The first rebuild with a tender for the R/C pinched from a cheap model car.
     The photo on the right shows the loco before assembly. The spirit tank was made in a square “U” form, so that it would fit around the front and sides of the loco and hide the cylinders. A “skirt” was made to cover the tank and hold it in place. The tank had a valve inside which allowed me to close the supply to 3 of the 4 burners, so that the loco could stand on a siding and simmer with the heat from the remaining burner. When the fuel to the three burners was turned back on, they would automatically ignite, and full steam pressure would be reached after approx 15-30 seconds.
Above :- Loco No.1 running on the original railway in the early 1990's
    My first live steam loco !! The humble Mamod steam loco was my entrance to the hobby. I bought it new for £30 in 1985 . I soon got tired of its limitations and started to rebuild it. I also wanted to be able to control it remotely. Unfortunately radio control was a little bit more expensive than my bank account would allow, so I compromised and fitted studs down the centre of my Peco SM 32 track. I then made a tender for the loco, and fitted a pickup “skate” under the tender to pick up current from the studs. I removed the printed circuit board from an old Accoms servo, and connected one wire from the servo motor to the skate, and the other to the chassis of the tender. The servo operated the rotary reversing / regulator valve at the front of the loco via a piece of bicycle brake cable. The brake cable was ideal as it was flexible and was not affected by the movement of the tender. The power to the track was 3 volts, and I used a sprung 6 pole switch to give the servo motor a jolt either forwards or backwards.  Oddly enough it worked quite well.
The original Mamod loco as bought in the early 1980's
      I then saw a rather nice Mamod modification in “Garden Railways” and decided to rebuild the loco again in a similar style. I bought a Redlake boiler feed kit which fitted to the top of the boiler where the original safety valve used to be, and routed the filler pipe through the cab and up to the cab roof. I ran into problems with the antenna for the radio control, I had been told not to shorten it. The loco was dogged by rusty bolt effect, and eventually I covered the cab roof with plasti-card (for insulation) and covered that with brass sheet, cut the antenna cable and soldered it to the cab roof. Problem solved !! It was a good thing that this attempt worked as I had been so frustrated by the antics of the servos, I had nearly thrown the loco in the rubbish bin !
A Modified Mamod. Built: 1987. Spirit fired 32mm gauge. Spirit fired.Water gauge, lubricator, regulator, 2 servo R/C. Boiler filling system. Fuel tank refillable whilst in steam. Running time:- as long as required.
Above :- In the early 1990's Ian Sutton and I made a visit to Peter Jones's Compton Down Railway where No.1 can be seen posing !
    I also fitted Mike Chaney’s replacement boiler, cylinders,  lubricator and regulator, fitted new axles and wheels,  and made a simple snifting valve, to admit air to the steam line between the regulator and cylinders, this allowed the loco to run on a little when the regulator was closed, and it also saved steam when running down an incline. The batteries for the servo’s and receiver are fitted under the cab floor, and the receiver is in the bunker. All in all the loco runs very well and and can be kept in steam for hours at a time, by topping up with water, oil and spirit without having to keep firing up. one advantage of spirit over gas ! The loco is now 15 yrs old and still running ! (November 2003)
Update :- August 2007: -   No.1 has been converted to 45mm gauge, but cannot run too well. It has been fitted with new cylinders from I.P. Enguneering,  The chassis frames where the cylinder gaskets are fitted are rusted, so steam is leaking between the ports. A new set of frames will need to be obtained and modified to match the original set, which were also modified.
     The photo to the left shows the loco after its first rebuild. By this time I had replaced the stud contact system with the radio control system fitted in a cheap model car, which I had found in the local supermarket. I had also fitted a Redlake safety valve in place of the whistle. This gave me a slightly increased boiler pressure of 20 lbs/sq inch. Unfortunately the cheap radio control was susceptible to radio interference, so eventually I managed to save up for an Accoms 27Mhz radio control set.
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     Having completed Loco No.1, I started looking around for a new loco to add to my railway. My bank balance was not looking fantastic so when I found a secondhand Mamod for sale in the 16mm Today Magazine, I bought it for modification or as some people call it...Mamodification.

     A few hours were spent sketching possible locos, based on the Mamod chassis. With the first loco I had found that having the fuel tank wrapped around the cylinders and front of the loco and hidden by a “skirt” was an advantage, giving me a fair sized tank, easy access to it, and a way of hiding the oscillating cylinders. I had hoped to design the loco on the Forney style, but realised that the back end of the loco would probably jut too far out on curved track. Thus I built a “½” tender. The tender is attached (without a pivot point) to an arm which is pivotted from a point at the front of the cab (thank goodness I didn’t have a fuel tank under the cab floor !).
Modified Mamod.  Built: 1990. 32mm gauge. Spirit fired.Water gauge, lubricator, regulator, 2 servo R/C. Boiler filling system. Fuel tank refillable whilst in steam. Running time:- as long as required.
     It is fitted to a small bogie truck that in turn is loosely attached to a bolt through the centre of the tender floor. I didn’t expect the tender to be much of a success at staying on the track when I first built it, so I have been very surprised to find that it has never derailed ! :-)

