Monthly Archives: July 2012

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1896 Dunalastairs Caledonian Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1896 Dunalastairs

Caledonian Railway

Dunalastair I No.14318 as finally running in 1932.

J.F.McIntosh’s first engines for the Caledonian Railway after his accession in 1895 were the famous Dunalastair class 4-4-0s, which at the time of their appearance were amongst the largest engines in the country.  The design was in effect a development of the somewhat similar engines built by Lambie in 1894, which had in turn evolved from those built by Dugald Drummond in 1884.  The Dunalastairs themselves were again gradually enlarged, and four distinct varieties, known as the Dunalastair I, II, III and Dunalastair IV classes, appeared between 1895 and 1910.  The last engine of the 1910 batch was fitted with a superheater and some of the dimensions were modified.  It was the first superheated engine in Scotland and one of the first in Great Britain.  Following on its success another 21 similar engines were built between 1911 and 1914.  Finally W.Pickerskill introduced yet another enlargement of the design, of which 48 were constructed between 1916 and 1922.  Most of these were still running in 1959 as BR Nos. 54461-54508, but the last of the Dunalastair IV’s had gone by 1957.  The LMS numbers of the Dunalastair I’s were 14311-25: these all went in the early 1930s.  The Dunalastair II’s were 14326-36, of which the last survivor was 14333 in 1947, and the Dunalastair III’s were 14337-65 (a few were rebuilt to IV).  Several of these lasted until the late 1940s.  Nos. 14330-60 were the IV’s, some of which had been rebuilt from Dunalastair II or III class.

A pair of McIntosh ‘Dunalastair III’ class 2P 4-4-0s, with No.14348 leading, prepare to leave Callender with a special train for Dunblane in 1936.  E.E.Smith

Dunalastair I – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 18¼”x 26”,  Pressure – 160lb.,  Tractive effort – 15100lb.,  Weight – 47 tons,  LMS classification – 2P

Dunalastair II – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 175lb.,  Tractive effort – 17900lb.,  Weight – 49 tons,  LMS classification – 2P

Dunalastair III – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 19”x 26”,  Pressure – 180lb.,  Tractive effort – 18411lb.,  Weight – 51 tons 14 cwt,  LMS classification – 3P

Dunalastair IV – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 20¼”x 26”,  Pressure – 180lb.,  Tractive effort – 20915lb.,  Weight – 61 tons 5 cwt,  LMS classification – 3P

Pickersgill – Driving wheels – 6’ 6”,  Cylinders – 20”x 26”*,  Pressure – 180lb.,  Tractive effort – 20400lb*.,  Weight – 61 tons 5 cwt,  LMS classification – 3P  (* the later engines had 20½”x 26” cylinders, with tractive effort  21435 lb.)

‘Dunalastair IV’ superheated rebuild, class 3P 4-4-0 No.14439, allocated to Carstairs shed, heads a southbound coal train near Uddington on August 23, 1947.  No.14439 survived to be the last of all the 87 McIntosh 4-4-0s when withdrawn from the Highland section in 1958.  E.R.Wethersett.

What’s on at NRM York Steam Weekend

What’s on at NRM York

Steam weekend

Experience the thrill of riding behind a working steam engine

Date:  25 Aug 2012 – 27 Aug 2012

Time:  10am – 6pm

Price:  Free entry (*a charge for some activities)

Audience:  Families, Adults

Location:  South Yard

Take in the sights, sounds and smells of working steam locomotives this August bank holiday.

Enjoy steam rides behind Rocket* and Puffing Billy*, climb on board City of Truro’s cab to find out more about this impressive steam engine and experience the thrill of a footplate ride* on Lilla from the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway.

You can even take to the controls yourself and have a go at driving a real steam locomotive*, Teddy – available to over 18s only.

