INSIDE MOTION No 22 December 2021

News and Views from the
TYNESIDE SOCIETY of MODEL and EXPERIMENTAL ENGINEERS

Download IM document in PDF format here

Preamble

Winter seems to have descended on us with a vengeance. After a mild early Autumn which kept things going at the Club, the arrival of cold, wind, rain and snow has certainly slowed things down.

The upside is that, unlike this time last year, the Clubhouse remained open for those who still wanted to attend. Unfortunately, just as Covid paranoia was beginning to subside, along comes the Omigodwereallgonnadie variant to throw everything into turmoil again..

Club Matters

Subscriptions

Annual subscriptions are due at the end of December. Fees are being held again at £35 for Single and £45 for Family Membership. Cheques should be made payable to TSMEE Ltd, posted to Ian Spencer at 39 Briardene Crescent, Kenton Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE34RX.

If you prefer to pay by Bank Transfer, the full details are “The Tyneside Society of Model And Experimental Engineers Ltd” , Sort Code 40 37 37 , A/c No. 41383817.

Covid Latest

In spite of the new variant’s bad press, it is felt that the Clubhouse is no more a hazardous environment than previously and, providing caution and good hygiene are still maintained, it will remain open for those who don‟t mind being cold.

Mask-wearing is a quite acceptable added precaution given the present uncertainties about the new strain.

Storm Arwen

Storm Arwen did its worst pretty much everywhere, but TSMEE got off quite lightly with only minor damage. A tree in the far corner was brought down, its roots lifting two panels of the fence and falling across both ground- and raised tracks. Fortunately, no damage was sustained by either. The usual stalwarts pitched in on the Sunday morning with handsaws to start the clearing up.

The boundary fence was also damaged over a considerable length from the Car Park corner to the Tin Hut – numerous posts have broken at ground level and the whole thing is now leaning inwards against the hedge and the hut.

Garden Railway

More progress has been made with the groundworks for the Garden Railway extension. On 12th November a Grab Lorry arrived to take away all the rubble

and soil that had accumulated. Some soil was retained for remediation purposes. Working blind from the Town Moor side of the hedge, the grab made some deep gouges into the ground. These were re-filled with soil from the spare heap and the levelling of the strip along the hedge.

The shuttering to form the concrete slab was also set out carefully, with much checking of dimensions and levels.

Finally, on November 24th, a delivery of dolomite was dumped into the hole, raked level and tamped. Over this, a membrane has been laid and the rebar, trimmed to fit, put on top. Now awaiting a spell of fine weather to get the slab poured.

An Alternative to Coal?
Michael Mee

With coal in the U.K. now being threatened, there has been some discussion about alternatives, with Ecoal 50 being mentioned in the model magazines. So, just how suitable is this for our locomotives ?

It looks like a trial is required. A 10 kilo bag of the stuff was purchased from Wickes for 7 quid. The first thing to raise its head is the size of the brickettes, similar in size to a bread bun. No way will that fit in any of our little locos ! Some 3 hours was spent with a hammer breaking 5 kilos down to about grape sized bits. It gets tedious after 2 kilos, but by 5 kilos you have lost the will to live and run out of steam anyway.

The first loco chosen for this trial was my Merchant Navy class, BrockleBank Line, (Ariel by Keith Wilson). Its character and moods are well known so any differences with the new “coal” will be easily spotted.

Initial steam raising is by the usual method with charcoal soaked in barbecue lighter fluid and a layer of this new stuff on top. It took a little longer than usual for the Ecoal to catch and the grey cloud of fumes from the electric blower outlet was distinctly unpleasant to breathe. As the Ecoal caught, the cloud dissipated and the rate of steam raising notably picked up with the safety valves soon lifting.

On to the track. This loco is a bit fussy about how it is fired and with what. The grate is 7 inch by 7 inch ( 49 sq. inches ) and needs to be filled to about 1 inch with the corners filled.

With a good coal it will run steadily with sometimes a stop to raise steam, fire or fill with water, but usually just keeps going. Poor coal is another matter.

Performance on Ecoal was a revelation !! It just kept going with little or no drop in pressure. With Ecoal and water going in as required while on the move, it would probably keep going until supplies ran out. This was always a good loco to drive – now it is fantastic. The fire is certainly hotter and you do use somewhat more Ecoal than ordinary coal.

Coming into the station would often result in the safeties blowing as the regulator was shut so forget the blower for now, leave the fire hole door open and if possible on with an injector until things quietened down and the safeties shut. With the blower off a curious greenish smog would sometimes waft out of the funnel.

The second locomotive to try was a Speedy. This has a smaller grate area, 5.75 inch by 2.5 inch ( 14.4 sq. inches ) and is not at all fussy about firing.

Again the fire was hotter with plenty of steam and it was possible to run while firing or feeding water, in fact it was necessary to stop the safety blowing ! Because of the small grate size you are kept very busy with the coal shovel for a lot of the time, the Ecoal disappears fast on a small grate. Again shutting the regulator on stopping at the station will probably blow the safety.

The good points:- Steam production is defiantly increased, both locos had a marked increase in steam available. The Ecoal bag says it is 38% hotter and the fires certainly looked brighter. After the run was over very little slag was found on the grate, and the grate itself did not looked affected by the hotter fire. In the smoke box there was less ash and it was of a much finer texture. Blowing it clear left a cloud hanging in the air.

The down side:- To use Ecoal 50 you have break it up to a size suitable for your loco. It took 3 hours to produce 5 kilos with a hammer, and all that was used on track in again 3 hours for the larger loco, Speedy used less. In firing the loco you do use a greater quantity of fuel, and with Speedy‟s small grate you are definitely kept busy with the coal shovel. If the Club is going to use Ecoal, it will have to have an easy-to-use „Nut Cracker‟ to produce the size of coal needed.

It looks as though grate size may be important, with a large size making for an easier life. It was possible to fill the Merchant Navy grate up and then give some attention to looking after the water level and high steam pressure. Speedy was much busier with its smaller grate. Little and often was the order of the day, with less time for water, pressure and look out.

This may make use in 3 ½” gauge locos difficult as it could mean continuous firing. The 7 ¼” gauge people may love it, particularly if the Ecoal fits without crushing.

So we have a new hot coal that gives copious steam at high pressure. What more could we possibly want ? Well, a little less steam would be nice – the safeties are constantly trying to blow, the firing rate is high and you do need reliable injectors.

A possible solution is to reduce the drafting in the smoke box. This could be tested before machining the blast nozzle by cracking open the smoke box door a little to let air in and reducing the draft. If this works, the fire would have less heat, less steam produced, and less firing required. But going back to ordinary coal would not be straight-forward. And we still have the Ecoal brickette size and its crushing to attend to.

An interesting experiment. I wonder where we go from here ?

A Canadian (Covid) Excursion
Jim Nolan

Having taken a punt once we got past Freedom Day and bought tickets to Los Angeles for the Riverside and Maricopa Fall Meets in late October, Mr Biden obviously forgot that I had purchased the tickets and wouldn‟t let us Brits into the US unless we spent 14 days outside the UK first.

I obviously had the choice to cancel the tickets, but after two years sitting at home I was loath to do that. So, after a bit of last-minute head scratching, I decided to spend a fortnight in Canada before entering the US. This was not ideal given the time of year as winter was fast approaching. BA flight destinations in Canada are not what they used to be, so Vancouver was the best point of entry.

I have a friend living close to Calgary I wanted to visit so I thought that might be an option. Although that meant driving through the Rockies on the trans-Canada highway with winter in the offing.

As it turned out, apart from some light snow on the very highest passes, the drive was uneventful. After a leisurely four days I arrived in Red Deer, mid-way between Calgary and Edmonton.

I had met Ernie Beskowiney at the 2006 Train Mountain Triennial meet in Oregon where he was displaying a CP Mikado he was manufacturing and selling at the time. We met every three years after that at the Train Mountain Triennials. Ernie had told me he was building his own railroad and I offered to give him a week‟s work while I waited for the fourteen days to pass.

Ernie has christened his railroad “Train Acres”. He started in 2015 and the railroad comprises about 9000 ft of main line and 4000 ft of passing loops, sidings and steaming bays, all in 7.5” gauge. He has basically built the whole thing himself. He surveyed and laid out the track bed. Excavated, compacted, ballasted and built all the track. Built a 200 ft tunnel and the embankments for a steel bridge which he also constructed. Interestingly the abutments to the bridge and the columns inside the tunnel were all recycled timbers from a full size wooden trestle bridge that had been removed locally.

Most if not all of the main line is laid, and Ernie is concentrating on junctions, passing loops and sidings. So our first day was spent laying track in what is now known as Nolan Junction.

Ernie‟s method of track construction is using flats on edge with the chairs welded to the track on one rail. This rail is set down on the sleepers then the chairs are secured to the sleeper with two screws. This first rail of 20ft length has the chairs welded up on a jig, then the route is laid out on the bed seen here as the green spray marks. All radii on the track are 100ft, no pre bending is necessary as there is enough flex in the flats to achieve this radius.

Yours truly then came along using a track jig to place the chairs for the opposite side rail, screwing them into the sleepers. Ernie then follows up with a welder and again using a track jig welds the second rails to the pre positioned chairs.

Fish plates are fitted to join the rails with the bolts and lock nuts with the prerequisite slack on one side to allow for expansion. All switches (points) on the track are made on a jig and to date Ernie has made sixty. They are all manually operated but electrical operation is a future add-on.

To start with the weather was favourable and we worked on the track, but quite rapidly it got colder with a biting wind. So Ernie decided to work inside for the remaining days I was there. This involved cutting, treating and stacking sleepers. We managed to use all the wood Ernie had and added a further 2000 ft of sleepers to his inventory.

In between the work I also managed to get a look round Ernie‟s workshop, or more accurately small factory. While he no longer builds commercially now, he has still managed while building the railroad to make two diesels for passenger hauling and the best part of six riding cars for passengers.

Ernie has a very well equipped workshop with a CNC mill and lathe. 90% of everything you see was made by him. He has made press tooling for louvers and walkway diamond plate and he fabricates all the cab work. Bogies and castings for the diesels and steam locomotives as not only is he an accomplished machinist he is also a very good fabricator and CAD designer.

Ernie has been running his propane-fired 6060 locomotive for a number of years, and in the background is a second locomotive still under construction. While I was with Ernie I picked his brains on LPG firing as he has designed and built a number of burner units so is well placed to recommend what works.

So that completed my week at Train Acres. After passing my fit-to-fly Covid test in Calgary, I drove back to Vancouver. From there I flew down to Phoenix, going from minus temperatures to plus thirty. But more of that in a future issue.

An LNER V2 In 5 Inch Gauge
Ian Spencer

I have always had a particular soft spot for the Gresley V2, or Green Arrow as they were known by railwaymen. From my very earliest recollections until they disappeared in the mid 1960‟s, I saw them virtually every day. At night, I could hear them struggling up the long climb from Heaton to Forest Hall with heavy freights.

Many of them were in pretty ropey condition, with off- beat valve timing and steam leaks from every gland. And yet they were still masters of their work.

When I first joined TSMEE in 1961, we had a member called Jackie Dent who was a Gateshead driver. He used to say “Give me a good Green Arrow, and I can work any train on the line”. More recently, Andy Robson, another Gateshead driver, endorsed Jackie‟s opinion. So I suppose that it was inevitable that I would get round to building one.

Then there was the question of which loco to model, and at what time in its life. For a number of reasons, the choice fell on 60843 in its 1960 condition.

RESEARCH INTO THE PROTOTYPE

LOCOMOTIVES

The first locomotive entered service in June 1936. 60843 was built at Darlington and entered service in December 1938 as No.4814. Research has shown that over the course of their lives, a number of modifications were made to members of the class as follows :-

Front footsteps The first batch of 5 locos entered service without the front footsteps. These were fitted very soon afterwards, and subsequent locos appear to have been built with the front steps.

Valve Guides The first five locos had the earlier type of valve spindle guide, which had previously been used on A3‟s. All subsequent locos had a modified guide arrangement, which was also later used on B1‟s and some A4‟s.

Pony Truck When built, the pony truck was of the swing link type. Following a derailment, it was thought that the swing link pony truck may have been a contributory factor. It was therefore decided to replace the swing links with conventional side springs. At the time of this modification, the dust guard above the pony wheels was removed. All locos were modified.

Oil Boxes During the 1940‟s, two oil boxes were fitted on the running board in front of the smoke-box, with one facing forwards and one facing backwards ! I have been unable to find any explanation for this quirk.

Cylinders As built, the 3 cylinders were a single monobloc casting. From 1957, any loco which needed replacement cylinders was fitted with 3 separate castings. Locos which were rebuilt with 3 separate castings could be readily identified by the external live steam pipes from the smoke-box to the outside cylinders. About 70 locos received this modification. 60843 was modified in May 1958.

Smokeboxes As built, the smokeboxes had countersunk rivets. When replacement became necessary from the early 1950‟s onwards, the new smokeboxes had snap head rivets.

Speedometers From the late 1950‟s, some locos were fitted with Smith speedometers. 60843 was never so fitted.

Automatic Warning System (AWS) AWS was fitted to all the class between 1958 and 1960. Locos fitted with AWS can be recognised by the plate on the front buffer beam. This prevented the screw coupling striking the AWS magnet, which was located under the buffer beam. There is a further quirk which I have never understood. In common with all the LNER Pacifics, V2‟s have gravity sanding on the leading axle and steam sanding on the driving axle. If anybody can explain the logic behind this, please tell me.

TENDERS The V2‟s were fitted with 3 variations of the LNER 4,200 gallon group standard tender :-

1. The earliest version easily recognised by the flared sides. Many of these were transferred from older locos (e.g. D49‟s) to new V2‟s.

2. A development of (1) above recognisable by its flush sides and the start of the coal space being set further back. This is the tender fitted to Green Arrow in preservation.

3. A further development Flush sided, as in Type 2 above, but with the coal space starting almost at the front. This was the most common type on V2‟s. It was also used on the first 10 B1‟s, and a few J39‟s. None has survived.

The Type 3 tenders had two modifications during their lives. During the war, the original single louvred door into the coal space was replaced with two solid doors. In the 1950‟s, the rear dividing late for the coal space was moved forward by about 2ft, to improve the self trimming of the coal. Because this was a late modification, the two gusset plates behind the plate were welded, not riveted.

Note The later B1‟s and K1‟s had yet another version of this tender, with a welded tank and incorporating a tunnel for the fire irons.

When built, 60843 had a Type (1) tender, but this had been exchanged for a Type (3) tender by 1955. The loco then retained a Type (3) tender for the rest of its life.

The tender on the model is the Type (3) as running with the loco in 1960. It was built using works drawings and incorporates the two modifications described above.

Livery

60843 was the very last V2 to be repainted from lined black to Brunswick Green, at its 1958 General Repair. In B.R. days, it was possible to identify where a V2 had last been painted, as Darlington applied lining to the boiler band on the firebox, whereas Doncaster did not. Being a North Eastern Region loco, 60843 was painted at Darlington.

THE MODEL

The model represents as accurately as possible the condition of 60843 in 1960, when allocated to 52D Tweedmouth. This particular loco was selected for a number of reasons:~

1) It had the later type of tender
2) It had been rebuilt with 3 separate cylinders
3) I used to see it very regularly
4) I had two good runs behind it.

There are two published designs for the V2 in 5” Gauge. Examination of the drawings quickly showed that neither had the level of detail or accuracy required. The decision was therefore taken to base the model on works drawings, coupled with information obtained from frequent visits to the National Railway Museum to study Green Arrow. I record my thanks to Andrew Coulls and other NRM staff for allowing me to crawl over and under Green Arrow.

Frames

The frames were cut from 1/8” mild steel on my Senior Milling Machine. Scale frame stretchers were fabricated. The driving axle and Cartazzi axle hornblocks are castings produced for Don Young‟s “Doncaster” as they are an accurate representation of the prototype. The sandboxes were measured on the preserved loco and fabricated to scale size.

Axles

The driving axles were turned from high tensile steel on my Myford Super 7, and run in phosphor bronze axleboxes. I had previously used this combination of materials on my B1, and have had many years of service with minimal wear. The crank axle was made to published press-fit tolerances and assembled on a hydraulic press. No adhesives were used. A small allowance was made for finish turning after assembly, though this actually proved unnecessary.

Wheels

The loco wheels are commercial castings, and were machined on a Harrison L5. Crankpins are from high tensile steel, and are a press fit into the wheel castings, using an interference fit of 0.0005” per 1” of diameter. The squares on the ends of the driving axle crankpins for the return
cranks were machined on the milling machine after pressing into the wheels but prior to assembly of the axle, to give the required angle of advance (27 deg).

Cylinders.

The cylinders are 3 separate castings, correctly positioned in line. They are cast iron, and were machined on my Harrison L5 lathe. The valve chest liners were machined from centrifugally spun iron and the valves are stainless steel. Cast iron rings are fitted to the pistons and valves.

Boiler

The boiler is Don Young‟s A3, but with a shortened barrel to suit a V2. This was chosen because it is known to steam well, and has a near scale backhead. Using a published design also removed the need to undertake and submit design calculations to the Society Boiler Inspectors.

After consideration, I decided not to incorporate a combustion chamber because of the inaccessibility of some of the joints. To compensate, the firetubes are a slightly larger diameter than “Doncaster”, based on the formula published by K.N. Harris. Performance of the boiler during running in has proved very satisfactory. I record my thanks to Stu Davidson, who assisted me with its assembly. The boiler is fed by two injectors. I have not fitted a hand pump or axle pump.

Valve Gear

The valve gear is my own design, based on a study of other similar valve gears which I know to work well (Martin Evans‟ Enterprise and Don Young‟s Doncaster). The lead is 0.020”, the full gear cut off is 70%, and the full gear port opening is 0.140”. There is 0.010” exhaust clearance. As a first approximation, certain dimensions were scaled from full size (expansion link radius, combination lever overall length, drop arm length, anchor link length), then critical dimensions (combination lever proportions, return crank length, eccentric rod length), were calculated using the publication “Walschaerts Valve Gear for Model Engineers” by Don Ashton. Backset was derived from scale drawing to 2x full size. Finally, the whole design was checked using the Dockstader computer programme. Results from the two methods were virtually identical. The design has been proven very satisfactory in use. The loco maintains 6 even beats when notched up to almost mid gear.

Cylinder Lubrication

To avoid the problem of oil from a single lubricator splitting unevenly amongst the 3 cylinders, I considered it essential to have 3 completely separate lubricators. I originally intended to fit 3 hydrostatic type lubricators, but decided against this as the sight glasses would have detracted form the appearance of the footplate. The loco is therefore lubricated by 3 separate mechanical lubricators concealed below the front of the smokebox. The drive is from a split eccentric sheave fitted retrospectively to the leading coupled axle.

Exhaust Arrangement.

I used my own arrangement of exhaust manifold, fitted on top of the steam chests and concealed in the smoke-box saddle. This was designed and fabricated to achieve a number of objectives:~ Minimise the effect of exhausts working against each other Give adequate cross sectional areas Give smooth passages avoiding sharp bends.

Tender

The tender is of conventional model engineering construction. It incorporates the correct double frame, and has a brass tank with soft soldered joints.

Construction took a total of 10 years. Many will point out (with full justification) that I could have built two less complex and less detailed locos in the same time. Was it all worth the effort? A definite yes.

Quite Interesting

Rod Turner

When you‟re in the workshop using a lathe, have you ever wondered when and where this amazingly useful machine first appeared ? Spring-pole lathes for turning wood have been around for millennia and across continents, but those for working metals are only a few centuries old. The early ones were light-weight affairs made for the clock, instrument and jewellery businesses but were incapable of doing anything seriously large. The credit for designing and building the first truly “industrial” lathe belongs to one Jacques de Vaucanson, born in 1709 in Grenoble.

de Vaucanson is described as an “inventor and artist” and in his early career produced automata, then much in vogue with high society. Perhaps his most celebrated automaton was “The Digesting Duck” which quacked, flapped its wings, ate food and pooped. Heady stuff for the time.

In 1741 he was appointed as Inspector of the manufacture of silk in France. It was in this role that he invented the first truly industrial-scale metal-cutting slide-rest lathe to produce more accurately profiled copper rollers for crushing silk fabric. All subsequent machines can be traced back to his design.

His machine has survived and is housed in the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris. It requires occasional conservation treatment as the lubricant he employed was mildly acidic, being a thick mucus obtained by crushing snails in a small wine press. Well, he was French.

Postamble

Many thanks, as always, to this month‟s contributors who have, I hope you agree, furnished a damn good read for you all to enjoy.

That‟s it then. Another year gone, but with Covid still with us. Nonetheless, it was a better year than the previous with plenty going on at the Club in spite of everything. Perhaps 2022 will be even better still.

All that remains is to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Oh – nearly forgot. Assuming that you‟ve read every word, you maybe spotted that a bit of nonsense had crept in. First to report it gets an honourable mention in the next issue.

Contact information
  • Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire – mike.maguire@btinternet.com
  • Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – lindanic@sky.com – 01 670 816072
  • Website – www.tsmee.co.uk
  • Webmaster – John Rowley – johnrowley@btinternet.com

Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ

It’s not all gloom …

I take a lot of photographs – too many probably – but very few make it to press
If I have a favourite from this year, it must be this one, taken in late September
Young Eleanor has a go at driving my Roundhouse “Harlech Castle”
Start „em young, eh ?

Posted on

INSIDE MOTION No 21 November 2021

News and Views from the
TYNESIDE SOCIETY of MODEL and EXPERIMENTAL ENGINEERS

Download IM document in PDF format here

Preamble

October wasn’t a bad month weather-wise, though the first Sunday was a bit of a shocker after the previous one when Jim Stephenson evidently smiled down on the righteous.
Most club days have seen a goodly turnout of stalwarts, all still prepared to (mostly) brave the outdoors. Locomotives have been seen running on all tracks and site works have been progressed.

Club Matters

Christmas Tea

With reluctance, a Christmas Tea will not be held again this year. Although the Clubhouse is open, albeit cold and draughty, it will only comfortably hold a dozen or so people if some measure of social distancing is to be maintained.

Workshop

Steve Lowe continues his tidy-up of the workshop and its facilities. It seems there’s been a floor in there all along …

Locomotive Lift

Norman Blacklock and John Lazzari are busy fitting the hydraulic ram to the scissor lift so it can be left in-situ permanently. A lockable steel cover will protect it when not in use.

Signalling Upgrade – Ground Level Railway

Jim Scott

The relay interlock system fitted to the ground level railway electro-pneumatic points is now operational and should be activated when signals are rigged and more than one locomotive is operating. The system is designed to prevent inadvertent point movements during the passage of a train over a point, this being detected by track switches built into the railhead. Most track switches have an associated colour light signal nearby.

Careful positioning of the track switches has also provided “block sections”, the track switches controlling both block entry and exit. The current upgrade will use these block sections to ensure that the associated signals prevent following trains from entering an occupied section. Essential with a train stopped in the station but also a useful way of maintaining adequate separation between following trains.

Currently the Signalman has direct control over just three signals; the others are set automatically by the point selection. Manual switches will be added to the mimic panel to allow the Signalman to force a red aspect on any signal if required.

Garden Railway Extension
Phil Page

Work has started on extending the garden railway. The extension will roughly double the track length and improve the steaming- and storage siding capacity. The sketch below shows how the new track connects to the present layout.

Limiting factors affecting the final design were :- incorporating as much of the existing layout as possible, maintaining the minimum radius of curves, proximity to the hedge for gardening purposes and keeping good clearance from the ground-level track railing. A further complication was the position of the underground mains cable from the footway box to the Clubhouse (located courtesy of Jim Scott’s archive photographs) which runs along. but not parallel to, the hedge. None-the-less, the final scheme matches the original idea quite closely.

