An interesting event this year. Probably for the first time in MELSA’s history of having this annual event, no-one entered their works into the Competition.

However, the display of projects under construction provided excellent and animated conversation for a few hours. The fellowship amongst the group was very pleasing to see, and to participate in.

The following is a description of the displays:

Philip brought along an Allchin Traction Engine he partly built some years ago of a 1925, 7 nominal HP prototype. The Allchin has 2-speed gearing, and is in 1 ½ per ft scale (that’s 1/8 full size). The rear axle has a working differential, and removable pins on the LH wheel to allow use of the winch just like the prototype (of course).

The Allchin's works

The Allchin’s works

Allchin traction engines were built by William Allchin of Northampton in 1925. This company was one of the pioneers among traction engine builders and this engine was the last traction engine they built as they had started to construct steam trucks. This engine spent most of it’s working life on farms. It is a 7 NHP engine but was capable of producing 32 bhp and could pull 20 ton loads. In the 1950’s the engine was derelict and overgrown with brambles until it was bought and brought back to working order and is still to be seen at traction engine rallies around the UK.

Phil's 1/8th scale Traction Engine

Phil’s 1/8th scale Traction Engine

Phil’s model was described in Model Engineer magazine starting sometime around 1950 and ran for a number of years. Phil started work on his engine in 1961 and made parts during lunch breaks and any other times when it was possible to work on it. The engine is still not fully complete and the last work was done on it towards the end of 1970. At some time in the future Phil hopes to add the last few details.

Phil’s other model on display was a nice 3 ½” 4-4-0 Steam locomotive from the North Eastern Railway. The R1 class were designed by Wilson Worsdell and the first of the class came out of the Darlington workshops in 1908. They were designed with large boilers and driving wheels to pull the Flying Scotsman train between Newcastle and Edinburgh and in this they were very successful engines. These engines were builtdscn2179-cropped during a time in the UK when inside cylinder 4-4-0 wheel arrangement was very popular in the fast passenger work.  Phil’s engine was described in Model Engineer by LBSC in 1939 and this was Phil’s second 3 ½” inch loco and built in 1959 and was sometimes used on the portable track at Surry Hills live steamers, and it was also run on backyard tracks around Melbourne.

Dale brought along the chassis of the QR 6D 13 ½ steam locomotive (0-4-0) he currently has under construction. Only 6 of these were built in 1904 as tank locos but were later converted to tender engines.

dscn2180-croppedThe story of these engines began back in 1904 when the Chief Mechanical Engineer, William Nisbet ordered six small tank engines for shunting duties for within south-east Qld.  To reduce the cost of construction, wheelsets from converted B15 goods locomotives were used in the production of these engines which was carried out at the Ipswich Railway Workshops and numbered 396 to 401.   After completion in 1905 and weighing in at 30 ½ tons with an adhesive factor of 6.13,  these engines were able to shunt the largest of goods trains at the Roma St. yards and the Pinkenba wharf areas.

The only drawback with these tank locomotives was their coal and water carrying capability, only 1 ton 3 cwt of coal and 670 gallons of water which necessitated frequent replenishment.  It was because of this reason that in 1937 it was decided to convert them to tender engines, using tenders mainly from B13 locomotives. Now with tenders and no side tanks, these engines were reclassified as Class B13 ½ (0-6-0).

However, once the tanks were completely removed these engines they became lightweights and were pitiful.  To try and

Close up of part of Dale's Motion Gear

Close up of part of Dale’s Motion Gear

compensate for the loss of the tanks, a large sand dome was fitted to the rear of the boiler which completely spoilt the look of the loco.  In addition, large thick steel plates were also welded into the rear of the frames to try and compensate for the shift in balance, but the locos were never a complete success and were relegated to just light duties.

Construction of Dale’s 5”gauge tank engine began on Boxing Day 2015 after detailed plans were purchased from Neil MacKenzie. No castings were available for this particular model but cylinders, steam chest and steam dome castings from the PB-15 were found to be suitable after some modifications and wheels from the A-10 were found to be the correct size.  All castings were purchased through John Ruggles of Hobby Mechanics.  Both Neil and John are dedicated to the hobby and extremely helpful for anyone contemplating building a scale model of a Queensland steam locomotive.

Doug brought for display his chassis for the A3 engine. The A3 (as we all know), was made famous by one of the type

A3 Chassis nearing completion

A3 Chassis nearing completion

which was better known as the Flying Scotsman. This loco, 4472, was put into service in 1923 and achieved two world records – firstly as the first steam locomotive to be officially acknowledged as travelling at better than 100mph (160kph for the younger people), and then later, it set the distance record while in Australia in 1989 when it travelled non-stop for 422 miles (679 km). The Flying Scot logged over 2,000,000 miles in it’s illustrious career.

Next to the A3 chassis, Doug had his near complete tender for a P2 Loco. We saw the loco almost finished last year.

Tender for P3 Locomotive

Tender for P3 Locomotive

Perhaps 2017 will see the complete engine/tender set at our Display and Competition! The P2 was another English loco – for the LNER. It ran largely Edinburgh to Aberdeen and only 6 were built between 1934 and 1936, but in 1943-44, they were rebuilt from 2-8-2 to 4-6-2 which is Doug’s model.

A collection of patterns for A3

A collection of patterns for A3

Also credited to Doug were the patterns on display as made by him for parts of the A3 engine. Doug gave interested members a description of how the patterns were used at the foundry to make the castings. Patterns on display were for the main wheels and drivers, the cylinders and the smokebox door. As Doug said, pattern making is easier than fabricating.



Chris had his C36 present (again) but this year the engine is virtually complete with a cab and all that it needs to go, and

The operating part of a C36 in 5 inch gauge

The operating part of a C36 in 5 inch gauge

looking resplendent in Emerald green. Some may say that this is not a “true to type” colour but it looks great. When trying to find out the “official” colour, Chris was given samples of Heritage green which didn’t correspond to any photos available, and when told that 3604 was about to be painted after restoration, Chris was also told “we haven’t decided what colour”. That was enough to allow the freedom he needed to paint it a nice shade of green.

The tender for the C36 is well on the way with the complete chassis underneath a brass

C36 Tender under construction with many of the 2500-ish rivets in place

C36 Tender under construction with many of the 2500-ish rivets in place

tender which had to be taken of the drill press the night before in the middle of drilling another line of holes for 1/16” brass rivets. Apparently there will be around 2400 rivets in the tender when finished.

The NSW Railways only built 75 of the class, but it is noticed that Chris’ loco carries the number of 3676. Hmmmmmmmm!

We also had on display, some works by long term member Jack Paine. Jack recently had to move into a retirement home and his family brought some of his workshop gear as well as some of his output to MELSA Maryborough Inc. The chassis of a 3 ½” steamer appears quite complete with a boiler almost ready to sit into the frames. A box of workshop “special” tools and bits and pieces also was rifled through by a few hands. We wish Jack all the best for the years ahead.

So that was 2016 Display with no Competition but lots of Discussion. A really great day for all the modellers and we do hope that next year will bring a bigger display and some entrants to the Competition.

Thank you to all who contributed to this article by bringing along the fruits of your endeavours and also for providing information about the prototypes including Google and John Armstrong who wrote Locomotive in the Tropics Vol 1.