*Steam rides – £2 adults, £1 children
Footplate rides – £3. Over 12s only. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult
Driver experience – £5. Over 18s only

Miniature Railway, Tramway and Model Railways at Betwys-y-Coed


A trip up the A5 into Wales could take you to Betws-y-Coed and the ConwyValley Railway & Museum

Located in the beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed adjacent to the British Rail station Conwy Valley Railway Museum is a must for all who enjoy trains.  A miniature railway takes you on a 10 minute trip around the beautifully landscaped grounds. If you are lucky you may see wild rabbits grazing by the pond. There is even a tunnel for the train to go through. Trains run every day from 10.30am to 4.30pm. In the season and every weekend there will be a steam engine pulling the train – at other times a diesel engine will be in service.  For a different view of the site take the fifteen inch gauge electric tramcar – the only one in Wales. As this is a larger vehicle it is suitable for those with mobility problems.

Inside the museum we have model railways that you can operate by pressing a button. There are lots of railway artefacts and miniature railway engines including a magnificent quarter scale ‘Britannia’. The museum is accessible to the disabled.

Come and browse our well stocked model shop with a large selection of model trains including Hornby sets and accessories, die cast cars and planes, Airfix model kits and railway books.

Click on pics to enlarge



Some School Holiday Ideas

School Holidays at Chasewater

Spies Like Us

Thursday 2 August, 11am – 2.30pm, £3 per child

Calling all spies and secret agents, join us for a day of themed games and art and craft activities.

Chasewater Railway running trains on Thursday 2nd August

The Museum of Cannock Chase – Open Daily

Shugborough Hall is another place for a good day out

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1896 Jones ‘Loch’ Class Highland Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1896 Jones ‘Loch’ Class

Highland Railway

No.14393 Loch Laochal as running in 1928 in early LMS livery but otherwise in original condition.

This was David Jones’ final design for the Highland, and was introduced to replace some of his earlier 4-4-0s on the main line between Inverness and Perth.  Fifteen were built in 1896 by Dubs & Co., Nos.119-33, and all named after Scottish lochs.  That it was a very successful design is shown by the fact that 21 years later, in 1917, when there was an acute engine shortage on the Highland, three more of the class were hurriedly built, recourse being had to this type rather than to Peter Drummond’s later designs.  The new engines were Nos.70-2, also named after lochs, and at the grouping the class became LMS Nos.14379-96, all retaining their names.  From 1925 onwards several were rebuilt with larger boilers of Caledonian Railway Dunalastair IV type, but this modification does not seem to have been very successful, and the engines became very heavy on coal.  Withdrawal took place from 1930 onwards, the last survivor being No.14385 Loch Tay, scrapped in 1950.  It never bore its allocated BR No.54385.  No.14390 Loch Fannich retained its early LMS red livery until withdrawn in 1937, one of the last of the smaller LMS classes to do so, as after 1928 it was only applied to the principal main line engines.

As built – Driving wheels – 6’ 3½”,  Cylinders – 19”x 24”,  Pressure – 175 lb.,  Weight – 47 tons,  LMS classification – 2

As rebuilt – Driving wheels – 6’ 3½”,  Cylinders – 19”x 24”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Weight – 54½ tons,  LMS classification – 2

The Loch class 4-4-0s of 1896�1917 had a very high power/weight ratio. They were among several classes carrying the louvered chimney. When No 14393 Loch Laoghal was photographed it was owned by the LMS Northern Division.

Some Early Lines – The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway

Some early Lines

The Canterbury  and Whitstable Railway

Sometimes referred to colloquially as the Crab and Winkle Line

Canterbury had always ferried goods on the river Stour, however, by the early 19th Century that was silting up at a rate that made dredging un-economic. It was decided to build a series of turnpike roads to the small port at Whitstable, and transport goods overland. This however, did not produce a long-term solution, due to the number of carts required compared to that of a barge.

Whitstable Harbour station in 1927

William James, a man who had taken a keen interest in locomotives since the early 1800’s, and had many projects in hand, one being a collaboration with George Stephenson to build a railway from Liverpool to Hull, applied for parliamentary approval for the construction of a line from Canterbury to Whitstable. The ambitious plan included a new harbour complex in Whitstable. Having surveyed the area, James decided on the most direct route, despite it involving three steep gradients and an 828 yard long tunnel. Unfortunately, James’ many commitments had placed too greater strain on his finances and he was sent to debtor’s prison, following bankruptcy, in 1823.

