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Article posted on Thursday, 20th September 2018
We were supposed to take one of my other half's collection of model engines to display at this week's Super Power convention at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our trip. So as a tribute to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland and these wonderful locomotives I thought I would talk about that model.

It was built almost 40 years ago and was constructed by using a combination of measuring the actual loco and studying copies of the original drawings and as such is quite an accurate representation of the original loco during its early life. The model is named as the original and I wonder if anyone can guess what the name is?

It is a copy of a narrow gauge steam locomotive originally built by W.G.Bagnall Ltd of Stafford in 1953. The full size engine is currently on display at The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway (One of my very favourite haunts with my children and father when I lived in Powys).

 

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It was the last narrow gauge loco to be built for industrial use in the UK and was constructed to be a modified Meyer (Kitson-Meyer) articulated design, having two independent power bogies. I suppose that makes the wheel configuration 0-4-0 0-4-0 (someone correct me if I am wrong about that?)

It was the very last of seven locos built to a similar design. The other six being built to 2ft gauge and delivered to sugar estates in South Africa. The seventh engine is 2ft 6in gauge and was delivered to Bowaters Paper Mill, Sittingbourne in Kent (now The Sittingbourne and Kemsley light railway) on 31st July 1953 (The year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd). Its works number was 3024.

Originally this engine boasted a Bullhead (marine type) boiler which, according to reports of the time, did not steam very freely, however a big drawback with this type of construction of loco is the limited space between the two swiveling power bogies, with the boiler water and coal supplies balanced on a rigid frame above (N.B. similar to how most diesel and electric locomotives are designed today).

In this Meyer design the limited space between the two bogies left little room for the firebox. Bagnall got around this problem by using their modified Bagnall boiler which they already used in their small contractor locomotives. Hence the original boiler had a cylindrical rear drum, with a cylindrical fire box and ash pan within (a type of marine boiler), none of which protruded below the foot plate and therefore did not interfere with the rear bogie. 

 

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The Original came out of service in 1966 and was sold to the 2ft 6in gauge Welshpool and Llanfair light railway where it was utilised. It then went to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland with a view to converting it to 2ft gauge. However, after dismantling, this idea was dropped and finally it returned to The Welspool /Llanfair and was cosmetically reassembled for display. For a while it stood on the platform at Weslhpool and still remains on static display at the Llanfair station today.

My husband's model is 5" gauge and is built to a scale of 2" to 1 foot ,1/6th full size. It was built to a very high standard by Paul Richards who started the research and build in 1978. It is accurate in most details. Except to improve steaming, the firebox has been constructed with straight sides and a larger standard grate and ashpan, but this has been disguised with cladding to look like the original Bullhead boiler. Its boiler is copper fitted with a stainless-steel grate made in three sections which can be removed through the firehole door for cleaning as can the grate.

As the term Super Power would suggest this loco has two engines powered by one boiler. The model's side tanks and smokebox are made from brass, she has cast iron cylinders (1.5" x 2" stroke) with inside admission piston valves operated by Walschaerts valve gear. Cylinder lubrication is provided by a Detroit sight feed hydrostatic lubricator, water feed is by two injectors, steam operated cylinder drain cocks, sanding gear and steam operated brakes.

 

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There is also an 8-element stainless steel superheater fitted. (My other half has explained to me that by running the dry steam up and down the superheater pipes the steam becomes super-hot and therefore carries more energy).

All the flexible steam and exhaust pipes (Dorman Flextel Steam Joints) on the model are true to scale and sporting its green livery the loco looks rather spectacular. If the year in which the original was built is not a giveaway then take a squint at the pictures to discover her name. 

 

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