Marking out the ground for the new base slab began in August, and digging started in September. One unexpected find was a concrete slab, a relic of the Club’s original steaming bays, and this was broken up and removed. Further work was postponed until after Jim Stephenson’s memorial day. October saw work recommence with the remaining turf sliced off and a trench around the perimeter of the new slab dug out to the required depth to establish the slab boundary and level.

In the background, estimates were made of all the materials required to build the new steel support frames. This was ordered, along with the rebar for the new slab, and has now arrived on site.

On November 2nd, a mini digger arrived to dig out the pit for the new slab. All the rubbish around was cleared and everything was piled against the hedge. This will be removed in due course by a grab-lorry from the Town Moor side,

All the turf and a lot of the topsoil has been re-used elsewhere on site to even out the grounds. More topsoil has been retained for remediation purposes once the slab is cast.

Honourable mention must be made of Dave Nesbitt who took the original plan and turned it into a workable and detailed scheme, estimated all the materials required and organised the ordering and delivery, and did much of the initial digging. Able assistance was provided by Jim Scott, Lindsay Oliver, Robert Hopper and River Temlett. Stu Davidson organised the digger.

People

Junior Engineer Sam Yeeles continues his run of having his line-side photographs published.

New Member

Welcome to River Temlett, who joined us recently. River hails from darn sarf and is a member of the Surrey Society of Model Engineers. He is reading Marine Technology at Newcastle University..

Late News

Urban Green, the body now responsible for running Newcastle’s parks, has announced events in November (14th) and December (28th) which will have some impact on vehicular access to the Club. Whilst the road will not be closed at any time, users are asked to be extra vigilant and ensure they observe the speed limit at all times and have their hazard lights on.

Postamble

That’s it for another month, and a tad late. I waited for the last-minute rush of copy for publication, but, guess what, nothing arrived apart from Jim Scott’s update on signalling. Ah well, I work with what I have. Hope springs eternal that there will be ample material for a bumper December/Christmas issue, so get writing ….

Contact information
  • Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire – mike.maguire@btinternet.com
  • Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – lindanic@sky.com – 01 670 816072
  • Website – www.tsmee.co.uk
  • Webmaster – John Rowley – johnrowley@btinternet.com

Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ

Recent Sightings
Posted on

INSIDE MOTION No 20 October 2021

News and Views from the
TYNESIDE SOCIETY of MODEL and EXPERIMENTAL ENGINEERS

Download IM document in PDF format here

Jimmy Stephenson Memorial Day

Steve Lowe

Sunday 26th September dawned dry and bright and remained so all day for what turned out to be a wonderful memorial event for Jimmy. Notwithstanding the concerns members may have had regarding Covid, an excellent turn-out was the order of the day – such was the status and popularity for our late Chairman, one of TSMEE’s finest and a member for well over 60 years.

Both tracks were soon in operation. Brian Nicholls and Jim Mountjoy with their Koppel locomotives were on the ground-level track, with Lindsay Oliver making up the trio with his Wren. The Club’s electric loco was also out with a rake of coaches offering rides to the young at heart.

The raised track too soon became busy with Keith Pardy’s lovely A4 getting us underway followed by Dave Nesbitt’s much-awaited 5 inch gauge LMS Pacific “Princess Victoria”, a triumph of around 35 year’s work and a magnificent example of locomotive building. For the majority of us it was overwhelming to say the least !!!. Eddie and Joe Gibbons were also in attendance with their Standard 4 tank and 4F locos – all in all an excellent turn-out.

With the arrival of Jimmy’s family, the new memorial bench was placed onto the raised track platform. This was designed and produced by Jimmy’s son Ed, who had it made with the help of a fabricator friend, an excellent piece of engineering and an appropriate addition to our site, it will sit alongside Andy and Ida Robson’s bench on the platform, so in spirit the two auld “Gateshead men” can observe the running days at their leisure, a very fitting tribute indeed !!.

As lunchtime approached we were invited to gather around the Signal Box, Jimmy’s favourite place, where Linda, our Secretary, opened the formal part of the event with the welcome and introductions before handing over to Peter Newby, our Chairman. Peter gave a warm and fitting tribute to Jim’s unwavering contribution to a lifetime’s service to the Society, after which he invited Jim’s widow Doreen to unveil the name board on the Signal Box. “Stephenson Halt” was the name chosen by the members as the most appropriate reminder of “Jim’s place”, controlling the trains on every running day. Additionally, a commemorative blue plaque adorns the gable end of the box.

A superb running buffet was then opened in the Clubhouse. The tables were overflowing with food, and a massive “thankyou” must go to Mary Tomlinson, Liz Evans, Mary Graham and Linda Nicholls who worked tirelessly throughout the day to keep us all fed and watered.

Outside, the conviviality continued apace with much reminiscing and tales of days gone by enjoying Jimmy’s company. The afternoon had by now taken on the flavour of an open weekend, much missed by us all since the arrival of the dreaded Covid restrictions.

The Garden Railway was in full swing as usual, and a couple of the boat lads were also down on the lake with their vessels enjoying the sunshine. Additionally we had set up an open tent at the end of the workshop where members could display part-built models.

The afternoon would not have been complete without the traditional raffle. It always goes down well and this time in aid of our new grass cutter fund, which again is particularly poignant as that was Jimmy’s regular steed – he was always to be seen busy cutting the grass !! Many thanks go to all our prize donators.

I believe the signing-in book showed at least 80 in attendance, making it a truly memorable and successful day and a very fitting end to the summer. Jimmy Stephenson was a very capable and productive model engineer, a great character, friend and mentor who was always at the centre of Club life. He will live on in our memories forever.

Club Matters

Clubhouse Access

As Autumn and then Winter approach, it is clear that the wholly outdoor life we’ve been living since the easing of Covid restrictions is unsustainable, and to enable some measure of social activity to continue as the weather turns, we must start allowing people indoors again.

Serving of tea and coffee will continue outside whenever practicable, and Members are expected to continue maintaining a high standard of Covid hygiene when using the facilities.

The Clubhouse will be well-ventilated to avoid “fug” and so may not seem too hospitable at first, but it’s a start. At least it’s shelter from the wind and rain ! Everyone has the choice of using it or not.

