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Baltic Tank 4-6-4 Locomotive

 

At the start of this time of self-isolation, I made a foray down to our garage, where some of our locomotives and rolling stock are housed, along with a variety of other bits and bobs. I was just contemplating one of my father’s miniature steam plants that he must have built way back in the late fifties, and just as I was trying to place where the piece of lino that was on its mounting board was from, my other half pointed out a puce green locomotive.

At first glance, to my untrained eye, she looked rather ungainly a long lanky tank engine with quite small wheels, to make it worse it had a funny sort of Tender truck behind it that I later found out was not a natural pairing for this locomotive. “Odd” I thought, but being no oil painting myself I kept quiet, as hubby launched into an explanation of what this 5” gauge locomotive was and why she was special.

Firstly, her size is unusual as this model is a 5” gauge reproduction of a prototype 5’ 6” broad gauge locomotive so a scaling factor of 1:13.2 has been employed to build this model. Normally for models of standard gauge (4’ 8½” ) a scaling factor of 1:12 or (actually 1: 11.3) for the purist using 1 1/16” to represent 1 foot is employed.

I was informed of this before he told me that she was a model of a Baltic tank 4-6-4 locomotive. She is a 3-cylinder tank engine built originally to service The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway that was in service between 1886 to 1948. These 4-6-4 tank locomotives were designed and built by Robert Stephenson and Co. and this particular type of locomotive was built between 1928 and 1930. This model Baltic tank engine’s number is 2367 and as it worked on an Argentinean Railway you can see that the number plate is reproduced in the Spanish language Ferro Carril De Buenos Aires Al Pacifico.

Apparently, the name of this “Baltic” locomotive tank engine comes from the very first 4-6-4 tender locomotive, a 4-cylinder compound locomotive designed by Gaston du Bousquet for the Chemin de Fer du Nard in France in 1911. The 4-6-4 was designed and built for the Paris to Saint Petersburg express and so was named after the Baltic sea. This model Baltic tank engine is a copy of one designed and built by Robert Stephenson and Company Ltd, Darlington, engineers, as mentioned above. It was awarded a Highly Commended certificate at the 50th Model Engineer Exhibition, also at a Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition sometime later, and bears a plaque attesting to this on the front just below the smokebox.

I was looking at the 4-6-4 wheel arrangement on hubby’s model Baltic tank locomotive which according to my mentor is a fairly good wheel arrangement for passenger tank locomotives. However, more commonly a 4-6-2 arrangement is often employed. The beauty of a tank engine with carrying wheels at each end of the locomotive is that it can run equally well forwards as backwards and hence does not need to be turned on a turntable. The 4-6-4 is well suited to high speed running across flat terrain because this type of engine has fewer driving wheels than carrying wheels, hence a smaller percentage of the engines weight contributes to traction compared to other engines with more numerous driving wheels. The 4-6-4 is therefore more suited to higher speed passenger travel rather than hauling heavy freight or slogging up sustained grades and inclines.

The 4-6-4T, is essentially the tank locomotive equivalent of the 4-6-0 tender Locomotive, but they have water tanks and coal bunker supported by four smaller wheels trailing behind the engine instead of a tender.

Hubby’s model has three cylinders. The external (outside) cylinders valve gears are Walchaert’s, but the internal (inside) valve gear is Stephenson’s link. The inside cylinder drives an internal crank on the middle axle, as do the outside cylinders so they all drive on the same axle. The middle cylinder sits over the front bogie. This front bogie even has a swing-link system, so it is in effect a self-banking bogie. The turbo generator which can be seen on the images is capable of running the front or rear head lamp depending which way the locomotive is heading on the train. Powerful headlamps were necessary on the routes served by these locomotives, owing to the fact that many parts of this railway were unfenced, and obstacles and wildlife had to be detected early on the route.