     The 2 radio control servos operating the reversing valve and the regulator are positioned on the cab floor and the receiver and batteries are in the tender. As far as painting was concerned I decided to add a splash of colour to this loco. First all the parts were sprayed in  heat resistant matt black paint. The particular brand I use gives a semi matt finish. Unfortunately the only colour choices available in Denmark are black or aluminium. The blue paint was oil based Humbrol model paint, and this was thinned up and painted on the assigned areas, masking the edges with tape. Lucky for me, the oil based paint did not react with the cellulose based heat resistant paint.
Loco No.2 seen here on Ian Suttons Fairhill Light Railway in the mid 1990’s. Shortly after this photo was taken someone drove it into the back of  Tag Gortons train (it wasn’t me, honest!). Luckily no damage was done to either train.
    Modifications : Replacement boiler, cylinders, regulator valve and displacement lubricator from Mike Chaney (unfortunately he stopped his Mamod modification line)  Relacement wheels from Essel Engineering. Small bogie and 20mm wheels from Brandbright. Accoms 27Mhz, 2 channel radio control. A simple snifting valve was also added between the regulator and cylinders, and a Goodal valve for topping up the boiler water. The exhaust outlet from the reversing valve was bored out to 2.8mm and a 5/16th diameter pipe was used for the exhaust out of the chimney, to reduce back pressure
     In conclusion, I am very happy with the way this loco turned out, the rebuilding of loco No.1 taught me alot, and when building No.2 I was able to avoid the mistakes I had previously made, for example the rivet detail on No.2 is far better than my first attempt !
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The seventh Porter locomotive built by Salem  Models in Wales.
Yes, I know it says number 7 on the side of the cab, but it came with that number when new !
     In 1998 Brian converted his track from 32mm to 45mm and in 1999 because I had no 45mm gauge locos to run on his track, he sold the Salem loco to me as it was dual gauge. The loco was a bit of a problem with radio control as the reversing valve lever was made to stand out from the rotary reversing valve. This caused the valve to be pushed from its seating when the control linkage was operated and steam would be lost. I tried a number of methods to solve this, and eventually resorted to fitting a servo directly onto the rotary reversing valve. This meant extending the footplate forward of the smokebox. A single axle bogie was added under the footplate extention. the spirit tank in the tender was removed to make room for the radio receiver and batteries. The original spirit burner was returned to its original place under the cab floor.
Built in the early 1990’s by Salem Loco Works, modified in 1999. Spirit fired 32/45mm gauge. Water gauge, lubricator, regulator, 2 servo R/C. Boiler filling system. Fuel tank refillable whilst in steam. Running time:- as long as required.
     As can be seen by the photo above, the extended footplate is not a pretty site, and looks to long. This loco is due for a complete overhaul as soon as I get my workshop set up. To improve the looks, I plan to extend the length of the smoke box and add stays from each side down to the footplate just behind the front buffer beam. The chimney will also be lengthened slightly so that it will be slightly higher than the cab roof. The loco will also be renumbered as No. 3.
     Despite its oscillating cylinders, which are the same size as the Mamod cylinders, it is more powerful than a Mamod fitted with a boiler with a working pressure of 40 lb per sq inch. It is certainly a lot heavier. Maybe the extra power is due to the increased steam capacity of the larger boiler.

Update January 2011 :-
This locomotive has not run since August 2001, as the R/C from it was used for loco No. 4. A new R/C set has been bought for it and the loco is now waiting for it to be fitted.  Oh, and just another comment...the number 7 has been removed !!!!
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An Accucraft “Ida” acquired in July 2002. A saddle tank version of Accucrafts “Ruby Locomotive. Gas fired, 45mm Gauge. Running time approx. 20 minutes. 2 servo radio control. Displacement lubricator.
Above :- Loco No. 3 "Ida" in the steam up bay of Brian Jensens Railway.
    I have Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut to thank for providing the money to buy this delightful little locomotive. With this unexpected windfall in my pocket, I was browsing through “Garden Railways” a day or so later and found the” Ida” and “Ruby” locos on special offer from the California & Oregon Coast Railway. I phoned and inquired about the “Ida” loco and was told that the last “Ida” he had in stock had been sold 5 minutes earlier, but more were due to be delivered  2 weeks later.
    This caused a problem, as I had to return to Denmark in less than a week, so I asked if he could send it by overseas mail. The owner of the shop/store asked me to stay by the phone for 5 minutes, and 5 minutes later he rang to tell me that he had spoken to Accucraft and they were delivering an “Ida” locomotive to the airport at that moment, and it would be flown to him, and he would have it flown to New York, where it would be sent by UPS to Rhode Island, so that I would receive it within 3 days. The delivery charge for the loco was a mere $20 ! I was amazed by this level of service, and will be ever grateful to the owner for the trouble that he took on my account. Long may he have satisfied customers !!
    After arriving home with the loco, I sent off for the optional extras of a “Goodal” water filler valve, and a pressure gauge. I had read in a magazine that the Ruby series of locos ran at a fairly low pressure, and that a modification could be made to the safety valve spring to bring the operating pressure up to  40lbs/sq in. Luckily I fitted the pressure gauge first, and discovered that the safety valve that came with the loco was already set to blow off at 40lbs/sq in. So here is a word of warning... Do Not Modify Safety Valves Until You Have Checked Them With A Pressure Gauge First! Otherwise you may end up with a dangerously high boiler operating pressure !

