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Bassett-Lowke A1 restoration as a static - help / advice needed

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AJBAJB03/02/2021 13:28:48
4 forum posts
2 photos

Hello all

Possibly not the right forum, for reasons which will become apparent...but I'll give it a go anyway. I have inherited (most of) a B-L A1, construction of which was started by my grandfather, ignored by my father and now puzzled over by me. I say most of, because although I have the drawings, I haven't done a full itinerary but suspect there may be components missing. She is a methylated spirits burner, and the combination of that and the fact that I don't have all the skills required to complete the build have led me to the conclusion that finding somebody who might be interested in taking on a restoration project to get her to a presentable static standard would be a nice thing to do.

To that end...does anybody have any recommendations or desire for taking on a project like this? I'm not thinking about the cost yet - just establishing if it's feasible. I have read a fair amount of bad press about this particular kit but from a sentimental / non-running point of view, that's irrelevant.

A couple of photos...one taken recently, looking a bit worse for wear, the other in happier times (probably 50+ years ago):

bl a1 small.jpg

bl a1 old small.jpg

Thoughts welcomed...

Tony

br03/02/2021 15:37:11
465 forum posts
4 photos

Gauge 0, I suspect.

Well worth restoring either as static or running.

Get it done and treasure it.

br

PS Only on light duties now . PM me if I can be of assistance.

AJBAJB03/02/2021 16:09:55
4 forum posts
2 photos

Ah - I should have stated in the thread title that she's 2 1/2" gauge, so a little bigger than you are imagining!

I agree though - well worth restoring if anybody fancies a lockdown project...

br03/02/2021 16:40:13
465 forum posts
4 photos

Even better size.  BL published a construction series in 2.5 scale.

Happy to chat to you about taking on board

PM me if interested

br

Edited By br on 03/02/2021 16:42:53

Peter Seymour-Howell03/02/2021 17:55:12
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31 forum posts
8 photos

ah.. a Gresley A1, the most beautiful of all steam locomotives...If I wasn't flat out building my 5" version I'd offer some help, I can certainly answer any questions you may have about the A1's if you desire to have her look more prototypical.

You could contact the 2 1/2 gauge association,s John Baguley who has worked on this model, in fact, he did do a blog on its progress some years ago which may help you. I'm not sure if he finished it? perhaps I should ask him, he's currently drawing up my ashpan for me in CAD.

I'm not sure of your experience in building things but you may find that you could restore this yourself, especially if only doing so to be a static model. Any questions I'm sure could be answered by fellow model engineers.

Here's a link to John FS page.. http://www.modeng.johnbaguley.info/locos/25inch/A1/A1-1.htm

 

Regards

 

Pete

 

Edited By Peter Seymour-Howell on 03/02/2021 17:56:37

br03/02/2021 18:01:15
465 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by Peter Seymour-Howell on 03/02/2021 17:55:12:

ah.. a Gresley A1, the most beautiful of all steam locomotives...If I wasn't flat out building my 5" version I'd offer some help, I can certainly answer any questions you may have about the A1's if you desire to have her look more prototypical.

You could contact the 2 1/2 gauge association,s John Baguley who has worked on this model, in fact, he did do a blog on its progress some years ago which may help you. I'm not sure if he finished it? perhaps I should ask him, he's currently drawing up my ashpan for me in CAD.

I'm not sure of your experience in building things but you may find that you could restore this yourself, especially if only doing so to be a static model. Any questions I'm sure could be answered by fellow model engineers.

Here's a link to John FS page.. http://www.modeng.johnbaguley.info/locos/25inch/A1/A1-1.htm

Regards

Pete

Edited By Peter Seymour-Howell on 03/02/2021 17:56:37

Interesting to see your comment about restoring it himseld as a static model

Just what I have said to him in a PM in reply to his.

