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Westcorkrailway's workbench

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The Bandon tanks had 5'2" drivers ( two and a half to be precise), with an even spacing. The suggestion has always been to choose model wheels slightly smaller than that, to cope with the fact that flanges are larger than scale, unless modelling in P4 of course. 

Hence that probably means locos with 5' or 5'1 driving wheels. A trawl through my 1960 edition of the Observer's Book of Railway Locomotives reveals the following:

GWR 22xx ' 5'2

SR Q, Q1

LSWR 700

SECR C 5'2

SECR 01 5'2

LBSCR C2x, E4,

LMS Ivatt 2-6-2T, 2-6-0

LNER J6, J11, J35, J39, J21, J36

BR standard 2-6-0, 2-6-2T

Quite a few of these are/have been available as rtr, so fingers crossed you can find one without paying a fortune.

Good hunting!


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Personally I think you will achieve a better model and more long lasting result if you assemble the loco with the SSM chassis rather than try and use a rtr  donor chassis.

My first attempt at kit building a TMD Midland Tank of 1983 complete with original wheels gears and motor still looks reasonably well and is still runs reliably nearly 40 years later while all my attempts using rtr chassis ended up in the scrap bin within a fairly short time.



The TMD tank was my first etched kit (and 21mm gauge loco)  I knew very little about soldering, but managed to assemble the loco without major problems with a 25w iron and paste flux and the minimum of hand tools

I modernised the loco into CIE condition about 10 years later with new smokebox wrapper, smokebox door, chimney and safety valves as the kit only included parts for the loco in pre-1912 MGWR condition.

I later graduated to Carrs and DDC Concepts modelling solders with liquid fluxes more efficient soldering irons and gradually built up a collection of suitable tools.

Markits driving and bogie wheels are basically a no-brainer  in OO as they are easy to fit, a Coreless or Can Motor with a 53:1 gearbox from a supplier such as High Level Kits or Branchlines will give you a transmission with a speed range that's ideal for a mixed traffic or goods loco like a B4.

Branchlines sales@branchlines.com usually stock Mashima can motors their 10X24 would be idea for a B4 the  Multibox gearbox with brass gears is extremely robust and simple to assemble.

Highlevel Kits https://www.highlevelkits.co.uk/ supply 12 and 13mm Coreless motors which would be suitable for a B4, their Road Runner + with a 45:1 ratio would be suitable for B4. The High Level Greaboxes with their nylon gearing have a very good reputation, but can be a bit fiddly to assemble and its easy to loos the loose grubscrew in the findal drive gear.

I tended to use Multiboxes in large mainly BR steam locos and High Level Gearboxes in my more recent Irish locos.

Tool wise a working surface with desk lamp, a 50watt soldering for brass work , a set of needle files, and tapered broaches for opening out bearing and pin holes are the basic tools for loco/kit assembly. Carrs or DCC concepts Detailing or 145° solder in combination with Carrs Red or DCC Concepts Sapphire solder should be adequate for chassis and loco/coach body assembly.


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Saw a GWR 0-6-0 in a local junk shop only this morning. However, can only echo Mayner's comments. Chassis building may sound scary, but is one of those things that are really worth having a go at. 

 However an interim step may be to replace the wheels on the Terrier chassis. Remember though, the axle diameter may not be the same on your replacements, while the crank pins on the coupling rods could have the same issue. You've then got to find a way of fixing the doner chassis to the kit's bodywork. Which is why that, ultimately we end up making up the chassis as well, because it is actually less fuss.

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Learned today that at least 5 A class locomotives used the West Cork System. The  3 numbers that I could  confirm is  A55, A54 and A30. This means that technically there is another “technically” West Cork locomotive preserved in castlerea that flew over my head. But it also means that of all the A class loco’s I could have purchased. I chose A30 in silver….completely prototypical to West cork…..well, kinda😅

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1 hour ago, Niles said:

Interesting, any details as to what sort of workings they were on? 

Most of them were just trial runs running light. There was at least one excursion using one though. I know they never went on the courtmacsherry section(obviously)or the skibbereen to Baltimore section over concerns the Illen bridge was not strong enough to support the wieght of the A’s

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

As said above Recently I was told that A30 was actually one of the few A class locomotives to venture onto the west cork making A30 in silver the first West Cork locomotive ever produced by IRM….or MM for that matter 


In anticipation of a certain little steam engine arriving ice set up the ring for running the little loco in. Im running 479 with the fictional coaches (Ex-LNER) , 121 with CIE “laminate” (br mk1 respray) coaches and silverfox C212 with Milipeade Bulleid wagons, resprayed Oxford LNER cattle wagons and JM design breakvan.


I’m still in the stages of planning a layout although this will undoubtably be crossbarry/ Kinsale junction with a bit of artistic licence (with it being set in 1962, the kinsale branch being open and perhaps even the quarry branch being open). This will likely include 3D printed buildings, platforms ect. With the fictional coaches being the main kinsale branch coaches along with 479 being the only rebuilt locomotive from the collection of CB&SCR Dubs and Neilson/Breyer peakock 4-4-2T locomotives with perhaps more accurate coaches and better suited rolling stock to replace it when they become available. 



Edited by Westcorkrailway
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

One of the most sacrilegious things I have done…..

Somone got me the classic “Smokey joe” Hornby set pre-owned as a birthday gift, I’ve never had this little set before but I’m aware it’s where many start there modelling journey 

So I put everything into a different CIE livery to see how it would work out 

All things considsidered it didn’t work out too badly considering how knackered everything was!

I’ll probobly find little use for these myself. Hence the attempt of making them CIE. The other 2 coaches in the set have no real CIE equivalent


the real revelation is that I have found a spray paint that almost perfectly matches 00works GSR grey. (If I knew that from the start…Smokey joe would be grey!)


smokey joe in the rare CIE black….green decals from railtec’s Eau de nil coach set



I’m pretty sure nothing in Ireland looked anything like this brakevan


€30 vs €350!

Edited by Westcorkrailway
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