Canvey Railway and Model Engineering Club.
It might not have a name yet but its nickname is
"I'm reviewing the situation"
The builder had always fancied since he was a young engineer, the opportunity to drive an engine that was pulled him along and in 2022 was fortunate enough to acquire the Alice Locomotive built by Vic Huggett. This engine design was first serialised in May 1997 in the Model Engineer. The Locomotive is based on the Martin Evans designed Simplex, however it deviates by being an 0-6-2 wheel configuration. The modified plans were originally conceived, by Jim Wilson, a member of the Guildford MES. Basically, the loco chassis has been extended by around six inches with the addition of a pony truck under the rear. It was stated at the time that the addition made the model more comfortable to drive for extended periods.
It's previous name was "Alice" and was named after the vice president of the Guildford MES, however there is a plan that this particular engine will have a different name sometime soon. The engine had its first Hydraulic test in 2006, and its last steam test expired in 2013. It's unclear how much running it has done during this time, but all indications show very little. Towards the end of last year, with thoughts of the fine weather to come, preparations began to get ready for the new season. The loco had not been run for nearly ten years, so the certification had all expired.
The engine is a credit to Vic's workmanship, really well made and fitted. A reflection of a real craftsman, but like anything left for a considerable time, things needed attention. After an exploratory home hydraulic test, it was evident that there were a number of issues to be addressed. Glands needed lubricating and adjusting, the smoke box needed some minor cleaning, both boiler blowdown valves were jammed in the closed position, and the balls corroded, and needing replacement.
The next thing that I wanted to modify was the ash pan having already sorted out some minor bits & bobs. I felt the addition of an opening door would aid cleaning, and facilitate better steaming, as the ashpan itself is really quite small and very confined where it passes over the axle it very quickly, during a trial running at home, became full and restricted the airflow through to the fire.
So, a quick thumbnail sketch and the build was away! The original ash pan as constructed by Vic, had columns supporting the grate and bolted through the pan floor. This also created a chance of ash build up in the grate. The act of cutting the door into the bottom meant that this had to be reworked by installing a new cross bar from stainless steel which would support the grate and bring back stiffness lost during door cutting.
Towards the end of February 2023, the engine went to the club for its Hydraulic test. The two inspectors cast their experienced eyes over the loco and I am pleased to say, they passed it fit for the next stage. Three days later it was back at the club for the steam test, with all the necessary parts of the engine reattached. The inspector and a witness checking all is well. The test was successful, and the engine has a clean bill of health, so ready to run.
With regard to the ashpan door modification, Well the best laid plans of mice & men, didn't take into account the 3 ½” rail at the club raised level! When the door is operated, it comes down onto the rail head. Never gave it a thought during the design stage. Oh well, and as Fagin Said “I'm Reviewing the situation”
I'm reviewing the situation now has a proper name.