Plus there would be the satisfaction of working on his grandfather's engine

br

Peter Seymour-Howell03/02/2021 18:07:07
avatar
31 forum posts
8 photos

Hi br...

humans are amazing creatures, they can do anything that they put their mind too, many never get to discover just what they are capable off doing. A project like this is the perfect incentive for discovering that hidden talent. Completing a family steam locomotive must be the best excuse to get one's hands dirty...

Regards

Pete

AJBAJB03/02/2021 18:12:48
4 forum posts
2 photos

Oh, the provocation...

As I've previously admitted, I do have a passing interest and some relevant tools. Just not sure if I have the time. I'll pore over the drawings again and compare with the loco (currently, she is in lockdown 100 miles away).

I have popped an email to the 2 1/2 GA association but not John specifically...very interesting.

Thanks for all your replies (and gentle persuasion). I am encouraged to get this moving.

Edited By AJBAJB on 03/02/2021 18:13:04

IanT03/02/2021 18:17:36
1816 forum posts
177 photos

I know John has worked on the Weise/Collin's Flying Scotsman design Peter (rather than the B/L version).

This engine is a meths-fired model (built to 1/2" scale - whereas the Collins design is coal-fired to 17/32" scale ). I have a part-built A3 based on the Collins design which was originally published in ME.

TEE Publishing used to do a little booklet on building/assembling this B/L engine - which was a reprint of the original directions.

Tony - If this loco was mine, I'd have the boiler tested and (if it can pass) then I'd restore it to full running order. This engine was designed for garden (scenic) running and we still see examples at Gauge '3' GTGs - so there are G3 Members around with running versions of this B/L engine.

In normal times, I'd invite you to one of our G3S Boiler Testing days and we could have a look at her for you - and hopefully things will improve as we get into the Summer.

Regards,

IanT

br03/02/2021 18:20:08
465 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by Peter Seymour-Howell on 03/02/2021 18:07:07:

Hi br...

humans are amazing creatures, they can do anything that they put their mind too, many never get to discover just what they are capable off doing. A project like this is the perfect incentive for discovering that hidden talent. Completing a family steam locomotive must be the best excuse to get one's hands dirty...

Regards

Pete

Agree 100% Pete

br

Peter Seymour-Howell03/02/2021 18:46:19
avatar
31 forum posts
8 photos

Ah.. thanks Ian, I wasn't sure which 2 1/2 FS John had... thanks for clearing that up.

Regards

Pete

IanT03/02/2021 19:27:58
1816 forum posts
177 photos
Posted by Peter Seymour-Howell on 03/02/2021 18:46:19:

Ah.. thanks Ian, I wasn't sure which 2 1/2 FS John had... thanks for clearing that up.

Regards

Pete

Inside information Peter

John published a serialised account of rebuilding his Dad's A1 'Flying Scotsman' in the G3S Newsletter a few years back....

Regards,

IanT

Peter Seymour-Howell03/02/2021 19:43:36
avatar
31 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by IanT on 03/02/2021 19:27:58:
Posted by Peter Seymour-Howell on 03/02/2021 18:46:19:

Ah.. thanks Ian, I wasn't sure which 2 1/2 FS John had... thanks for clearing that up.

Regards

Pete

Inside information Peter

John published a serialised account of rebuilding his Dad's A1 'Flying Scotsman' in the G3S Newsletter a few years back....

Regards,

IanT

Did he finish it Ian, I should ask him myself...in fact, I just a few minutes ago sent him an email asking him about his new design 'Lynton and Barnstaple'...bet it will be a great loco.

Pete

IanT03/02/2021 20:01:26
1816 forum posts
177 photos

Did he finish it Ian, I should ask him myself...in fact, I just a few minutes ago sent him an email asking him about his new design 'Lynton and Barnstaple'...bet it will be a great loco.

Pete

Not that I know of Peter - which was a pity from my point of view (not only because I'm building an A3 version of one) but also because I was the NL Editor at that time.

Interest in 2.5" Narrow Gauge seems to be growing, possibly since 'Toby' - Steve Eaton's N/G loco design. They do make nice compact locos.

