1 - Steam locomotives

(click here for part 2 - Internal combustion)

Up to now the C&DR mainly uses steam power, because steam has always been my main interest. However, some petrol and diesel traction has come in over the years (see next page). With the existing steam power and rolling stock several periods can be portrayed: the 1880s, around 1910 and around 1930. In the last case some petrol and diesel railcars are added to the roster. I always built my own locomotives, often by adapting a standard gauge body shell to an N gauge mechanism, the main requirement being that the result looks plausible. Later I built more scale and semi-scale models, either from scratch or from kits. Where necessary I replaced the motor by a Mashima, to combat noise and improve running qualities.

2013 must be considered the 'year of locomotives', as no less than 6 were added to the roster, three main line steam locos, a tramway saddle tank, an industrial steam loco and an industrial diesel. The latter three are shown in the third motive power page.

My first successful narrow gauge loco resulted from matching an Airfix kit and a Minitrix chassis in 1968. The pictured locos no. 1 Firth of Clyde and no. 2 Craigcorrie are the third and fourth models of this kind which I constructed. Loco no. 1 has LED lights, the other hasn't, and they differ in construction. I tuned the Minitrix 0-6-0 chassis, reducing all the mechanical ‘play’ to almost zero. They run rather better now. Lower photos: recently I decided to alter them into an 0-6-2 wheel arrangement, as they were too big for a small wheeled 0-4-0 with a probable weight of about 20 tons. The wheels are still too small for their size, but at least they look better. They are used for coal trains of around 8 wagons.

No. 3 Maid of the Loch is a freelance 4-6-0T in a Beyer Peacock style which I made in 1979. The inclined cylinders and smokebox door, outside frame bogie and dome-mounted safety valves together with the open cab date the loco in the 1870s era. There are some similarities to the Isle of Man and Metropolitan Railway locomotives. The model is the successor of a loco I built in 1969. It has a very old Liliput chassis with excellent running properties, and is fitted with LED lights. It is used on the branch passenger service.

No. 4 Invicta was made in 1969 and was originally built from 1mm ply and card, using a Jouef Decauville 0-4-0 chassis. During its lifetime it received a new chassis twice and some reconstruction work was done using 1mm plastic sheet. This is the oldest remaining locomotive on the CDR and although it is detailed rather less well than my later models I still use it occasionally as a spare loco in the goods and mixed train service. The present Fleischmann chassis (rebuilt to 0-4-2 arrangement) is a very silent and powerful runner. The model is now painted mid-green with yellow lining.

No. 5 Shiva was built in 1977 using the Langley Darjeeling 'B' class kit and an Arnold chassis. The kit's quality is very mediocre when compared to present-day standards, but during a rebuild I fitted false outside frames and motion using plastic sheet, small brass nails and copper wire for the connecting and coupling rods, which upgraded the model to a better standard. This loco has LED lights and is a good slow runner. It is painted blue like the real Darjeeling locos and is mainly used on the branch mixed service.

No. 6 Inveraray is from 1978. The original 0-4-4T configuration was rebuilt to its present outline very soon afterwards. Despite the oversized chimney this is an attractive model, loosely based on the (much smaller) Ffestiniog England engines in their original guise. The plastic sheet body was built up around the smooth-running Fleischmann N gauge loco I started from. The fat chimney is a Seuthe smoke unit, and in addition the model has lights on the bufferbeam and in the firebox. This engine is usually employed on light passenger service or station pilot duties at Dunalistair.

No. 7 Brahma was built in the early 1980s on a salvaged Rivarossi/Atlas underframe and uses a Fleischmann 0-6-0 diesel as a tender drive. This dark green 2-8-0 loco with orange lining is based on the 'C' class Pacifics of the Darjeeling Railway. The superstructure was made of plastic although some brass sheet was used in the tender. A smoke unit and lights are fitted, and the tender drive has one traction tyre to assist adhesion. This loco is used on the coal or heavy goods service.

The Garratt loco no. 8 Gaidheal was originally built in 1976 and has been subjected to repeated rebuilds which has resulted in the condition in which it is illustrated. The model uses two Minitrix 0-6-0s, with the boiler unit pivoted from holes drilled in the inner coupler pockets of these chassis. This engine again is fitted with a smoke unit and lights, and has been fitted with two Mashima motors, improving the running quality. This loco's great weight of 200g makes it the CDR's strongest puller. The Minitrix chassis are a bit noisy and subject to wear, but they are connected electrically so the loco is very reliable.

