A review of an 0-4-0T industrial locomotive in 7/8" scale
by Marc Horovitz
|Gauge 1, 7/8" scale, live-steam 0-4-0T
1815 Orchard Ave.
Boulder CO 80304
Price: $2,000 + s&h
Pros: Superb workmanship; excellent finish; excellent running characteristics; easily controllable; rods made from solid bar stock; easy access to control; powerful for size; can be kept in steam indefinitely; correct scale/gauge combination; prototypical wheel-tread width; excellent instruction sheets
Cons: Fire can be difficult to light due to tightness of burner in firebox; blowdown valve a little awkward to reach because of throttle position
|Waterline is a new name in the field of live-steam manufacturers. They intend to produce a diverse series of locomotives in very limited numbers. When each is sold out, no more of that type will be made.
The companys first product is a beaut. It is a freelance model of a two-foot-gauge industrial 0-4-0 side-tanker in 7/8" scale. The engine follows British practice in appearance, but dont let that put you offBritish industrial manufacturers exported their engines to all parts of the globe, including to the USA.
This engine is typical of a small, industrial locomotive. It has outside frames and dummy side tanks. Being built to 7/8" scale, it is a large model of a small engine. It really looks the part, being well proportioned, compact and chunky, and embodying all of the character of the best of the industrial locomotives.
|Bodywork is primarily of steel plate, fastened with round-head allen screws. The boiler is an externally fired pot type with a four-wick alcohol burner. Fuel is carried in a removable tank in the cab, feeding a sump under the footplate via a chicken-feed system. The removable tank is a nice touch, although it can be easily serviced in place. On top of it is a filler cap and a nicely turned flow-valve handle. To fill the tank, the valve is closed and the cap removed. The prescribed amount of fuel is added and the cap replaced. The valve can then be opened, allowing fuel to flow to the sump and to the wicks.
Right: Clarence Rutherford's fuel tank lifts right out.
|Boiler fittings include a safety valve set at around 60 psi, a throttle, a blowdown valve, a pressure gauge, and a Goodall-type filler valve. Controls are neatly arranged and the cab is large and roomy.|
|Robust, double acting, D-valve cylinders with functional crosshead guides are mounted to the heavy frames.||The long valve rods are actuated by rockers behind the rear axle of the locomotive.|
|The locomotive is equipped with a pair of double acting, D-valve cylinders, controlled by slip eccentrics on the rear axles. Cylinder heads are held in place with cap-head allen screws. Crossheads are supported by functional crosshead guides. To maximize room for the burner, the eccentrics actuate rocker arms that are set behind the rear axle. Rockers drive the valves via very long valve rods, which add to the engines charm. Side rods are beautifully made from solid bar stock, not punched from plate, and have prototypical heft and thickness. The main rods and valve rods are retained on the shafts with E-clips. While not prototypical, these are not visually obtrusive and do not detract from the looks of the engine.|
|An unusual feature is the exhaust diverter. This is a rotary valve placed under the engine, between the cylinders. When starting, this valve is opened and the exhaust is diverted to the track instead of up the stack, resembling the exhaust steam from open drain cocks. When an engine starts from cold, steam oil is often squirted from the stack, falling back on the boiler and cab, making a mess. The diverter eliminates this problem, as the oil is dumped on the track. Once the cylinders have warmed, the valve can be closed, at which time the exhaust will be routed up the stack.
Right: The exhaust diverter is between the cylinders at the front of the locomotive. Below: Space is tight between the burner and the firebox walls. Note the eccentrics driving to the rear.
|Before firing up the engine, I first read the instructions supplied. These are excellent, though they include only textno photos. I then prepared the engine in the usual way, filling the lubricator and adding the prescribed amount of water through the safety-valve hole. I filled the fuel tank, opened the fuel valve, and waited a few seconds for the fuel to soak the wicks. I found that lighting the fire was a little problematic. The burner is a fairly tight fit in the firebox to prevent cold air from entering. I finally resorted to an igniter made of two or three strands of wick material held in a thin wire. This I soaked in alcohol, lit, and was able to slide between the burner and the firebox wall, thus lighting the wicks.
Test day was cold. The temperature hovered around the freezing mark. Cold-weather running is often difficult with gas-fired engines. Not so, this meths-fired loco. The needle on the gauge lifted in less than five minutes and blow-off pressure was reached in about eight. I opened the exhaust-diverter valve, then opened the throttle and pushed the engine forward to set the eccentrics. The cylinders were quite cold and water and steam oil spluttered onto the track. However, they soon warmed and the engine showed signs of life. With a little more encouragement, the cylinders were soon warm enough that the engine became self sustaining, with steam billowing out below the cylinders.
|I closed the diverter valve, opened the throttle, and sent the engine on its way. The atmospherics were wonderful on this cold, crisp day. Clouds of steam poured from the stack as the locomotive ran smoothly around, lap after lap. The throttle is easily accessible and the engine can be throttled down to a crawl, even running light. It will also run faster than you are comfortable with. The total run lasted approximately 25 minutes. However, with the engine set up the way it is, it can be kept in steam all day, if you wish, since both fuel and water can be added while the engine is under pressure.
While this is a relatively sophisticated locomotive in its design and construction, it is one that can easily be mastered by the newest of recruits, especially given the excellent instructions provided. If you are in the market for a small, 7/8"-scale steamer, youll not go wrong with this one.
Sidestreet Bannerworks, 2008