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Stoker

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  1. I had not heard of the Lincolnshire potato railways until you brought it up. What a great prototype. Lots of potential there. I especially like the timber cabs, very agricultural!
  2. No sadly not, Neil. Personal circumstances have meant that, once again, I've been prevented from building any kind of layout. It's been quite frustrating as I've been itching to do something beyond just planning for many years now, and each time I get close to exchanging dollars for rails life intervenes. The upshot of this is that all my layout plans and CAD designs have been revised and honed many times over and have become quite refined. Once designs are finalised I should in theory be able to do a sort of "quantity surveying" where I can figure out roughly how much of everything I'll need to order. This I'm hoping will mean that when it does come time to start building there won't be many delays as I should have most of what I need, as well as avoiding the dreaded "figuring it out as you go along" method with all of it's associated problems. Model railways aren't cheap though, and without much of a hobby budget at the moment that means at least in the short term I'm likely going to have to prioritise other projects over this one. Rest assured it will eventually get done! I'm secretly rather competitive about the prospect of being the first person to have an accurate scale model of the Par Bagnalls!
  3. Tidmeric is another one that I was already familiar with, and in fact had downloaded photos to use as inspiration. Being a Cornishman I recognised the ore hoppers immediately (Camborne and Redruth Tramway I think). This is exactly the kind of modelling that I really enjoy, so bravo.
  4. It would seem so. I can't personally fathom the attraction with passenger trains, but perhaps it says something about my personality type when I say I'd much rather see a train carrying dried sewage than people! I'm open to the possibility that I might just be one of a lone few who gets excited about conveyor belts and chimney stacks.
  5. There have been some great industrial NG layouts in the past. Ruston's "Whitaker's Tramway", Roy C Link's "NG Sand And Gravel", Hull MRS's "Barrowfleet Brickworks", to name the few I know by heart. But it feels like there aren't many out there in a sea of slate, passenger, and trench layouts. Now I'm wondering if there's anyone on here who can point me to a few more. I could use some inspiration for future projects!
  6. Without doubt, the single biggest variable I've encountered in "slow running" is that different people have different tastes, and different ideas about what "slow, smooth running" actually is. Some people are just more impatient operators, not concerned with realistic movement, so to them a model that others consider intolerably fast might be perceived as nice and smooth so long as the motor performs well within it's capable range. It's this very subjectivity that makes me highly skeptical of other people's personal impressions of any locomotive. And so without meaning anyone any offense l remain unconvinced unless I see a video for proof. (But I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another viable 0-4-0 chassis, you can never have too many) In my 25+ years in the hobby, I've also seen just about every single gimmick that claims to make fast locos with cheap motors able to crawl, and in my experience none have ever lived up to their claims. My dad had a really fancy (and expensive) controller at one point, with "force feedback" if anyone remembers that, which was hand built by a guru... however my 30 quid gaugemaster could run anything equally as well, because I suspect the critical components in the controller were ultimately of equal quality. Both did absolutely nothing for the cheap mainline 0-6-0 that sounded like a coffee grinder, both were able to get my Bachmann WD Austerity to crawl so slow we had to put a ruler beside the engine to verify it was actually moving. The difference is in the quality of the components that the respective manufacturers put on the locos, the controller had zero to do with it. I also disagree that "bedding in" makes so dramatic a difference as to completely invalidate out-of-the-box reviews. In all my years in the hobby I've yet to see a loco magically "gain" the ability to crawl entirely from bedding in. The simple fact is they can either do it out the box or they can't, period. I've also run enough locos in my time to be able to know whether they're going to be a good runner the second a current passes through the motor. Good runners have a certain gentle sound and smoothness, with low starting voltages and little stutter - bedding in usually just takes them from near-perfect to perfect. Then the most flawless runners I've ever seen were hand built 009 locos with Swiss made Maxon coreless motors, full compensation, circa 40:1 gearing, keep-alive capacitors, and DCC. The only thing more impressive than the locos was the workshop and know-how of the guy who built them. The point I'm getting at here is that there's no substitute for quality chassis, and no good band-aid for bad ones. It's really just a matter of physics. Ultimately my gut instinct with the Hornby 0-4-0 is that it's probably a worm and spur upgrade away from being a very good runner, and that the reason why people can't get it to crawl in the videos I've seen is because it simply can't run the motor slow enough to overcome the nearly 1:1 gearing. Many people have found that 5 pole motors help (and I've seen some speculation that this is what Hornby upgraded the 0-4-0 with although I highly doubt it) and while it's true that 5-polers have lower starting voltages and a lower base RPM, that's still no substitute for the mechanical advantage of gears. Ultrascale make 40:1 worm and gear sets that'd turn these locos into Swiss watches, particularly with the addition of DCC and keep-alive, and perhaps I'll do that myself someday as a proof of concept, as I feel it'd be a fun project.
