This page shows some of the models that have been through the Rhos Helyg Locomotive Works recently.

Latest additions appear at the top of the page.

Please see the Gallery page for more finished models.

You may click on the pictures to see enlarged views.

Morgan Locomotive Company Garratt 0-4-0+0-4-0 No. 15

Morgan Locomotive Works Garratt No. 15 had a more substantial cab fitted before being repainted in to green with white lining and black edging.

John Prescott Robin 0-4-0T

About 30 years ago, on a Friday evening during the summer you would invariably find me playing trains at my good friend Edward Hodson's line in Staffordshire. On occasions we would also be joined by the late John Prescott, and John would usually bring his latest creation for a run. I remember when he brought early builds of his Robin 0-4-0 side tanks and saddle tanks along, which I admired greatly, and especially the way he had managed to cram clunky 1980s radio control in to such a small loco. Sadly, a Robin of either kind has never come my way but it was still nice to have one here for a short period for some work. This one came here for conversion from radio to manual control and a full repaint. Absolutely delightful!

Archangel Festiniog Railway Single Fairlie 0-4-4T TALIESIN

The Festiniog Railway's Single Fairlie TALIESIN is seldom modelled in other than its current form, but this one bucks that trend with the loco seen in its earlier form with lower tanks, tapered chimney and open cab. It was built by Stewart Browne of Archangel Loco Works and arrived here with only the frames painted and the rest in either bare brass or primer. It was painted and lined to the owner's specification with name and works plates supplied by MDC.

Accucraft/DJB Engineering coal-fired Ragleth 0-4-0T MINA

This Accucraft Ragleth came here very much as a kit of parts, along with the coal-firing conversion kit made by DJB Model Engineering Ltd. The kit includes a replacement boiler, water pump, boiler filling system, water tanks, smokebox and all of the other components needed. The job was completed with a repaint from dark green in to satin black with simple red lining to avoid it looking too much like a black blob.

My sincere thanks go to Mike Darby at Chuffed2Bits for the repair work needed on the chassis.

Roger Marsh Avonside 0-4-0T MARCHLYN

The proverbial Box Of Bits can always be a challenge, especially when there are no instructions, few others around of the same type to copy and the box contains bits from more than one kit. Such was the case with this one, which eventually turned in to a model of Penrhyn Quarry's Avonside 0-4-0T MARCHLYN.

I've had a couple of the similar Maxwell Hemmens Ogwen/Marchlyn locos here, but this one was made by Roger Marsh so there are a few differences. I started by finishing assembly of the chassis and running it on compressed air. I then put enough bits on to get it running on steam. The chassis ran nicely but the boiler was not so good. The pressure gauge pipe was fractured where it was soldered directly in to the boiler, and the backhead water gauge glass was also leaking. Not something I can fix, so the boiler went off to Shawe Steam Services for repair. The pressure gauge pipe can now be easily removed from the boiler should the need arise, and a different and better method of retaining the backhead in place has also been used.

Meanwhile, I removed the poorly applied paint and applied etch primer, black with Penrhyn lining and red detailing, all followed by reassembly to give the result shown.

Roundhouse Engineering Double Fairlie 0-4-4-0T EARL OF MERIONETH

A Roundhouse Double Fairlie carrying a lining scheme based on that carried by the old (proper!) Earl of Merioneth prior to its withdrawal from traffic in 1971. Name and patent plates were supplied by MDC.

Roundhouse Engineering Dylan 0-6-0ST EMILY

The bodywork for this Roundhouse Dylan came here for repainting in a Festiniog-inspired scheme of green with red lining and black edging. Once completed the parts were returned to the loco's owner for reassembly. (Photo by Simon Sparkes)

Roundhouse Engineering Vale of Rheidol 2-6-2T No. 7

This loco came here in well-worn lined maroon livery with a request to repaint it in gloss bronze green. The maroon paint was in such a state that it had to be removed but on doing so I found that this loco started life in gloss black. Fortunately the maroon paint detached from the black very easily, leaving me with a loco with perfect paintwork over which the green could be applied and avoiding the need to strip to bare brass and reapply etch primer.

The livery is that carried by the VofR locos in the late 1940s / early 1950s, immediately prior to British Railways giving them names.

