Sold June 2007 Back to Archive

7 1/4 inch gauge vertical boiler 0-4-0 - stock code 3130

I think this is wonderful, Mrs P thinks it's a "barmy contraption" - I guess it's one of those love it or hate it engines.

A beautifully made vertical-boilered 0-4-0, designed and built by a highly experienced model engineer who had already built a 5 inch gauge locomotive and a super 7 1/4 inch Bagnall by the time he got to this one. Built around a commercially-built steel boiler, it is a large engine, similar in size and weight to the Bagnall (and, indeed, using Bagnall wheel castings).

Steel boiler by Franklin & Bell with fusible plug and expanded steel tubes. Working pressure 90psi, feed by injector and a highly effective, large hand pump. Commercial pop-type safety valve. Twin double-acting, oscillating cylinders with displacement lubricator. Chain drive to axle, ball-bearing axleboxes, screw-down brake. Water tank at front with level gauge, working electric headlight mounted thereon.

The engine was finished in 2002 but only steamed once - the builder moved out of 7 1/4 inch gauge completely and into 16mm, which he found a more manageable size. The standard of fit, finish and detailing is excellent and includes a stainless steel ball valve regulator, commercial boiler fittings, beautifully planked out seat and toolbox with brass cleading, wood-lagged cylinders and oiling points at all vital areas.

Running it on the line here, I was surprised at how quick and quiet it is. I had half expected a crawling pace with much clanking and thrashing of chains, instead, once under way, there is just a distinctive putter-putter from the exhaust and remarkably swift progress. Whilst everything works and it stops and goes as intended, by the builder's own admission there is further tuning to be done - in particular the reverser valve could use a better sealing arrangement, ditto the cylinders on their port faces. I don't think these are insurmountable engineering challenges, the standard of engineering and performance of the engine in its current state would more than warrant the effort.

Having spent a pleasant afternoon running about with the big ballast truck coupled on, Sam discovered that, with careful positioning of his feet, it is possible to ride on rather than behind the engine. I've had a go as well - with my size feet it's more of a challenge, but the weight of the engine makes sitting on the rear bunker a distinct possibility. With the addition of a clip-on seat, as fitted to larger traction engine models, and a pair of footpegs, it would be quite practical to drive "from the footplate" as it were.

Length50 inches
Height 38 inches
Width 20 inches
Weight approx 4 cwt

gauge 7 1/4 inch