The model has a non-prototypical four-wheel coal and water tender which when the removable part of the cab and imitation bunker coal is removed, makes driving much more convenient while adding to the distance that can be covered without stopping. All in all, a lovely model acquired from Robin West of View Models on the understanding that some refurbishment is required to bring it back to its former prize-winning condition.

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PNP bar rail chairs survive -40C

We recently received this from a customer. Interesting to note the temperature range that the bar chairs are subjected to, especially in relation to our recent post about their use in Canada. Many thanks for sending this in.

“My son’s garden railway is in Northern Italy close to the foothills of the Alps. It is, at the moment, an end to end run of about 155 yards in length with a passing loop of about 15 yards, but there is ample space to extend this to a continuous loop of about 400 yards. Family matters are ensuring that progress is very slow, but I know that I have taken out enough of your bar stock chairs to get at least 2/3 of the track built! Initially the track was laid on homemade concrete sleepers, but these were very time consuming to cast and have had a small mortality rate over the years. Following a rethink about half the track has been laid on plastic ‘timber’ purchased locally.

The track bed under the sleepers is at least 4″ deep, sometimes in a trench, sometimes on hard core, with about another 1.5″ ballast around the sleepers. In 10 years since the first lengths were laid nothing has moved significantly despite temperature variation from -15C to 35C regularly and -20C to 40C in extremes. Just for your interest the long straight is 70 yards long with the bottom half on a 1 in 50 gradient and the top half at 1 in 40. I will attach or send some photos of the railway for your general interest.

The blue loco featured in one of the photos is my phoenix Locos Titan 5 “Alpine Courier” which I have taken over there on 3 occasions to give it a change of scenery. Purely for you own amusement in these rather boring times, if you look up ‘Alpine Courier’ on YouTube then find the one labelled Bellaria Alpine and Northern, this was filmed over the full length of my sons railway one lovely afternoon when we had nothing better to do than play with trains and cameras!” 

We really do enjoy reading about your installations and projects and seeing your photos, so please do send them in or post on our Facebook page. And we look forward to being able to sit in the sunshine and play with our trains again.

 

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Just how low can we go?

We recently had a request for a repeat order for a bar rail chair suitable for ½” x 1” hot rolled steel rail. The last order had been placed in 2005 for an installation in Canada where they do not have access to metric bar rail.

But this re-order came with a rather unusual question: At a track-planning meeting yesterday the question of low-temperature tolerance of your chair material in a Canadian winter was raised. Can you tell me what the usable temperature range is for the chairs please? In our location the extreme low temperature would be about -20C on rare occasions. A normal winter low would be in the -5C to -10C range.

We had to put in quite a bit of research on this alongside the suppliers of the polymer. Although the manufacturers did not specify a minimum usable temperature in their data, we had been given a verbal assurance previously that it would withstand the temperature range requested.

Reassuringly for users of our metric sized chairs, these are also made from the same weather resilient polymer.
So, as we speak, 800 of these chairs are en-route to Canada. We will endeavour to find out how they faired in the depths of a Canadian winter.

The imperial chair is shown below alongside PNR-12K metric bar rail chair and below that in situ in Canada.
We are considering putting the imperial measurement chair into full production and adding to our website as a stock item. Do you think that it would be an item that would be of interest? Please do let us know.

PNP-5P and PNP-12KPNP-5P and PNP-12K

 

Imperial sized bar rail – Canada

 

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King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

This week I finally made it down to a garage to meet a V.I.P. As I opened the doors there he was with big sad eyes, “SIR PERCIVALE”.

No we don’t have one of the Knights of the Round Table residing in a garage, but rather a 10¼” model of a Southern Railway King Arthur Class 4-6-0 locomotive Number E 772. The sad eyes of course are the spectacle plates in the cab designed to be almost teardrop in shape to allow for maximum vision in these minimum width cabs and to fit through the narrow tunnels on the Southern lines.

