I visited the Forest of Dean recently to see the site of the Bullo Pill accident and to try and unearth more information about the area. The 'Gage Library' at the Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley holds a large number of maps and books, with staff who are very willing to help.
I have already posted one of my photos of Cockshoot Bridge, close to the accident site and couldn't help thinking that there was a resemblance between the modern LED signal and a Brunel 'disk and crossbar' signal. The Class 66 looks a fairly tight fit within the bridge, so I think the clearance must have decreased from the original broad gauge dimensions. Two things may have happened: the track bed has probably been raised, through adding layers of ballast, and the brick lining is probably not original. I suspect that the bridge was originally constructed more like the one below, which I photographed on the Forest of Dean Central Railway (now a cycle-track)
I found another old photograph of the accident near Bullo Pill in the Gage Library. This shows how the locomotive 'Rob Roy' rode up over the brake van and cattle wagons of the train ahead of it. The photo must have been taken very shortly after the accident, since the carcasses of cattle are still lying alongside the track. Several interesting details of the track-bed are visible, including the transoms both within the gauge and between the two tracks. The ballast is quite coarse and not heaped to the top of the baulks. In addition, there is no sign of a vee-shaped central drain, as suggested in drawings that I have seen. The absence of this last feature will make modelling the track somewhat easier!
Among the details visible on the locomotive itself are two white diamonds painted on the front buffer beam, .
I also found a photograph of the opposite side of 'Rob Roy' from that seen in the accident photo, shown in my previous post. The locomotive appears to be in similar condition to that in the photographs of the accident and also shows the white diamonds on the buffer beam.
The detail in these old photographic plates is quite remarkable, with plenty of information to guide the modeller. For example, the Salter spring balance for the safety valve, and several footplate details, are visible in this crop from one of the accident photos.
Taken together with Mike Sharman's scale drawing of 'Lalla Rookh', another member of the 'Waverley' class, I feel that I have everything needed to make an attempt at a model of this type of engine.
Fortuitously, the RCTS volume covering Broad Gauge locomotives (Part Two), states that the boiler and firebox of the 'Waverley class' engines were identical to those of some of the Gooch 'Standard Goods' engines. Since there is a Broad Gauge Society kit to build a 'Standard Goods', I intend to see whether this kit can form the basis for a model of 'Rob Roy'. It still leaves, however, the interesting problem of modelling the curved splashers over the exposed driving wheels!
In any case, the other locomotive involved in the Bullo Pill accident was 'Tantalus', a 'Standard Goods' engine, so I could also use the BGS kit to build this locomotive. The boilers of these locomotives were very large, compared with the standard-gauge' engines of the day. The boiler dimensions are given in the RCTS book as 11' (3.35 m) in length and 4' 6" (1.37 m) in diameter, with a firebox casing measuring 5' 0" X 5' 4" (1.52 X 1.63 m) and a grate area of 19.2 sq. feet (1.78 m2). The following photo, shows 'Zetes', a sister engine to 'Tantalus, in Gloucester, from where it probably also ran on the South Wales route.
There's certainly no shortage of detailed information to guide my modelling activities, so I can now start to prepare some detailed plans.