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A web-site by Rob Speare


'British India Line' - a rebuilt Bulleid Pacific.

under construction by Tony.

I started with the overall dimensions of Keith Wilson's Aeriel design, but all detail measurements were taken from the full size 'British India Line', which I was able to photograph stripped down at the Mid Hants Railway some years back.

Construction has been spread over some 15 years; but in that time the full size loco has remained unrestored.

The frames are made of 1/8" plate, but all the stretchers are fabricated from 1/16" plate to my own dimensions, and seem to look right.

On the full size Merchant Navys, there were two versions of pony truck - one fully cast, the other fabricated - this was the one emulated by K. Wilson in Aeriel.

My own version mimics the cast version, but is fabricated from 1/16" steel plate.  It took me 3 weeks to design and a further 3 weeks to make.  The profile front to back resembles a deep 'U' shape to clear the axle, but I've designed it so the loading from the front is taken through the whole frame so that strength is there.

Similarly the front bogie is to the full size design and contains no castings.  The opportunity to see the unattached and newly restored bogie from 'B.I.L.' (see photo) allowed me to see much detail, which I've been able to include in my version.

The chassis is finished apart from front buffer beam detail, as this holds the temporary pivot for a raised revolving building frame.  The chassis is tested, and runs well on air.

The wheel castings have thin milled front covers sitting over the recesses that allows the undercut look to be achieved.

The boiler is completed, silver soldered with the help of my wife holding a large gas torch.  It is yet to be fitted to the frames, and the backhead awaits being fitted out, as does the smokebox.

I haven't quite decided on the ashpan arrangements yet.

The tender is now virtually complete, although I originally painted it in dark green, but I really didn't like the result.

The full size 'BIL' was the first of the class to be re-built, and the 1956 conversion was to an extent an experimental concept.

It was also still quite close to Nationalisation, so I took the decision that their concept may have included painting in malachite green.

I repainted it as shown, and I'm certainly pleased with the result.