I was rather surprised by the sheer size of this model. The engine is 7′ 2″ long and the tender is 5′ 3″ a total length of 12′ 5″, it is 2′ 6″ from rail to tip of the cab and 1′ 9″ wide. It is built to true scale 2.18 inches to the foot, (a rather ragged fraction of 1/5.5 scale). At the moment “SIR PERCIVALE” is awaiting a paint job so the livery is rather patchy, but in parts you can see the green colour characteristic of the Maunsell period on the Southern Railway. The cab is rather spectacular but the tender has more paint than the Loco right now.

 

 

 

 

 

This model of a King Arthur was one of the Oakhill Manor in Somerset collection that was sold off in or before 2004. It has been slowly refurbished over the years and has now had a preliminary steam test but awaits its full boiler test to be signed off.

Having had my interest aroused I did a little research on the net and was amazed to discover that there were 74 full size King Arthur class Locomotives built for or by The L.S.W.R. and Southern Railway between 1918 and 1927. They were, of course, named as a massive advertising campaign for the Southern Railway.

This six-coupled class loco was derived from the 736 class of 4-6-0 engines introduced by a Mr Urie on the L.S.W.R. in 1917, however the original 22′ x 28′ cylinders of the forerunners were reduced to 20 1/2′ x 28′ in The King Arthur’s. The boiler pressure was also raised from 180 to 200lb psi, super heaters fitted, improved piston valves, more streamlined steam passages and a larger chimney with a capuchin.

In actual fact the original Urie engines were rebuilt as King Arthur’s, these are known as The Urie Arthurs’s, (20 in total), and some of the new engines, to the modified design, were built by the North British Locomotive Co. Ltd and these are fondly known as The Scotch Arthurs (30 in total).

The Eastleigh Arthur’s were built by Maunsell at Eastleigh (24 in total). SIR PERCIVALE is an Eastleigh Arthur as denoted by the prefix E before its number 772. Although I am given to understand, by the fountain of all knowledge (my husband), that all the King Arthurs were denoted as E as they ran and were maintained out of the Eastleigh works.

SIR PERCIVALE has an 8 wheel tender also known as a “Water Cart”. As the Southern lines did not have water troughs the locomotives could not pick up water on route. This was mainly because the Southern Railway was more of a commuter service offering shorter stopping passenger runs, hence the engines required less amenities en route than those of other railways, travelling much greater distances non-stop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of The King Arthur’s, used on the eastern section of the line, had a six-wheeled tender ( to enable them to be turned on shorter turntables) whereas those engines used on the western section (like SIR PERCIVALE) sported the double-bogie tenders and could carry 5,000 gallons of water.

Unfortunately these majestic Locomotives were slowly edged out of service between 1953 and 1962. The Southern Railway being one of the first to adopt electric traction very early on in the 20th century.

SIR LAMIEL ( A Scotch Arthur named after a minor Knight of Cardiff and alleged to have had a following of the fairer sex ) is the last remaining full size preserved King Arthur and it can be found on display at The National Railway Museum in York, or out running on either the mainline or a preserved line quite often.

The Urie Arthur’s have romantic Arthurian names including EXCALIBUR, CAMELOT, TINTAGEL and MORGAN LE FAY,to name but a few. The Eastleigh and Scotch Arthurs are all “SIR’s” apart from QUEEN GUINEVERE and KING ARTHUR himself in the Eastleigh group.

The full size SIR PERCIVALE entered into service in June 1925 and was withdrawn in September 1961. As a romantic footnote the knight himself was a legendary knight of the round table in King Arthur’s Court and he was noted as a hero in the quest for the grail, before being replaced in later literature by Sir Galahad.

A wonderful piece of railway history that should enthrall all model engineers and miniature railway enthusiasts not to mention fans of heritage and historic steam locomotives.

 

 

 

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Make ’em look rusty they said………………

t’s a bit of a juxtaposition really. Manufacturing a brand-new product and then getting very intense and spending a not inconsiderable sum of money to make them look aged, weather beaten and corroded. But that’s exactly what we did with our PNP railways chairs.

