A model of inspirationChrisRogersdescribestheprojecttobuildanewsteamlocomotivefortheHaylingSeasideRailwayinSussex–acaseofprototypefollowingmodel....
The project to build a steam engine for the East Hayling Light Railway (EHLR) actually started back in the early 1990s, and was the brainchild of engineer Kevin Matthews. Kevin and Bob Haddock (owner of the line) and the rest of the EHLR society began looking for drawings to build their own steam locomotive for the railway, which at that time was situated in the Mill Rythe Holiday Camp on Hayling Island, and the future line which was intended to be built along the Hayling seafront.
After searches for drawings of a suitable locomotive came to nothing, it was suggested that drawings from a 5-inch gauge design be used as a base, scaled up to create a 2ft gauge version. As a result the ‘Sweet Pea’ design was selected, a very popular 0-4-0 saddle tank with Hackworth valve gear based on the Bagnall design like the late Teddy Boston’s ‘Pixie’.
Construction started in the small workshop at Mill Rythe, using a collection of machines, tools and equipment that Kevin had amassed. The frames were cut on the workshop floor, drilled and assembled by hand-riveting them together. Parts of the coupling rods, valve gear, brake rigging and other small parts that could be made on
the lathe and mills were machined up from lumps of material.
The horn guides were fabricated and trial-fitted to the frames. A few original railway parts were found a new use on the loco, mainly a reversing lever from Havant signal box and a brake stand from ex Isle of Wight London Underground 1927 ‘Standard’ tube stock.
Construction came to a grinding halt in 2001, when the railway began its move to a new site along the Hayling seafront. The frames and the machine tools were moved to a workshop on the north of Hayling and stored while manpower was directed to the construction of the new line.
The railway opened in 2003 and began to develop into the success it is today. Rechristened the Hayling Seaside Railway, four new bogie carriages have been built along with a gift shop, a Ruston LBT has been restored into a useful spare loco for the railway, and the line’s wagons restored to go with a newlyconstructed brake van to form a works train, which also gets a run during Galas.
In 2006 thoughts returned to the loco project. Kevin and a few volunteers started to sort out the mess that the workshop was in, the required electrics were fitted, and the machines cleaned up and brought back into use.
Until this point Kevin had funded the project out of his own pocket, as at the time, the society was not able to do so. With the society now more developed, the membership were asked to vote on whether the society should fund the project. With a unanimous vote, Kevin was reimbursed and the society took full ownership of the locomotive project.
Work recommenced by finishing any component that had been roughed out at Mill Rythe, mainly the coupling and connecting rod ends, valve rod forks, and brake rigging. Various components were also machined from scratch, including the vibrating lever, return crank, crank pins, gudgeon pins, and the bridle rod linkage.
The horn guides were finally fitted, along with the trial-fitting of the brake stand and rigging. The reversing lever and linkage has also been fitted, so that the length of the bridle rod can be worked out. Axleboxes have been machined from solid metal, and the material for the axles purchased.
The wheels are currently in progress and it is hoped to have them cast and ready for machining this summer. The frames have also been moved to one side of the small
Above: Frames for the new Hayling loco from rear, with parts of the brake rigging and bridle rod linkage in view. Axleboxes can be seen, as well as the ex-tube stock brake stand. All full-size photos by author.
“The frames were cut on the workshop floor and drilled...”
No 69 – NARROW GAUGE WORLD