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 NEWS FOCUS
Above: This - but bigger! A 5-inch gauge Sweet Pea. Photo: Chris Bird. Right: Front of the frames, with at right part of the smokebox saddle. Far right: Parts of the Hackworth valve gear, with EHLR volunteer Alex Luckham holding the return crank in place.
“The young volunteers have gained a few engineering skills...”
workshop to allow more room to operate the machines alongside, and for painting to begin.
The project has given the railway’s young volunteers a chance to gain a few engineering skills, learning how to safely operate lathes and milling machines. A few of them have taken up mechanical engineering as a profession after enjoying working on the project. This also ensures that the skills remain on the railway for the overhauls that the locomotive will need in the future.
The next major components soon to be made will be the cylinders. The original plan was to fabricate them, but we are currently exploring our options with cast cylinders and are looking for a suitable existing pattern. Okay we know we can simply go to one of the commercial workshops, but we are trying to keep costs low by keeping as much of the work as possible in-house. With this in mind, we are looking out for the possibility that another society has had a suitable pattern made up which is sitting on a shelf waiting for another use. The size we are looking for is with a bore of six to seven inches and a minimum stroke of 10 inches, with a valve chest on top to match the outside valve gear of the Hackworth type.
If you can help us, please either write to us at the address below, or write on the current thread in the narrow gauge section of the National Preservation Forum at www. national-preservation.com.
If you would like to support the project please either visit the railway and buy a gift from the railway gift shop at Beachlands Station, or by sending a donation with a cheque payable to the East Hayling Light Railway Society, to: EHLR Steam Loco Project, R Honeyman (Treasurer), 2A Bembridge Court, Hayling Island, PO11 9LZ.
It you would like to join the society and volunteer on the railway, come to the shed at Beachlands Station and speak to one of the volunteers, or visit the line’s website at www.haylingseasiderailway.com.
NARROW GAUGE WORLD – No 69
After the visit of the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Trust Bagnall ‘Wendy’ to the railway in September 2009, and the return visits coming up this year, the EHLR volunteers are gaining experience with the operation and care of steam locomotives as well as getting a taste of the future when our project is completed. With all this work to bring steam back to Hayling, the Hayling Seaside Railway is becoming one of the UK’s newest steam lines.
The dates for ‘Wendy’s’ return to haul passenger trains on the Hayling Seaside Railway are on the weekends of, June 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27, and September 11-12, 18-19 and 25-26. There will also be a gala event on the weekends of June 19-20 and September 18-19, during which the railway’s diesel fleet and a visiting diesel will haul goods trains alongside the steam-hauled passenger trains. l
More Information n For operating dates, timetable and further details log onto the website www.haylingseasiderailway.com