Accucraft Superior 0-6-2T SUPERIOR

It was a few years ago that Accucraft made an 0-6-2T called Superior, supposedly based on the loco of the same name formerly based at Bowaters paper works in Sittingbourne but now to be found at Whipsnade Zoo. That they were both 0-6-2s and both had side water tanks was undeniable, but there the similarities pretty much ended. Compared to the full-size loco, the model was too long, too tall, lacked the upper cab back sheet and had the wrong chimney.

The owner of this Superior discussed with me what might be done to improve the model and make it look more like The Real Thing. We determined that there was nothing critical (driven axles, boiler, etc.) on the loco that would be affected by the changes we wished to make. Using a drawing of the full-size loco as a guide the owner produced some drawings to show the modifications that could be made, principally reducing the cab height by 6mm and the loco's length by 15mm. Once on my bench, some serious butchery followed.

The tanks were cut off the cab and 15mm was removed from the front of the cab sides and the cab roof. The cab height was reduced by removing 6mm from the top, but this also caused the existing cab roof retainers to be lost, so a new method of holding the roof in place was devised. The cab and tanks were then reattached to form one piece once again.

The loco frames are, as is usual, made from Accucraft's choice of Weapons Grade stainless steel. This stuff is hard - very hard - and so is impossible to solder, impossible to tap, almost impossible to drill and difficult to cut. In order to retain the correct cut-out shape for the pony truck I determined that the 15mm length reduction had to come out of the middle of the frames, and the cut-out for the dummy firebox sides would be the ideal place to do that. The pony truck also needed some work to cope with the shortened frames.

The main footplate was also reduced in length by 15mm, which also involved relocating the reversing lever, lubricator, boiler water drain and cab steps.

The chimney was sent off to my good friend Adrian who managed to successfully turn it in to something looking a lot more realistic.

Other detailing work included:
 - Runners on the cab sides for those very distinctive Bowaters sliding windows.
 - Addition of a upper cab back spectacle sheet.
 - Replacement of the spectacle rings with four more in keeping with The Real Thing.
 - Re-positioning of the sand domes reach rod from the right to the left side of the loco.
 - Fitting of lamp brackets, lamps and cable conduits at each end.

Finally, the whole loco, including the frames, was repainted in Bowaters green with yellow and black lining.

Roundhouse Engineering Cilgwyn Quarry Railway 0-4-0ST LILLA

Another off my "I'd like to do one of those" list has recently been completed: A Roundhouse Lilla in the condition that it ran when new at Cilgwyn Quarry in the Nantlle Valley here in North Wales.

Photos of Lilla in its pre-Penrhyn Quarry days (i.e. before 1928) are hard to come by and I only know of two: A Hunslet works photo of the loco brand-new, and a single image of the loco at work at Cilgwyn. Interpretation of the photos is very subjective but until more photos appear in the public domain nobody can be absolutely certain how the loco looked at that time. However, the photos do show the hardware changes that have occurred during the loco's existence, mainly after it moved to Penrhyn, and they are distinctive enough to reproduce in model form.

The most noticeable difference concerns getting water from the saddle tank in to the boiler. At this time Lilla only had one injector fitted, which was on the left side of the loco. A water pump driven from the crosshead was provided on the right side. The pump has been reproduced, together with the associated pipework. On the full-size loco the holes in the cab front and footplating were re-used when the pump was removed and a second injector fitted, hence why the two sides do not match.

Other changes included:
 - Sheathed wood dumb buffers.
 - Lamp support arm on front and rear lamp brackets.
 - Whistle on the cab roof instead of on the cab front.
 - Additional handrail knob on chimney front.
 - Sandboxes alongside the smokebox and associated operating linkage.

The full-size loco retains the stub of the saddle tank support for the sanders reach rod to this day.

The brand-new model also received the following modifications:
 - Removal of preservation-era tool box and vacuum brake piping.
 - Fitting of left-hand injector water valve handle.
 - Fitting of additional blower and lubrication pipework.
 - Removal of derailment bars and mountings.
 - Fitting of reverser and drain cocks reach rods.

Finally, it was painted and lined in the known Cilgwyn colour scheme.

This page was last updated on 18th September 2020