The On-Line Magazine of Rideable Model Railroading

  NUMBER 201


© August 29, 2013   

 ©Discover Live Steam. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission.

 | Read other articles Send in an article |


What to do with a "Clapped-Out" Rusted Out Locomotive?



Written by Martyn Redfearn and Brian Biggs

Spuggy and a driving truck along with some 7 ¼” gauge track were given to me by a friend just before he passed away. Spuggy was a rather old and rusty looking 0-4-0 narrow gauge diesel outline loco with a Honda 90 motorcycle engine but with no reverse gear and it had long been out of use for some time. The only known photo clearly showed Spuggy as a standard gauge Hunslet, although the Spuggy I collected was a freelance narrow gauge loco.

I dropped Spuggy off at Brighouse and Halifax club track on the way home planning to have a look next time I went. Well of course Brian and Ray could not resist trying Spuggy out on the following Wednesday. After a lot of messing they got the engine started but only by lifting the wheels off the floor, sticking clutch being diagnosed. Spuggy made it around the track and they both did some head scratching on how to get a reversing option.

The next time we played the nut that was welded on the kick-start shaft broke off and we started to think that not only did we need a gearbox but perhaps an engine too. However, after toying with various ideas and visits to many model engineering web sites we decided on a hydrostatic drive, so the Ebay search was on. Eventually we found a brand new Eaton 7 at a very reasonable price. We had also started hunting for a single cylinder diesel engine that would fit into the bodywork, although in the end we settled for an electric start 6.5hp petrol engine.

I decided to start by stripping the body off; it soon became apparent that 5 years in a damp shed had done little for the sheet metal work. So we started looking for a prototype to model a replacement body on. When I got to removing the running gear it became apparent that Spuggy had at least one previous life and that some ropy old bits of metal had been used to rebuild the chassis, was it time for a new chassis? And that running gear, the wheels were aluminum, well at least the name plates would clean up, wouldn’t they? So the rebuild consisted of a pair of very old name plates, which I am reliably informed, were cast in maker’s backyard. So we really have a rebuild to match that of LMS’s Royal Scots on paper it is a rebuild but the reality is Spuggy would be a brand new loco.

We started to consider options and our requirements; must be good enough to haul a decent load, suitable for up and down work on the portable track, be self-contained i.e. the driver sat on the loco, preferably 0-4-0 to keep it simple and easily transportable. So it was back on the web searching for images and then I found a picture of a Lister Autotruck. More searching and I found a drawing that I could scale some basic dimensions and as usual got the 3D software to work. I quickly sent off the prototype drawings for Brian’s approval and I got the usual sarcastic email reply which I took to meaning he approved.

The Lister was of course a very simple design, 4 pieces of 3 x 1.5” channel, 2 x 48” and 2 x 24”, yes me and Brian got into the usual argument about metric and imperial and the loco is a mixture of imperial and metric measurements.

By this stage I had drawn the front grill out knowing that we had some 100x10 flat aluminum in stock. I sent the CAD drawings over to Brian and within a week he had CNC’d the sections of the grill. Doing this so early turned out to be a mistake I had scaled the bonnet from the photographs, drawing it as per the original Lister. Later we need to added 50mm into the width, just to give it a little more clearance inside.

The channel was pre-cut to length when it arrived so Brian only had to cut some angle and bolt it together to get a basic chassis together, easy that production lark. The horns were from 50x50mm angle with 12x60mm plate bolted with ‘takeup’ bearings performing the role of axle boxes. I should have said that as usual Spuggy is only loosely based on the Lister, neither of us are ‘rivet counters’.

Brian cut the angle to mount the engine and gearbox as per my drawings which originally matched the Lister, but he mounted the angle upside down. When I pointed out the mistake he decide it was much simpler the way he had built it, so we started to move away from a miniature Lister Autotruck to a ‘BR Autotruck’. We were also reconsidering the bonnet, on the original Lister it only covered part of the engine and needing belt covers. A simple cover all bonnet looked a better/simpler option, so it was back to the drawing board (well laptop) and I redrew the engine mounts and the bonnet. That simple bonnet has lots of louvers thankfully Simon took on creating them and doing the final assembly of the bonnet which included adding 50mm extra into the width of the front.

We need a main tank for the air brakes but where should we put it? Well I had a brain wave we had some 5” diameter steam pipe, so I drew the seat mount as the air tank. Brian dually welded some 5mm plate on each end, now I do hope, and when I am sat on it pray, Brian’s welding is up to scratch or Spuggy could be fitted with an ejector seat!

I decided that rather than the weights that the original Lister carried on each buffer beam, a set of snowploughs would look good. For once I did most of the work on these. When I took them over to Brian’s they needed a little gently persuasion with the lump hammer and angle grinder made them fit but they do the job, just need some snow to try them out.

Now you will have already gathered from my previous article, ‘What we need is a big diesel’, that I like the idea of sitting inside locos and one of the reasons for choosing a Lister Autotruck was that some ran with a roof, it was ideal because it could be made easily removable so we could get it into the engine shed, remember my problem with Victoria being too high.

Spuggy complete with roof in the winter sun.

When Spuggy arrived at the club it seemed to be a success in that she seems to be out every day with different members driving her around. It was noticed that the springing was a little soft at the driver’s end. A number of club members suggested solutions to this issue was around the size of the driver. However, it has prompted a change from springs to rubber springing. This appears to have sorted it out without an enforced diet for either Brian or me!

We decided that this was Spuggy’s third incarnation, hence she now is No3, which is part of the new nameplates on the roof and the red No3 ‘pool ball’ which is used as a gear knob. But she does also carry her original nameplates either side of the bonnet so technically is a rebuild. You can see her visiting various UK railways on my Youtube Channel


Written by Martyn Redfearn
and Brian Biggs

© Discover Live Steam


 | Read other articles Send in an article |


the end

Would you like to discuss
the ideas in this article? 
Post a comment or question here.

Write to
(the subject line must contain the word discover)


Have an idea for an article? 
We need your article on ....

Technical Issues such as problems and solutions associated with steam locos, hydraulic drives, electric drives, track laying and maintenance, signal systems.

Construction Projects, mostly looking for car projects (let's leave the steamer building to the print magazines). How about scenery construction or building a hand car?

Full scale railroads and museums.  If you work for or volunteer for a railroad, if you've visited one recently and have a few photos and can write up a half dozen paragraphs on it, we'll be happy to put it up on the web.

Live Steam Railroads. How about a little background and a tour of your railroad or one you've visited.

Please share what you know with us.


The On-Line Magazine of Ridable Model Railroading

Read Other Articles

| Live Steam Railroads | Suppliers | Postings | For Sale  |
 | Events Calendar | Books | Magazines | Videos  | Photo Contest |


Hit Counter