  7. I'm quite sure this is very recent. It was a Sams Trains review of the limited edition Smokey Joe, and one thing Sam always does in his videos is demonstrate crawl capability for each loco - needless to say it wasn't just poor it was flatly incapable. I don't know, maybe this was from the previous run you speak of, I'd be thrilled to be wrong and have another viable source of good 0-4-0 chassis, but I think I'd have to see video proof before I bought one and would need to know specifically which model number to order. But I have to say that I agree with you about the shift in attitudes in the hobby. It's much more ready-to-run focused now, and that has been at the noticeable detriment of the smaller producers who make detail parts. This has forced a dramatic change in the last few years in particular for the number of people doing "diesel detailing" of North American prototypes, where once it was standard to add horns, bells, thinwall cab kits, air filters, vents, fans, etc. and now it's just expected that a model loco have all this detail pre-applied and proto-specific out of the box. A lot of manufacturers are now dead and gone or on the brink. Wrightlines and all their fantastic kits, Backwoods, most motor bogie manufacturers, mashima, Romford seem touch-and-go, Ultrascale seem to act like it's just too much hassle to be worthwhile... for a while there NWSL were just totally kaput and thankfully seem to have come back, but no telling for how long. Branchlines also seem to have slipped into obscurity... they used to be the one-stop-shop if you needed to build a chassis, just give them a call and tell them what you need and they usually had everything. It's frustrating for me as I have many projects I'd like to 3D print and potentially offer as kits or RTR models, but I just can't get the running gear side of it. I can have photo etches made up no problem, but just not wheels, gears, and motors.
  8. Personally I doubt I'll ever bother with the Hornby chassis. Even with the recent improvements it's still somewhat fast, seems completely incapable of crawling, has no crosshead or crosshead guides, and the bent drive-rods are a bit of an eye-sore. Since the Bachmann Percy/Greg chassis has none of these issues I think that's just a better starting point for me. While the issues with the Hornby chassis can be fixed with a bit of bodging, I'm honestly getting to the point where I just want to get on with it, rather than having to faff with a chassis. One other big downside for me is that living in Canada means postage is often prohibitively high. What seems like a bargain loco becomes decidedly premium at the checkout stage once postage is added. This means I have to be a bit more careful about what I buy. I really wish there were more options for chassis. This has been a bit of a perennial issue with narrow gauge. I'd build my own if it wasn't such an ordeal to get wheels, axles, gears, and motors!
  9. Thanks for the replies chaps. I've been working on a design based around the Bachmann Percy/Greg chassis which has a 31mm wheelbase and the wheels appear to be approx 14mm. It sounds like the Hornby 0-4-0 chassis might be a good alternative as 33mm x 16mm is very close. I'm hoping to snag a donor soon so that I can confirm the dimensions and get building. I'm particularly interested to see if I can figure out some ways to upgrade the chassis for slower running, perhaps with a motor swap and some better gears. Here's a rough draft. I'm quite happy with how it's turned out.
  10. Yes you're right it was oil fired, I forget about that, so technically not a coal fired kiln although still a traditional pan kiln in every other respect, and you're correct that it closed in 1991. The heat from the oil burner passed through the old furnace and under the pan, which dried the clay in the traditional way without any mechanical assistance (apart from the digger). Quite remarkably, the works was operated by English China Clays, and was the last pan type dryer the company operated. It's quite incredible to think that this dinosaur outlived the technically more modern 1939 built Rockhill rotary, and ww2 built Collins rotary and Drinnick Old Cooperage Buell. This photo taken in 1992 one year after closure shows Lower Bostraze dry from outside with it's distinctive square brick stack, the settling tanks are also visible. The equipment on the left resembling shelves are triple deck screens, very outdated by the time this photo was taken, but in the 30's through to the 60's these were quite commonly used to classify clay to the desired particle size distribution prior the use of more sophisticated refining plant such as centrifuges, floatation cells, hydrocyclones, and hydroclassifiers. Lower Bostraze was not within pumping distance of a clay refinery, and it's 5000 ton per annum output precluded building one locally, so it had to use this more primitive method to the bitter end. If these were not used, there was no way to separate coarse from fine grade clay, and also some clay would be so fine that it could actually pass through the filter press cloth and be lost in the filtrate. This undersized clay was pumped back to a tank where it would be dosed with a chemical called a flocculant, which encouraged the clay to form into larger particles, and then pumped back through the screens to form a closed circuit. This CCHS photo on the interior of Lower Bostraze shows the small digger used to move dried clay from the pan to the linhay. The travelling bridge with wagon can be seen being moved by a worker, and I believe the item on the wagon is a quick-attach implement of some kind. This photo, credit to Jim Casley son of the last manager of the works, shows the oil burners in the furnace.
