Building 'Axe'



No 763 'Axe' ready to roll
The locomotive would have to fit in with the history of our railway. This claims that when the Minehead extension was built, an additional Manning Wardle called 'Axe' was delivered. Guess what? We can always change the history! The important consideration is that a more powerful design would have been preferred due to the heavy grades. So who could have delivered such a loco? 'Lyn', the Baldwin was already nominally more powerful than the Manning Wardles, by the way.
Lynton and Barnstaple track was not as heavy as it might have been and in addition it could be best described as 'serpentine'. The loading gauge was not as generous as some either. More power would mean more weight and more wheels would possibly be needed.
So here were the contenders.
1.  South African Railways NG25/28
These were delivered during the right epoch (1900s) from Manning Wardle and were effectively, 'L&B locos on steroids'.

2.  Egyptian Railways Delta class  (Bagnall)

3.  South African Railways NG 4 Kerr Stuart

A few Hunslet designs were also suggested but they were either far too ugly or looked too much like Russell. One design cropped up a lot which is without doubt one of the most elegant locomotives of all time. This was the Kitson design for the Leek and Manifold Railway. These were large locomotives for 2ft 6in gauge and I felt that if reduced in size, something would get lost in translation.
Then there was the 'stalking horse' designed by Bernard Taylor. This was the result of speculation of what North British would have made of designing for a two foot gauge railway in the UK. Bernard Taylor developed the design based on the Darjeeling Pacific.


a photo mock-up of the loco
The loco was again based on the Grafar N scale class 08 chassis.

The side frames were removed and the ends butchered a little and Bissel trucks attached.

The tanks and cab sides were cut from nickel silver sheet.

The frames were then gradually cut to fit the chassis and loco.

The is the completed chassis ready to receive the cylinders and Roco valve gear.

The chassis is now complete and runs smoothly. It is now being wired for DCC (including lights).
The body is now being formed and the boiler and smoke box made. The following series of shots shows how the body was gradually put together.

Preparing for fitting the DCC chip

Comparison with an L&B Manning Wardle

The completed loco which is now ready for paint.
The loco is finished in black and sent to Chris Meachen (Golden Arrow Productions) for panelling and lining.
Axe in service on County Gate.
So we have experienced adhesion problems. The grades on County Gate are severe and this design just did not give me enough space to add the required ballast so we suffered from wheel slip with the train I wished to haul. This has been solved by using a companion boxcar fitted with powered bogies.