Here we have a massive and for us exciting loco. A 10 1/4" gauge Leek & Manifold Valley light railway Kitson 2-6-4 tank, 'J B Earl'. This loco was made by the late Doug Blackhurst as a copy of the first 10 1/4" Leek made by Coleby Simpkins for Brian Nicholson (Simon's uncle here at Steam Workshop), so we'd known about this loco for many years, Simon having grown up driving it's sister loco. The Coleby Simpkins engine was 'E R Calthrop', leaving Doug's engine to be the second of the Leek pair. Detail wise and 'finesse' wise the engine looks a little plain and simply built, but don't mistake that as we first did for any lack of mechanical quality. We've rarely seen a loco run as smoothly and slowly is this one does, it'll crawl along slower than you'd think possible, and there's no discernible wear and tear at all in the bottom end. Doug certainly built a mechanically sound loco even if the bodywork at first glance lacks some of the detail and finesse of the original. We are itching to give this loco a sympathetic face lift, as it wouldn't take much to tweak the finish a little here and there, add cylinder covers, running boards, the bunker extension, the odd oil pot, running board jacks maybe,.... even a fresh coat of paint. It's a rare model of a gorgeous prototype so to our minds it deserves to be treated to a little well conceived TLC to make it the model that it's always been crying out to be!
That all said, there's nothing wrong with what's there. The boiler is steel and can come with a fresh hydraulic and fresh steam test so there's no worries there. There are a pair of injectors and a big mechanical lubricator so that side of things all works beautifully and reliably. Backhead controls are all functional rather than detailed, but no less usable for it. It's powerful, smooth, incredibly well timed and would definitely be the loco you'd keep choosing to steam up even if you'd got an engine shed with 9 other choices in it! Perhaps you can tell, we really want to keep this one,.... but as 'keeping them all' is apparently a poor business model, you have an opportunity to own something a bit special.
We think this film on youtube is likely to be the last time she actually ran before our test steaming at Steam Workshop above.
For any more information please don't hesitate to give us a bell on 07816 963463
(Do feel free to have a chat with us about adding a little detail to this one, as we'd love the chance to put our stamp on it!)
Stock code L101051