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On the Narrow Gauge




I have mentioned before in this blog that my layout includes an 009 narrow-gauge section. Most of this section does not need changing in order to fit in with my revised 19th-century timeframe but, a long time ago (1980), I built a 'Centre Models' kit of a Leek & Manifold 2-6-4T, of which the prototypes appeared in 1904. Whilst not quite fitting my new era, it is a handsome locomotive that I had never got to run well, so I decided to re-build the chassis. A body kit is still available from Meridian Models


The original kit included a fret of nickel-silver valve gear, which was extremely fiddly to construct and get working. Alas, all my efforts were soon undone by the unsatisfactory white-metal chassis supplied in the kit. This soon warped and, in the process, destroyed the valve gear, which I could not face re-constructing at that time.





More recently I saw a small Roco engine being sold fairly cheaply, which had working outside gear. I had read that this chassis is not considered to be very reliable in heavy use but, nevertheless, I decided to see if I could use under the L&M body.





My method is to take photos of the parts I wish to fit together over a sheet of graph paper, as a scale reference. I have the camera fixed on a tripod, so that all the photos are at the same scale. I then overlay the images in a photo-editor (I use Photoshop Elements) to check clearances and to see where any parts need to be modified. I find this method of creating a 'visual impression' of how the parts will fit suits me better than trying to make detailed drawings.




It was clear that, with a little trimming of the underframe, the Roco chassis could be fitted and give a reasonable impression of the original loco. I even found that there were suitable attachment points for the existing pony wheels and trailing truck. I adapted the motor mount, by fitting a cord grip from a British 13A plug across the side mounting points, and re-wired, omitting the DCC adapter board. (My layout is DC only)




It all went together surprisingly easily and proved to run very smoothly at nice low speeds. Now, it must join the queue for re-painting, once I have got the hang of my new airbrush. It probably won't find a home on my current layout but I do enjoy watching the outside valve gear working, as in the following animation. :)





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Good to see that parts are still available for these attractive models.  For anyone thinking of building one of these: do remember that they are quite large locomotives!  I don't have sufficient clearance, in several places on my NG line, to run mine!

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I have not had a problem with these (I have 5 of them), but one did break very shortly after I got it home.


Taking it back to the shop they said that some batches had a less than reliable gear train, a bit like old Grafar models, in that the gears split.


Their slow running is superb and they actually run even slower if used with DCC....

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