The engine has come to us from the nephew of the late builder. He thought his uncle had started it from scratch, but the box full of documentation, notes, plans and receipts shows that it was actually started in 1944, with an order of castings from Bassett-Lowke in Northampton.
At some stage the engine changed hands, whereupon it was decided to change from the Bassett-Lowke two cylinder to a prototypically correct three cylinder design, with Gresley-Holcroft conjugated gear.
As far as we can make out, this work has been done in relatively recent times, working from a combination of 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 inch gauge drawings, all of which remain with the engine.
In 2010 a new silver-soldered copper boiler was ordered from the estimable Helen Verrall of Western Steam - it's an "all whistles & bells" combustion chamber job, beautifully made.
Most of the machining work has been done on the chassis, cylinders are fitted to the frames and much of the motion work and valve gear is either loosely fitted, or in a box of parts with the engine.
Tender is largely complete, painted in what looks like about six coats of polyurethane - it really needs stripping and repainting when the locomotive is completed.
Quite a lot still to do, but much work done, plenty of drawings to show the way and a super boiler ready to fit and pipe up.
We've only ever had one three cylinder A3 in this gauge before, there's some pictures of it in the archive here. For reasons which baffle us to this day, the short, rather low resolution video we took of this one running in the workshop has racked up some three quarters of a million views on YouTube. No idea why, although I do remember the engine went like the clappers.
|gauge||2 1/2 inch|
|length/inches||24 + 14|
|wheel material||cast iron|
|axlebox type||plain bearing|
|boiler maker||Western Steam|
|boiler type||locomotive with combustion chamber|
|boiler construction||silver soldered|