Affiliated to the Southern Federation of Model Engineering Societies.


The Burrell Saga, (Continued from the August newsletter), After the “Durrington Show and Vehicle Gathering” it was time to bite the bullet and dismantle the engine for painting and to complete a couple of outstanding jobs such as drilling and tapping the fire box crown for a fusible plug and tapping the boiler for the water level sight glass pipe work. One major task was to fit rubber tyres to the wheels, the tyre bands were rolled and welded giving a light interference fit over the wheel strakes, once fitted to the wheels several holes were drilled through the bands and into the strakes so that I could plug weld to secure them to the wheels.


Next the tyres! I purchase an eleven metre length of rubber from Bridport Foundry (“Plastow” part suppliers), the outside profile of the tyre was correct but the under side that bonds to the bands was slightly convex meaning the tyre would not sit and bond to  the bands correctly. Armed with the angle grinder fitted with the roughest flap disc I had the patio was chosen to be the grinding site and two hours later the tyres had the right slightly concave inner profile.


Apart from the smell of burning rubber during the operation I now found that the patio, conservatory, kitchen window, garage and house brickwork were covered in black rubber dust! so another two hours was spent washing and cleaning everything down. I manufactured two simple cutting jigs to cut the tyres at the correct angle prior to bonding the ends together with super glue, each tyre being an interference fit to the band. After a week to cure the super glue it was fun time, stretching and bonding the tyres to the bands, I managed to do the front wheels single handed but the rear wheels assistance from the wife was required as the tyres had a mind of their own and spent more time off the band than on it.


With the wheels put to one side the rest of the engine parts were stripped of there protective red oxide coating, cleaned and re-coated with etch primmer and undercoat, my choice of colour scheme being Crimson Lake for the engine and dark red for the wheels with black, red and cream for the coach lining. “Elite Panelcraft” of Wilton sprayed the tender and boiler cladding for me in two pack paint for its durability and the rest of the parts I am spraying in a small heated booth made from a very large cardboard packing case and an old fan heater. “Finesse Lining Tapes” are being used for the lining these are available from “Craftmaster Paints” in different widths and combinations, they are a little tricky to put on and remove but the end result is very good and after a little practice I found that warming the enamel lining paint helps it to flow this time of year in a very cold garage!


The engine parts that get hot are next to be attended to and the choice of a suitable black heat proof satin finish paint is yet to be finalised as there is such a choice on the market, I will probably settle for Granville Cylinder Black as it always performed well years ago in my motorcycling days on the iron cylinder barrels.


Tender lining

 Boiler finished in “Granville” