Tuesday 10 October 2017

Jabberwock Pt.10: Going Narrow-Minded...

Having decided that the crane-locomotive idea had some potential, I was struck by the fact that the size of the prototype would be a challenging issue...  The possible solution was to go narrow gauge.

Just to put that in context; in Britain, the standard width of railways is 4ft, 8 and a quarter inches, which is because that is how wide some primitive wagonways were, which in turn has to do with the width of chariot axles and horses-backsides if you go back far enough.  It's a bit more technical than that of course, other sources of information are available.

Narrow Gauge railways were developed mainly for industrial use, or for building railways in tricky terrain, and consequently locomotives and equipment tends to be smaller, at least in the UK.

Playing about with the idea, the narrow gauge locomotive I like the most is the England tank loco:

These early veterans, running on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales, are quite large for their scale, characterful, and powerful, but run on the narrow gauge that I'd need to consider for a final build...

"Prince" and "Palmerston" are still functional, seen in these pics I took a few years back; "Princess" and "Welsh Pony" are in store/under restoration respectively.

Traditional crane-tanks have their crane jibs above the boiler; due to the limited size of the loco, I'm improvising a fair bit here, and mounting the crane alongside the boiler in a distinctly non-prototypical fashion...

A benefit of choosing the England tank loco is that Ertl used to make a decent die-cast model based loosely on the design, for their Thomas the Tank Engine range.  Bought cheaply from a charity shop, and with a lot of work with a razor saw later had it down to its component parts.

More toys from the same source provided parts for the rest of the build, along with some broken kit parts.

Tarpaulins were scraps of felt.  I wasn't too bothered with the scale look of things, this was more of a concept test...

Well, the idea of doing a narrow gauge crane tank looked like it should have had some room for further experimentation and development.

You cannot really tell there is an England tank loco under all those gubbins, and using the toy digger parts made it all look too modern.  I reckoned it was worth exploring the concept further though...

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