    The next modification was to add 2 channel radio control. 2 mini servos were fitted to the footplate (see photos) and a battery box to carry “AAA” size batteries was made up of plasticard, and fitted to the bottom of the cab floor, with a cover underneath the box to hold the batteries in place. I removed the cab roof, drilled the holes in the roof supports to a larger size and epoxied 2  thin strips of plasticard on top of the roof supports.
Accucraft "Ida" in original new condition.
The general layout of the radio control. The reversing lever can just be seen above the white arm of the RH servo.
     The metal roof was to be the antenna and needed to be insulated from the rest of the cab by the plasticard strips. The holes for the bolts to hold the roof were drilled into the plastic card strips in their original position, so that the bolts would be in contact with the plasticard, ensuring insulation from the cab . A small pin was soldered to the underside of the roof, to which the shortened antenna cable would be attached. Fine light grey sand/emery paper, was glued to the roof using epoxy glue, and when the epoxy had set, it was given a few coats of clear matt varnish. The roof was bolted back onto the cab.
     The regulator servo was positioned against the gas tank, and the reversing servo was placed in between the cab side and the reversing lever and held in place with brass bar screwed to the cab floor and servo mounting. The biggest problem was where to put the radio receiver, and eventually despite my dislike for cluttered cabs, I glued it onto a piece of hardboard, cut to the size of the receiver box, and a clip fitted to the bottom of the hardboard held the receiver assembly to the steam turret block at the back of the boiler.
    The receiver antenna lead was cut so that it was just long enough to clip on to the pin on the underside of the roof. I also cut some brass sheet to approx 2/3 of the cab width, and with a height corresponding to the waist height of a loco crew. I know that these locos ran with open backed cabs, but I wonder how many crew members actually fell off these locomotives ! The main purpose of the brass sheet was mainly to hide some of the regulator servo and other associated bits and pieces, but also to satisfy the modern day Health and Safety Boards !!
At the moment I have a kit from FH & PB Railroad Supply, which is designed to convert an Accucraft Ruby/Ida loco to a Forney style locomotive. This would allow me to fit a larger battery box inside the bunker, and give me much more room in the cab. However, I like “Ida” the way she is, so may have to save up for a “Ruby” to convert instead.
     The loco has run well. Being small boilered the running time is not so long, approx 20 minutes if I am careful with the gas. I am able to top up the boiler using the Goodal valve, and a modified Ajax  domestic cleaner spray bottle. A friend has made me a boiler fitting to replace the Goodal valve (fitted in place of the filler plug), which reaches approx 2/3 into the boiler, so that I can either pump water into the boiler through it, or check the water level, by the simple method of opening a valve attached to the fitting, and if water comes out I know that the boiler is 2/3 full or more, or if steam is emitted, then I can just pump in water until the level is approximately right. A bit crude, but better than nothing.
     In conclusion, I must say that I am very impressed with Accucrafts products, when my wife and I both saw “Ida” we both thought she was a cute and attractive locomotive. The loco is very neatly made, and without any clumsy/oversized parts. “Ida” runs very smoothly, and will pull a prototypical sized train on a normal garden railway with alternating prototypical gradients with no problems.
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As of July 2008 this locomotive is no longer running on the Tumbly Down Railway, as it has been sold to another garden railway enthusiast.
     I had felt so sorry for this locomotive. For a long time it had sat in a glass display case, in Brian Jensen’s shop, and nobody had shown any interest in buying it. Everytime I had visited Brian it had been sitting there beckoning to me to buy it. Eventually in September 2002 during a steam-up at Brians I gave in to it’s charms, and was soon out in his garden giving it it’s first run. It ran very smoothly, and the gas ran out after approx. 40 minutes. I then refilled with water and gas, checked the lubricator which was found to still be  2/3rds full with steam oil. I was unable to light the gas burner, due to a blocked jet, but this was soon fixed, and I borrowed a few goods wagons and pulled a train around Brians track for a further 40 minutes gradually increasing the number of wagons. By the time the gas ran out, it was pulling a very long train. By the end of this second steaming I was very impressed with it’s smooth running and pulling ability.
Roundhouse 0-6-2 Fowler locomotive, acquired in Sept. 2002.Unmodified, gas fired, adjustable wheels for 32/45 mm track. 2 channel radio control. Running time approx 40 minutes.
