Worsley Hughes tram loco

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Worsley Hughes tram loco

Postby pete_mcfarlane » Sat Jun 18, 2022 9:39 pm

I first saw a picture of the Wantage tramway's Hughes steam tram as a kid in the 1980'6. My Grandfather had a stash of Model Railway Constructor annuals, one of which (1983) has an article on steam tramways including a photo of this contraption. It looked easy to make, being basically a box on wheels, so I tried to make one myself out of cornflake boxes....

Obviously that was a complete disaster, and was massively overscale as I'd sized it for my other OO stock, not realising that the real loco was tiny. It's the kind of steam tram loco that would tow a horse tram trailer or two round the streets, rather than pull lengthy freight trains round Cambridgeshire or Belgium

Anyway, about 30 years later I bought a set of etches from Worsley works for the Wantage loco, as I still quite fancied a model. It will be a freelance example, rather than an exact model of the Wantage loco (or any similar Hughes locos - the Swansea and Mumbles had one as well). I do remember painting the original card model a royal blue colour, and I still have an ancient tin of Humbrol blue in my paint box which may even be the same one, so that takes care of what colour to paint it.

(I don't know about everyone else, but my paint box has loads of old and perfectly useable tins of Humbrol that seem to last forever, including some I inherited from my Grandfather, who in turn inherited some of the military colours from my Uncle when he left home 50 years ago to join the army. I also have an ever rotating stock of the newer tins that seem to dry out after about two weeks - assuming it's even usable to start with).

Anyway, the etches sat in the to do box for several years as I slowly accumulated bits for the model. I finally made a start the other week, and it took a couple of hours to assemble the basic etches.

This is what you get - just the body:

And this is after a couple of hours soldering.

I've since spent another few hours adding the angle under the bottom of the body, and knocking up a dummy chassis out of plastic to check that everything fits.

I've got a set of suitable Sharman 6 spoke wheels, which are a little bit smaller than they should be (9mm rather than 10mm) and have 2mm axles. This then made the choice of gearbox a bit difficult, as most small gearboxes have final drive gears that are close to, or over the 9mm diameter of my wheels. I do have some 15:1 Tenshodo gears as a last resort, but the thought of the thing shooting off like a SPUD motor bogie wasn't appealing. So I eventually discovered that Branchlines do a 2 stage gearbox with a 8.2mm final drive gear.

This was designed for 1/8" axles, so was bushed out to 2mm. This is the result of tonight's work, and it looks like it might actually fit (if I trim the flywheel end shaft). Having been to the 2mm show in Derby today, and seen some of the tiny locos there, I probably shouldn't complain about this being small. The next step it to get the motor/gearbox into the dummy chassis, and work out where things like frame spacers actually need to go.

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Re: Worsley Hughes tram loco

Postby pete_mcfarlane » Wed Aug 10, 2022 9:41 pm

I've now reached the stage where I have a working chassis.

This was fairly straightforward as it's only an 0-4-0, but complicated by the fact that the jigs and tools I have for chassis construction are all too big. Frames were fairly standard, cut from nickle silver.

I ended up building a home made jig to solder it all together, drilling a block of wood (in the drill press) to take a length of 2mm rod, and then using that to align the frames at the fixed axle end whilst soldering them together. This worked fairly well, at the second attempt (after the first go being slightly wonky, and being unsoldered for another go).

A couple of strips of nickle silver were drilled at the same time as the connecting rods, opened out to 2mm, and used as a jig to set the hornblocks. One of the strips has a 2mm axle bearing in it, because I opened the hole out too much (so opening it out even more to take a 2mm bearing solved that).

The wheels were put on the hard way, quartering by hand and pushing on with a vice. The pickups are attached to a length of PCB sleeper, which will be inside the loco body and not visible. There's also quite a bit of lead in the body to keep it on the track, and the wheels need to be keep scrupulously clean but as as of tonight it's running fairly well. There's a slight bind somewhere, but that's a job for tomorrow.


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Re: Worsley Hughes tram loco

Postby pete_mcfarlane » Sat Sep 10, 2022 8:51 pm

A month later and the tram loco is ready for the paint shop. It went for a trip out to the EMAG test track the other night - beyond finding a couple of dodgy bits of track with its tiny wheels and waddling like a duck (as you'd expect from a loco that has a wheelbase shorter than the track gauge) it ran well.

I'm still amazed that I've managed to make something so small actually move. Here's the obligatory coin comparison shot.

Tonight I fitted the brake gear (bodged together from spare bits of etched wagon brake gear) and finished off the detailing.

The coupling bars are from brass tube and wire, and are as close as possible as I could make them to the original. The loop at the end is a bit overscale to fit onto overscale coupling hooks. The model can pull 3 whitemetal wagons with difficulty, and 2 with ease. The original apparently failed to pull 2 full size wagons and was banished to pulling passenger trailers, so that seems like a decent performance for a model. It's since had a good scrub and is waiting to dry. The joints on the coupling bars will need carefully masking to avoid gumming them up with paint.

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