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J M Design GSWR/GSR/CIE 52 Class/D17 4-4-0

John M

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About 12 months ago I (rashly) offered to build a model of a D17 in connection with the Ballyglunin station restoration project, a producing a kit appeared to be a better option than a scratchbuild as I wanted one for myself and a number of people expressed an interest in a kit.



The design work for the loco (body) is reasonably advanced with the option of building the loco with a saturated round topped boiler in GSWR/GSR or CIE condition including variations in cab and the option of large or small tenders.


This posting is basically to canvas the level of interest if there is sufficient interest to produce the loco with the option of.


1. raised roundtop firebox and waisted smokebox as in the photos of 1, 54 and 98 or


2. straight sided smoke box and  flush round top firebox like 59 (The Tuam engine) similar in appearance to 60 Class 4-4-0 No 64.


The kit as designed includes parts to assemble the loco in either GSWR/GSR or CIE condition.


The 52 Class is likely to be challenging to build due to the small size of the loco and complex multi level running plate arrangement.

At this stage I am looking at offering the kit as a set of etched parts (similar to Worsley Works) rather than a complete kit with castings, wheels gears and motor.

The chassis and valences will be in 0.4mm nickle silver for strength the remainder of the loco in 0.4mm brass.




No 54 GSWR/early GSR condition with type B tender



No 1 GSR condition with type A tender.



98 early CIE condition with extended cab & type A tender. 98 still has GSWR style smokebox with double doors and raised round top firebox.


60 Class (D14) no 64 with straight sided smokebox and flush round topped boiler.


The 60 Class were built concurrently with the 52 Class were slightly larger and more powerful and took over the principal expresses of the GSWR (Dublin-Cork& Killarney) while the 52 Class worked the secondary routes.

Both classes became largely redundant following the introduction of the AEC railcars though members of both classes survived into the late 50s. The 52 appear to have worked lighter passenger trains over the ex-WLWR lines from Limerick to Waterford & Sligo, and between Kingsbridge and Waterford and branches and the North Wexford line.

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To a certain degree the ex GSWR & MGWR lines were operated as separate systems up to the early 1970s.


Following the Amalgamation GSWR & MGWR locos with certain exceptions tended to keep to their respective sections


57 may have been on loan to Westport for use on the Achill branch to cover an Achill Bogie that was out of service for repair, on the same day as recording 57 at Achill H.C. Casserley recorded Achill Bogie 534 entering Newport on a Westport-Achill mixed train.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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  • 2 months later...

Some progress with the test assembly of the 52 Class.



Major sub-assemblies, loco body, loco chassis & bogie, tender chassis and SSM J15 tender.

This loco is modelled on GSWR No 1 running in late GSWR/early GSR condition with 3 ring raised round topped boiler as a racing machine with short cab roof.


Loco body sub assemblies. 

The footplate running board assembly is similar in concept to the SSM J15 & S7 LNER D16 https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/147957-7mm-lner-d163-two-years-down-and-nothing-to-show/ and is surprisingly strong once the splashers and cab side sheets were soldered in place. 

The kit is designed to be assembled with a raised firebox, the flange between the boiler and firebox is a lost wax casting from a 3D printed master.

Boiler smokebox assembly is a bayonet fit to the cab at the firebox end the smokebox bolts to the running board.

Some adjustments are required to the smokebox, boiler and firebox wrappers for the production tooling. Funnily enough no major corrections are required to the footplate/valence sub assemblies.


Loco chassis. I assembled this particular loco to run on 21mm gauge track with a compensated chassis using High Level hornblocks and Gibson wheels, turning the axles from 1/8" silver steel, I have used a 2mm wagon axle as a temporary pivot for the leading rocking axle. Inside valve gear is based on a Beyer Peacock 101 Class GA and likely to be similar to that fitted to contemporary GSWR classes. No significant issues were identified with the chassis though I need to open up the clearance hole for the bolt that secures the smokebox to the running plate.



The bogie is simple enough the pivot arrangement is recommended in John Ahearn's "Miniature Locomotive Construction" and Guy William's "4mm Engine" and minimise the risk of shorting against the frames compared with the usual swing link arrangement. Wheel sets are retained by wire keepers which feed through holes in the bolster/framespacer not unlike hornbox keeps.  I will probably add additional  frame spacers/stretchers at the bogie ends


Wheels are again Gibson axles 2mm silver steel with the ends polished off in the Unimat SL.



