, and yet not only looks like a "proper" engine, but can pull and go like one.
As far as outward appearance is concerned, the locomotive is virtually a small copy of the earlier rebuilt "Brighton" bogie tanks of the Southern Railway, practically the only variation being in the cab and bunker. To make the job as easy as possible, I have utilised the straight-sided tanks and bunker, and Mr. Marsh's design of cab, as fitted to the ten-wheeled tanks; these are simpler to make than the more elaborate arrangement found on the original 0-4-4 class. and to my idea the appearance is improved. Regarding the working parts, these are cut to the absolute rock-bottom of simplicity, needing the minimum of tools and skill to make and erect. A single slide-valve cylinder, with loose eccentric reversing is fitted between the frames at the front end. Any type of cylinder will do, such as one discarded from a stationary engine. A cylinder can easily be built up from rod, tube and sheet by anybody with ordinary "gumption," as they say in the classics. One can be made from a solid block of metal or from a casting (castings will be available) but in any case, the job can be easily and quickly done. No brazing is required for the crank axle. The coupled axles may run in plain bushed holes in the frame, or simple axleboxes, as shown in the drawings, may be fitted if desired. The frame of the trailing bogie is merely one piece of metal bent to shape and bushed for the bogie axles. The boiler is a simple water-tube type, with a casing of sheet iron, the regulator being a plain screwdown valve, which with one test cock and a blower, are all the fittings actually needed, although a check valve can be added if desired, and a pump provided for filling under steam. External details or "trimmings" are left to the builder. I propose only to give a brief summary of the job; elaborations on methods of machining, fitting, brazing and so on, have all been fully dealt with in detail, when describing other engines in this series, and all operations are what is usually known as "much of a muchness."
The Association can supply photocopies of the constructional series to members.
Plans for this design under the title "Victoria" were available from Nexus Publishing with catalogue number L.O.58. Xlist Plans can provide some of the old plans.
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This page was last changed on 04/05/2016