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7 1/4 inch gauge Tinkerbell "James" - stock code 3813

The nicest Tinkerbell I've ever owned/driven, "James", built by Joe Nemeth at his Severn Beach Works in 2002 and used for two seasons at the beautiful Oldown Miniature Railway before its untimely closure. If you don't know Joe's work, it's well worth having a look at his website. One of the great miniature railway engineers, he has built/rebuilt over sixty locomotives, created the "Scaleway Signals" range of signals and rolling stock and designed and built a number of large, commercial railways including Oldown and Berkeley Light Railway. I rate him as a first class engineer, a man with a keen eye for detail and proportion and with a fine sense of history - there are few Tinkerbells more self-evidently related to the Heywood bloodline as this one.

Built 2002, welded steel locomotive-type boiler by Bell Boilers with expanded steel tubes. Working pressure 100psi, feed by twin injectors. Ball valve regulator in dome. Cast iron cylinders with slide valves actuated by Heywood-type valve gear with pole reverser on footplate (beautifully detailed, it's been made from one of Joe's half-size signalbox lever castings). Mechanical lubricator. Wheels are in cast iron with EN8 steel tyres, axles run in roller bearings.

The engine is equipped with vacuum brake equipment with ejector, driver's brake valve and gauge close at hand on the backhead. Blower line is fitted with a valve allowing an air line to be attached for drawing the fire from cold.

A supremely comfortable engine to drive, my longest stint ever on the footplate was six hours at a club public running day (a cup of tea fits neatly on top of the left hand water tank - it was only an urgent need to release some tea that finally got me off the engine). Apart from the two summers running it did at Oldown it did when new, this has been a cossetted and rather gently-used engine - unsteamed the last three years, it's been kept company in our engine shed at home by "Molly", another Tinkerbell, by Jeff Stubbs.

The pictures below were taken in its last season of operation at Oldown. Paintwork is not quite as bright now, although the engine is in good mechanical order and ready to do a serious job of work - a thoroughly sorted and supremely capable locomotive.

Length 76 inches
Weight 1/2 ton

gauge 7 1/4 inch