7 1/4″ ‘Fawkes’ Class

Well this is a classic case of what you see is NOT what you get!!  At The Steam Workshop, we thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating this Tinkerbell from the ashes of one that came before.  We are genuinely proud of the result, but at the same time we were frustrated along the way by the restrictions offered by Fawkes being a re-build rather than a from scratch new build.  Many things that we would have ideally chosen to design and build differently were not possible whilst working within the framework of what we had.  The bodywork and general look of Fawkes is entirely our work, as are many other aspects of the loco, but our hands were tied in several areas having to work with what we had.

So we have decided to start from scratch.  We are building a small batch of 5 brand new locomotives.  The Steam Workshop ‘Fawkes’ class locos will look like sisters to Fawkes, and will also be 0-4-4 tanks, but there will be tweaks here and there to improve things where we think they can and should be improved.

The tanks and bodywork will be entirely Tig welded stainless steel, etch primed and painted in durable two pack paint.

Mechanically they will use Baker valve gear rather than the basic Heywood of Fawkes.  Baker valve gear is our favoured choice for a number of reasons.  Heywood gear is actually Greenly compensated valve gear, flipped round to the rear of the loco, and it’s a fairly simple valve gear that doesn’t cater for particularly accurate valve events.  It doesn’t notch up well and you generally find that you’ve to set the loco up to optimise forward running at the expense of reverse.  Walschearts, Stephenson & Baker are the obvious choices for fully capable valve gears, and Baker stands out as having no expansion link or die block, completely eradicating die block slip, a genuine factor in the real world, and particularly pertinent in a miniature where the tolerances are tighter.  Maintenance wise, without the expansion link everything is of simple pin and bush construction, so the valve gear can be fully refurbished with nothing more than a lathe.  As the Fawkes Class is designed to carry it’s driver, the subtle changes in ride height with the different drivers weights are automatically compensated for on the swinging Baker gear, so they won’t affect the timing as they would do on a loco with Stephenson’s or Walschearts.  The Baker gear will be flipped as the Greenly has been on Fawkes, so that it runs in the space behind the rear wheel (necessary for the visual balance of the loco in it’s 0-4-4- form), and lastly, we are using it because it’s cool!

The cylinders will be increased to 3″ bore and the stroke increased to 110mm.  They will be cast iron and made using our own design and patterns.  The valve chest is cranked over at an angle to run the valve rod outboard of the piston rod, and at the same time improve access to the valve chest with the cover removed for ease of maintenance.

Visually the tanks are planned to run to the front of the smoke box, the footplate will be slightly wider to accommodate two kids or a pair of scrawny adults more comfortably.  The seating position and the roof line will be dropped by a couple of inches to improve the prototypical look and feel of the loco, although the roof is both fully adjustable to accommodate taller drivers and indeed totally removable with 4 simple wing nuts for the summer!

Several customers have suggested that they would like to build their own locomotives, and so we’d be interested in chatting to anyone interested about our potentially offering a number of ‘Fawkes’ Class locos in kit form so that you can build it yourself.

The photos and film obviously show Fawkes, and are simply to illustrate the general feel for what we are making  As we mentioned above, we are very pleased with how she turned out, but the new ‘Fawkes’ Class locomotives will be subtly improved in a great many areas,….. and so will just be,….. better!

For any more information please don’t hesitate to give us a bell on 07816 963463

Price to be established, but give us a bell for a chat!