It’s very important to us, and I’m sure you, that everything about your miniature railway looks as authentic as possible. So, we kept at it, varying the colour blend, moulding hundreds of chairs and then lining them up on a big bench to see if we had achieved the look we were after, until eventually we were happy. What I mean is we kept at it until the boss was happy. They really do look like the real thing. (Why does that make me thirsty?)

Rusty Chairs

 

 

 

 

But one thing that, thankfully, isn’t authentic, is the price. A collection of five cast iron railway chairs is on offer on E-bay at £300! You can get one of our chairs for as little as £0.13, which you could look at it as a saving of 99.96%. What a bargain.

So, six words that you, and definitely I, need to remember about chairs:

Wood – Plastic – Screw – Clip – Surrey – Bar

Wood: Because we make plastic chairs that can be mounted on wooden sleepers

Plastic: I think you can guess this one, but just to be thorough: We make plastic chairs that can be used with our own plastic sleepers.

Screw: We make chairs that be fixed to either wooden or plastic sleepers using screws. and are suitable for light and heavy use including club and commercial environments,

These are ideal for garden railways and indeed club use if 5/8″x 5/8″ rail is considered adequate for the weight and traffic to be handled.

Surrey: We make a standard scale or narrow-gauge Surrey rail chair to go with our 5.2ib yard flat bottom steel rail. These have a 3° cant and are for use with our 7¼”plastic sleepers or can be mounted on wooden sleepers.

Bar: Because I’m really getting ready for a drink……………….We can supply chairs to secure 10x20mm or 12x30mm bar rail to either our plastic sleepers or wooden sleepers.

PNP Rail Chairs

The other thing that my boss told me to mention is that all our chairs are manufactured using a very tough, rot and frost resistant and UV stabilised polymer. In English that means they are made from hard wearing plastic. Oh, and you will also benefit from automatic gauge widening if you mount our plastic chairs on our plastic sleepers.

There is more, isn’t there always? And pictures and diagrams and technical stuff with words like “gauge” and measurements but if you want to immerse yourself in that then why not take a look at pnp-railways.co.uk  and immerse away.

NB When I say “our” plastic chairs and sleepers that is because we really do manufacture them, right here in our factory in a very pretty part of the Cotswolds called Woodchester from whence I pen this article.

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Brakes, brakes, brakes

When they said “write a brake blog”, I thought “how arresting”.

Brakes. They’re pretty important things are brakes, something that many of us take for granted. Now that’s quite a blasé statement about something on which your life could, and probably will at some point, depend.

Arresting motion is what brakes do. You can slam them on in an emergency or gentle kiss the controls to come to a graceful inertia free halt. Ever wondered how they work? What actually happens to get that brake block pushing on the wheel?

Generally speaking, when it comes to railways, there are two types of braking systems in use. Compressed air which is now the more favoured and vacuum brakes which was the standard for UK and all worldwide UK design-based railways worldwide until the early 1980’s.

Initially introduced in the 1870’s, the advantage of using vacuum brakes on steam hauled trains is that the vacuum can be created by a very small ejector or pump and that all pipe connections can be simple push on fittings as there is no need to maintain pressurised connections. Take a look at our vacuum hoses.

The brakes are controlled through a brake pipe that connects a brake valve to the braking equipment (brake blocks that press on the wheel) on each carriage and engine.

A vacuum ejector removes atmospheric pressure from the brake pipe to create a vacuum. With a vacuum created the brake is released. By opening the valve and allowing air into the pipe this pushes on the diaphragm which moves the lever that applies the brakes. The emergency stop chain on old BR carriages was connected directly to the braking system. If the chain was pulled it immediately opened the valve to allow air in and slammed on the brakes. The driver had no control over this.

On a driver’s brake control valve there are a minimum of three positions:

On: Air in = brakes applied.

Lap: Air pipe closed = Ready to apply or release brakes. Holds the last setting.

