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Newsletter May  2014

Ulysses Locomotive
With the Hercules locomotive now over 10 years old it seemed only fitting it deserved a new sister. Based on the Hercules chassis and bogies "Ulysses" captures the style of an early DC electric loco many of which could have been found on small industrial railways across the world. While many tell me it is a Swiss or German locomotive a quick internet search soon reveals that there were many steeple cab locomotives here in the UK.

Ulysses represents a heavy investment in time and money partially due to the amount of tools and jigs required for production. Far from just buying grills off the shelf we have to make them from scratch in house. All together the grills require an additional 92 nuts and bolts to fix them.
The pantograph took many hours of adjustment and tweaking to get right.
Although it takes many hours to assemble a pantograph, it just wouldn't be right to make an electric loco with out one.

For the demonstation model I chose to put a narrow gauge style coupling. We can supply the model with sprung buffers as per our standard Hercules.

The initial concept and basic outline of the body was created by Rob Overdijkink. Rob is a keen supporter of Ride on Railways and the proud owner of a Jasper locomotive.

After finishing these pages I am hoping to go on to the Ulysses page. As they say watch this space. If you would like one then earliest delivery will be end of August as I have 5 to build already.


2014 sees us committed to more trade shows again. The year started with The London Model Engineering Show at Alexander Palace.
It was the ideal time to demonstrate out new ratchet brake on the raised driving truck. Not wanting to drag masses of items to display I also bought a 40" TV to show a series of 6 pictures. Probably cheaper than buying 6 large posters and having to light them.

Left: We were joined at London and Harrogate Shows by Rob Overdijkink from Holland. As mentioned above Rob is an avid fan of Ride on Railways and has agreed to help us promote the company on the continent.

If you want to speak to someone in Dutch or German (or english) then Rob is now the man.

Mob +31 625 525 001
Fax:  +31 342 440 770
Email rob@rideonrailways.nl

Right - Peterborough 16mm AGM/National Garden Railway Show.
Yet another great and easy show for us. The joy for us on this show is being able to take the car right in to the arena for set up.

Below - The take down at Harrogate. Given it was a 208 mile drive I decided not to take the trailer. So all the items had to go in the car. I was going to say in the back of the car but my suitecase and a 7 1/4" bogie were in the front. Taking a trolley is a little over the top but then it really helps with moving the stand and then becomes the central support for the bench.

It was really nice to meet so many people over the shows and provides an excellent time to actually have a chat with out worrying about not working. Well it is a sort of work.


Polar Lady is the name of our second Captain Howey style ride in locomotive. Parts were orginally cut when making the first loco with a view of having one for myself.

Having bought a double decker Glasgow tram the garage was full so even if I built it I would have nowhere to store it.

In walks a smashing gentleman who wants a ride in locomotive, no fancy bits just a good old, comfortable work horse. Who am I to turn down that kind of offer.

The engine is now based on a lovely little line at the back of a very popular garden centre. http://www.poplarrailway.co.uk

I have to say this is a lovely line with so much character in such a nice surrounding.
Two days before delivery I took Poplar Lady to Chinford for a quick test run. Couldn't resist the opportunity to get a picture of the two ladies. Soon became clear the buffer beam needed lining.

Above Barry on day of delivery.
Right - Although it was to be a basic locomotive I couldn't let a loco like this go out with just a plain dashboard or worse still a hand controller. Vacuum brakes are controlled via a Station Road Steam made valve. Not only does it do train brakes it also operates a brake on the loco.


Most people drive a battery locomotive until it starts to go slow, which means batteries are low on power. I myself have done this on numerous occasions. The iDrive flashes at you if the voltage drops below 22.8v in a basic attempt to protect the battery. In theory this is the worst thing you can do to a lead acid battery. By doing this you greatly reduce the number of charging cycles you can expect to get out of a set of batteries. Ideally you want to only use 50-75% of the capacity before recharging.

So in a club situation the locomotive never lasts the full day and people moan about why the club is buying new batteries after only two seasons. Hot swapping batteries is great but not ideal on locos where the batteries are hard to get to.

The other really annoying thing is "who forgot to plug in the charger". You can only really put in 10% of the amp hour rating. So most batteries need 10+ hours to charge. No good at 10am on a running day.

With all these problems it was Rob in Holland who came across the use of capacitors in electric vehicles. While they have a very low capacity they do have one major advantage. FAST CHARGING. When I say fast I mean really fast. Basically they will take what ever current you can throw at them. To be practical we have been testing a couple of Hercules locomotives with a specially adapted 65 amp power supply that plugs in to the mains.

Initail tests at Chingford Club on the raised track. The train on the left did a loop on the track (touch over 1000'). Back in the station it takes just 30 seconds to charge the loco back up.

With a train like this it probably could have just made a second loop.

With a single truck and driver we managed to get the loco to travel 1.2 miles before needing a 1:50 minute charge.
The new optional doors on the Hercules allowed for a temporary lead for charging and the view of the voltmeter. As can be seen the voltage is slightly higher than a standard battery Hercules but the iDrive can handle up to 36v.

So how is it going. AMAZING is the answer. It is the solution to a lot of battery problems in the loop running set ups. Packs can be combined to double the capacity which means large locos could have these fitted which then may need 1-2 minutes to charge.They come with a 1,000,000 recharge cycle guarantee.

So testing is continuing with very promising results.

and finally.
I couldn't finish with out putting pictures of Ron Mannings new 7 1/4" gauge locomotive. Loosely based/influenced by a Bure Valley locomotive Ron has built himself a nice sit in locomotive. Rather then build a long loco he has opted to have a foot well infront of the lead bogie and a seating position over the bogie. Fitted with 4 x 85 ah batteries in the rear these act as a counter balance to the drivers weight.
I post these pictures as I did supply the bogies, large grills, steel chassis and the lovely Colin Edmonson coupling. As can be seen in the picture above the locomotive is a little shorter than the Captain Howey loco. I like this loco as it is different and not just the run of the mill. Looking forward to driving it at some point.


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