Tender Chassis.  I designed a tender chassis with floating leading and center axle on the "Sharman free bogie" principal for use with the kit for improved traction compared to a conventional tender chassis, the kit includes the longer extended coal plates which appears in some photos of 52 & 60 Class locos with this form of tender. I may at some stage produce a fret for the 2500 Gal tender introduced for use with the 52 Class and later used with smaller GSWR locos on long haul passenger and freight duties.

Again the chassis securing holes need to be enlarged on the tender.

Next stage will be to set up the motor and gearbox and pick up system before assembling the loco and tender brake gear, I usually use an underslung gearbox arrangement with a vertical motor in express passenger locomotives which may be challenging in a 52 Class!

Edited by John M
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On ‎01‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 01:04, John M said:

To a certain degree the ex GSWR & MGWR lines were operated as separate systems up to the early 1970s.


Following the Amalgamation GSWR & MGWR locos with certain exceptions tended to keep to their respective sections


57 may have been on loan to Westport for use on the Achill branch to cover an Achill Bogie that was out of service for repair, on the same day as recording 57 at Achill H.C. Casserley recorded Achill Bogie 534 entering Newport on a Westport-Achill mixed train.


Correct. As always there's an exception to any rule, and 57 was just that! While rare, 57 was a regular on the line for a very short period. I was never able ascertain why. I have zero evidence of any other member of the class ever having going anywhere near Achill.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Further progress with the assembly of the 52 Class though I might have to re-number the loco or complete in GSWR livery as I managed to assemble the loco with a different boiler to the study photograph without noticing until the loco is nearly complete 



Firemans side.

I assembled No 1 with a 3 ring boiler in accordance with the GSR diagram rather than the 2 ring type fitted to the loco in early GSR days. Ironically I designed the boiler to be assembled in either form.

Boiler fittings are from the SSM J15, safety valve needs to be re-seated, not sure about the profile of the dome. Buffers and tender toolboxes are brass castings from 3D printed masters.

The tender body is SSM GSWR 1864 Gal tender with extended coal plates which often coupled to small ex-GSWR tender locos in GSR & CIE days.


Driversides. Vacuum brake pipe 0.9mm brasswire soldered under the running board, the curves in the pipework also tended to look a bit agricultural on the full size locos.

I will probably end up replacing the boiler and firebox on this loco as I need to make a number of corrections to the production boiler and firebox wrappers.


Assembly of the loco body is substantially complete, whistle and cab interior to be added, I need to fabricate a tender floor and coal plate and fit axleboxes and springs (after painting).


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  • 3 months later...

I finally found some time to assemble the brake gear and complete detailing the tender. Detailing to be completed to the loco includes the fairing that fits between the trailing bogie and leading driving wheels and hides the leading sandbox from view, smoke box door detailing, vacuum pipes and to re-seat the safety valve which is not sitting plumb.






Typically I did not realise the  loco was not sitting correctly on the track until I viewed the photos on the computer,



I will need to realign the hornblocks & reduce the length of one of the driving axles while completing the final mechanical assembly, rods need to be bored out for crankpin bushes and crankpins trimmed to length. 



Not sure if it was worth it, the leading brake shoe and hanger will be covered by a metal fairing.







The tender is a GSWR 1840 gal tender from an SSM J15, I designed my own tender chassis, but managed to transpose the position of the body fixing screws in the test etch, otherwise no significant changes are required to the loco and tender chassis artwork.


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  • 11 months later...

Having completed the test build we are planning to release the kit in June-July 2021 at $290NZ excluding shipping, import charges and local taxes

The majority of the kits have been pre-sold or reserved, but we will continue to accept expressions of interest on a 1st come served basis in the event of cancellations.



No 93 arriving at Keadue on the daily passenger. Not sure what a broad gauge train is doing on the narrow gauge.

No 93 is OO the coaches 21mm and the track 12mm, I desperately need to build OO & 21mm modules of layouts.



93 broadside the number plate is temporary fixed with double sided tape as the model is based on 59.

Boiler fittings and tender are SSM, boiler/firebox step ring, buffers, tender toolboxes are JMD brass castings.

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