Signing in and out remains a requirement.

Members Musings …

A Visit to the Cleveland Association of Model Engineers

Lindsay Oliver

Nicola and myself were invited to visit the Cleveland Society on Sunday 12th September on the occasion of their first open weekend since lockdown started. We travelled to their track which is situated in the grounds of the Tees Cottage Pumping Station, Darlington, which is an English Heritage site. On arrival, we were warmly welcomed and, as always, were ably assisted in the unloading of my Wren Engine.

Nicola and myself then viewed the site, which is extremely interesting. The restored Compound Beam Engine was in steam and pumping water from the river Tees into two large ponds, we then had a tour of the Boiler House which has two, three pass Lancashire Boilers, one of which was in steam and running the Beam Engine.

We continued to the Blacksmith’s Shop where they were making Garden Hanging Baskets from old horse shoes, followed by a visit to the Twin Cylinder Gas Engine, which was running a three cylinder water pump, pumping water into a third pond on the site.

After lunch, we steamed up the Wren for an afternoon of passenger pulling. The track is 5” and 7¼” ground level and is L shaped with a turntable at each end and is just over ¼ mile in length. Both Nicola and myself ran the Wren until the open-day closed at 5pm. We both thoroughly enjoyed the day and were made very welcome by all the members and volunteers.

We will hopefully be back for their next open day in October, and we can certainly recommend a visit.

A Rose without Thorns

James Jamieson

Some members will remember a couple of years ago, I brought up to one of the project days a steam powered Straight Runner model boat “Rose” which I was in the process of rebuilding.

The boat and plant were built in around 1950 by George Leach, a member of Heaton & District Model Power Boat Club who spent most of his working life as an engineer at North East Marine, Wallsend. George was a prolific and accomplished model engineer and as “Rose” was his third boat he wanted to design and make something different from the usual single cylinder steam powered craft.

With that in mind he set about constructing a hull from thin galvanised steel sheet which measures 5 foot 3 inches long and has a 9 inch beam.

The engine he wanted to be a total different so he designed a “Scotch Crank” Vee twin double acting steam engine each cylinder being ⅝” bore and ¾” stroke.

He chose the “ Scotch Crank” design to keep the engine as compact as possible because he knew a conventional vee twin would be difficult to squeeze into the hull

The engine drives an integral twin cylinder water pump, each cylinder being 3/16” bore and ½” stroke, a mechanical lubrication pump and a single propeller shaft drives a 3 ½” diameter by 3 ½” pitch twin blade brass propeller.

Steam was originally provided by a 4” diameter “pot” type copper boiler with a “D” shaped flue running longitudinally, there were multiple ½” fire tubes running from the flat part of the “D” to the top of the boiler shell, the boiler was fired by a twin jet paraffin blow lamp and the plant ran at 50 psi.

I first remembered George running the boat in numerous competitions when I joined the boat club in the mid 60’s and I was captivated by its performance and the unique sound of its vee twin engine.

George ran the boat regularly but as he got older he allowed it to be run by other members but kept a very close eye on how they looked after it, sadly after he died the boat had numerous people running it and it was evident when I managed to rescue it, it had been poorly maintained in the intervening years.

The boiler and the paraffin blow lamp were leaking, the hull paint work was flaking, the interior was caked in grease and oil and the superstructure varnish was cracked and damaged.

My first job was to thoroughly clean everything and see what was required to get her back running. After realising the task ahead of me I decided to contact Stu Davidson who I have known for over fifty years and has a vast knowledge of steam powered craft, for his advice. As usual Stu immediately offered his services to construct a new boiler and blowlamp and assist me in any way he could.

It has taken me longer than I thought to get it back on to the water, and the last 18 months of COVID restrictions I’m sure TSMEE members will agree has not helped. The boat has been completely repainted inside and out, the decks and superstructure have been stripped and re-varnished and with Stu’s help a new paraffin blowlamp and 3” dia copper boiler with 26 x ½” firetubes has been constructed.

A feedwater preheater has been fitted and most of the pipework has been renewed, the engine itself has been thoroughly checked over and the mechanical water feed pump overhauled with new balls fitted and glands repacked.

Over the last couple of months Stu and I have test run the boat on a number of occasions and it’s taken a little while to work out the steaming characteristics of the new configuration of old engine and pumps and new boiler and blowlamp.

At the time of writing we think we’ve cracked it, with a half glass of water on the boiler and the feed water bypass cracked open the pumps maintain the boiler level without a problem. Now that we’re happy my next job is to get the decks screwed back on permanently and run it in competition,

I must admit I’m not bothered about winning anything It’ll just be fantastic to get the “Old Lady” back on the water and hear that marvellous engine note again, a real trip down memory lane.

Postamble

September has come and gone – a bit of a non-month in some respects as we lost two Sundays to events which put the Park off-limits, but the memorial day certainly more than compensated.

Thanks as ever to those who made this issue possible. James’ “boat” article reminds us that not everything at TSMEE is about railways.

As ever, too, the Editorial cupboard is again bare. Please get writing – it would be nice to have another bumper Christmas edition for you all to enjoy and there’s less than eight weeks to go …

Contact information
  • Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire – mike.maguire@btinternet.com
  • Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – lindanic@sky.com – 01 670 816072
  • Website – www.tsmee.co.uk
  • Webmaster – John Rowley – johnrowley@btinternet.com

Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ

Memorial Day Gallery

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INSIDE MOTION No 19 September 2021

News and Views from the
TYNESIDE SOCIETY of MODEL and EXPERIMENTAL ENGINEERS

Download IM document in PDF format here

Preamble

All good things come to an end. On 11th August last, our trusty ride-on grass mower caught fire – the result of an electrical short-circuit. Fortunately, no-one was injured, but the machine (already venerable and oft repaired) is beyond economical recovery.

I‟m sure you are all well aware of how presentable the TSMEE site is kept, courtesy of our team of dedicated gardeners led by Jim Scott. Even visitors to the Club frequently remark on how nice everything looks. Much of this is down to the regular cutting of the extensive areas of grass – a job made much easier with the ride-on mower, and at no cost to the Club.

