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Northroader

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  1. So far I’ve introduced you to three really useful engines, which would form a good backbone to any small layout. You may have picked up from my first post that I was really taken with a shot of an old EST express, with a Crampton as a pilot engine, so this time I’ve picked this as a topic. The Crampton was a British design, driven by the idea of having a really low centre of gravity. This was achieved by placing the boiler really low, and having the driving wheels placed out of the way behind the boiler. The cylinders were then of necessity placed outside halfway along the engine. The arrangement gave a really steady engine, although the perway might not have liked the long wheelbase with minimal sideplay. It turned out that low c.o.g. wasn’t that vital a requirement, but the drivers must have enjoyed the steady running, and they could go fast. One aspect of the design which helped this was that the pipes from the regulator box on top of the boiler down to the steamchests above the cylinder were quite short and straight, with good port openings, and weren’t improved on until Andre Chapelon started to rebuild the PO Pacifics with “internal streamlining” in the ‘thirties. The weakness of the design was the limited adhesive weight, an EST crampton weighed 33tonnes, and only 13.5 tonnes was on the drivers. On level track you just had the rolling resistance of the train, but on any sort of gradient the weight of the train would be factored in, and the drivers could start to slip. Several of the British main lines sampled the type, but they never prospered, but they were far more successful in France. The NORD had the most, sixty built in batches from 1849 to 1859, including three oddities, two being built as tank engines with an extra carrying wheel, and one with a Petiet boiler, having a heat exchanger drum above the boiler, which did nothing at all for the appearance of the engine. The fleet were withdrawn between 1878 and 1895, being phased out of top line jobs. The PLM had forty from the Paris Lyon section built between 1854 and 1864. The stretch north of Dijon limited their usefulness, and they were moved around the system in search of lighter duties. Twelve were eventually sold to the EST in 1869, and the remainder had all gone by 1879, so some had a life of only fifteen years, quite low for a French engine in this era. This left the EST, who had twenty seven of their own, plus the PLM dozen. The first withdrawal of these was in 1892, and the last ones went in 1913. Driving wheel diameter on most of the NORD and EST fleets was 2.30metres, nearly 7’7”, some reduction in sizes happened, presumably to help the tractive effort. I fancied a go at one of the EST engines, which had a boiler rebuild, with a large dome added, which displaced the regulator box from the ideal position I’ve mentioned. The thing I found was that a Crampton needs a totally different approach, because of the very low pitch of the boiler. I couldn’t use the normal way of having inside frames of two parallel vertical brass strips, instead there was just one brass strip, laid flat, centrally down the middle. At the front this ended with the U shaped buffer beam, and in the middle a flat cross piece to support the cylinders. At the back upward extensions were placed at each side for the main driver axle bearings. The motor and gears were attached on top of the strip, the worm being under the axle. The spur gear and axle are quite noticeable,as there isn’t much of a cab. The two pairs of carrying wheels were mounted on a bogie, so I had three point suspension. Mike Sharman did two very good articles in the RM for 3/68 and 9/68, describing his menagerie of old locos, and how to fit drives and adhesion, and I lifted an idea from these. The tender is articulated on the back end of the frame, and the leading axle of the tender is allowed to float, so you can put more weight in the tender body which will act on the drivers. In this state I was able to run trials on the track with a set of four four wheeler coaches, and it worked very well. So far, so good, and I turned to the next job, sorting out the outside motion. This involves two large eccentrics for Stephenson valve gear hanging off the outside. I have to confess at this point I realised I’m not anywhere as good as Denis Allenden, and give up. “What, you give up!?!?” Fraid so. Most of the components have been reallocated to other jobs, but there’s this big pair of drivers staring up at me reproachfully, and this post is really about not building a Crampton. Mind, in preparing this post I’ve realised that some of the later NORD engines were built with Walschaerts gear, which might help simplify things, so I haven’t given up totally.
  2. Or fiddle about with the boiler mountings, and it would do for a Beyer Peacock, IWR or MSWJR? Then give it an open cab,,GWR Metro?
  3. I do like that 2-4-0T. Nice basis for a generic tank engine.
  4. Looking at it from another angle, we’ve become very accustomed to having a big slice of modelling products being made in China. How much resentment will there be to buying from there in future?