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     The story behind this loco goes like this.... We made a trip to England in October 2003, and whilst visiting my friend Ian, who lives near Cheddar in Somerset, we made a trip to Cheddar Models because I needed some steam fittings. On arriving at the Cheddar Models factory, I was invited by John Woodruff (the owner) to try one of their locos on their outdoor track. It was a “Samson” from their range of locos, and it ran beautifully, and extremely smoothly when running very slow. Having played with that for 20 minutes or so, we returned inside to find the fittings that I needed. We found what we needed from the board on the wall, and John Woodruff put them down on a bench, upon which there was a tender locomotive standing, one of Cheddar’s latest designs, named “Hercules”. I had a look at it and saw that there was a water pump in the tender, and a water gauge glass fitted to the boiler backhead. I have always preferred locos with water gauges, so I took a more detailed look at the loco.
  A  Cheddar Models “Hercules”. Built  27th Oct 2003. Gas fired, 45mm gauge. 3 channel radio control. Hydrostatic lubricator. Water gauge. Handpump in tender. Very large gas tank. This was 15th “Hercules” loco to be built by Cheddar Models
"Hercules" with a full head of steam, waiting to leave Welton Station on the TDR.
     I was amazed by the way the cab roof lifted and by the hinge fitted to the roof. It was a very substantial hinge, nothing like the arrangement found on Roundhouse locomotives. I was very impressed, and John invited us took look around the factory. We saw some of the boilers used on Cheddar’s loco range, and I was very impressed with the boilers, as they had a cumbustion chamber for the ceramic gas burner, and also cross water tubing all the way down the flue.
     Unfortunately, looking around the factory and running a loco took more time than I had estimated, I had left Ro in looking around the town, and had to go to pick her up. I asked John Woodruff if I could run into town and pick her up and then return. He said that was OK, so I picked her up and returned. My steam fittings cost approx. £3 so while I was getting the money out of my wallet, I asked Ro what she thought of the “Hercules” locomotive. She said it looked rather nice, but was puzzled as to why I asked. Unknown to us, whilst I had been getting her from town, John Woodruff had fired it up. Suddenly both Ro and I jumped as the loco in front of us let out a deep whistle.
     “Wow” I said “ I didn’t know it had a whistle as well”.  “Why do you want to know if I liked it” asked Ro with a knowing smirk on her face. “Errr Uhhhmmm errrr... well I thought it was rather nice and well errr uhmmmm I’ve been looking for one like that for years” I stammered. "How much is it" asked Ro. “Uhmmmm, Errrrrr, it’s very robustly built” said I feeling a little uncomfortable, “uhm it costs....errrr...” and I whispered the price in her ear. “Oh” she said “well you will have to make a decision soon, as it is getting late” So the decision was made, the loco we saw had been built for some one else, who was supposed to be picking it up the next day. It was the fourteenth “Hercules” loco Cheddar had built, so we ordered one, and 2 weeks later the 15th “Hercules” off the production line arrived in Denmark. This Locomotive is my favourite, it is fun to run, extremely powerful, very robust, and the gas tank is so large that it runs for about 1½ hours on one filling. With the water pump it can be keep in steam for as long as I want.
No.6 on its first steam trial 23/11/2003 rounding a tight curve after pulling 7 Bachmann passenger coaches up a steep gradient on Brian Jensen’s garden railway.
Above :- Cab Layout. Here you can see the "blowdown" (well blowup) valve that I fitted to the water gauge. Note the "state of the art" cab roof hinge !
Modifications.
    I made a few modifications, by adding coal to the top of the tender, the coal being kept in place by black silicone sealant. This has proved to be a problem, as minute particles of coal would occasionally come loose and fall into the tender and block the water pump. I have since removed the coal, and will have to find a better way of doing it.  I also fitted an air pump on the right hand running plate, to add a little clutter to the side of the boiler. A pipe was run from the air pump to the smoke box.
     One useful modification that I made, was to screw a 90 degree globe valve to the top of the water gauge to act as a blowdown valve. Usually these are fitted to the bottom of the gauge, but I found it easier to unscrew the plug at the top of the gauge. I was lucky because the only globe valve I had, was the correct thread for the gauge, not only that, but the drain tube from the globe valve which was led under the cab floor, fitted perfectly in the corner of the cab front and side. To install the valve it was necessary to unscrew the cab from the cab floor, loosen the back boiler band and carefully slide the cab along the boiler. This gives adequate room for screwing the valve on to the top of the gauge. Remember to use PTFE tape to seal the valve threads if you try this.
Comments......The hydrostatic lubricator takes a bit of getting used to, as one needs to open the small needle valves to allow condensate into the lubricator and oil out. These valves only need to be opened slightly, and it takes a few runs to get accustomed to how they should be set. I am not a fan of re-chargeable battery packs. It is not so easy to replace the packs as it is to replace ordinary “AA” batteries, and it is a nuisance when the rechargeable batteries operate fine and suddenly die, instead of slowly loosing power. Otherwise I have had no problems, and the loco has proved to be very reliable.

