This large loco is built
up on our standard 7 1/4" gauge power bogies.
I am not sure if I volenteered or was
pressganged in to a team charged with building a battery
electric locomotive for the Chingford club.
For me it was a chance to experiment with
a whole range of new building processes and designs with
out incurring the material charge. I thank the club for
having a bit of faith in the company and I think the
results speak for themselves.
Below left - The brass
name plates were made by myself with help from Steve of
"Mint Condition" who cut and stuck the vinyl
onto the brass allowing me to then etch the plates. Steve
also did the front lining and provided a stone chip
protection film to the cab roof.
Below - Ron Manning took
great time in finishing off the timber bodywork and
building all the controls on the dashboard. The loco has
4 batteries and two built in battery chargers. It also
has two horns - one at each end - hence the two red
|Left - Ron Manning has
always liked drivers in cabs. After a long search he
opted to use a doll dressed in a guards uniform. The
effect is great but don't look too closely if you see the
loco. The doll had to be cut in half as he is pearched on
a bulkhead over two of the traction batteries.
shot also shows the great lengths of detailing that Ron
went to - working vacuum pipe, custom buffers and marker
- Power - 8 x 150w motors (two per axle)
- 4 x 85amp hour batteries (can run 2 pairs or
- Control - iDrive 120amp
- 2 x automatic battery chargers - built in to rear
with 240v trailing lead
- Alarm if loco turned on and rear door open
(charging lead out)
- Vacuum pump for train brakes
- Electric parking brake - worked by iDrive unit
- Induction ammeter.
- Top speed - Plenty
7 1/4" Gauge AGM - Swindon
This years Seven and a Quarter Gauge Society's AGM was hosted
by Swindon Club. I only stayed Friday and Saturday but it was a
lovely meet. Not only did I have a small trade stand I also
managed to get my 7 1/4" gauge tram out on what is a very
All change at the workshop.
With our work load ever increasing
it became clear that the paint shop was becoming a bottle neck.
For those of you who visited the workshop you may recall the
Boxford lathe in the porch area. This has now been moved in to
the main workshop area where the old small paint shop was.
||Left - the cleared area of the porch. A
long term leak showed itself up so with help from the
land lords son (below left) we had a go at patching the
Despite mine and Criags best effort,
pulling up the old felt in the gutter we made it a lot
worst. At times the unit next door ended up with 1"
of water in it. luckily the unit I am in isa couple of
A big thanks to Barry who took on the challenge of
building the new paint shop front wall. Work included new
lights, extraction and insulation to the roof space. In
all it took over two weeks.
Left - The
start of clearing some floor space. The idea of a big
reshuffle is to increase the paint shop size and capacity
aswell as create a larger floor space near the front
doors. This is to allow access for pallet delivery and
eventually an area where we could work on larger locos.
We had a look at bigger units locally but
being inside the M25 means there is no escape from large
rent and high rates. For a unit 1/3 bigger would mean
rates and rent of over �1000 a month.
What was really annoying was having had
half term then two weeks of rearranging I then went down
with a bad bug which knocked me out for the best part of
So apologies to those who received their
orders late but I do hope that in future we will be
better placed to have more items as off the shelf.
||The first two weeks of December we welcomed Romeo to
the workshop on a work experience placement. As part of
his placement we worked on his own Charlatan loco which
he bought off ebay.
We can't have been too bad as he
came in for a couple of days in the holidays to carry on
the work on the engine.
I am always for safety and I am riled by people who
quote "health and safety gone mad" when they
just want to ignore good practice and common sense.
Similarly it infuriates me when people are too lazy to
actually manage risk. It was a battle to get the
placement agency to actually let Romeo use tools.
At one point it was sand paper and observation. They
even listed battery drills as a prohibited tool.
I like the Health and Safety Excecutives statement -
"Those who create the risk are
often best placed to deal with the risk"
Hercules Number 100
In December we sold Hercules number 100.
Launched in 2003 the loco has found homes all
over the world. As I write the bogies and chassis are with the
customer in Austraila while the body is in the workshop waiting
for its final detailing and painting to be carried out. On the
Friday before Christmas I got a message from the customer. Feed
back was good but he had a problem which we don't tend to get
here in the UK. -
"Unfortunately my trials today were interrupted by a
6ft Juvenile Brown snake….one of the quickest and deadliest
snakes we have in this country….he was only about 2 metres
from the front of the loco basking in the sun on the track. I
stopped luckily, and he slithered off quickly in to the grass. It
put the wind up me and I then went home :( "
Number 100 is the 4th Hercules to go to Australia and I am
glad it has found a good home. With the success of the
"traveller" option all Hercules will be going out with
the plugs fitted as standard.
We have offered this service for a few years now and only a
few people have taken up the service. After a visit to the The Blatchington Branch Garden Railway I photographed
the trackwork where the proposed crossing was to be. Using the
photograph I traced the angles and using a given radius I draw up
the crossing. The top bottom track is straight while the left
right is on a radius.
For more details go to Martin's website. The Blatchington
Branch Garden Railway
Once again the portable railway attended 3 local model railway
exhibitions. Low collections on two really means we can't justify
lending over �2k of equipment to collect under �20 for the
Hospice. It has always been a strange situation as we slip
between trader and exhibitor. That said a big thanks to the
Chelmsford Model Railway Club who welcome us with open arms and
provide us with a cooked lunch. Their good location and well
organised exhibition always seems to make their exhibition stand
out from others. Hope to see you there this October.
Out of the three shows Chelmsford was once again the most
popular. This year Drena helped me run the track with Derek
Wheddon helping in the morning. It was a rush to pack it all way,
put it in the garage before picking up a Hercules and riding
truck from the workshop on route for the 10pm ferry from
Portsmouth for a week on the Isle of Wight. Couldn't let the
picture above left go with out mention. I just liked the idea of
a paint shop on a model railway. Will be interesting to see how
much they have painted by next year.
I shouldn't have to apologise for putting up
prices. We have worked hard this years to try and improve
productivity. Loco sales are now at a rate where we can justify
production runs. Even after all this there comes a point where
the material costs go up and you are left with no choice. This
year for example Dulux paint has gone up 12%, laser cut steel
15%, brake calipers 20%, plywood 25% etc. We are only a small
company but world commodity prices and exchange rates all take
there toll. After finishing this page I will be updating the
prices with a 6% increase.
Don't forget Alexandra Palace 20-22nd January.
An expensive outing for us but it is our home show. If you are
attending do come across and say hello. From previous experience
I know I can get tied up talking to someone and seem to ignore
others. Please if anyone knows how to best to deal with this do
let me know. I don't wish to cut anyone off but then to see
people, who wanted to talk, walk off is upsetting. If there is an
answer to this problem do let me know. Alternatively 07757
321851. Should be in my pocket and could be the polite
All the best for now.