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A web-site by Rob Speare


Got me thinking, why not a 'Q1'

Words by the late Len Gillett.

Having lived in S. W. London for 21 years, I suppose it was logical that when I decided to start building locos, that I would have a preference for the Southern region.

In 1978-79, having by then built a S.R. 4-4-0 'Schools' class, and a 'Merchant Navy' in 3½ gauge; while pondering on what to build next, the 'Model Engineer' began a series on the construction of a L.M.S. class 4F.  The author remarked in his opening article that all 0-6-0 engines were very similar, this got me to thinking why not a 'Q1' then, especially as while building my 'Merchant Navy' I had made good use of Brian Haresnape's book on Bulleid locos.  This book has a section on the 'Q1' class, including a diagram giving measurements.

The diagram also happens to be 1/8th the size required for a 3½ inch gauge loco, so it was a simple matter to scale the sizes from the diagram.  There was also sufficient information to modify the frames to Q1 profile; the motion, axle driven pump, cylinders etc. are all as detailed in the 4F articles.

The wheels were turned from solid cast iron blanks.  Eight holes were drilled in each blank, accurately spaced using a dividing head.  Then the blanks wre mounted on the vertical slide of my Myford ML7 to mill out the recesses, indexing them on a pin fitted to the vertical slide.

The boiler is as detailed in the Model Engineer (for the 4F), while the casing was made up by studying the photos in Brian Haresnape's book.

Living midway between Northampton and Peterboro, I became a member of both clubs, but it was to Northampton that I took the engine for it's first run in April 1981 - to the local Drill hall for a fund raising event.  Both clubs had portable tracks at that time, and the 'Q1' was particularly useful on these as it has a pole reversing lever.

My records show that in a 14 year period running engines at these clubs, I had the 'Q1' in steam on 41 occasions.  The longest continuous steaming was at the 1982 Northampton Town Show where I kept it going for 7¾ hours (although there was a lot of ash in the smokebox by then !).  Like all 3½" gauge locos with narrow grates, the fire always needed plenty of attention.

I never heard anyone passing adverse comments about the looks of the engine, and there was never any lack of members willing to drive it for me if I wanted to stretch my legs.

The photo of the loco in steam was taken at a charity show at Barnwell Manor, near Oudle on June 6th 1990, running on the Peterboro portable track; yet another member in the driving seat.

The second picture was given to me by Ted Jolliffe, one time editor of the 'Model Engineer', but I have no idea at which exhibition it was taken.