Whilst still at an early stage, you can only marvel at the
superb workmanship and single-minded obsession with authenticity exhibited in
this A1 Pacific. Started over twenty years ago, it began with the acquisition of
what we’re reliably informed is a complete set of LNER works drawings. They
are housed in two large pigeon-hole cabinets, in total around 350 A1 sheets
covering every last detail of the original engine.
Having got the drawings to work from, the builder - a
professional toolmaker by trade - set about recreating it in 7 ¼ inch. The
frames were cut in several pieces, fastened together with lap joints as per the
original – there is no laser cutting anywhere in the project, all plates have
been machined to profile. Intricate aluminium patterns were made, including a
pair for the Timken cannon boxes which are works of art in their own right (and
a truly amazing amount of trouble to take simply to produce six castings for
components which will never be seen except when the engine is upside down).
Components like frame stretchers and the drag box are exquisitely fabricated in
steel, silver soldered together – the centre cylinder is all fabricated,
including all ribs present in the original casting.
There is a box of new Timken taper roller bearings for
locomotive and tender axles.
To say that continuing with this project will be a labour
of love is probably a bit of an understatement. Vision, a high degree of ability
and incomprehension of the word “compromise” are probably the minimum entry
requirements for this one.
On a practical front, you need a decent-sized van to cart
away work to date and the pair of drawing cabinets.
|gauge||7 1/4 inch|