When we were children back in the early
sixties Dad bought my brother Rodney and I a part built twin cylinder
freelance 1” traction engine. We did not have the required tools
or experience to complete the engine. Dad was told of an engineer
who could help us by completing the engine. This was completed with
the help of an engineer from Staunton on Wye named Jack Phillips.
My Father contacted Jack by letter and a meeting was arranged.
We arranged to meet Jack by the post
box at Staunton on Wye, Jack told us it would be easier if he took
us to his house. Indeed it was we walked across two fields and several
hedges until we came upon a remote cottage, Jacks Home. What an amazing
place, all of the lathes milling and drilling and grinding was powered
by foot using specially made treadle units. There was no electric.
Jack showed us a beautiful one-inch scale showman’s engine he
was building. We left the engine with Jack for several weeks. When
we collected it Jack demonstrated the engine running, again foot power
was used on an old car foot pump. Jack’s other talents were
enormous, he would repair piano accordions radio’s etc. He could
also play the accordion and a small pedal powered church organ that
he had in his living room.
Following the completion of the engine
by Jack the family was hooked on steam engineering. Both my brother
and I would often attend the Ross on Wye steam engine rally with the
engine. It was around 1-1/2” scale and would pull a couple of
adults. We would take it in turns driving the engine around the rally
field at the ages of 12 and 13. Other times at the rally I would assist
a small stationary engine steam show presented by a welsh man named
Bob Page. Bob would let me oil the stationary engines etc and put
coal on the vertical boiler. He was such a kind man.
Dad bought a Myford lathe in the late sixties and started building
a 5” Simplex locomotive to a design from Martin Evans that was
featured in the “Model Engineer” at that time. Some time
later Rod started building a 31/2” Rob Roy Caledonian tank engine.
Both Dad and Rod went on to complete their engines. Dad later built
a 5-inch GWR Manor locomotive and a four inch Foster Traction engine.
Rod later built a three-inch and four-inch traction engine followed
by a couple of railway engines. His latest engine was the excellent
six-inch Burrell Scenic Showman’s engine called Snapdragon.
Old Glory did a fine article on this in the mid 1990s.
(built by Rod)
During my teenage years I would often
steer a Steam tractor owned by the late Derrick Hackett (the engine
was HEREFORD BELLE) who had a large collection of steam tractors at
Ross on Wye. Lionel Williams, the undertaker from Pontrialas would
drive the engine and I would steer. Several times we went from Ross
on Wye to the Bromyard Gala and back towing the typical green living
van to sleep in because it was a two-day event. I recall the traveling
speed was around ten miles an hour. Collecting water en route was
interesting, as was the ploughman’s lunch at the pub on the
Steering a full size tractor was quite
hard but also interesting. The tendency to over steer is hard to conquer,
eventually after much prompting by Lionel, I found that playing with
the slack in the steering chain was enough to keep us on the road.
After a while you tended to loose concentration, Lionel told me that
it was easy for him to notice because the chimney would start weaving
from side to side. He usually gave a gentle prod with his elbow to
cure the steering problems. These days were very memorable, I was
fortunate to have such experience. I recall the road speed was about
10 miles per hour.
The engine I drove was an ex Herefordshire
council Aveling and Porter road loco. I know it survived into preservation.
Thanks to the kind e mail I received from Mr Hedwin Jones I now
know more information about the Aveling Traction Engine I used to
drive. Mr Stuart Gray now owns it and I believe the engine is based
in Hitchin Hertfordshire.
Reproduced with courtesy
of Steam-up.co.uk is the following photo and information for the engine.
1920 Aveling & Porter 4 nhp Colonial Steam Tractor
Aveling & Porter Steam Ltd
1920 Aveling & Porter 4 nhp Colonial Steam Tractor - Clementine
Works No. 9225. Reg. No. CJ 4160
The colonial tractor was a class of engine built by several engine
manufacturers to satisfy a demand in the Colonies for road haulage
tractors of a heavier than normal construction and with the ability
to burn a wider range of fuels than the engines made for the home
market. This road tractor was new to Hereford County Council and was
one of three similar engines supplied to them; all three of which
are preserved and regularly seen at rallies today. Clementine was
used on council business until 1939, hauling road building materials,
etc. From 1939 until the mid 1950s she was used commercially, primarily
for threshing, in Herefordshire but was then laid-up until sold for
preservation under the name "Hereford Belle". Following
an early attempt at a showman's conversion she was restored to her
original condition and is now presented as an authentic example of
a very popular engine, particularly liked by those who had the fortune
to drive them. By traction engine standards these steam tractors are
fast on the road, traveling at about 12 MPH on the level, and were
advertised, rather optimistically, as capable of pulling a load of
about 10 tons.
So my first attempt
at model engineering was a 3” traction engine to the design
of HR Plastow. This model was later completed by Rod. Eventually in
the early eighties I managed to set up my own workshop and built a
71/4 “ 0-6-0 Holmside tank engine. This was the first engine
I had built and completed and was extremely happy to own my own steam
locomotive. I bought the copper boiler and fittings, which allowed
quick build time of nine months from, start to finish.
Holmside 7-1/4” Tank Locomotive
(By Colin Dix 1983)
The second engine that I built was a
5” Royal Scot Rebuilt painted in LMS 1946 black livery with
red and straw coloured lining. This locomotive won a Sliver medal
and the Crebin memorial cup at the 1989 Alexandria Palace model engineering
Exhibition. This was an extremely rewarding model to build, I got
a great deal of satisfaction during the construction and completion
of the model.
Royal Scott Locomotive
Colin Dix 1988)
A period of ten years passed with my
departure from this type of engineering due to work and travel commitments.
I decided to build a Road Locomotive, the bigger the engine the better
it would be in my opinion. I have young children and grandchildren
who I would love to see driving such an engine and getting the same
pleasure as Rod and I did at such an early age. A large engine would
allow us all to ride on it maybe? So we started to build HOGWART.
Now our family engine.
Bailey Steam is the hobby side of my
Business Bailey Engineering. Most of the work I do is done by traveling
all around the world to work on High Technology Compact disc Laser
mastering systems including the very first Electron Beam Mastering
machine. This is currently being used to master Blue Ray disc's in
Japan. Other design work and local repair and manufacturing is included
in between travel. -
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