Unfortunately, the Club‟s finances do not run to funding a replacement – Lockdown has (as everywhere else) cost us dear with a much-reduced income but bills still to pay.

To replace the machine will cost around £1500, hence this appeal to the membership for ideas and help. Do any of you have any contacts with ride-on mower sales ? Do you know of an auction house where we might get a refurbished machine ? Do you have any ideas for a fund-raising drive ? Would you like to make a generous donation ? YOUR GRASS NEEDS YOU to help – please contact the Secretary ( lindanic@sky.com , 07761960788 ) with ideas and offers

Club Matters

Jim Stephenson Memorial Day (reminder and update)
Sunday September 26th 10:00 ‘til when …

At the suggestion of his Family, the Club is hosting a special day in Jim‟s memory. It will be a private affair for Family and Club members only.

Members are asked to bring along lots of locos to run, and there will also be a “Lockdown Projects” display for you to showcase your inactivity activities.

A running buffet will keep everyone fed and watered throughout the day. Please come along and help make this a truly memorable event.

There will also be a Prize Raffle in the afternoon in aid of the Grass Mower Fund, and members are asked to donate suitable prizes asap please.

Scrap Drive
The recent drive to collect scrap non-ferrous metals netted the Club the princely sum of £475. Thanks to Steve Lowe for organising this and all those who contributed materials.
Tea Urn
The Swan Tea Urn finally gave up the ghost, and, as the Company no longer exists, spare parts are unobtainable. A new urn has been purchased to replace it.
Diary dates
A reminder that the Club will be closed on Sunday 12th September (Great North Run) and Sunday 19th September (“This is Tomorrow” Festival).

Members Musings …

Mixing it with the Big(ish) Boys

Dave Henderson

As some of you know, as well as running my Romulus “Angkor Thom” at TSMEE, I also take it to the Scottish Model Engineering Trust‟s track near Perth and a private track, the Millerbeck Light Railway, near Newby Bridge at the bottom end of the Lake District.

Stuart, one of the other regulars at Millerbeck, is a gentleman who has served on the committee of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society since it was founded in the 1960‟s to successfully buy and save the railway from extinction.

If you haven‟t been to the R&E it‟s well worth a visit. It‟s a 15” gauge line that runs from Ravenglass, on the Cumbrian coast, for 7 miles or so along the Esk valley to a terminus at Dalegarth.

Some years ago I had the good fortune to have a round-trip footplate ride, courtesy of a (sadly now deceased) friend, who was a full time driver on the R&E, and it‟s right up there with my most treasured steam related memories, even standing comparison with two driving days on the East Lancs Railway.

In July this year the 60th anniversary of the purchase of the line by the Preservation Society was to be celebrated with a gala weekend. As well as all the R&E locomotives that were operational being in steam, there was to be displays of visiting engines and other forms of steam traction.

Knowing Stuart was involved with Millerbeck he was approached by the R & E to see if it were possible to have a display of 7.25” locos from that location so I was asked if I‟d be interested in bringing “Angkor Thom” along.

Naturally I agreed. So early on the morning of Saturday 11th I arrived in the yard at Ravenglass with “Angkor Thom” in the van and we started the process of unloading and setting up the display.

I should have taken photos of the unloading process as I‟m sure even Allely‟s, the transport specialists, couldn‟t have done it any better. It was really quite surprising what we managed to do with a few lengths of portable track and some wooden chocks.

Eventually we had my Romulus, “Angkor Thom”, Stuart‟s Romulus, “Gunga Din” (which is in the process of being rebuilt) and “Laura”, a Quarry Hunslet to the Milner design, and one of the resident locos at Millerbeck, unloaded and set up on lengths of portable track with some 7.25” slate trucks. I had taken some time to spruce up ”Angkor Thom” prior to the event and also made sure a new TSMEE crest was applied to the riding truck.

We‟d been given a decent location within the station car park for the display. We were between the museum building and the engineering workshop, which also was the access to the south bound platform of Ravenglass Network Rail station, and as the workshop was open for viewing we had a steady stream of visitors passing us by.

I have to say when I arrived and saw what else was on display further in to the station site, two traction engines, one being a replica of one of the largest ever made, a steam lorry, “Black Prince” from The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway, “River Mite”, which was also celebrating its 60th, the boiler and frames of “Northern Rock” and at one point on Saturday “River Irt”, all of which were in steam and could be inspected up-close.

I didn‟t expect our trio of little engines to receive much attention. How wrong I was.

I can only put it down to the “attainable” factor. Leaving aside those who obviously had an interest in model/miniature steam loco‟s it was almost as if a high percentage of visitors had gone straight to see the “big” stuff, with the prospect of owning any of it being out of the question, then walked round the corner and realised here was something steam-related that was attainable to the ordinary enthusiast.

We spent most of our time explaining and discussing how people could get involved with local clubs and building/buying suitable-sized locos for their circumstances, and, I‟m pleased to say, with quite a few recognising the Tyne Bridge on the TSMEE crest adorning the riding truck, although despite being interested in steam railways, and apparently familiar with the Exhibition Park and even the Wylam Brewery, none were aware of our track ! Perhaps we need a few signs at the park entrances.

The highlight of the Saturday occurred as the West Country Pacific “Braunton” passed by on the Cumbrian Coast line with a special just after 5:00pm. I am assuming it must be something that has happened before because the steam special should have passed by at 40mph, but had slowed to walking pace, with the crew hanging out of the cab window as “Braunton‟s” whistling was met by a cacophony of sound from every steam whistle on the R&E side of the tracks, absolutely deafening! You can hear it on the R&E‟s Facebook page.

Saturday had gone so well for our little display that the R&E Event Manager was quite happy that we should steam one of the locos for Sunday‟s proceedings, and with a few extra track panels, run it back and forth. However, come Sunday morning the Operations Manager decided that, as there had been insufficient time to prepare the ubiquitous Health and Safety requirements, steaming a loco would have to wait „til the next event. None-the-less, our presence, boosted by the addition of a second Milner Quarry Hunslet loco, “Red Damsel”, once again went down very well.

