How not to build a loco…

Now that the ratiobash is pretty much complete I’ve decided to move on to the first loco for the HLR.  I’ve always liked Irish Narrow Gauge because the locos appear so large and purposeful, particularly the tank locos.  The overall atmosphere of the Irish systems is what I’d like to capture with Isle Ornsay.

My favourite loco are the 4-6-2Ts which were supplied to the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway by Hudswell Clarke.  They ordered several of the same design, and carried the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 15, and 16 (15 and 16 being renumbered from 7 and 8 in 1913.  These are powerful looking machines, but have a certain ‘flair’ about them.

I’ve always liked the 4-6-4T wheel arrangement so, with a little help, I dived into editing some drawings of the prototype to become a 4-6-4T and then brought out the plasticard.

The loco is to be built on a Graham Farish 08 chassis which will enable me to use outside frames, so often an omission on 009 locos.  It seems to run nicely as well.

I cut out the footplate based on the edited drawing, then the frames.  This is how it stood by this point:

Island Class Chassis Under Construction

As you can see from the photo above the chassis protrudes into the area where the front bogie should be! Lesson 1 – draw things out to scale first rather than relying on prototype drawings being scaled and turning out right.  As I’m going to be freelancing most things I think this is an important thing that I’ll have to do many times over in the future.

Following some discussion on NGRM online a choice between a 2-6-4T or a 4-6-2T was arrived at given the restrictions with the chassis dimensions.  This then begged the question, why can’t the rear of the 4-6-2T be extended to achieve the 4-6-4T wheel arrangement I wanted? Well, when doing this the loco seemed far too long.  One of the problems of scaling 3′ gauge locos down to 2’6″ gauge and matching them proportionally to the rolling stock is that of the proportions of the loco.  The 4-6-4T just wasn’t going to work.

Lesson 2 – all the designs I started off doing were on paper, I went through about 3 designs drawing very similar things in slightly different locations on the loco to make it look ‘right’… I’ll be doing it on my Mac from now on though, much easier to copy and paste stuff.

So, the 4-6-2T has been decided on as the one to go with, it seems to have the best proportions and should build into a nice loco.

Island Class 4-6-2T design

Hopefully that’s the end of the ‘how not to build a loco’ part of this story and things will go more smoothly.  It is my first scratchbuilt loco after all.

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