Off: Equilibrium in vacuum brake cylinder = brakes released.

So, when air is allowed into the pipe to engage the brakes a piston rod is moved by the diaphragm. This piston rod is connected to the brake blocks and forces them against the rotating wheels. This creates friction which converts the kinetic energy to heat. The wheels slow down and eventually the train stops.

As with any braking system if the force used to apply the brakes exceeds the traction of the wheel on its running surface then you destroy the braking process and will initiate a skid. So you need to be gentle, particularly on surfaces and in conditions that reduce friction, such as cold and ice, or leaves on the line.

Vacuum brakes are most suited to steam hauled trains although they can, and have, been used in the past on both diesel and electric hauled trains. On locomotives not fitted with an ejector a vacuum pump is required to create the initial vacuum, and maintain it.

There is a great schematic on our website which explains the process beautifully.

And after all that, what I really need is a break…………………….

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A Mountainous Engine Arrives

Sometimes I think we live in an engine shed rather than a house. We have only just waved farewell to Sir Percivale, our 10¼” gauge King Arthur class as it head’s north for a paint job and further boiler tests prior to running, then we hear the distant rumblings of the arrival of MOUNT KILIMANJARO.
I thought Sir Percival was big, but by comparison this 7¼” gauge Beyer Garratt is huge. It arrived on a 27′ trailer, a long streak of majestic maroon and a perfect replica of those unusual locomotives supplied to East African Railways by Beyer Peacock and Co. Ltd between 1955 and 1956. As with all these duplex engines they were designed and built to provide extra power, speed or traction, sometimes in areas of steep, unyielding, terrain.
The first thing I did on spying the uncovered locomotive was to count its wheels. 4-8-2 + 2-8-4. I have seen “Kili” as we affectionately call it, before. It has been at Weston Park for the past three years and may be heading off to Rugby next year. Take a look at this youtube clip.

Aesthetically this engine is not very attractive, to my mind it is rather ungainly, looking like a conventional steam locomotive with a great big box stuck on its front with one huge Cyclops eye in the middle. Still beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I am none too pretty myself.

The original full-size locomotives of the class 59 were all oil fired, probably because the sheer effort required to feed these hungry beasts with coal would have been too great for their human operators. There were 34 of these metre gauge locomotives built in Manchester for the East African Railway. Nearly all were named after a mountain in Africa, a few after extinct volcanoes, and they were the largest, heaviest (252 tons) and most powerful locomotives to operate on any metre gauge railway in the world.
Designed to haul up to 1,200 tons on a 1.5% gradient they became the mainstay of freight transportation on the 330 mile run between Mombasa and Nairobi. They operated well into the late 1970’s. The last full-size locomotive being withdrawn from service in 1980. One preserved engine, MOUNT GELAI, remains in the Nairobi Railway Museum.

Our model MOUNT KILIMANJARO (5928) has livery representative of the characteristic traditional E.A.R. colours, maroon with yellow gold inlay, however the model is designed to be coal fired. This Beyer Garratt is a type of steam locomotive that is articulated in three parts. The boiler is mounted on a centre frame and the two engines are mounted on separate frames at either end of the boiler. This articulation permits the huge locomotive to negotiate curves and run on lighter track than a similar sized rigid engine would be able to do.

To give an indication as to the sheer size of these locomotives, here are the measurements of the model Mount Kilimanjaro:-
 
 Overall length :  19’4″
 Height from rail:  31″
 Width:  24″
 Boiler unit and front engine:  14′ 2″
 Boiler unit:  9’1″
 Total weight fully coaled and watered is a mammoth:  4,400lbs (1995.806kg)
 Approximate axle load:  314lb (142.428kg)
The model (miniature) is 5.430 scale of the full-size engine, or 2.209inches per foot, so it is evident how huge these great heroes of the E.A.R. were. Trevor Heath has set up a good website. Click here.
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Ironic Ionic

