Affiliated to the Southern Federation of Model Engineering Societies.

Don’t forget next months AGM, 20th April at the Idmiston and Porton Village Hall.7pm for 7.30pm start, your chance to have your say, bring any new ideas or volunteer for any of the committee positions.

 The Sarum Model Traction Engine Club has been invited to attend the Wallop Vintage Gathering on the 26th August (coal supplied), entry forms are available from the newsletter editor.  It is proposed that we have our small club gazebo at the event with tea and coffee available to members.

Why not make a weekend of steam by combining this event with our own steam up and road run on the 27th August at Newton Tony as these events are only about six miles apart, overnight camping could possibly be arranged at Newton Tony.

 4" Burrell DCC Road Loco

My son, Simon and I were looking for a compound road loco in 4" scale we could not build one from scratch, so we decided after a great deal of thought to sign up to Steam Traction World as they were making a compound road loco in 4" scale. It would come in 30 kits in monthly intervals, so when were at the Dorset Steam Fair 2 years ago we decided to sign up. As their track record was a worry it was good to meet them in person and with their assurance we were quite happy signing with them. The first kit was the front wheels which were put together fairly easily, the hardest part was the painting and lining. The engine is based on the President, so hopefully it will look something like the full size. With the smokebox and front axle delivered the front began to look like an engine. The next kit was the tender which was put together with around 300 rivet bolts, which was very time consuming to say the least! but, the result was very good. The tank was painted inside with Isoflex which seems to have sealed it well. The back wheels were delivered in 2 separate kits. The flywheel side when put together ran true, but the gear side would not run right so we made up a jig, clamped the rim and the hub down and altered the spokes to fit. When the wheel was on the axle it still ran out 5mm and was slightly concentric, so we re-built it several times but we could not make it true even with bending the spokes.

The boiler was due, so we decided to pick it up at the factory in Daventry. We arrived at the new factory on a Saturday as they had just moved premises, there was still some sorting out to be done but it was a very impressive set up. Steve Baldock was in the process of making half-shafts for a Stanley Steam car. He has been making 2 full size steam cars! they looked fantastic and are approximately 75 % finished, both very impressive as they are 4 seaters. We took the rear wheel that was giving us problems with us and Steve did not think it would be a problem. I am still not happy with it, but will fit it to the engine to see if it is ok. Steve said he would sort it out if it was not running right. Anyway we brought the boiler home and to date we have fitted the smokebox, hornplates and tender, which all went very well. The next job was the belly tanks, they took some sorting out as some of the holes for the rivet bolts did not line up, they were slightly out. When they are manufactured they drill the hole and then bend the angles so, some of them did not line up. There were another 350 rivet bolts to fit. It took quite a few hours and sore fingers to finish them. I have taken some pictures but can't seem to send them to Martyn, so I will try to download some the next time. We will have the engine at our steam-up and look forward to seeing everyone, hopefully we would have made more progress in the mean time. I intend to Nickel plate the motion and the bright work.  I have bought a kit from Frost Restorations, so it will be interesting to see the results.

by David Watts.

A Life Time Passion for Steam,  by Mike Penny.

My apprenticeship years continued….

The winter of 1955-56 turned quite cold after Christmas, I remember the east wind blowing across the airfield was what my dad called a “lazy wind”, it went right through you instead of around. When it got too frosty to build I was sent over to Wilton for a week, I do not remember what dad did for that period, the civil engineering side of the firm were laying a sewer down South Street from the Bulbridge Estate in Wilton, this is about half a mile up the hill from where Pete Parrish runs his bi-annual model exhibition in the Michael Herbert Hall.

Wilton is only three miles up over the hill from where I live so I peddled over on my bike the first morning and the first thing I saw was the big 14 ton Aveling Roller, I had not been very happy when they told me I had to go to Wilton but seeing the roller made me feel a lot better.My job turned out to be lamp boy for the week, in those days there were no plastic bollards or battery powered flashing yellow lamps the edges of the trench were marked with a row of paraffin burning red lamps, my job was to pick them up in the morning and take them up the hill to our sheds just off the road on a corner of the estate. Once all the lamps were collected I had to set to and pull out the paraffin containers with the burner screwed in, then clean all the red glasses inside and out, then take out all the burners, top up the paraffin, trim the wicks and then put one back in each lamp ready to light late afternoon for the coming night.