“Hercules” has been run quite a bit since 2003, and there is still no signs of any wear in the motion, or axle bearings. It is the most expensive loco I have bought and will buy, but it has been worth it.

The Future.... I hope to fit dummy boiler feed check valves and piping going to dummy injectors. I also plan to repaint the smokebox in matt black or coke grey and add a few more details.
September 10th 2006.  A problem gradually  developed over the last few months. The regulator gradually failed to shut off steam to the cylinders. At first it seemed as though this happened after the loco had been running for an hour or so, but as time went on the loco was unable to stay still when the regulator was shut off, even at the start of a running session. The Cheddar regulator is different to the normal loco regulator I am used to, instead of being a rotary needle valve, it is a spindle which moves back and forth in a brass housing. I eventually removed the spindle by first unclipping the linkage from the servo and then pulling the spindle out of the housing. On the spindle an “O” ring was fitted, and I became aware that the “O” ring was very hard. It was removed carefully making sure that I did not scratch the spindle. A replacement “O” ring was acquired (size = width 1 mm, internal diameter 3mm and ouside diameter 5mm. The “O” ring was fitted to the spindle, the spindle lubricated with steam oil and then pushed back into the housing.
The loco was then steamed and all was well, no steam got to the cylinders when the regulator was closed. However a few days later I ran the loco for approx 1 hour, and noticed that the problem had returned. It has been suggested that the “O” ring might not have been heat tolerant, so I have now fitted a new Viton “O” ring, tested the loco, and again all is well. Now I will have to try running the loco for a while and see if the problem is solved. (Note March 2011... The regulator is still working fine, the problem was solved).

Above right is a photo showing the regulator housing and close up shot of the spindle.
June 2008 :-  I removed the hand pump from the tender, as this gave problems after the loco had been standing with the tender emptied of water for more than 1 month. The check valve balls would get stuck in the pump housing, thus rendering the pump useless, until the pump was blown through with air after unscrewing the check valve covers. As Murphy’s law dictates, this problem would arise at exhibitions where unscrewing the 8 minute screws to remove the top of the tender, and the absence of compressed air made it a real nuisance. Instead of the pump, a housing for a Goodall valve was made by my friend Frede Nielsen, and then fitted to the cab floor to the end of the copper pipe going to the check valve on the boiler. I removed the silicon tube on the Goodall Valve as there was already one on the check valve on the boiler, having both in place made pumping from a spray bottle very hard. This has been well worth the effort, and topping up the boiler under steam is now problem free :-)

October 2009 :- A Summerlands Chuffer was fitted in the Autumn of 2009. Also added in 2009, a driver and fireman, and planked wooden cab floor. A tray containing a load of coal was fitted to the top of the tender, which also covered up the slot cut in the top of the tender for the water pump handle.

August 2010 :-  Regular examination of this loco shows that there are still no signs of wear in the valve gear, wheel bearings or cranks, which I find amazing considering that “Hercules” has had much more use than any other loco of mine, and pulls much heavier loads.
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    Although listed as loco number 7, this is actually the latest loco I have acquired. But seeing as it is numbered 7 by the Regner factory it would be pretty strange to label it number . At this point you may be forgiven if you think “the man is mad, loco number 3 is also numbered 7 !”  true, but loco no. 3 is to be renumbered at some point. Which is easier done than on this loco.

    When Regner brought this loco out on the market a couple of years ago, I was very taken by it’s attractive look. It is very short, and fairly small and would be useful for shunting. For 2 years I looked regularly at this loco on the Regner website, and hoped that one day I would be able to get one. After I sold my Roundhouse Fowler locomotive, I was looking on Ebay and spotted this loco for sale, as second hand and little used, so I contacted the seller, and managed to buy it.
A Regner “Lumber Jack”.  Acquired S/H in July 2008.   0-4-0 geared loco featuring a “T” boiler. Twin Oscillating cylinders. 45/32/30mm gauge. Fitted water gauge and water top up system.
     Some people may be put off by the fact that it has oscillating cylinders, but I can honestly say that this loco has nothing in common with a Mamod, except for the reversing valve control, which unfortunately is rather visible. The oscillating cylinders however, as can be seen in the photos, are hidden between the frames. The crankshaft is accessible and easily lubricated, as are the rest of the moving parts. The gearing makes this a powerful and fairly slow running loco, that runs very sweetly.

     Despite the locomotive’s fairly small size, the “T” boiler has an adequate water capacity, and I have managed to have it running for 30 minutes before the water needed topping up. The gas tank has a fairly large capacity compared to some of my other loco’s, and actually lasts longer than the water. In some respects this is not a good thing, but as long as one keeps a good eye on the water level gauge, this is an advantage. The water gauge was another feature that attracted me to this loco, I much prefer to have a water gauge fitted. I purchased a water top up valve which is fitted to a bush specifically designed for that purpose which is situated on the top right hand side of the boiler. A new Ronson gas valve was also purchased and fitted in place of the original valve, which to be honest was not compatible with the cans of butane gas available in Denmark, although a filler adapter provided with the loco was compatible with butane/propane blended gas cans. Both the gas valve and top up valve were purchased from Martins Models in Herefordshire, England, and arrived 3 days after I submitted my order. Very good and quick service.
"Lumber Jack" resting outside Welton engine shed after an afternoon of hard work, hence the very oily state of the paint work.
     One advantage of geared locomotives, apart from extra pulling power, is that they produce copious amounts of exhausted steam, which looks good on cold days. I have to admit that I am very pleased with this locomotive. It is very well engineered, and is a superb runner. For such a short loco, there is plenty of room in the cab area, for figures and possible addition of radio control equipment. There is also good space under the cab between the frames. I will not be adding R/C to my Lumber Jack, as I can start it at  Welton Station, and leave it to slowly pull a train up and down all the gradients on my garden railway, whilst I sit with a drink of cider and wait for it to return.

