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PNP bar rail chairs survive -20C

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. 

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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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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A teen, steam and a tall dark stranger. – Romantic Railways

I thought that you might like to hear a little about “this narrator” and how my fondness for steam developed.

My other half has a 5” gauge model of a 2’ 6” narrow gauge steam locomotive built in 1953. It is a replica of the last ever narrow gauge loco to be built for industrial use in the UK. The original is one of seven similar engines constructed in the 1950’s, the other six were exported to South Africa. It is an unusual design of locomotive and the model is named as the original, and I wonder if anyone can guess what it is?

I am the only child of an industrial chemist and a stay at home mum (back in the late fifties and early sixties most mothers stayed at home). My father, however, was also an avid steam enthusiast and dabbling model engineer. We spent our holidays with my maternal grandmother on the Mid Wales border in Oswestry. From here we made day trips out to all the great little trains of Wales. I think my father would have liked to have had a son, but undeterred, he explained all the basic principles of the steam engine to me, and as I mentioned in my very first report on The Brecon Mountain Railway, I spent many a happy hour in the garage with him as he worked on his little Myford Lathe.

Fortunately, my mathematics was reasonably good, and science has always interested me more than the arts. It was not until I became a teenager, however, that steam started to creep into my soul. Up until the age of thirteen steam trips for me had been a pleasant and fascinating holiday pastime to indulge my rather fanatical father.

It was one early Autumn evening, most probably a Tuesday, when dad arrived home from work to find that mum was going out, clashing with his expected attendance at a meeting of the Stroud Society of Model Engineers. After a slight debate, as to whether I could be left in the house alone, I found myself in Dad’s car heading towards the outskirts of Stroud to an abandoned Work House, where the then newly formed society had leased some space to set up a club room and machine shop. I had homework with me and Dad suggested that I stay in the car and finish my work. “Not a chance” as soon as he disappeared I was out of the car exploring the huge building and its surroundings.

About twenty minutes later, I was balancing on a log, rocking to and fro, gazing at the Cotswold scenery, from what served as the car park, when a rather smart sports car pulled up, and a tall, skinny, dark haired young man jumped out, and tugging his hand through his thick dark hair, rushed into the building. I think it was the car that piqued my interest, a harvest gold MGBGT (that my father later called an upholstered roller skate).

I hopped off the log and followed the young man inside. What a delight drilling machines, a big lathe an assortment of bits and bobs all strewn around as about eight men tried to make order of their recent acquisitions. Even at this early stage it smelt like a machine shop, that whiff of oil and hot swarf. Needless to say, I did not complete my homework that night, I spent the remainder of the evening wielding a broom, clearing floor space for machines to be pushed or hoisted in. I am not sure how good a job I did, because I kept one beady eye on the skinny dark-haired young man.

To raise funds for their club, volunteers attended all the summer fete’s in the area. Arriving the evening prior to the fete and laying a straight length of portable track of dual gauge 3½” and 5”. Returning on fete day with either a 5” 0-6-0 tank engine with Baker valve gear, or a beautiful 3½” gauge Great Western 4-6-0 County class engine built by Gordon Jones, one of the first club members. Two running coaches that could seat about four or five children linked up behind to form the train and we were in business.

The very first fete I attended was, I think, where my awe of steam locomotives really began. To see an engine being lit and fired up, coming to life in front of your eyes is quite a sight to behold. A lovely aesthetic inert ornament turns into a warm living chattering animal, with a glowing fire in its belly and a life all its own.

At these fete’s I would help children on and off the coaches and sit at the back to avoid anyone falling off. Elf and Safety was laxer in the 70’s. One society member’s son did fall of the back of the train when we attended an away day at another club. It was a raised track and he was only about 3 ½ years old. When his mother finally reached him, he was screaming and protesting very loudly, not because he was hurt, but because the train was going on without him. That toddler today is also an avid model engineer and steam buff.

On rainy days I often sat behind the driver, sometimes this was my father, who would be smoking a cigar (Elf and Safety!!) holding an umbrella over his head as we ran up and down the track with no passengers trying to attract some children onto the ride.

At the end of the fete when all the children had gone home, there would often be a fire remaining under the boiler and some steam would still be available to power the train. I was the kid begging at the side of the track to be allowed to drive the engine and, oddly enough, they let me. To begin with the owner of the 0-6-0 tank engine sat behind me instructing me and modifying my speed as we romped up and down the track. As I grew older he would still sometimes sit behind me taking his seat after running his hands through his thick dark hair.

Perhaps it was not only the steam that I found so attractive!!!!