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July 2006

Graham Stowell's Sedgemoor

by Marc Horovitz

The model
This engine has no particular prototype that I am aware of. It was named and numbered after the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. This took place in western England, where the Royal army, under Lord Feversham, destroyed the Duke of Monmouth's rebel army.

The engine was built on a chassis made by a short-lived British company called A.H. Collins. It has two, double-acting oscillating cylinders disguised by shrouds. Reversing is via the typical rotary valve between the cylinders, actuated by a lever in the cab. The locomotive is equipped with a throttle valve, a safety valve, and an ENOTs-type filler. Fuel is carried in the tender, in a tank beneath the floor. This communicates with the burner via a piece of silicon tubing. Cylinder lubrication is accomplished through a standard, in-line displacement lubricator, with a drain, on the footplate. The boiler is a pot, fired with a wick-type alcohol burner. The safety valve is shrouded and vented through the cab roof -- a nice touch.

The body features full-length side tanks (non functional) and an open, tropical cab with double roof sheet. The tender is completely open, and might have carried cane. It attaches to the engine with a simple hook.

The run
I had never run this engine before, as it had some mechanical problems. In some free moments I got into it and made some necessary tweaks, so today's run was a first for me, and perhaps a first for the engine as well.

It was really hot and still out. I went through the usual firing-up procedure and parked the engine on a bridge for lighting, which I did in the usual way. The first thing I noticed was that burning meths was dropping from the engine, setting the surrounding track and countryside alight. Not a good omen.

The engine has a simple pot boiler and, although the side tanks were stuffed with some sort of insulation, the paint soon started to darken. Steam came up in fairly short order and I opened the throttle. Sedgemoor made a halfhearted attempt at mobility, then stopped again. With ample encouragement (i.e. pushing), it finally got going, but with little enthusiasm.

A well-designed engine with oscillating cylinders should be as lively as can be. I seem to recall reading that the valve events on Collins locomotives were not all that could be wished for. This might well explain this engine's lackluster performance. Whenever the engine stopped, I could hear blowby.

Sedgemoor continued to amble around the track with the throttle wide open and the safety valve blowing for another twenty minutes or so. I refilled the fuel tank a couple of times and pumped some more water into the boiler via the ENOTs valve, but it was obvious the engine just wasn't interested. In the mean time, the paint continued to char and a passing bush knocked off the sole remaining nameplate (also discolored with the heat). It looks like a complete tear-down is in the offing. Some days are just like that.

Builder Graham Stowell (on a Collins chassis)
Date built 1992
Gauge 0 (32mm)
Scale 16mm
Boiler Pot
Fittings Safety valve, throttle, ENOTs filler valve
Fuel Alcohol
Blow-off pressure 30 psi (?)
Cylinders Two, double-acting oscillators
Reversing gear Rotary valve
Lubricator Displacement
Weight Loco & tender: 6 lb. 6 oz.
Dimensions Length (loco & tender) over end beams, 15-1/4"; width, 3-7/8"; height, 6-1/4"
The left side of the engine. Having never run, the paint is still pristine, although the nameplate on this side has vanished in the mists of time.
Left: The cab is open and airy, typical of those used in hot climates. Note the safety valve vented through the cab roof.

Above: The reversing valve is controlled by the lever protruding through the cab floor. To the left of it is the ENOTs filler valve.

Oscillating cylinders are concealed by shrouds to create the illusion of fixed cylinders. Fuel is carried in a simple tank below the tender deck. The inlet tube is inside the tender shell.
The underside is relatively spare. The alcohol burner can be clearly seen, along with the feed tube from the tender. The rod below it controls the reversing valve between the cylinders.
Above: Taking on water during the run. Since there is no water glass, filling the boiler is a guess-and-by-gosh proposition. "Little and often" is the way of things here.

Below: The result of the first run -- charred paint and a scraped-off nameplate. Oh, well. That's just the way it goes sometimes.


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