    One word of warning... If anyone reading this is in the habit of topping up the lubricator when a loco is in steam... DO NOT DO THIS on a Regner Lumber Jack. I did and will not do it again. Here’s the story.... I had been testing the top up valve, so had just steamed the loco without running it, the regulator was closed tight, also the reversing valve was closed (mid position).
     I carefully started to unscrew the filler cap, noting that there was no pressure inside the lubricator body. After removing the cap, I found my syringe, and inserted it into the lubricator and started drawing off the condensate. When most of the condensate was removed, there was a sudden explosion, and I was suddenly covered with hot steam oil. Luckily I was wearing my reading glasses, so no hot oil got in my eyes. The ceiling of the workshop was also sprayed with oil. I think that the fact that the lubricator is situated on top of the boiler, caused the small amount of water left in the lubricator to rapidly boil / expand, the oil above it restricting it until the pressure got so great that the remaining oil was forced out of the lubricator. That’s my theory anyway !
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Loco No. 8 running on Brian Jensen's railway, shortly after purchase in 2004
A Roundhouse “Argyll”. Built 2002. Bought S/H in 2004. Gas Fired. 32/45mm gauge. Displacement lubricator. 2 Channel radio control. Runs approx 40 minutes on a filling of Gas and water. Lubricator needs topping up approx every 2nd - 3rd filling of water/gas.
     Bought as a secondhand loco in October 2004 along with a Roundhouse “Russel”.I have always had a soft spot for “Argyll” as I think it has a very pleasing well ballanced design. Although bought secondhand, it was in good condition, and had obviously been looked after by its previous owner.

     This is a model of the Campbeltown & Macrihanish Light Railway Locomotive “Argyll”. Which I think has a very pleasing look. Unfortunately it is no longer produed by Roundhouse, although they informed me that there are plans to re-introduce it sometime in the future in an improved version.

     One nice feature of this loco, is the fact that by removing 3 small screws the cab and side tnks can be removed to facilitate changing the batteries, and accessing otherwise unaccessable places. I have added a water top up valve at the top of the steam turret in the cab, and added the Argyll name and company logo to the side tanks, as per the prototype loco. The valve gear was overhauled in December 2007. This loco has given wonderful service on the WTD&PBR and I usually run it at exhibitions, as it has performed faultlessly every time it has been run.
     One thing that has to be noted about this loco is the position of the gas tank, situated in the rear coal bunker. In cold weather the butane starts to freeze due to the distance of the tank from the burner. Thus the burner runs erretically or after a few minutes, goes out. In winter months I use a 30% propane / 70% butane gas mix to overcome this problem.

Spring 2008 :-  Due to wear, new connecting rods and valve gear were fitted.