Regards,

IanT

Peter Seymour-Howell03/02/2021 20:17:06
avatar
31 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by IanT on 03/02/2021 20:01:26:

Did he finish it Ian, I should ask him myself...in fact, I just a few minutes ago sent him an email asking him about his new design 'Lynton and Barnstaple'...bet it will be a great loco.

Pete

Not that I know of Peter - which was a pity from my point of view (not only because I'm building an A3 version of one) but also because I was the NL Editor at that time.

Interest in 2.5" Narrow Gauge seems to be growing, possibly since 'Toby' - Steve Eaton's N/G loco design. They do make nice compact locos.

Regards,

IanT

That's a shame, I must give him a nudge..

I have been researching the A1 for over 20 years, picked up a fair bit on the A3 too. If you need details on any parts give me a shout and I'll see what I have.

Pete

Dave Wootton04/02/2021 08:38:15
148 forum posts
46 photos

Hi Tony

This looks to be a good project, there are a surprising number of these B-L engines that turn up part finished or needing restoration, in fact there are lots of 2 1/2" gauge part finished's around, presumably started in the earlier years of the hobby, and abandoned when the larger gauges became more popular.

I'm rebuilding a part finished 2 1/2" gauge loco at present, and posted on here under " another president causing problems" , I can't help with the rebuild I'm afraid, but I have done some work on one of these in the past for a friend, so quite happy to give any advice i can if you PM me. Best recommendation I can give is to join the 2 1/2" gauge association, theres a wealth of knowledge and they are a friendly helpful bunch.

I think part of the criticism of the design comes about because they were not designed as passenger haulers, and were derided by model loco designer LBSC because of this,at the time he was building coal fired more powerful engines, but these make up into very good looking models with the right look.

The engine looks fairly complete and appears well built, if you do restore it yourself, take copious notes and photographs as you dismantle it, I put everything in such as screws and tiny parts in small envelopes and label them. Working on small sections at a time, say front bogie, or cylinders as assemblies helps to keep the work orderly. I have seen loco's where everything has been dismantled and chucked in a box, by the well intentioned restorer, tragically it found its way to the dustbin next. Good luck with it, it is a very worthwhile project.

Dave

AJBAJB04/02/2021 10:00:58
4 forum posts
2 photos

Hi Dave

There’s a friendly bunch here too, thanks for your thoughts and those of others. I’ve contacted the 2 1/2” association and I know there is a stretch of appropriate track not too far from me.

I will gather my thoughts, inspect the loco in more detail when I get the chance and come back to you...

Best

Tony

IanT04/02/2021 13:20:50
1816 forum posts
177 photos

Tony - Just to re-state that your engine was basically not designed for passenger/driver hauling - which is essentially the difference between the N2.5GA (who driver haul) and the Gauge '3' Society (who don't).

I am a member of both the N2.5GA and the G3S but would suggest that your engine is essentially a vintage Gauge '3' locomotive and is best considered as such. The G3S have their own Boiler Inspectors (I am one) who would be very happy to test your G3 engine's boiler without any pre-conditions or charge. We are very keen to keep these vintage models in running condition (and use) whenever possible.

The Gauge '3' Society normally holds Get Togethers (GTGs) throughout the warmer months and I'm very sure that there will be members at some of those events who both own and operate Basset-Lowke (meths-fired) FS engines who would be delighted to meet you and offer advice. Hopefully, GTGs will restart before too long...

Without wanting to cause any furore, you might also find that the BI's in some MES will be reluctant to test your boiler without at least your joining their Society and perhaps showing a degree of 'active' membership. This is understandable given that their services can be abused by people looking to 'trade' an old engine on eBay (preferably with a boiler certificate) and who have no intention of actually participating in the Society activities.

However, I do think that your decision on how best to 'restore' your engine should be (at least partially) guided by the condition of the boiler - so I'd suggest that this should be your priority.

You can find our more about the Gauge '3' Society here:

The Gauge '3' Society

But please feel free to PM me - I'd be happy to discuss this further with you offline.

Regards,

IanT

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