My education into all things railway continues. Whilst pottering about in the garden and garages I have been wheel counting again. My little 5″ gauge 1361 saddle tank engine 0-6-0, hubby’s larger 5″ gauge Fowler, fondly known as the sugar cane engine 0-6-2. I have counted wheels on most of our models and was doing really well, including MONARCH that I managed to remember was 0-4-0-0-4-0 but that we have since discovered is classed as 0-4-0 + 0-4-0 as are all Kitson Meyer engines, don’t forget the +. So, I thought I was getting the hang of it, that is until I entered our dining room and looked on the window sill.
A rather beautiful 3½” inch gauge black model of a loco with a tender has been sitting next to me at supper every night since we moved into this house. I rather blithely counted the wheels and very proudly announced to my other half that “Ionic” was a 2-4-0 tender engine. “Ah” he said “it may look like a 2-4-0 but the four large driving wheels are independently propelled so technically it is a 2-2-2-0”. Typical I thought, caught out by an engine called “Ionic”, now that is ironic.
I squinted hard at the little engine and discovered that the connecting rods were indeed independent to the front and rear driving wheels. “That’s interesting” I said and decided to do a spot of research.
I discovered that my husband’s model is a copy of one of ten Teutonic locomotives built for London & North Western Railway between 1889 and 1890 at the Crewe works. It was designed by Frances (Frank) William Webb, Chief Engineer for L.N.W.R at that time, and was developed to feature one boiler delivering saturated steam (wet steam at boiling point not superheated), to two external (14″) high pressure cylinders. These then exhaust into one (30″) lower pressure cylinder inside the frames. All three cylinders have a stroke of 24″. As is logical the two high pressure cylinders drove the two rear driving wheels whilst the lower pressure cylinder propelled the two leading wheels. As the Teutonic’s driving wheels are not connected this type of locomotive is Duplex drive and may sometimes be called double-singles.
The positive advantage with this type of locomotive is of course the extra power afforded to the engine and also economy as the steam is used twice through the two-tier cylinders. I get the impression, however, that they were rather temperamental to operate. A lack of a reverser for the inside cylinder affords little control over the front wheel set movement, half a turn having to be achieved in these two wheels before all wheels were aligned to run in the same direction, in other words all sets of valve gear needed to be aligned to run in the same direction. This is however a personal observation and I may be doing this type of engine a great disservice.
The Teutonic locomotives were a further development of the Dreadnaught class, the Teutonic’s having larger wheels and modifications to the Joy valve gear. The later Teutonic’s, a total of seven built in 1890, had their internal cylinders driven by a slip-eccentric valve gear. These engines were primarily designed and developed to meet the ever-increasing need for greater speed.
The Teutonic’s, although relatively few in number, became the most successful, and were the largest of F.W. Webb’s 2-2-2-0 three-cylinder compound locomotives. They boasted 7’1″ driving wheels compared to the Webb’s smaller Dreadnaught 6′ 3″ driving wheels. The axle boxes were lubricated by oil rather than grease.
Interestingly all ten Teutonics, apart from one, were named after ships on the White Star Line. The odd one out is probably the most renowned and was named JEANIE DEANS after a character in The Walter Scott novel “The Heart of Midlothian”. It was so named because it was exhibited at The Edinburgh International Exhibition of Electricity, Engineering, General Inventions and Industries in 1890. Jeanie Deans is one of Scott’s most celebrated characters.
The other nine locomotives are named below, and I am still pondering as to why there is a jump in the numbering of these great engines towards the end of 1890. Can anyone please enlighten me?

 

 1301 TEUTONIC  1306 IONIC
 1302 OCEANIC  1307 COPTIC
 1303 PACIFIC  1309 ADRIATIC
 1304 JEANIE DEANS  1311 CELTIC
 1305 DORIC  1312 GALLIC

 

Sadly, all these beautiful Locomotives were scrapped by June 1907

 

 

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