Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by pure nostalgia, Aug 14, 2010.
Here ia a short film I made on my last visit.
It appears from photos online that Sian has now joined Katie at Clayton West. Is this permanent?
I've always had a huge soft spot for these lovely locos.
Yes this is a permanent resident by the sounds of things on Instagram
Reported to be a long term agreement which could be seen as just about as good as it reasonably gets these days. Good to see these two engines back together again and I just hope that they remain that way. Now if only a way could be found to get Ernest W Twining brought back into the Fairbourne fold. And if Mr Day could be persuaded to restore the machine to the very best of health then so much the better.
Delighted the sisters are reunited .... and in working order too. This pair captured my imagination when 'Sîan' was still young at Fairbourne, where matching trains hauled by two virtually identical locos was a far more impressive sight than might be supposed. It all looked very businesslike.
Their one time stablemate is another matter entirely. We chewed the fat about 'Ernest W Twining's' possible return from The Land Of The Rising Sun elsewhere a few months ago. Whilst this would be a welcome development, there's a reason it's been OOS and sitting cold, just taking up space in a shed. The Shuzenji Romney Railway found the loco very underpowered due to it's inherent design limitations. In point of fact, it always was, it's just that this wasn't an issue with moderate loads on the reasonably level Fairbourne back in the day.
The best outcome acheivable unless serious surgery, on the scale applied to some of the Bure Valley 'ZB' locos is undertaken, would be restoration as an 'operable relic'.
Put simply, the old loco is what it is and expecting too much of it would be plain unrealistic.
For those unfamiliar with this attractive (if ineffective) old loco, here (credited to 'picssr.com') is a shot of EWT in exile. I remember the blue being rather more sun-bleached at Fairbourne - though quite how the hell that happened on Penrhyn Point is something of a mystery!
Yes, this engine was discussed a little while ago, and it is rather strange that such a low powered machine was acquired by a railway that needed far more capable designs. At one level it might be viewed as a part of the history of the development of the Japanese line and be viewed as a valuable artefact on the other hand it may be unwanted and be viewed as taking up valuable space.
If the latter, then bringing it home would be the best option and if this were to be possible then having it join the Fairbourne twins would be ideal to my mind. Having it worked on by someone who would be both sympathetic to its history and capable of getting the limited best out of it would be the next step if other than a cosmetic restoration were deemed the best course of action.
As much as perpetuating faults* on existing locos usually grates with me, in the case of EWT, a complete breath over would almost certainly alter the loco's fundemental nature.
Want something more suited to heavy 15" gauge work? Then do what the SRR did (twice!) and order another 'Northern Rock', or dust off the proposed but unbuilt 2-6-2 design based on 'the sisters', or the putative modern 2-8-0t suggested for the Bure Valley. Just don't wreck Ernie!
*let alone spending a fortune recreating a known turkey weeded out by the engineering version of Darwinian selection.
No one (I hope) wants to wreck it. But if it is currently viewed as being somewhat in the way at SSR there would be little lost in offering a safer home.
The "complete breath over" approach does alter a locomotive's nature, but there are a good number of examples of engines improved significantly without their appearance being changed overmuch. EWT is a part of the development history of 15" gauge railways and their associated locomotives within the UK. It might well be viewed as a bit of a turkey but it was a part of the Fairbourne scene for many years and some very modest Atlantic types have the occasional day out.
I know about the "Northern Rock" type builds, chalk and cheese when viewed alongside the Pacific in question but Ian Gaylor's proposed "Abigail" would be something else again.
Wouldn't it just! The idea of a custom designed loco to meet contemporary operating conditions is an exciting concept. The most recent fruit of blank sheet design (excluding in typical M&EE sizes) was "Northern Rock" ... and that didn't turn out half bad, looks or performance wise.
The engineering seems perfectly viable, as pretty much all has been incorporated successfully elsewhere and there's an almost something of a modernised 80xxx about 'Abigail's' styling - a 'plus' IMO. It's the suspension, which AFAIK is entirely novel applied to a steam loco, that I'm not 100% sure about.
Although 'Abigail' is specifically intended for Bure Valley conditions, I note the drivers (at 550mm) are about the same diameter as the RH&DR 4-8-2's, which have no problems operating at the same speed as the larger wheeled Greenly pacifics, but as I somehow doubt it'd fit under Littlestone Road Bridge, it's probably not going to spend too much time galloping across the marsh.
Whose thread have we invaded? Oh right ...... well the Kirklees loading gauge should cope with 'Abigail' perfectly well.
I don't think it is. I remember Pete Bryant of the Miniature Railway World forum sent a letter to Japan several years ago and was assured that the loco is not for sale. One can only assume that the park's visitors find her interesting even as a static exhibit.
That said, if circumstances ever changed and she were able to return to the UK then I don't think a return to steam should be ruled out, and it need not require extensive modifications. It is simply a case of finding the right course for the horse...I'm sure she would be quite at home on a smaller line like Evesham Vale or Windmill Farm. Whether those railways would actually be able and willing to spend money on her repatriation and restoration is another matter, however!
Video and photos from an excellent Katie filled Steam Gala.
Photo Gallery... Estate Railways - Steam and Diesel Gala 2019
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