An 'S' Scale Adventure

JimG

Western Thunderer
There are five open wagons built now .. still have to decide on couplings although AJs are looking a good 'almost' invisible option at the moment.

A good few of us in the SSMRS used our own DIY version of the Spratt & Winkle using thin brass wire to form the hooks and loops. They were pretty well invisible, especially if blackened, and performed pretty well faultlessly. Most of us fitted a hook on one end only on stock since hooks could get entangled on tighter curves on double fitted vehicles. With the delayed uncoupling spur on the hooks, the operation was excellent. I remember operating my layout at and exhibition for over two hours without the "hand of God" having to be used.

I can't remember any member operating AJs happily. The late Robin Fielding had them fitted to his stock on his layout and I remember operating this layout at Larkrail about ten years ago and it was not easy. :) The couplings had been fitted in the traditional way with the hook wire anchored at the other end of the vehicle and depending on the spring of the wire for operation. I think I might prefer to use the other method where the hook wires are counterbalanced round a pivot under the body which would allow a thicker gauge of wire to be used which would help to keep the hook positioned properly. The problem on Robin's layout was that the hooks didn't maintain their correct position when uncoupled.

Les Bevis-Smith did a set of dimensions for an S scale version of the AJs which is in the Handbook.

Jim.

PS. Just remembered that Barrie Norman used AJ's on his Lydham Heath layout. In fact it was Barrie who had fitted the AJ's to Robin Fielding's stock. - Jim.
 
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Marsh Lane

Active Member
A good few of us in the SSMRS used our own DIY version of the Spratt & Winkle using thin brass wire to form the hooks and loops. They were pretty well invisible, especially if blackened, and performed pretty well faultlessly. Most of us fitted a hook on one end only on stock since hooks could get entangled on tighter curves on double fitted vehicles. With the delayed uncoupling spur on the hooks, the operation was excellent. I remember operating my layout at and exhibition for over two hours without the "hand of God" having to be used.
Jim.

Hi Jim,
Thanks for that. I have the AJ handbook, and I appreciate a lot of things with couplings is personal preference and set up, but the background info is appreciated. I had discounted a few options as being too obvious or looking wrong. I'd be interested to hear more or (if you have any) see any pictures of how the DIY version of the S&W work and are equipped to wagons. Keeping the 'hand of god' out of the way is a key thing for me.
Richie
 

simond

Western Thunderer
I have mixed feelings regarding AJs. When they work well, they’re wonderful, almost invisible, very good. When they don’t, they’re an unmitigated PITA, particularly if they manage to harpoon a link of the coupling on an adjacent wagon.
 

Marsh Lane

Active Member
Another alternative is to use the 4mm scale Dingham coupling.
Hi Suzie,
Thanks for suggesting that. Dinghams were the other option in my mind, alongside AJs. I'll see what Jim can suggest re the Spratt & Winkle DIY option - I am intrigued!

The Barclay drawings are held at Glasgow University - Records of Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd, locomotive manufacturers and engineers, Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland - Archives Hub - if you know what you're after (i.e., by works number of a particular engine or one that's similar to the sort of thing you want), they may well be able to help.
Adam
Adam,
Thanks again for this, I have emailed the Archive at GU to ask them what the options are. The auto responder says expect a response within 20 days, so this may be a slow process! Shame I am not closer. Unfortunately, the Glasgow University online catalogue appears to be offline at the moment, so I cannot search to find out the references of any possibly drawings. But thanks again for the pointer in the right direction - much appreciated.
Richie
 

Ian@StEnochs

Western Thunderer
Richie,

I have experience of the Barclay Archive at Glasgow, having visited quite a lot pre COVID for both for model and full size restoration research.

The drawing register is not complete with very little early material available. Reference is by works number with specific drawings noted. However the drawings are not digitised. If you request a particular engines drawings they may bring a bundle from the store, depending on the archivist on duty and the storeman. Sometimes it takes a while to locate what you want so always best to phone ahead. There is a lot of other material in the archives from all sorts of industry, not all the archivists are familiar with the minutiae of locomotives, which doesn’t help.

Looking through can be fascinating and frustrating in equal measures. I found that there are very few GA drawings for specific locos but what there is are details of variations from the standard, often with a note ‘see loco no xxx’ which quite frequently isn’t there. If you can find out all the similar engines to the one you are interested in before turning up it can save time but there will still be a delay between ordering a drawing and actually seeing it. I have always ordered ahead, gone in the morning, seen what they produce and then re order for the afternoon. There are a couple of good pubs locally which make the wait a bit more pleasant.

