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LBSC Petrolea

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Doug Jordan02/08/2010 17:12:36
4 forum posts
I am intending on building LBSC's Petrolea as my first locomotive. Does anyone have any first hand experience of building this particular locomotive and who would be willing to pass on some tips. In particular, are the drawings accurate? I know from a lot of postings recently that the issue of drawing accuracy has become quite an issue, especially if you are a beginner!
Many thanks,
Doug Jordan.  
MJS07/09/2012 22:05:37
4 forum posts

hello Doug

I have just noticed your Post of 20010 re Petrolea (ME Forum) and wonder how your loco has progressed since then. I am in a similar position having started frames etc thirty odd years ago. Family and job then took over leaving me now recently retired and wondering whether to pick the frames up and carry on with the build ! I have no equipment yet , other than files and a micrometer and no experienceof toolmaking etc. AS a result a lot of questions fill my mind such as

1) about the size of lathe that is necessary

2) is it a difficult first build?

3) are 3.5" locos more difficult than 5"?


I would be pleased to receive any coments/advice you might like to make in the light of your own experience.

Hope I haven't wasted your time.

Mike Stratton

DMB07/09/2012 22:33:06
788 forum posts

Hi Doug & Mike,

You will find 3.5G locos much easier to move than 5G unless latter is a real tidler. One of my worst experiences when I was young and a hell of a lot stronger, was helping someone move a 5G GWR 47XX. Not heard of anyone building a Petrolea in recent years so dont remember any thing bad being said about drawing accuracy. Good luck anyway. Perhaps we could all have updates on building progress.


MJS11/09/2012 13:09:29
4 forum posts

Thank you John.

Am looking around for preloved equipment at moment hence questions about lathe size etc. Thanks for good wishes too. Mike

John Alexander Stewart11/09/2012 14:23:56
707 forum posts
51 photos


Lathe sizes; I have 4 3-1/2" gauge locomotives here, 2 running, 1 95%, and one about 50%. Tich, continental loading gauge 2-8-2, shay geared locomotive, and the 2MT 2-6-0 "Ivatt" design, respectively.

My main lathe for this is an Emco Compact-8, but a Myford ML7 or equivalent would be just as good, or better, as the Emco does not have really slow speeds. Those little 7x12 lathes might be ok, but the Emco was copied and modified, so lots of the far-east 8x18 or 9x20s would work well.

The has a Compact-8, well equipped, on sale for what I think is a good price. Was thinking about it, as mine was well used when I got it, but getting it packed and shipped overseas... (I did find one I can drive to and acquire, so I'm set now for life, lathe wise)

I now also have a Centec 2B milling machine with vertical head.

Our club is going ground 5" and 7-1/4", so I did start a small 7-1/4". I do have a larger lathe, 11" swing, and that is required for the 7-1/4" building, and, the Centec somehow seems small for this gauge.

If you are wondering what I would do if I had to move to a smaller space? Keep the Emco, and the 3-1/2" gauge projects, and join only clubs with 3-1/2" gauge tracks, as that really is, to me, the fun stuff.

Another JohnS.

MJS12/09/2012 21:20:43
4 forum posts

JAS. Thank you for your comprehensive response. It is reassuring to know that the smaller set ups can cope with 3.5" projects. I was interested to hear that you find that scale to be "fun" as against the larger varieties. Don't you think theres something about a 5" Gresley / Brittania that takes some beating?

Lathe dimensions presumably refer to centre heights and dbcc in inches!. I looked at and will monitor. I hope to attend an evening course starting in January where I aim to develop my lathe skills before making an investment--unless something worthwhile turns up before then.



John Alexander Stewart12/09/2012 23:43:49
707 forum posts
51 photos

Hi Mike;

As a Canadian, give me a "Royal Hudson", although I did see Brittania a couple of times in steam, (last time in April) and she certainly is a treat. With a 5" gauge Brit, remember that it is a lot to move about, and you do need quite the load to "make her sing". Your choice, of course, and there are no wrong choices.

I do everything in my workshop in mm; but the 11x24 lathe is 11" diameter swing over the bed, and 24" between centres. Whatever it is in mm, it's big enough. Sometimes you'll see diameters or radius mentioned; It does get confusing.

I did take night school courses (must be about 10 of them; as a teenager, and later) so I'd agree that that is the way to go, at least to learn what to do/not to do.

It is a fun hobby;

Another JohnS

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