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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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The Bushey Miniature Railway – by Daniel Siddal

Here you can see a few pictures of our new 5” railway in the village of Bushey in Hertfordshire.

The 70m loop of track was built with the PNP clip fit system. We chose 16mm Aluminium rail with the plastic sleepers and clip-in chairs that you slide down the rail. This provided a simple and fast way to build the track at the same time keeping the look we required. We spaced the sleepers at 10cm centres.

One of the reasons for choosing the PNP Clip fit system was that it makes is so easy for younger helpers to build the track panels while I got on with the heaver work.

Building any miniature railway is hard work but it was made even more of a challenge due to the overgrown state of the garden.

Every section had to be OK’ed with my mother who owns the garden and cleared of undergrowth before anything could be laid, this compounded the delays already present due to work commitments etc.

Work progressed and we laid the track upto our first gentle radius to the left. I have to admit- we didn’t have any rail benders so we just bent it carefully without some, seemed to be fine as it was only a slight curve.

At first I had the track sent off and pre bent by another company which was expensive. After I had this 10 foot radius curve made I decided to bend the rail myself.

My son helped out while I did the digging by fitting the fish plates and getting the correct inclination on the curves.

At this point I got a rail bender from PNP Just wish I had done this sooner. It enabled me to put the subtlest bends in the track as you can see, and I could have put a lesser radius of curve going into the tree tunnel instead of using the spare 10′ radius curves I had. Anyway the rail bender was to be a great help for what was to come…By this point I had used about 7 tonnes of ballast.

I found it easy to screw directly into the PNP track panels to create a simple but effective

crossing out of garden decking:

The difficult task of forming the radius round an old tree stump and then to join up with the existing track was a challenge – impossible without the rail bender:

 

 

We completed the 70m loop with a removable section to enable access to the garden when the track wasn’t in use

The PNP track was built up with treated gravel fencing boards to make up for the incline at the near end of the garden.

We are now building a 20m siding that goes over the old pond and then to re-join by the station:

 

 

 

The new Station:

 

 

 

 

You can read more about the Bushey Miniature Railway and keep up to date with our progress. Please contact me via the website if you would like to know any more or have any advice for us, We’ve still got much to learn!

Just Google ‘Bushey Miniature Railway’ or go to: https://danielsiddall.wixsite.com/bmr-herts

Written and submitted by Daniel Siddall.

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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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