They will do copies, expensive and takes a while, but you may be able to take a photo, again dependent on the archivist.

Ian.
 

Marsh Lane

Active Member
Richie,

I have experience of the Barclay Archive at Glasgow, having visited quite a lot pre COVID for both for model and full size restoration research.

The drawing register is not complete with very little early material available. Reference is by works number with specific drawings noted. However the drawings are not digitised. If you request a particular engines drawings they may bring a bundle from the store, depending on the archivist on duty and the storeman. Sometimes it takes a while to locate what you want so always best to phone ahead. There is a lot of other material in the archives from all sorts of industry, not all the archivists are familiar with the minutiae of locomotives, which doesn’t help.

Looking through can be fascinating and frustrating in equal measures. I found that there are very few GA drawings for specific locos but what there is are details of variations from the standard, often with a note ‘see loco no xxx’ which quite frequently isn’t there. If you can find out all the similar engines to the one you are interested in before turning up it can save time but there will still be a delay between ordering a drawing and actually seeing it. I have always ordered ahead, gone in the morning, seen what they produce and then re order for the afternoon. There are a couple of good pubs locally which make the wait a bit more pleasant.

They will do copies, expensive and takes a while, but you may be able to take a photo, again dependent on the archivist.

Ian.
Ian,
Thats really useful advice and info - many thanks. It may force me to look at other ways of doing things as I am unlikely to be able to get up to Glasgow before the Autumn because of family issues, but many many thanks. I'll bear that all in mind when I do get up there!
Richie
 

AJC

Western Thunderer
Richie,

I have experience of the Barclay Archive at Glasgow, having visited quite a lot pre COVID for both for model and full size restoration research.

The drawing register is not complete with very little early material available. Reference is by works number with specific drawings noted. However the drawings are not digitised. If you request a particular engines drawings they may bring a bundle from the store, depending on the archivist on duty and the storeman. Sometimes it takes a while to locate what you want so always best to phone ahead. There is a lot of other material in the archives from all sorts of industry, not all the archivists are familiar with the minutiae of locomotives, which doesn’t help.

Looking through can be fascinating and frustrating in equal measures. I found that there are very few GA drawings for specific locos but what there is are details of variations from the standard, often with a note ‘see loco no xxx’ which quite frequently isn’t there. If you can find out all the similar engines to the one you are interested in before turning up it can save time but there will still be a delay between ordering a drawing and actually seeing it. I have always ordered ahead, gone in the morning, seen what they produce and then re order for the afternoon. There are a couple of good pubs locally which make the wait a bit more pleasant.

They will do copies, expensive and takes a while, but you may be able to take a photo, again dependent on the archivist.

Ian.

Really useful advice - especially in the plan of campaign - thank you, Ian. The scope of the Glasgow University collections are pretty broad for a University archive (some just contain things the university has produced) so the gaps in specialist knowledge aren't surprising.

Adam
 

PhilH

Western Thunderer
There seems to be surprisingly few drawings of Andrew Barclay locomotives published. The only one I could lay my hands on was the drawing of a 12" cylinder loco in the December 1974 issue of the Railway Modeller. This is a relatively small loco and said to be from an original drawing dated about 1895. I can send a copy with a PM if its any use.

There is an Andrew Barclay works list on the Industrial Locomotive Society's website which may be a help:
Industrial Locomotive Society
 

JimG

Western Thunderer
Richie,

I dug out one of my 1980's wagons to get pics of the home-made S&W couplings. I have to apologise for the less than perfect condition of the wagon but it, and another dozen or so wagons, were built from etches that Alan Gibson had just brought. And I was trying to get enough of my own stock to run on my layout at exhibitions and the next exhibition was about a month away. :) So it was hell for leather to get them ready and in some sort of fit state. And of course they never got overhauled to sort out the problems. :) I had exhibited the layout on a few occasions up till then but it was a layout of Dursley and the locos and rolling stock were loaned from other members - a Collett tank from Bill Sweet, a Pannier from Les Bevis-Smith, a Metro tank from Alan Cruikshank, and a load of GW rolling stock also from L B-S. There was a general feeling that I had to get my finger out and get some LMS locos and stock on it. I was also building Alan Gibson's 3F kit as well. :)

Here's the hook end :-

s&w-01.jpg

...all from brass wire and a three link dropper with an iron link on the end.

s&w-02.jpg

At the bar end it's a simple loop of the same wire soldered behind the buffer beam.

Here's what went on underneath. :-

s&w-03.jpg

A bit of heavier brass rod was soldered to the brass floor and bent to provide a pivot for the coupler's hook. The hook wire was soldered to a piece of brass tube which fitted on the pivot bar. The bit of blue material is a bit of insulation from a cable used as a retainer which was a nice push fit on the pivot. The hook wire was counterbalanced by the lead fishing weight to the right of the pivot, and this could be finely adjusted by sliding it along the wire until a good balance was achieved, then squeezing the weight with pliers to fix it.

The couplings worked really well and there was a fair amount of latitude in settings. I had a fairly tight radius in one road of a three-way turnout in my yard and I never had any problems with missing the loop if I had to couple on that curve.

I think I would now make the hooks a bit finer and reduce their dimensions by about half and they would still work well. We tend to have pretty good track on S scale layouts so we should not be worried by vertical variations in height of the couplers.. Bill Sweet was giving a fair bit of help in doing the couplings and we played safe with generous dimensions. The couplings on this wagon could cope with a vertical variation of about 3mm. :)

The buffers were what I could source from 4mm components. I had the good luck to have Max Williams' shop in Bristol close at hand which had an excellent range of 4mm components and I went along his shelves with a rule until I got something close to scale. The buffer heads were intentionally oversize to avoid buffer-locking.

On the other matter in this thread, the archives of the North British Loco Works were discovered at Kilmarnock. When the NBL closed in the 60s, Barclay took over the good will of the NBL and the drawing archive was transferred to Kilmarnock. This was discovered when archivists went down to acquire the Barclay archives when that company closed, and discovered a whole lot more. :)

Jim.
 
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Marsh Lane

Active Member
There seems to be surprisingly few drawings of Andrew Barclay locomotives published. The only one I could lay my hands on was the drawing of a 12" cylinder loco in the December 1974 issue of the Railway Modeller. This is a relatively small loco and said to be from an original drawing dated about 1895. I can send a copy with a PM if its any use.

There is an Andrew Barclay works list on the Industrial Locomotive Society's website which may be a help:
Industrial Locomotive Society
I have to say this is one of the aspects of this hobby that really excites me and fills me with enthusiasm - the ability of like minded people to openly help each other. Rarely do you find any "I am better than you" attuitudes, its everyone can accomplish what they want and oh if you want any help, shout out! I do comment to friends in other hobbies and the number that are amazed and say oh I wish ours was like that is quire remarkable.

Anyway, back to the topic, Phil, thanks for looking, very kind of you - if you could PM it it would be appreciated (or I can drop you a PM with an email address) it may help in sorting things out, and in the meantime, may get me moving in the right direction! The loco I was looking at, Rosyth No. 1 was works number 1385 - your ILS list shows it as a 14" example with 3'4" driving wheels. The 12" version seem to have 3' 2" driving wheels looking at that list, so the loco wouldn't be too much smaller.

Richie,

I dug out one of my 1980's wagons to get pics of the home-made S&W couplings.

The couplings worked really well and there was a fair amount of latitude in settings. I had a fairly tight radius in one road of a three-way turnout in my yard and I never had any problems with missing the loop if I had to couple on that curve.

I think I would now make the hooks a bit finer and reduce their dimensions by about half and they would still work well. We tend to have pretty good track on S scale layouts so we should not be worried by vertical variations in height of the couplers.. Bill Sweet was giving a fair bit of help in doing the couplings and we played safe with generous dimensions. The couplings on this wagon could cope with a vertical variation of about 3mm. :)

Jim.

Jim,
From what I can see there is no apology needed! The wagon looks superb! Thanks for the close-up pictures too, they are really useful. If I am going to do some etches for the loco, it might be possible to add some similar hooks onto the etch maybe? But as you say, handcrafted from wire looks to work well. Do you happen to have any idea what gauge wire was used? I do like the idea that the S&W style can be 'hidden' with gunmetal black and that they keep the three-links - its a bit more realism.

Thanks again
Richie
 

PhilH

Western Thunderer
Anyway, back to the topic, Phil, thanks for looking, very kind of you - if you could PM it it would be appreciated (or I can drop you a PM with an email address) it may help in sorting things out, and in the meantime, may get me moving in the right direction! The loco I was looking at, Rosyth No. 1 was works number 1385 - your ILS list shows it as a 14" example with 3'4" driving wheels. The 12" version seem to have 3' 2" driving wheels looking at that list, so the loco wouldn't be too much smaller.
Thanks again
Richie

Copy of drawing sent with PM, I hope it comes through OK.

AB 1142 at Frances Colliery © PGH.jpg

A similar 12" loco is AB 1142/08, photographed at Frances Colliery, Scottish North Area, which has also been preserved.
The only noticeable differences to the drawing are the shape of the cab opening and the buffers.