No. 11 Greta is a more recent (1991) representative of the simple conversion method I use, fitting an 00 gauge commercial body shell to an N gauge locomotive. Here, a shortened and narrowed Hornby saddle tank body was fitted to the Fleischmann 0-4-0 tank loco. A pony truck was added, resulting in an attractive 0-4-2ST. This smooth-running model was fitted with lights and a red LED in the firebox. The loco is mainly used in mixed or light goods service, or on station pilot duty at Dunalistair.

No. 12 Brutus is a short wheelbase 0-6-0T built in 2013, using another Liliput chassis and a Tri-ang Jinty body. This loco is often used as the harbour shunter or on the branch goods trains. Another excellent slow runner and very attractive in its chocolate brown livery.

No. 13 Robert the Bruce was built in 1997 using a Triang TT Jinty body and a very ancient German outline 2-6-4T by Arnold, both dating back to the 1960s. The Triang shell was stretched and glued to the cut down Arnold body. The smoke unit and speed-reducing diodes had to be removed after I introduced feedback controllers. The motor was replaced by a Mashima unit, but the drive transmission still has to be improved as it is a little stiff. The model is fitted with large colonial-type headlights made of bright LEDs. The 'Bruce' is a striking addition to the motive power roster and is exclusively used on the Dunalistair Mail boat train.

No. 13 Robert the Bruce was modified to a 2-6-2T in 2013, and the transmission was lined up better and a clutch between the motor and the worm was treated with silicone sealant to reduce the noise. The modified loco looks rather better than before and is much quieter running.

No. 14 Calabar was built in 1991 using the well-known Dundas Sierra Leone Hunslet kit. It uses the Minitrix 2-6-2 chassis which may be a good performer but has the disadvantage of being noisy and having the wrong type of valve gear. Some day I must add the outside frames and cranks I once promised myself. The noise has been successfully removed by fitting a good quality Mashima motor. The model is fitted with a front searchlight and a light in the firebox, and usually runs in the mixed or goods service.

No. 16 Ariadne was built in the year 2000 using a Chivers Hudswell Clarke plantation loco kit and a dilapidated Fleischmann 2-8-0 tender engine chassis. The resulting 0-8-0 tender loco doesn't look like any British-built narrow gauge loco, but it is an attractive and highly detailed model which is a smooth performer and a useful addition to the CDR power roster, being used on all kinds of trains but mainly goods and mixed. The tender is powered and the etched tender body was fitted to the original N gauge tender. Some work was needed to tailor the loco body to the chassis, more of which can be found on the Dutch 009 Group website. The motor was replaced by a Mashima.

The heavy 0-6-4T No. 17 William Wallace is another loco built in 2013, using an Arnold 2-6-4T and a Tri-ang TT Jinty body shell. This is loosely based on the Cavan & Leitrim railway 'King Edward', complete with cowcatcher and a large Colonial looking headlight. This is another powerful loco for the coal trains or for heavy goods service. The headlight is powered with a LED. Despite the ancient mechanism this is a smooth runner.

The Campbeltown Barclay Atlantic was modelled in 1999 using the Backwoods Miniatures kit. The model was finished with Peter Blackham transfers, and despite initial trouble with the power pickup and chassis distortion this is now a powerful and smooth-running loco. It is one of the few scale models on the railway and usually runs on the mixed or goods service.

Pride of the fleet, next to the Campbeltown loco, must be the Leek & Manifold Valley Railway no. 1 E.R.Calthrop, built in 2013 using a Meridian whitemetal kit, a modified Backwoods Miniatures chassis and parts from several other suppliers. The beautiful balanced cranks and a tool to press them on the axles were made by Jeff Bissonnette, a friend from the U.S. The loco is a very smooth runner and fitted with a LED headlight. It takes turns with Robert the Bruce on the Dunalistair Mail.

The near-scale 'Lawley' 4-4-0 tender engine no. NG108 Shaka Zulu was built from styrene using drawings published in the Continental Modeller magazine in 1994. The tender is powered by another of the Fleischmann industrial 0-6-0 diesel chassis, and the electrical supply is carried to the loco to power the headlight and firebox light. The smoke unit it was fitted with was removed as it came on at far too high a speed. The loco has false outside frames and working rodding, although the wheels are connected with gears. This loco is used exclusively on the passenger service.

Loco 3D is one of the Hunslet 2-6-0Ts of the Tralee & Dingle Railway, based on the Chivers 3.5mm scale kit. The prototype was a 3ft gauge engine, of course, but the model runs on 9mm gauge. Being 3.5mm scale this isn’t very apparent, and I used a large-wheeled Farish 4MT tank chassis and altered the cab roof to disguise the fact even more. This model is an excellent runner and is used exclusively in the goods service. It is numbered 3D (D for Dunalistair) in accordance with the old CIÉ numbering style of narrow gauge engines. Its prototype would have been no 3T.

PART 2 - Internal combustion