My secret’s out! I’ve joined the locomotive-owning classes! I always said that I regarded owning a locomotive was rather like having a boat or caravan - one feels compelled to use it, tying yourself to its park or mooring to the neglect of other activities. However, during the construction of my ‘Bolide’ I felt myself weakening and even muttering ‘Get thee behind me, Satan’ as I placed a classified ad. on the Model Engineer website. Imagine my amazement when I received a reply within days offering me an uncompleted battery-powered tram engine rolling chassis, as serialised over five issues in Model Engineer spring 1989. Had I not bought this item, from a gentleman in Nottingham, a week or two later a similarly priced battery locomotive was offered in the printed small ads. It was the work of a couple of weeks to make it self-propelled, as well as dealing with a deranged computer, my ‘Bolide’ and this column, not to mention writing for other publications. (I said not to mention them!) I used a cheap gearbox, a small motor, and two 12 volt sealed leadacid batteries, plus a Chinese motor speed controller, to do so, then it was locomoting about the dining room, prior to being taken to the Sheffield Model Engineers’ track for an initial test (photos 1 and 2). The gears at top right are spare mini-lathe change gears, which could not have been a better fit if they had been so designed. Watch this space!
On Christmas Eve, I was pleased to receive an e-mail from a very old friend of whom I had not seen or heard for 40+ years. He said he was reading this magazine, looked up my amateur radio callsign and decided to renew our friendship. So, in addition to Auld Lang Syne, we celebrated Auld Lang Callsign...
In this issue: a hurricane, floods, arboriculture, a prominence, a biblical character and a screwdriver.
Hutt Valley & Maidstone Model Engineering Societies Blastpipe, February, was active over the festivities, in that Philip Drummond asked to try out Ian Welch’s Rio Grande locomotive ensuring that it was shipshape and Bristol fashion for the Hamilton weekend. Whilst running on the track, there were the inevitable visitors, especially after testing the whistle! They were told it was not a running day, therefore no charge was levied, although one individual did pay, with a €5 note! Visitors noted were from Zimbabwe and Holland, one of which in the latter party was Bernhard van der Steen, editor of the Netherlands’ model engineering magazine, ÅŒnder Stoom. W. www.hvmes.com
Centurion Smokebox, from Centurion Society of Model Engineers, had much work to do clearing up after the flooding, including the rubbish washed downstream into their site. The electricals previously thought to be above high water mark were again submerged, and need refurbishing. Some items could not be resuscitated, like the computer, videos, the lower shelves of magazines etc. I was also sent a 12 page .pdf about the construction of the Kaiimansrivier railway bridge, in the November Civil Engineering, which I did enjoy reading: mail.google. com/mail/u/0/#label/A++ME%2FMEW+articles/FMfcg xwGCkngQRwdtPgsCJwQzfm vkFTj?projector=1&messageP artId=0.1 W. www.centuriontrains.com
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