AB 1385 at Blaenavon © PGH.jpg

For comparison, your original choice AB 1385/14, although there's only 6 years between them it possibly looks slightly more modern because of the shorter chimney.

Choose the size of your loco to suit the size of your layout, if they were buying a new loco an industrial concern wouldn't waste money by buying a loco bigger than necessary to carry out the work required.
 
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Marsh Lane

Active Member
Thanks guys,
The drawings and images received are a great help. I'll see how we progress with designing things and I'll post my progress on here. I have a fortnight off coming up, and with the price of petrol and rail tickets going through the roof, not to mention the rail strikes, I am doubting that the various trips I was going to do will happen - so modelling time awaits!

The 12" Barclay's have 3'2" driving, 7 or 8-spoke wheels (difficult to tell from the pictures), so at 4.726mm to the foot in S Scale, that to me works out at roughly 15mm diameter wheels. The nearest 4mm Gibson wheels look to be (4844A) 14.6mm 8 spoke wheels, which has a crank pin boss between the spokes, which looking at the pictures @PhilH has kindly posted, would appear to be a close match. I think Alan can supply these on S Scale axles, but I am debating in my mind whether it would be best to follow the 2FS approach and go for a split frame, need to investigate whether there are muffs available (or adaptable) for joining split axles and fitting the motor gear. Still I am moving forward thanks to everyone on here!

I was thinking of getting a rivet press for doing various detailing work, but given the number of rivets visible on these locos, I am thinking either the small model rivets that you can get or the stick-on variety may work just as well. They are remarkably smooth cab and tank sides compared to some locos!

Richie
 

PhilH

Western Thunderer
I wouldn't worry about your wheels being slightly undersized as prototype wheels were turned down and reprofiled due to wear. By my calculation your Gibson wheels would be just under 1" smaller than the as new diameter given in the Andrew Barclay works list and turning off ½” thickness would be quite normal. I measured the wheels on Andrew Barclay 1448/19 in 1976 at 3'-3½”, which were shown as 3'-5" diameter in the works list.

Which leads me on to something I'd completely forgotten, AB 1448 is a 14" cylinder loco like ROSYTH No.1 and I measured it and made a fairly basic outline drawing to 7mm scale. If you are still interested in doing something like ROSYTH No.1 this and the measurements may possibly be of use to you.
 

Marsh Lane

Active Member
Thanks Philip,
I'll see how I get on with the 12" cylinder drawings that you and a couple of others have kindly sent, but I think I'll come back to Rosyth after so will remember you have the details!
Richie
 

JimG

Western Thunderer
Do you happen to have any idea what gauge wire was used? I do like the idea that the S&W style can be 'hidden' with gunmetal black and that they keep the three-links - its a bit more realism.

Thanks again
Richie

Sorry for the delay in responding. The wire I used was the 0.45mm straight brass wire which Alan Gibson stocked at the time. But you could probably use something even finer, and not necessarily brass - maybe steel guitar wire. At the time I had also obtained some steel control line wire about 0.4mm diameter and I remember Les B-S experimenting with some of this wire in AJ couplers and he found it more than strong enough provided the doubled over end of the hook was soldered to prevent it opening. The advantage of this steel wire was that it was not plated, so oxidised to black. Guitar wire is plated, so it will stay bright unless treated.

Jim.
 

PhilH

Western Thunderer
Richie, I've posted the photos of AB 1142 in my "PhilH's Industrial Railway Photos" thread in "Gallery" as promised.
Philip
 

Marsh Lane

Active Member
Sorry for the delay in responding. The wire I used was the 0.45mm straight brass wire which Alan Gibson stocked at the time. But you could probably use something even finer, and not necessarily brass - maybe steel guitar wire. At the time I had also obtained some steel control line wire about 0.4mm diameter and I remember Les B-S experimenting with some of this wire in AJ couplers and he found it more than strong enough provided the doubled over end of the hook was soldered to prevent it opening. The advantage of this steel wire was that it was not plated, so oxidised to black. Guitar wire is plated, so it will stay bright unless treated.

Jim.
Jim,
No problem at all - thanks for taking the time to reply. Interesting your comment about guitar wire being plated, something I had not realised.

Richie, I've posted the photos of AB 1142 in my "PhilH's Industrial Railway Photos" thread in "Gallery" as promised.
Philip
Thanks Philip - for those wanting to take a look it can be found elsewhere on Western Thunder by clicking here.

Also thanks for posting in there Philip, as I have discovered another part of the forum I had not previously seen! I now need to go an plough through your photo gallery - the industrial use brakevan and van images are wonderful!

Richie
 
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