achieve ‘out of the box.’ Raising steam is commendably quick and, after the usual stuttering and spitting start, Ragleth settles into her stride with a modest roar from the burner. A nice chuff from the exhaust accompanies a huge cloud of water vapour issuing from the chimney. Testing models in late winter with air temperature around six degrees C makes live steam a scenic and atmospheric event, even if the driver is verging on modest hypothermia at the end of the run.
Reverser/Regulator Coupling up to the standard test train reins in the ‘slightly sprightly’ light engine performance and, with a slow slide of the transmitter stick towards full forward gear, Ragleth is soon chuffing along at a measured pace through the pointwork of Bovey Mills Yard and onto the mainline. Here we can experiment with the regulator opening to establish a maximum and use the radio controlled reverser/regulator to control speed and direction. The only slight downside of the combined regulator and reverser arrangement occurs when a little more regulator is called for to keep momentum up a long grade when the combination ‘stick’ is already up against its top stop!
With the upper limit noted, Ragleth is soon on the toes of the 1:100 upward climb to Stover Station. This is quite a stiff test for locos running with a fixed regulator setting, and at less than safety valve blow-off pressure. It is commendable that on a predetermined setting Ragleth slows and digs her wheels in as the steam motor pulls against the weight of the train. There is a moment when she looks as though she might stall but the boiler raises a little more steam and before the safety valve can lift the modest rise in pressure forces the pistons down their bores to restore forward motion.
Having mastered the climb, we are on the slight down grade into Stover Station and again Ragleth deals with the easy going without running away, even with 9lbs of train pushing her onward. We pass through Stover, our train rattling over the yard and passing loop pointwork and all too soon we are traversing Stover Loop. Here a reverse loop of four to 40-feet radius curves are employed to turn the train through 360 degrees and commence the return journey to the line’s HQ at Bovey Mills.LocomotivesRunningLightWehavenoneedtoworry.Raglethacquittedherselfwellon the outbound journey, so the return should be a breeze and it is with both Little Bovey and Bovey Mills Stations clattering by, before entering the much stiffer test that is Indio Loop which involves a tight 360 degree turn of 4ft radius -– somewhat tighter than the infamous Tyler’s Curve on the Ffestiniog Railway. To add insult to injury, this tight curve also has an unintended gradient of 1:50 and the result is severe test for most locomotives running light
Above: The cab interior is ripe for detailing with red sleeving for the reverser and regulator handles, a splash round with cream paint after daubing most of the copper piping and associated fitting with satin black etch-primer.
Left: There is plenty of room for at least one crew member – even a large figure such as this. The side lift roof opens the cab for easy adjustment from 12in/foot scale fingers.
Right: A pause in clearance run and performance checking, your scribe and Driver Stokes exchange views on cab-first running. The late winter sun was pleasantly warm hence the shirtsleeve order.
never mind hauling 9lbs of fully laden wagons and brake-van.
Ragleth hauls her train around this trackwork without too many problems, although it takes a nudge of extra regulator to keep everything moving. We take the diversion route back onto the main line, avoiding shunting operations underway in the yard, and then run up to Little Bovey to wait the passing down passenger train. This gives us a chance to check water and oil round and it is a pleasure to find that we have at least half a glass of water in hand – another full circuit can be achieved before Ragleth will need servicing.
This gives a scale distance of about six miles between consumable services; close to the distances worked by 12in/ft scale narrow gauge locomotives before the replenishment of water and fuel reserves. Our fireman is particularly lazy having not touched the firing shovel or fuel control valve since lighting up, so the performance is not truly prototypical. Editor Gorton tells me his coal-fired Edrig runs for about 20 minutes between firing turns so the LPG fired version is quite close to that version of the ‘real thing.’TheProsRaglethisanicelyproportionedmodelofnoparticularprototype that is easily enhanced with a wide range of aftermarket extras. One of the features shared across the range is the ability to give remarkable results when run at well under the recommended boiler working pressure. During the test runs Ragleth made steady progress with the lower gas setting producing steam at 25psi rather than 45psi. Ragleth is available to suit 32 and 45 gauge tracks, so you and Ragleth can a visiting go. Accucraft’s own chopper coupling is fitted and is gaining popularity with many. This might bring about the change from the centre buffer with ubiquitous three-links out of the kharzi pull chain.TheConsTheintroductionofRaglethmeansthatthepredecessorshave been retired which is a shame. The tommy bars remain an issue, being unpleasant to use hot or cold but at least Accucraft provides a tool for those with delicate pianists fingers. There is not a lot of steam ‘voice’ and this is easily stifled by burner roar. Improvements come from fitting aftermarket solutions. Daydream moment: IF the dummy whistle were mounted to the right-hand side of the cab, it would allow the fitting of a small resonator whistle in the same position.ConclusionManylovegenericlocomotivesfortheopportunitiestheyofferto aftermarket fiddlers and others who enjoy the challenge of getting the model they want at a price they can afford. Ragleth provides a mounting base for the latest collection of locomotive sundries.
ARDEN G Rail