Despite James departure the project continued and having gained parliamentary approval on 10th June 1825, the Canterbury & Whitstable Railway commenced work soon after the act was passed, with George Stephenson as the engineer. The scheme began to run out of money and a further act of Parliament was passed in April 1827, allowing a further £19,000 of capita stock to be raised. The tunnel proved to be a very slow, arduous and technically, difficult task. It had been over a year and they were still not halfway through. The tunnelling was further hindered by earth falls and flooding. Upon completion of the tunnel, it was discovered to be only just big enough for the locomotive, with some redesigning of the passenger and goods carriages necessary. The project was proving to be at the cutting edge of technology, for that time, and a third Act of Parliament was required in May 1828, to secure another £21,000.

By 1830, the line had reached Whitstable, with both passenger and freight services commencing hourly from 3rd May. However, it would be another two years before the harbour redevelopment, under the direction of Thomas Telford, was complete, and the route could be extended.

The original plan allowed for two stationary engines, using a series of ropes and pulleys, for the gradients, with a locomotive named Invicta, purchased from George Stephenson’s company, to cover the flat sections. It was soon found that the locomotive was not up to the job and, despite modifications; a third stationary engine was installed in 1832.

Invicta – Canterbury c1970This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The company came under increasing financial pressure and in 1839, unsuccessfully, attempted to sell the Invicta, in an effort to clear some of the debt. In 1844, with the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway facing bankruptcy, the newly formed South Eastern Railway took over the line. It was decided in 1846, to allow SER locomotives to run on it, although because the height of Tyler Hill tunnel was only 12 feet, modifications, in the form of shorter chimneys and lowered boilers, were necessary. The original C&WR terminus at ‘Canterbury North Road’ was closed and the line extended to the SER Canterbury West station.

The line was never prosperous, even under SER management, and there was a new setback when the London, Chatham & Dover Railway  opened in 1860 offering a better passenger service from Whitstable to London. At the turn of the century work started on building a spur line at Whitstable to connect with the Herne Bay to Faversham line and a bay platform at Whitstable & Tankerton station, although the work was never completed. In the early 1900s, halts were built at Blean & Tyler Hill, South Street and Tankerton, resulting in some increase of passengers.

In 1923, the line became part of the Southern Railway and like many other lines, around the country, it suffered with competition from bus services. Passenger services were withdrawn on 1 January 1931. It continued to carry coal, grain and road stone, with munitions to the harbour during World War II. By 1948, when it became part of British Railways, Whitstable Harbour had fallen into disuse and what was left of the line’s trade had disappeared.

The line closed with effect from 1 December 1952, albeit with a short reprieve during the floods of February 1953, when the line was reopened from 5 February to 1 March. Track was lifted almost immediately and the associated infrastructure removed. All trace of the halts and station at Whitstable Harbour were removed. The site of Canterbury North Lane station later became a goods yard until around 1980 when it was sold for housing development.

R1 Class Nº1010 in Southern Railway days, complete with shortened chimney,  for working over the Canterbury  and Whitstable branch, due to the restricted dimensions of the Tyler Hill tunnel   Photograph: Mike Morant collection

Miniature Railways – The Swanley New Barn Railway

The Swanley New Barn Railway

Established in 1986 this wonderful 7 1/4″ railway runs over 950 metres of track through cuttings and over embankments to pick up passengers from the car par in New Barn Road. You will disembark at Lakeside station on one of three platforms and view the signal box, turn table and station building. The railway is operated by a group of dedicated volunteers that not only drive the trains but also build them and with 16 locomotives (steam, diesel, petrol and electric), 30 carriages and over a mile of track its a big job. See it all in action! For more information visit their link below.

The Swanley New Barn Railway is a 7 1⁄4 in (184 mm) gauge railway located in Swanley Park, Swanley, Kent, United Kingdom. It has eight steam locomotives, with five more currently being built on site. In addition to this it also has ten diesel locomotives. It is signalled throughout with the signals being controlled from Lakeside station which also serves as a terminus.