Summer 2009 :- A Summerlands chuffer was fitted, not an easy job, as it was difficult to remove the smokebox, due to an inaccessible nut inside the smokebox chamber, but after 2 hours of fiddling the chuffer was fitted. The offending nut and bolt that held the rear of the smokebox were thrown away, as the boiler holds the rear of the smokebox in place, and the 2 fixing bolts at the front of the footplate are not a problem. It took all of 2 minutes to fit the smokebox on the loco again !!!!!!!!!
Spring 2010 :- The Summerlands chuffer was removed and a general purpose Summerlands chauffer was fitted to the exhaust pipe from one cylinder. A simple home made chuffer was fitted to the exhaust pipe of the other cylinder, thus the exhaust beats are more pronounced, having 2 different tones.
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Accucraft L&B  “Lyn 2-4-2. Built  May 2008. 32 / 45mm gauge. Gas Fired, with water level check valve, Radio Control..
     This is a scale model of the Baldwin locomotive that ran on the Lynton & Barnstable Railway in North Devon, from 1898 to 1935 when the line closed down. The model depicts “Lyn”  in its final livery, which all the L&B loco received after the take over of the Lynton & Barnstable Railway by the Southern Railway.
    I had always liked this locomotive with its American lines and stove pipe chimney. I nearly bought a Bachmann electrically powered version when that became available in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, however a shortage of cash and interest in live steam, prevented me from doing so. A month after I had bought my Cheddar “Hercules“, Accucraft brought a live steam version onto the market. At the time I was a bit miffed, as had I known that a live steam version of “Lyn” was soon to be available, then I don’t think I would have bought “Hercules” ! Although today, I am very glad that I did. In the summer of 2007, I decided that I would have to sell one of my loco’s and buy an Accucraft “Lyn”. At the time Accucraft UK was intending to bring out a version of “Lyn” in it’s original 1912 livery and copper topped chimney. Unfortunately only 2 or 3 other people wanted one so that version was dropped, so I ordered a manual controlled Southern livery version.
"Lyn" climbing the incline after leaving Welton Station area. Running light engine, as this is the first steaming. This was an exciting day for me !
A beautiful plume of steam at the Gauge 1 track in Aalborg, March 2009.
     The loco eventually arrived at the beginning of June 2008, and WOW what a fantastically detailed model it turned out to be. I have a few photos of the prototype loco, and I cannot seem to find any details missing on the model. It certainly is a joy to behold !
After a couple of runs on the WTD&PBR, I set about installing 2 channel radio control. This proved to be a bit more complicated than I had expected. The cab is quite cramped, due to the long boiler extending approx halfway into the cab. I also had to remove the smokebox front, in order to remove the blower pipe, which was preventing me from removing the side tanks. 3 small metric screws needed to be removed from under each side tank, before they lifted off, and 10 screws held the cab in place ! I mounted a servo to control the reversing lever and the R/C receiver in the right hand tank, and the “on-off” switch and 4 re-chargeable batteries were fitted inside the left hand tank. Luckily the gas regulator shaft was slightly lower than the steam regulator in the cab, so a metal platform was made to fit across both steam and gas regulator housings and clamped in place, and a servo was mounted on top, with a linkage attached from the servo to the regulator arm.
 
A  video of "Lyn" running on the Tumbly Down Railway can be seen below
Links.
Project 762  “Lyn” (The 762 Club).... http://762club.com/762home.php

Description of Project “Lyn”..
http://www.lynton-rail.co.uk/railway/projects/lyn

The Lynton & Barnstable Railway...
http://www.lynton-rail.co.uk/
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A coal-fired loco, built to my own design and featuring an Accucraft “Edrig” chassis and a DJB coal fired boiler kit. 32/45mm gauge, Radio Control.
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In 2008 I ordered a coal fired boiler kit to fit an Accucraft "Edrig" chassis from DJB Engineering. The boiler arrived in June 2008, with all the fittings already fitted. The instructions for modifying the chassis and the fitting of the boiler were very informative and well illustrated with photos. The quality and workmanship of the boiler and fittings was excellent.

Some modifications were necessary to the footplate. A rectangular hole needed to be cutout for the firebox to fit. A template was suppied for this purpose. I managed to cut through the thick brass footplate with a cutting disc attacked to my Dremel. The reversing lever had to be removed from the footplate and a hole drilled for the DJB adjustable lubricator to be fitted on the righthand side of the firebox.
Built in 2011. Obtained August 2011.  Gas fired. Fitted with water gauge and adjustable hydrostatic lubricator. Minimum radius = 4 ft / 1.2 metres. Boiler capacity 300 ml. Approximate running time = 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.
After seeing the beautiful detail on my friends Accucraft "Caledonia, I also got a hankering to get a highly detailed locomotive for my collection.
I had planned on buying Accucraft's Lynton & Barnstable Manning Wardle locomotive which was due to be produced by spring / early summer 2012. However I am not very patient, and after perusing Accucraft's US website fell for their Mason Bogie. After a few enquiries I was basically informed that fitting full radio control would be quite complicated in comparison to other loco's, as there was not much space in the cab, and also the design of the reversing linkage makes it difficult for a servo to operate it.

So now the problem was, what else to get with a bit of "WOW" effect. I looked at coal fired loco's, and everything else that was available at the time, and eventually decided  on Accucrafts Mogul.
    The deciding factors being that it had a water gauge, the new adjustable hydrostatic lubricator and masses of detail and lining. It arrived 2 weeks after ordering, the waiting period was sheer hell ! It came in a massive cardboard box, which when opened and masses of foam rubber packing had been removed, revealed 2 very solid boxes, one containing the loco and the other the tender. All in all it took approximately 45 minutes to eventually get to the loco and tender due to the very thorough packaging that Accucraft uses.

    The loco spent approximately 3 days sitting on the kitchen table where we could admire it's good looks. Eventually, I steamed it on blocks and gave it a couple of unstressed runs. Running on blocks does not require so much steam, and I found that on one filling of the gas tank, it would run for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I had been told to open the lubricator approximately 2 full turns of the adjusting valve, and after the first run, I found that it had used about a quarter of the oil in the lubricator. This was marvelous as usually Accucraft loco's use a lot of oil and the lubricator is out of oil before the run is over. It ran exceptionally smoothly, and I was soon able to close the regulator and have it running very slowly in forward and reverse. The next day I tried it out on the railway, and discovered that it didn't like the curve after leaving Welton station. In fact it overturned on the first attempt to get around the curve.
My curves had been laid to approximately 4 ft / 1.2 metres radius, which was the specified minimum radius for the loco. The distance between the front driving axle and the rear driving axle is 19.5 centimeters... quite a distance, however the middle driving wheel is flangeless to allow it to go around tighter curves. I am glad to report that after a little bit of work and re-ballasting, it now goes around the curve without incident.

