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Cheddar's Philadelphia

Cheddar's 4-6-0 Philadelphia

by Jason Kovac
Lakewood, New Jersey
Photos by the author

April, 2011

The prototype
The following information about Philadelphia came from the PPS Steam Models web site:

"During the First World War, the British Government placed an order in America for a quantity of 495, 2' gauge 4-6-0T locomotives. All were built and delivered between the autumn of 1916 and the spring of 1917. The design followed standard American practice.

"Many of these locomotives, including Philadelphia, were sent to France for use on military duties. Philadelphia eventually found her way to Australia, where she was converted to a tender loco for use in the sugarcane fields of Queensland. She has now been preserved as an oil burner and runs on the Dreamland site in Queensland."

The model
Cheddar's Philadelphia was but to a very high standard. Only a few are known to exist. This was Cheddar's last loco built before going out of business in 2005. 

Running characteristics are typical of Cheddar locomotives -- very smooth and easy to control. The throttle is a slide valve under the boiler, controlled directly by a servo. Reversing is lever actuated by a servo, which flips from forward to reverse. The odd valve gear, designed by John Turner and also used on his locomotives, is tied into the main rod and all hung outside. With this design no adjustment is ever needed. There is only the ability to adjust the valve placement, not the timing. 

All R/C gear and batteries are neatly tucked in the cab. I swapped the receiver for a DX6 so I can control it with my existing radio.

There is a long, single-chime whistle, which is very shrill but works well on very low pressure. I will have to find a way to limit the pressure or valve travel to limit the amount of steam to the whistle.

The loco runs flawlessly and will run for about 30 minutes on a single boiler filling. The gas runs for much longer.

The loco and tender are solidly built of brass, all soldered up. The one drawback is that there is no boiler shell -- everything is soldered directly to the boiler. 

The engine is not designed for running in our cold New Jersey weather. I tried but couldn't raise 15 psi after 20 minutes at about 30 degrees F. 

There is a huge gas tank in the tender, about 6" x 2" x 1".

Here's a video of the engine in action. If for some reason you can't see it, click here.

Builder Cheddar Models (UK)
Date built Circa 2004
Gauge 45 mm (gauge 1)
Scale 1:20.3
Boiler Single flue with cross tubes
Fittings Regulator, whistle valve, pressure gauge, safety valve. Hand pump in tender
Fuel Butane gas
Blow-off pressure ?? psi
Cylinders Two double-acting with D-valves
Reversing gear Turner
Lubricator Displacement, with separate meter valves for both cylinders
Dimensions Length, 26-3/4"; width, 4-1/2”; height, 7-3/4”
Weight 7 lbs. 4 oz. (incl. 1/2 lb. of lead)
The two sides of the engine are nearly identical, with the exception of the lubricator sitting on the left-hand running board. While the prototype was 2' gauge, the model, running on 45mm track, is 3' gauge. Cheddar also offered a 32mm-gauge version.
The cab roof raises for easy access to the cab. A battery pack is held in a clip under the cab roof. The backhead is neatly arranged, with the water glass at the left, just below the pressure gauge. Cheddar's large ceramic burner can be seen, with the gas line going into the top.
This interesting valve gear was developed by John Turner and used on all of his engines. Cheddar later adopted it for use on all of their non-oscillating locomotives.
On the left-hand running board, just ahead of the cab, sits the large displacement lubricator. Note the two adjusting screws, one for each cylinder. The "air tank" under the running board is actually the whistle in disguise.
The large, chunky tender is neatly constructed, with the maker's plate prominent on the rear end.
Two servos can be seen, mounted beneath the cab. Also, note the unusual radial mounting for the front truck. The mouth of the whistle can be clearly seen above the rear drivers.
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