Swanley Park Miniature Railway

Featured engine is locomotive Sir Goss, a firm favourite with all visitors to this lovely park.  © Copyright Keith Cook and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 The stations

Lakeside Station

This station is the largest on the line. It has three platforms, a turntable, a ticket office and a signal box. All trains stop at this station, so they can be turned around and be prepared to travel back along the line.this process will often be performed by the juniors giving the drivers a quick break. Passengers are required to go through the ticket office and obtain tickets before they board the train (in the case of those starting their journey at Lakeside) or get their tickets as they disembark (if they have travelled from New Barn Halt). The platforms have recently been upgraded to the same standard as New Barn Halt. Though this station has capacity for three trains at one time, this rarely happens except on gala days. There are three platforms and a loco line where trains can run around and hook back up to the train. the turntable is man powered and a signal point the operator to a centain line

New Barn Halt

Swanley: New Barn Railway halt

Swanley New Barn Railway goes round Swanley Park, and here we see the halt at the western side of the circuit.  © Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 This station is a single platform station located near the car park. Passengers board the train here and then proceed to Lakeside station to disembark. The journey from this station to lakeside should take around 3 minutes. This station was made higher when the platform was redeveloped in 2006, making it easier for passengers to board and leave the train.

The signal box

Swanley: Lakeside Station, Swanley New Barn Railway

This 7¼-inch narrow gauge railway takes passengers on a fairly generous circuit of Swanley Park, from and back to here. The station buildings are to the right, with the signalbox the more prominent building to the left.  © Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The signal box is located at Lakeside Station, which is the larger of the two stations on the line. During the first year of the railway, a signal box was created to help control the points and signals around the station area. The signalman can see where the trains are by using the track circuits which are installed throughout the line. The track layout has been changed several times, all of the major changes are recorded to the left of the track diagram.

The signal box has two automatic modes of operation which means that if there is a lack of staff the railway can still function. The signal box frame has 35 levers, all of which are fully interlocked. The interlocking works with the track circuits and point detection. Which levers are locked is decided by the signal box computer which receives points positions, Track circuit data and lever information to decide if it is possible to set a route that will not cause a train to be sent in the wrong direction or be sent on a route where another train is set to cross the track in front of it. The points are worked by 12 V Windscreen wiper motors which have been adjusted so that they stop in one of two positions. They are controlled by the signal box computer which is in turn controlled by the levers. The direction that the points are set to is detected by two microswitches located under the points.

The majority of signals are powered by a 12-volt AC supply. The main signal that everyone sees is the one that passengers pass on their way into the station. It has three 20 W bulbs which allow the signal to be seen clearly no matter what the conditions are. The signal located at the platform on New Barn Halt is powered by a 110 V transformer located in the signal box.

Swanley New Barn Railway Station

This miniature railway runs on a circular track in the park. This station is close to the main buildings of the park on New Barn Road.  © Copyright David Anstiss and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1895 ‘Duke of Cornwall’ Class Great Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1895 ‘Duke of Cornwall’ Class

Great Western Railway

No.3204 ‘Earl of Dartmouth’ as turned out from Swindon in 1936.  This was actually a combined reconstruction of No.3271 ‘Eddystone’ and 3439 ‘Weston-Super-Mare’.

This class consisted originally of sixty engines built between 1895 and 1899, numbered 3252-91 and 3312-31.  The first of them was named ‘Duke of Cornwall’ and they were constructed principally for the hilly routes in the West Country.  Between 1906 and 1909 twenty of them were rebuilt with larger boilers and became in effect a new class, known as the ‘Bulldogs’.  These were renumbered 3300-19 and the forty unconverted engines were condensed into one series as 3252-91.  The ‘Bulldogs’ were eventually added to in considerable numbers by new construction, and this class finally ran from 3300-3454, the later examples having straight frames whereas the earlier ones followed the original ‘Duke’ design with a graceful curve over each of the outside cranks.

GWR 4-4-0 No 3252 ‘Duke of Cornwall’, the founding member of the class, is seen with an inspection coach during the quadrupling of the lines near Knowle and Dorridge. The new track was laid to the south of the existing trackwork as can be seen in this photograph. C1934-6 Built at Swindon works in May 1895 it was superheated in July 1923 requiring a longer smokebox and remained in service until withdrawn from Aberystwyth shed in August 1937 to be scrapped at Swindon works soon afterwards.

