We've had several interesting historic engines come in recently, this one arrived last week with a super story attached.
Built in the 1950s, the designer and builder speculated he could build a 3 1/2 inch gauge locomotive that would pull forty children. "Mustang" was the result, a freelance Mikado incorporating many of his own ideas, much influenced by LBSC whose V2 combustion chamber boiler design he adapted, pressed to 100psi. The engine is a heavy, powerful machine - with its bogie tender and small driving wheels somewhat reminiscent of "Hercules" on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.
Having outlined his plans to fellow members at the club, he set to and built the engine in under a year - starting by sketching out a rough general arrangement drawing, the chassis was completed in under two months, the engine finished in under a year. After a couple of steamings at the club - including 6 1/2 hours in public service with 12 to 14 passengers - one Saturday in the spring of 1944 all available passenger trucks were coupled on the back and forty children rounded up, the engine pulling all as predicted by its designer.
It's come to us in part exchange for a 7 1/4 inch gauge locomotive from the son of a man who bought it from the builder many years ago. The engine was used extensively until the boiler finally failed, as a teenager the previous owner started building the new boiler shown in the pictures. The chassis remains largely complete, most of the parts dismantled to remove the original boiler are in a box, including cab, cladding, dome, boiler fittings and superheaters.
A really interesting survivor from a different time - in our internet and smartphone age, the idea of getting an engine designed and built in a few months, then being able to find forty children who weren't glued to the Playstation on a Saturday to ride behind it seems almost surreal. A singularly worthy restoration project, it's seventy-two years since it hauled what must, at the time, have been a record load for a 3 1/2 inch gauge locomotive - I would love to see it doing the job it was designed for again.
Complete with a copy of "Model Engineer" from August 31st, 1944 with the builder's write up.
|gauge||3 1/2 inch|