Cleaning inside oil lamps is quite a dirty job made worse if the wick is turned up too high, this creates smoke which soots up the glasses. I soon learnt clean glasses and a small flame gave a good light and less work cleaning next morning. In case any body is wondering how the lamps were put out at night and collected in the morning, we had a small dumper truck on the site, several lengths of two by two timber were placed across the dumper skip and the lamps hung on their hook handles down inside.  The dumper driver drove alongside the trench and I either picked up the lamps or put them down in the evening, they were all lit up at the shed and adjusted before loading.

The driver of the roller was not the same one who had been up on the airfield, this one was called Norman from Pewsey, a really friendly man and quite happy to answer questions from an inquisitive fifteen year old, his father Bill usually drove Daffodil. Every day as soon as I had all the lamps ready for the evening I would go down to where the roller was working, the trench was being back filled as the sewer was laid, the fill was rammed in layers up to road level and then Norman would run one of the back rolls along the centre of the trench and push it down even firmer, if any part went down to much it was topped up and Norman ran over it again. After a couple of days Norman said to me would I like to come up on the footplate, I could not believe my luck and was very soon up there, this was the first time I had been up on an engine, after a while he said “would you like to steer” of course I said “yes please”. I got on all right going forward, it was when we reversed I came to grief, I got to close to the edge and the roll chewed out some of the tarmac which had been cut out fairly straight  before the trench was dug. Norman said he had better take over again or he would get into a row if to much of the edge was damaged so I handed over to him and got off soon after to go and light the lamps. This had been one of those occasions in life that you never forget.

By the end of my week at Wilton the weather had warmed up enough for me to be sent back to Boscombe Down. Later that spring we started work on the Motor Transport Section down behind .“A” Squadron hangar just inside the perimeter fence. At this point I feel should mention the railway Amesbury had at that time, this was a branch line off the London and South Western railway at Grately through Amesbury, Bulford Village and on to Bulford Army Camp, this was the line which passed through Newton Tony where we have our annual steam up on the late August Bank holiday. Constructing the line included major engineering works with embankments varying from 10ft to 35ft and cuttings as deep as 38ft, I believe it was this cutting which ran past Boscombe Down not far outside of the perimeter fence where we were working. Every day about mid-afternoon a train would leave Amesbury station and come towards us, by the time it was opposite where we were it was only just moving the exhaust beats getting further apart, we used to say it was going to stall but as far as I know it never did, whether it was quite a steep climb up through the cutting, there was a heavy load on the trucks or the engine did not steam very well I never found out, we could not see the train because the cutting was to deep and we were to far from it.

By this time the line was only used for goods and there was only one train a day which went through to the camp about 9.00am and back during the afternoon, the line closed March 4th 1963 the tracks were lifted soon after and the cutting is now filled in.


What interested me more was the Aveling roller that was on the site rolling in the hard core for the garage floors and the large parking area out in front. The roller was Aveling and Porter 8 ton single cylinder, number 8832, new 1917 to Barnes Bros. of Southwick near Trowbridge it came to James and Crockerell via Mr. D Marder and is now in preservation, believed to be Berkshire. Any time I could slip away from where I should have been working I would go across to the roller and talk to Norman the driver, of course eventually I would be missed and get shouted at to come back.


Norman was a caring driver and kept his roller as clean as he could for a working engine, during the second week in May I noticed he was spending more time cleaning than usual when he was not rolling so I went over and asked why, he said we are taking the roller up to a steam rally at Andover on Saturday and would you like to come with us, this was something new to me, I had never been to a rally and had no idea what to expect but without hesitation I said yes please. He told me he would steam the engine early, the lorry driver Les would take the low loader up to Boscombe Down, load the roller and pick me up on the way back. I rode my bicycle up to Amesbury in plenty of time on Saturday left it at relatives and was waiting at the bottom of Antrobus Road when they came down the hill from the airfield with the roller hissing gently on the back. (to be continued.)



If you have any further ideas to add or would like to see in this newsletter please contact me or

Martyn Jones  (