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What's in a Name ?   'Wincanton' Build - Part 2

Words and photos by Mike.

There were several of the original builder's (OB) home snaps of 34013 'Okehampton' included in the material that I got as part of the deal when I bought the unfinished model at auction in '91.

In the pix the full-sized loco was shown dead on a siding at Yeovil Town shed, so as this shed closed in June 1965 the pix obviously predated that, and I would guess they were taken around 1963 and used as a starting point for his build.

I'm pretty sure this was the date because he'd also taken some really good pix of 34101 'Hartland' at Yeovil Junction that can be dated to '63 as well.

It still had its 73B Bricklayers Arms shedcode, but had been transferred in that year to the SW area.

So it's fair to guess that 34013's appearance in Yeovil (where the OB worked) was his inspiration, and he made (or had made) some very nice 'Okehampton' etched brass nameplates with crest which I have - he clearly had a connection with that loco - a good choice as it lasted right to the end of Southern steam in July '67 and had a reputation as a consistent performer, as well as being a member of the exclusive 100mph club.

So, why have I changed the loco's name from 'Okehampton' (34013) to 'Wincanton' (34108), while admittedly retaining the option for it to easily re-assume the OB's chosen identity if there's ever a reason to do so ? 

Well, I have my own personal connection to 34108; when I visited Nine Elms shed for the last time on 10th June 1967, I found 'Wincanton' there, very unusually as she was normally rostered around Salisbury at that time, so was rarely in London except on substitutions for a 'Warship' diesel failure or end-of-steam specials.

That day she was indeed substituing for a diesel failure - I got some good pix of her with my trusty Halina 35X on shed, under the coaling tower and then on the 17:00 return working back west. 

Fifty years later I saw her cabside numberplate in a railwayana auction and had to have it - my bid was successful and it's now in my workshop - usually guarded by Dr Nunu Blue Moon, my Quality Inspector - as an ongoing inspiration to get the model finished !  However, I'm still waiting for an original nameplate to come up for sale...

The model nameplates for 'Wincanton' were made for me by Diane Carney, and there's an interesting side to that story; when I received them the font seemed heavier and more widely-spaced when compared with the real thing and with the 'Okehampton' nameplate I had. 

When I politely queried about this Diane quickly agreed, explaining that the 3.5" plates had been enlarged from the 'O' and 'OO' plates she provides, resulting in over-deep etching and wider kerning.  At her request I provided her with as many pix of full-sized West Country nameplates as I could find as examples, and she then re-designed and remade mine free-of-charge - what a fantastic service!

So now let's get back to the build.  I thought it might be useful to look at some of the model's features so I can can make my excuses as to why things have been done the way they have.  Some elements I inherited from the OB, while others are mine.  One thing's for sure, I don't envy builders of 5" gauge locos when they have to manhandle them on the bench, but I do envy the space they have for systems installation - space on my 3.5" loco is at a real premium, especially in and under the cab, as we'll see.

Cylinders: Starting from the front, we have three bronze cylinders aligned exactly in parallel, with slide valves and Walschaert's valve gear, the centre set being eccentric driven.  The OB settled for what he calls in his notes 'the dog's hind leg' solution to get the middle connecting rod past the leading axle - I've never seen another model with this but it seems to work fine.

Drain cocks (DCs): The cylinders came with holes for drain cocks but none were supplied.  The OB's notebooks are full of sketches as to how these might be made, and more importantly perhap how they might be actuated from the cab, but nothing seems to have been done due to the difficulty in designing, and the lack of space for, a mechanism that could effectively operate all six.  Initially I managed to get four non-prototypical vertical DCs working on the outside cylinders using Bowden cables, but this solution was impossible for the middle cylinder due to the location of the front bogie.

So, I decided to use automatic DCs throughout instead - they are much nearer the protoypical format and need no actuation by the driver, although there is a warning from the manufacturer that they might not clear a hydraulic lock.  However, the loco has two pressure relief valves fore and aft on each cylinder, so I'm hopeful that this overall solution will work out well.  Space is so tight under the centre cylinder that its DCs had to be located remotely.

Cylinder lubrication: The OB had originally made a lovely set of sight-feed lubricators and oil tank, but had then decided not to use it and his sketches specify mechanical lubrication instead, although he'd not got around to obtaining or building the pump or pipes. 

I bought-in and fitted a twin-feed pump/tank then made and installed the clacks and pipework.

Boiler water feed: On the loco, all of this is my work, so no blame can be attached to the OB!  There are three water feeds: 1) by hand pump in the tender to a clack on the backhead; 2) by a vertical injector; 3) by an axle pump.  The boiler has two water feed clacks on the right-hand side as per prototype, one from the injector, the other from the axle pump - no room for two injectors anyway.

One of the trademark water feed-pipes under the RH cabside on the original locos runs (on mine) from the injector to a clack, while the other is actually is used as the return bypass pipe from the axle pump. 

The rest of the pipework (steam pressure, water feeds and returns) is all led back into the cab on both sides via bulkhead unions under the running plates. 

To get the bends in the visible injector pipes under the cab correctly formed, I taped a scaled-down photo of a real loco installation to the model and used it as a template.

Making the two on-boiler clacks from scratch was the most difficult job I've done on this project - that was done back in the mid 1990s but I doubt whether I would still have the skills to do it again now.

Loco brakes: I've a feeling that this solution might not go down too well with everyone !

The OB had made up a complete set of brake shoes, rods and fittings totalling 87 pieces, but from his notebook it's clear that he couldn't find any room for an actuator and the pipework to operate the brakes.  So 'steam brake valve deleted' appears on his sketch of the cab layout, and I assume that the brake gear would have been decorative-only in his build.

***** I thought it would be a shame not to at least try to get all those lovely brake parts working, so I bought-in a rugged all-metal R/C servo designed for the hot, dusty and dirty world of i/c buggy racing along with a servo tester to drive it.

The circuit board was stripped out of the tester and installed in a metal cabinet in the cab, and a semi-prototypical operating lever added. 

The 7.4 volt LiPo battery to drive the system lives under the tender floor, and all the wiring is encased inside black heat-proof tubing bought from a catering supplier on eBay - it's used to protect oven heat sensors, and I'm pleased to say that the brakes do work perfectly!

Loco headlights: The added bonus of having electricity on board encouraged me to add 'soft-glow' LEDs to three of the loco headlamps, so that's another benefit from embracing a little alternate technology!

Well, I think that's more than enough for episode two, so here's a pic of the completed chassis to finish with; taken in 2020 ready for second test, 20 years after the first !