The unrebuilt ‘Dukes’ continued in service with sundry modifications to the boilers and mountings, but in 1929 No.3265 ‘Tre Pol and Pen’ was rebuilt with a new frame of the straight variety from a scrapped ‘Bulldog’, No.3365, and as such became the prototype for what was nominally a new class introduced in 1936.  Although officially classified as new engines, these were in effect a combination of ‘Dukes’ and ‘Bulldogs’ , the boilers and cabs of the former being allied to the frames of the latter class, in both cases from engines that were being concurrently withdrawn from service.  The result was a hybrid which has for obvious reasons earned itself the nickname of ‘Dukedogs’.  29 of these reconstructions were turned out between 1936 and 1939, numbered 3200-28.  The first ones were originally given the name of ‘Earls’, but these were soon afterwards transferred to new engines of the ‘Castle’ class, since when the ‘Dukedogs’ have remained nameless.

4 – 4 – 0 No 3277 “Earl of Devon” at the shed in 1930.

     This Duke Class locomotive was built in January 1897 for working the gradients of Devon and Cornwall, but these locos were spread around the GWR region in early 1923 when they were replaced by newer locos. In May 1930 the name was removed from the loco when it was rebuilt as an ‘Earl’ or ‘Dukedog’ class of locomotive. 3277 was withdrawn from service in April 1939.

By 1946 only eleven of the original ‘Dukes’ remained, and these were renumbered into the 9000s, corresponding with their original numbers in the 3200s, i.e. No.3254 ‘Cornubia’ became 9054, and so on.  At the same time, ‘Dukedogs’ were altered to 9000-28.  The last of the ‘Dukes’ went in 1951, but most of the ‘Dukedogs’ remained in service until 1957, although two of them had gone in 1948.  By the close of 1959 only about four of these remained.

The ‘Dukes’ themselves had long since disappeared from the Cornish scene, and of later years most of the survivors, together with the ‘Dukedogs’, were to be found on the Cambrian lines in North Wales.

As originally built – Driving wheels – 5’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 160 lb.,  Tractive effort – 16848 lb.,  Weight – 46 tons.

As reconstructed – Driving wheels – 5’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 18955 lb.,  Weight – 49 tons.

9017 ‘Earl of Berkeley’ “Dukedog” BR 2009

Now painted in BR black departing Horsted Keynes at the Giants of Steam Weekend. Bluebell Railway 24 Oct 2009 – pix42day

Some Model Railway Dates

Some Model Railway Dates

• Sat 18th August 2012

• West Midlands Narrow Gauge Group – Narrow Gauge Midlands 2012

• The Link – Water Orton Community Venue, New Road, Water Orton, Warwickshire B46 1QU


ADMISSION: Adults £4.00 Family £8.00

The West Midlands Narrow Gauge Group proudly present NARROW GAUGE MIDLANDS 2012 Featuring at least 9 narrow gauge layouts and demonstrations in OO and HO scales, with the OO9 Society Sales Stand and other trade support. St. Barnabas Cafe will be providing Tea, Coffee, Cake and light meals to raise funds for St. Barnabas church (Erdington). Entry fee: Adults £4.00, (009 Society members £3.00) Accompanied chidren (Under 12) admitted free!

Canal & River News – July 20th

Canal & River News 20-7-2012

St Giles Hospice Dragon Boat Challenge 2012

21 July 2012

 The Washlands,  Burton upon Trent,  Staffordshire

The third St Giles Hospice Dragon Boat Challenge takes to the water on Saturday 21st July 2012 on the River Trent.

The event is being run in conjunction with Gable Events an approved operator of the British Dragon Boat Racing Association.

Teams consist of 10 paddlers and a drummer (with the steerer) provided. Teams need a £50 entry fee to secure their place and then need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £830 (£75) per person. In addition to the entertainment on the river there will be refreshments/childrens entertainment and craft stalls on site – so lots going on!

Funds raised from the challenge will go towards helping local people living in the community with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Anyone interested in entering a team should contact myself either on 01543 434542 or email

Historically one of England’s major trading rivers, the River Trent rises in the Staffordshire hills near Stoke-on-Trent. It grows in stature as it flows through Burton-on-Trent, Shardlow – where it becomes navigable – Nottingham, Newark and Gainsborough to Trent Falls. There, it joins the River Humber.