  11. Could you possibly give dimensions for this loco? I have a project in mind and I'd be interested to do something similar. Wheelbase, driver diameter, width, length, height, etc. would all be very useful.
  12. In the early 1990's only two coal fired drys remained; Great Wheal Prosper dry at Carbis Wharf, and another (not rail served) deep in the west near St Just. By that time, manual labour had almost completely been eliminated from the once dreaded "old way". Mechanical stokers fed the furnaces (a circa 30's to 50's innovation), a filter press house replaced the wagon tanks (these came in early 1900s), and the role of men shovelling dry clay off the pan was replaced by a small kubota excavator which rode on one of the two travelling bridges (introduced around the 1980s). Lord Falmouth's "underdog" clay company Goonvean & Rostowrack owned "Prosper" dry, and leased a single Tiger wagon from the fleet that Tiger had originally allocated entirely to ECC. I believe this ended up being the last white tiger, the last freight out of Carbis, and the only air braked wagon to receive clay dried by coal. A photo of the mechanical stoker at Great Wheal Prosper dry, Carbis. Coal came in down the chute into a small hopper, which fed into the tube seen below. The tube contained a spiral auger which fed the coal into a "bowl" hearth a bit like a giant tobacco pipe. Air was blown into the furnace via the square duct: The photo below shows the filter presses at Carbis. These brought clay slurry pumped at pressure from the tanks into the bank of cast iron plates which were lined with filter cloths. Clay would then build up on the cloth eventually forming a giant 4ft square cake weighing about 200lbs. As you can see from the spatter on the roof, sometimes the cast iron plates would "give up" under pressure, which made a terrible mess. Here we see the Kubota KH-31 that was used at Prosper on the pan. It has it's own heavily reinforced travelling bridge, which it was able to move itself along on using the arm. This machine was used to break up and distribute fresh filter cakes across the pan, and also to remove dry cakes to the linhay. Lastly, we have the tram wagons on the other travelling bridge, which were used to carry the filter cakes from the press house to the desired spot on the pan. As you can see they were side-tipping. Early oil fired mechanical dryers built between 1939 to around the early 50s were all built as an extension onto the original coal fired dry, which itself was usually modified by the internal removal of the redundant "pan" and installation of conveyor belts to carry dried clay through it. ECC's first "big" modern conveyor fed linhay was built on Par harbour around 1951, and was a second hand derigible hangar from RAF Davidstow. The company installed a pair of large rotary peanut roasters inside, and set them up to dry china clay. After just a couple years the plant at Par proved a success, and so the company shifted from mechanizing old dryers to building entirely new plants. The vast majority of coal fired dryers were shut down during this period as they were replaced by huge new plants capable of orders of magnitude higher output. Here's a photo of the linhay in question at Par in 1951, former RAF hangar of truss construction, being assembled around the pair of peanut roasters: A closer photo of the peanut roasters sat on their giant concrete plinth:
  13. It depended on the size of the dry, but a very simple calculation can be done. 1 short ton of coal will boil 10 tons of water. Clay to be dried was about 20% moisture, so for every 5 tons of wet clay 1 ton of that was water. Most coal fired drys were producing 2.5 tons per hour, so that's 1/20th of a ton of coal, or 100lbs an hour. That's a reasonable rate of shoveling considering the furnace had to be fired by the same men who shovelled dry clay off the pan. So your answer would be somewhere around 30 tons a month. After about 1950 ECC mostly trucked their coal from Par harbour to the dries, putting an end to coal by rail, except in cases of distant dries such as those around Bodmin Moor. They continued to receive coal by rail until they were updated to oil fired mechanical dryers.
  14. Looks about right for one of the smaller stores. You may be interested to know the small one at Kernick, on which the scalescenes was based, was originally half the size, it was doubled in I think the mid 60s. There was also a really tiny linhay on the Goonbarrow branch which I think was only about 100 feet or so in length. It was fed by ECC's 1939 vintage Rockhill rotary dryer. Fun fact, during the 1978 coal strikes, Rockhill was prepped to dry peat from Bodmin Moor to fuel Drinnick power plant!
  15. Looking at what you've got there, I think you could get more "frontage" if you built your kiln angled around the curve, and used the turnout to form a coal stub instead. Forgive the rather crude drawing, but this should roughly demonstrate what I mean:
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