SW Rebuild No.25

7 1/4" Romulus Darjeeling B Class

We had this engine come through us 7 or 8 years ago, and she was a pretty tired Romulus back then, with a steel boiler that had been re-tubed, but was still 30 odd years old at the time.  After some further use, the engine ultimately failed a hydraulic and we bought her back into stock with the intention of doing a full strip down back to her bare bones, and building a brand new Romulus from the bits, including of course a brand new boiler.  This is certainly a project that didn't go the way we initially expected as you'll see further down the page, but we are certainly extremely pleased with the results!

So,.... a couple of photos before the re-build began so that you can see quite how far we ended up taking this project!

The strip down begins!

And then everything is bead blasted, before re-painting of the big bits, re-finishing of the motion parts, and re-busing of everything that moves!  Cylinders re-bored and re-machined.  New pistons, new piston rods and brand new cast iron rings.

Then the Valve chests were re-made.......

Then the basic frames and bottom end were re-built.  The frames were all sand blasted back to bare metal before etch priming and painting.  The rods were all draw filed up and brush finished to remove any scars they may have gained over the years.  Brand new bronze bushes were machined up and the whole thing was assembled back into a rolling chassis.

We made brand new slide bars, and a new cross head slipper.  The slipper is cast iron as is the crosshead, and the slide bars are steel.  We machined in a nice crossed ribbon shaped oil groove into the slide bars,..... just because it's a functional thing doesn't mean that it can't be done with a bit of finesse!  Made us happy anyway!

Then, on with the cylinders and the rest of the new bits!

Meanwhile,....... the new steel boiler is finished.  Professionally made with all it's steel plate certificates and coded welding paperwork.  CE marked of course, and ready to play!  Here it is against the old boiler that's going in the scrap bin.  We still have to drill out all the bushes in this picture and fit all the fittings, regulator and internal steam pipes.

Now the whole thing can start to go back together!

At this stage we actually had a customer committed to, and waiting for the engine, so we'd been pushing the project along fairly quickly, and as you can see we were basically ready to plumb her up and sort out the bodywork.  The customer wanted the loco to look something like the 18" gauge Crewe works shunters, but painted in BR lined green,..... which of course we were happy to produce.  However, there were problems with the funding on the customer's end, and ultimately they had to reluctantly pull out, leaving us no choice but to pop the loco to one side and concentrated on other projects for a little while until a new customer called and registered interest.

In 2021, another Customer registered interest!!  We didn't want to just put together another standard looking Romulus so we asked the customer what he'd ultimately like it to look like, We suggested a few photos of prototypes that were broadly similar in shape and feel to a Romulus, designs where we felt that it would be feasible to inspire a re-work and nudge the Romulus design toward.....

.......and he sent us this photo!

Well, we like a challenge here at Steam Workshop, and as we've decided this was going to be one of the last 're-builds' that we do here, certainly of this nature, we decided to go out with a bang!  So in brief.  We have extended the frames by 6 inches at the front and 7 inches at the rear.  We’ve dropped the boiler by 1 1/2” and the smoke box by a further 1”.  The step between the two is hidden by the saddle tank, and the low smoke box hopefully gives the illusion that the boiler it’s self is lower than was possible in reality with the Romulus underpinnings.

We’ve moved the cylinders forward to balance the design, making new, longer piston rods and valve rods, and making new long slide bars as well.  The Romulus chimney has been machined down to a more appropriate length to fit the outline, and as you can see, we’ve copied a lot of the full size engines shapes and design in the running boards and details.

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

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