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Northumbrian or Blowfly?

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Peter Harding22/07/2010 04:05:07
16 forum posts
4 photos
Hi all,
I am a relative newcomer to the hobby with only a completed oscillator and part built mill engine.  I am now looking forwards to the next project (given success with the Mill engine) and looking at a 'beginners' locomotive.
So far I beleive I have narrowed it down to a choice of two - Either Northumbrian (3 1/2"gauge), currently being serialised in ME or Blowfly (5" gauge), a very popular locomotive here in Australia.
The Blowfly, being 5" gauge will obviously be a magnitude more expensive to build (around AU$2500 materials) while the Northumbrian is (a) cheaper and (b) GLR do a materials pack. 
My main concern though is the pulling power of the Northumbrian.  I am a relatively hefty person and wonder wether I am asking too much of this engine to pull me.  I know that a Blowfly is happy pulling up to 12 adults so no problem there.  My club (Northern Districts Model Engineering Society) has both gauges of track.
Opinions would be appreciated.
Peter Harding22/07/2010 05:24:25
16 forum posts
4 photos
Link to Blowfly information
Chris22/07/2010 08:54:59
87 forum posts
13 photos
Somewhere in the early stages of the Northumbrian series Terry estimated that the loco should be able to pull an adult and a small child. It's major problem will be adhesion I imagine having only the single driving wheels.
Having said that I am enjoying building Northumbrian as my first major project. Terry's write ups have been very helpful and GLR are good to deal with.
Peter Harding22/07/2010 09:09:49
16 forum posts
4 photos
Thanks for the reply Chris,
That was my problem - I'm around the 110Kg weight so probably weigh as much if not more than Terry's estimate - hence the question.  5" gauge would have been so much more useful.
I agree on GLR being good to deal with.  Brought some stainless and silver steel from them a month or so back and even including the postage to Western Australia (WA) was cheaper than I could get here.  Most materials places in WA only want to sell by the Ton or standard 6m length so I either get from the Eastern States (Queensland or New South Wales) or import.  Compared to the Eastern states prices with postage I got the GLR silver steel bundle for free
Chris22/07/2010 10:35:39
87 forum posts
13 photos
I would have to agree Peter. 5 inch is a better size to work with and a more usable end product but on the other hand as a beginners project the smaller scale can be built on a mini lathe. There was talk of someone scaling up Northumbrian to 5" way back at the beginning of the series but no mention of it has been made since.
Blowfly looks like a super little loco and like Sweet Pea over here seems to have a big following so help should be availabe when problems arise. (For us beginners they do arise and it's good to know there is a backup team).
I am looking to my next project being road steam but the prices are pretty prohibitive on my limited budget. All that money wasted on food and rent every month !!

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