Whilst Saturday had been almost exclusively steam enthusiasts, Sunday was a real mix. There were three coach parties, obviously doing tours of the Lakes, families having a day out as well as steam die-hards, yet the interest in the “little” locos was there from them all, once again taking us all by surprise. At times on the Sunday we could have done with a few more bodies just to keep up with the stream of people wanting to talk to us about them.

As we did our “Allely’s” impression again, loading them all up on Sunday we had time to reflect on what had been an unexpected success for our little team despite the “big lads” best efforts. However, I do have to admit that “Black Prince” and the huge John Fowler traction engine “Talisman” were magnificent.

Postamble

You may recently have noticed a freshness in the early morning air or a hint of yellow colouring the leaves of the trees. The year is turning and we are gently drifting into Autumn. Quite what will happen at the Club in the next weeks and months as the days get cooler but Covid-19 case numbers stay high remains to be seen. Let‟s hope we‟re not heading for another “lost” winter.

Thanks to Dave Henderson for his account of a Ratty Weekend – as he says, if you‟ve not been, you’re missing a treat.

As the nights draw in, what better way to spend an evening than sitting down and writing something for him (and the rest of us) to enjoy.

Contact information
  • Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire – mike.maguire@btinternet.com
  • Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – lindanic@sky.com – 01 670 816072
  • Website – www.tsmee.co.uk
  • Webmaster – John Rowley – johnrowley@btinternet.com

Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ

Garden (railway) of Delights

Posted on

INSIDE MOTION No 18 August 2021

News and Views from the
TYNESIDE SOCIETY of MODEL and EXPERIMENTAL ENGINEERS

Download IM document in PDF format here

Preamble

The pessimism I expressed in July about “Freedom Day” proved to be unfounded – the release from virtually all legal restraints went ahead as planned.

The limit of a maximum of thirty members on-site no longer applies. However, the dreaded lurgy is still out there in the population at large, and infection numbers are high. Because of this, the Clubhouse remains out of use, there will be no public access except for invited guests and Public Running will not resume as hoped.

Tedious though this may be after so long, it’s all for the best in the long-run.

Club Matters

Boiler Inspections

In last month’s feature on this subject, it stated quite clearly “If you need a boiler test, please contact one of the Boiler Inspectors beforehand to agree a date and time. Do not just turn up expecting them to drop what they are doing to test your boiler.”
Nonetheless, people are still just turning up expecting … ! In future, without a prior arrangement, you will simply be politely but firmly refused. Please remember that the Boiler Inspectors are also Club members with their own interests and priorities – just like you – and should be afforded the same courtesies you would expect. All the information you need is now hosted on the Website in the Member’s Area, or you can contact the Secretary for help.

Site Security

You may have noticed, and even used, the red-and-white chain which has appeared hung between the posts of the vehicle access gates. This addition is because there have been instances when the general public has wandered onto the site when the gates have been left open whilst vehicles are unloading or loading at the traverser. The chain is intended to be a quick and easy alternative to closing the heavy gates whilst vehicles are on site, so please make use of it.

Members are also reminded to close the foot-access gate by the Clubhouse when they enter or leave the site.

These measures are particularly important just now whilst CV-19 cases are still widespread.

Jim Stephenson Memorial Day
Sunday September 26th 10:00 ‘til when …

At the suggestion of his Family, the Club will be hosting a special day in Jim’s memory. It will be a private affair for Family and Club members only.

Members are asked to bring along lots of locos to run, and there will also be a “Lockdown Projects” display for you to showcase your inactivity activities.

A running buffet will keep everyone fed and watered throughout the day. Please come along and help make this a truly memorable event.

Other Dates for your Diary

Unfortunately, there will be no access to the Club on the following dates ….

Sunday September 12th Great North Run

Sunday September 19th “This is Tomorrow” Festival. Setting-up and taking-down of this event will occupy several days either side of the (long) weekend, so the access road may be busy on the Wednesdays immediately before and after and extra vigilance is advisable

Scrap Drive

There is still time for you to bring along any non-ferrous scrap you may wish to donate to aid the Club’s coffers.

Wedding Train

Wednesday 21st July saw the Club host its first public event since the beginning of restrictions – a booking for Wedding Trains in association with the Brewery. Covid-mitigation measures were in place to minimise risk to Club members.

All who rode seemed to enjoy the experience – that’s what it’s about, after all ! Kudos to those who sweltered in the afternoon sun to make it happen. The booking was also a welcome source of additional funds for the Club.

People

Junior Engineer Sam Yeeles continues his run of having his line-side photographs showcased – this time in “The Railway Magazine” July issue.

Members Musings …

Modern Glue Chuck

Peter Newby

An item of equipment familiar to Ornamental- and Wood-turners is the Glue Chuck. This was traditionally a steel faceplate coated with a glue called Turner’s Cement (TC), made from resin and bees-wax. The faceplate was heated, the TC melted over the face and the job set down onto it. The modern equivalent to TC is superglue, which speeds up the glueing process – a job superglued can be ready for machining in 10 – 15 minutes.

Similar applications can be applied to jobs on the milling machine. Once finished, the work can be freed by heating. This is a simple solution to a number of jobs where the work is thin and cannot be held in a conventional chuck.

Quite Interesting
Jim Scott


The observations noted in the following “Letter to the Editor” (of Model Engineer magazine) have probably been heard by many of us over the years.

I remember overhearing a similar conversation between a lady and her young son regarding the equipment displayed alongside a magnificent class-winning 5″ gauge locomotive at one of the London shows in the ’70s. The conversation centred around the miniature fireman’s shovel which was apparently “just like the one Father uses to put coal on the living room fire.”

Quite Interesting #2
Phil Page

Postamble

A rather slim issue this month, but I work with what I have. Thanks to Peter and Jim for the “stocking filler” items, without which it would have been positively skeletal. Still, it leaves a bit more room for some pictures taken over the last month …

Out on the tracks

Contact information
  • Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire – mike.maguire@btinternet.com
  • Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – lindanic@sky.com – 01 670 816072
  • Website – www.tsmee.co.uk
  • Webmaster – John Rowley – johnrowley@btinternet.com

Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ

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