  5. Summers seventeen, and all that jazz.. James, congratulations on getting to page thousand, pleased to see how much progression you’ve had since your “happy camping” days. Long may it continue! Stephen, you’re correct, as ever, I am mixing my managers up. (Retires in confusion to the bodging room)
  6. Edward Watkins learned the hard way, cutting his teeth as it were on the MSWJR, when it was a small, impecunious outfit, with limited staff and horizons. The management structure was very much hands on, and to his credit he built it up into a thriving cross country route, before going on to much larger exercises. The Railway family I like are the Uries. I’m sure nepotism was never used, it was just that members of the family had the capability and the interest in railway engineering to all make their mark. Bob Urie of Eastleigh is the best known, running a large organisation, when electrification, modern 4-6-0s, and WW1 armaments, were all happening. Another Urie (brother?) was on the Highland trying to introduce modern ways before going on to help the LMS when it was floundering, and another (son?) was shedmaster at Brighton pre WW2. I had the privilege of knowing a further member of the family (another Bob) who had a distinguished career at Derby in BR days. A nicer guy as you would ever wish to meet.
  7. I’ve been out on breakdowns on nights when it was really throwing it down, and it would take about three hours before the rain would begin to creep through the shoulders, which would be as good as you could hope for, but then you had to get through the rest of the night. one time, an inspector from Paddington came down the depot, so lunchtime we went over the pub for a pint (you could do that back then) wearing our black macs, and half the pub emptied.
  8. I think when the layout was designed, with the space available on the baseboards, which is quite extensive allowing for what there is, it would have been better to carry the cut off just a bit further in the Craven Arms direction, to include the point at that end. The divergence between the two routes could have been accentuated, so that you do get a better idea of what’s going on. As it is, it looks too close to being just another terminus to fiddle yard layout, leading to misunderstanding the operation pattern. i saw it at an exhibition a long, long time ago, and being a BCR fan, I looked at it long and hard. It is very well made, the overgrown track is very well done, and the trains are excellent. I got the impression that the woodland behind the station seemed a very light shade of green, I think it’s mainly larches which would be tricky to do, presumably springtime look?
  9. And now, Mesdames et Messieurs, Englefield House of Fashion, the leading centre for Haute Couture, welcomes you to the show you’ve been eagerly awaiting, the Grand Easter Parade. Please take your specially reserved front row seats to see this seasons exciting palette of colours. First, to transform the drab olive look, sooo “twenty tens”, our atelier has given a happy making transformation of our model to a far more zeitgeist yellow, paired subtly with grey and set off with a chichi red ribbon band. Next, tick all the boxes with this glorious combination of vivid orange and warm green, nothing more unboundaried to improve your mood. Love that cheeky little goat! Then to a legend for a reason, the little black number which always serves you sooo well. This classic style needs some je ne sais quoi, a dashing dawn grey lightning stripe set off with white pinstripes. Don’t you just love the glorious dazzle apron revealed as the model turns? Please enjoy your champagne and slim line canapés, and on the way out collect our lavish brochure, “Beeps and Shortys “, to take home and amaze your friends.
  10. .the other problem with Brummie trams is they were 3’6” gauge, still, if it’s blue and cream, it looks good.
  11. I walked from Glyncorrwg to Treherbert a few years ago, up over the mountain, as it’s on the route of a long distance path. Past North Rhondda and up its all forest with a mountain bike course. Once over the top you come down past Fernhill. I had a scrounge round and found some lumps of nice steam coal, very handy for breaking up and putting in my wagons and bunkers. Then I met a little girl out with her dad for a walk, I showed her my coal, and she showed me her lump of coal, and we were mates.
  12. This ones called “Rising to the Bait”, Kevin.
  13. Chop em into three, I just discovered (up there with E=mc2) you can get two gons out of an Atlas 50 footer. good luck with your “ideas”, Jacky.
  14. I admire how you’ve ingeniously laid the gear drive out for such cramped conditions.
  15. The leather strap found in old carriages to raise or lower the door drop light was always a favourite target for theft. Cut off, taken home, then one end attached to some fixed object at about waist height, the other end held with your left hand and pulled tight, then holding the cutthroat razor in your right hand, it was “stropped” against the strap, backwards and forwards, sharp edge trailing, to put a nice cutting edge on it. Meat pies, anyone?
  16. What to do with Atlas Plymouths on a 4’x1’? You still don’t know!?!?
  17. The ‘3901’ class were a rebuild of some Dean Goods engines. With the opening of the North Warwickshire line there was a need for suburban tank engines, Swindon machine shops were at full capacity, and there were spare goods engines. So, the wheels, motion, cylinders off a Dean Goods were put in new frames ,saving the machine shop work, with new boiler, pony trucks, tanks and cab. The result was an inside cylinder 2-6-2T with a taper boiler, part Dean, part Churchward, and not regarded as a standard type like the later outside cylinder 2-6-2T, which makes finding information on them that bit harder. It does make up into a nice model, as here. Very promising start, get the popcorn out.
  18. It’s an Armstrong Atlantic Convertible, the BGS are working on a kit for it, place your advance orders.
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