Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Steam tram boiler


Work on the steam tram has been very limited recently, but I have had time to look at the boiler. 3D printed on a filament printer, it needs some smoothing. 

My plan involved a coat of Halfords High-Build primer. Anoyingly, my can has spent too long in a cold garage and spluttered out like a low-pressure hose. Since I planned to sand the stuff anyway, I decided I didn't care. the job was to get a thick coat on. 

While doing this, I realised that a pragmatic decision had been taken by Boot Lane when designing the kit, the loco is a saddle tank. Now, I assume this means the ability re-use an existing boiler, and it provides space for the suggested LocoRemote controller, but steam trams are normally side tank engines.

I'll have to do something about that.


Christopher Payne said...

Accepting that as intended by Boot Lane this is a freelance design, may I offer what may be a little helpful information?

[1] The freelance body with six side lights (and two and a central doorway at each end), is evocative of the Hughes locomotive that ran on the Wantage Tramway. Information about that locomotive is somewhat sparse, but the following can be found in Whitcombe.

"Hughes also built an engine for the Wantage and others were put in service at Swansea, Bristol, Paris and Lille ….. All these engines were of the ordinary saddle-tank locomotive type ….."

[Dr H. A. Whitcombe: History of the Steam Tram, p.338 (reprint from Adam Gordon, 2000 of The journal of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, Vol. XXVII, no 137, May-June 1937).]

[2] Walter Hefti has a drawing of a Hughes tramway locomotive (captioned Nos 1-12) supplied to the Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing line that shows a high flat sided saddle tank.

[Walter Hefti: Tramway Lokomotiven, Birkhäuser verlag, Basel, 1980, p. 118, plate 148.]

Christopher Payne

Phil Parker said...

I knew there was a reason I wrote this blog - Thanks very much. I will do some digging!

Phil Parker said...

Hmmm. It does have a look of this tram about it doesn't it.


This is even glazed, something I'd planned to omit. Not so sure now.

Phil Parker said...

And from Getty.


Blimey, it's ugly! I love it...

Phil Parker said...

More photos:


Maybe I should remove the skirts? Not thinking this is a good idea, even if it is prototypical.

Phil Parker said...

And from here: http://ferrocarrilespr.rogerseducationalpage.com/?p=1548

a plan! http://ferrocarrilespr.rogerseducationalpage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/wantage1.png

Phil Parker said...

Another view. Are those lamps, or pointless buffers on the end?


Christopher Payne said...

Wilkinson has a drawing by the late Colin Binnie based on photographs of Wantage No 4. It is not very clear as to the shape and height of the saddle tank.

[Reg Wilkinson: The Wantage Tramway, Oakwood Press, 1995, ISBN 0 83561 436 9, p.23.]

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne said...




Phil Parker said...

That's my feeling. Attached to a hefty, and interesting shape, buffer beam. Hmmm.

Steve said...

Hi Phil, I was intrigued by your comments about saddle tanks in tram locos. I thought most tram locos were fitted with side tanks too. I did some googling (always dangerous, I'm no expert on this topic!) and it seems there were some tram locos with saddle tanks. Here are some links. The are impressive beasts!
Maybe you can stick with the saddle....

Christopher Payne said...

Of the three photographs cited by Steve, I am not surprised that the first two (supplied to Australia) were saddle tanks given they came from Baldwin. However, the third from Fox Walker in the UK, is of interest and I am grateful to have been led to it.

Christopher Payne

Luke Stevens said...

If I have a can that's been sitting cold and alonne, I'll always warm it in water for a while. Not hot enough to cause problems but sufficent to get the content more fluid and easier to mix.


Stuart said...

The Corris locos were basically these Hughes steam tram locos without the body and skirts. See NG&IRM Review No.50

Christopher Payne said...


The reference to the information and drawing in NG&IRMR No 50, p.75 (and by implication to No 49, p.3) is helpful in considering the Wantage locomotive.

Also being standard gauge, this statement about the Hughes tramway locomotives supplied to Paris may be significant in getting a clearer idea of what the Wantage locomotive was actually like.

"The design of the tram loco ….. having fore and aft 'well tanks' in addition to the saddle tank over the boiler ….." (NG&IRMR, No 50, p.75.)

If the Wantage locomotive had well tanks perhaps their main function was condensing the steam.

On Saturday 24 March 1877, members of a Select Committee of the House of Commons visited Wantage and trials of the Hughes locomotive were conducted. The following from a subsequent report in the Reading Mercury.

"No smoke or steam was visible while the engine was in motion. ….. The brake power ….. on its being tested ….. forced back the coupling bar, and some projecting iron portion of the car pierced a hole in the tank which condenses the waste steam." (S.H.Pearce Higgins, The Wantage Tramway, 1958, reprinted Adam Gordon 2002, p.129.)

Christopher Payne