    A few days later, we held a mini steam-up and ran the loco again. I then discovered that it is not too happy climbing a 2%  (1 in 50) incline with 2 Bachmann passenger coaches in tow, due I think to the quite large diameter driving wheels and standard Accucraft exhaust tube, which is the same small diameter as my small Accucraft "Ida" locomotive. "Ida" has much smaller cylinders than the Mogul, so the volume of steam going through the tube must cause some back pressure and power reduction, or so I reckon. Anyway it pulled the caoches up the incline at a very, very slow speed with the regulator fully open. It has NOT at the moment travelled all the way around my railway line, as it's chimney is just a centimeter too high for it to go through the tunnel. This was not a surprise to me and I had expected the tunnel would need to be heightened. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I will need to build a turntable at Welton station, as the loco is not fitted with a front coupler, although I think I will try fitting one soon.
The experimental chuff pipe
After testing the loco a couple of times, I removed the exhaust tube in the smokebox, and fitted a collar over the stub where the tube screwed in. I then soldered a larger diameter pipe in the collar, to which I soldered a even larger diameter piece of brass tube, in an attempt to make a resonance chamber and a more visible "chuff" effect. This did not do anything to give a more visible chuff, and there was basically no audible chuff.... Ah well, back to the drawing board !  What I did discover, however, was that there seems to be an increase in power which I reckon is due to the reduction in back pressure due to the larger diameter exhaust tube. At this point I fitted a Summerlands Chuffer, which restricts the exhaust a bit more, but not as much as the original exhaust tube. The result of fitting the Summerlands Chuffer, is that the exhaust is very loud, in fact in my opinion... A bit TOO loud ! It is quite deafening when the loco is pulling up the incline after leaving Welton station.
On the 7th of August 2011 the loco got it's first real run at the gauge 1 track at the Hotel Krogen in Aalborg, Denmark. The track is pretty well level, with a very slight incline in a couple of places. I took 6 Bachmann bogie passenger coaches with me, each weighing 1½ kilograms / 3.3 pounds. The loco weighs 7 kilograms / 15.4 pounds. With all the passenger coaches attached, and the regulator  half open, the loco very slowly began to move, and with each revolution of the driving wheels, gradually gathered speed, settling down to a realistic rate of travel. I ran the loco for two 45 minute runs, pulling the train of 6 coaches. After the two runs, I checked the lubricator and discovered that there was only a few drops of water in the bottom, so the loco had hardly used any oil. I have since run it with the lubricator adjusted to full open, resulting in approximately 1/4 of the oil being used over a 1½ hour run, which slightly concerns me, but the loco seems to be getting enough oil, so perhaps I am worrying needlessly... It sure is economical on oil !
    After the first run that day, I removed my home made experimental exhaust pipe, and refitted the Summerlands Chuffer. Amazingly, the loco could still be heard at the bottom of the garden, when it was at the opposite end, many, many yards away ! The loco pulled exceptionally well, and had no problem pulling the 6 coaches.

The video below was shot that day. I must apologise for the constantly changing focus, it was taken with my digital camera, which seems to havea problem with the auto focus in video mode.
All in all, I am very pleased and satisfied with my Accucraft "Poncha", and it has become my "pride and joy". It runs well and at a steady speed, and the gas burner is one of the quietest I have encountered, only beaten by the silent burner on my Hercules loco.

  I now have a Planet 2.4 Ghz radio control system to fit to it during this winter. There is not a whole lot of room to fit the R/C gear, but there is room enough. The tender has a compartment for a battery, and probably room for the receiver as well. The gas tank is in the tender and is quite large. It needs water surrounding it to keep the gas pressure up, and after running in November, that water needs to be warmish, as with cool water, the gas tank gradually cools it even more, causing gas pressure to drop and thus difficulty keeping full steam pressure.

My next problem is trying to justify having an old time American loco on what is supposed to be a small British narrow gauge railway !
The TDR Locomotives
Locomotive Built
No.1. Modified Mamod- 0-4-0. 1987
No.2. Modified Mamod- 0-4-0 1990
No.3 Salem Porter 0-4-0 (now 2-4-4) 1991
No.4. Accucraft Ida 0-4-0 2001
No.5. Roundhouse Fowler 0-6-0    2000  (Sold 2008)
No.6. Cheddar “Hercules” 0-6-0 October 2003
No.7. Regner “Lumber Jack 0-4-0 2008
No.8. Roundhouse Argyll 0-4-2 2002
No.9. Accucraft L&B “Lyn” 2-4-2 2008
No.10. Coal fired Accucraft Edrig Chassis Under Construction
No. 11. Accucraft Mogul "Poncha" 2011
Details of the locomotives can be found on the tabs below.
Above :- My Roundhouse Argyll on Brian Jensen's railway in 2004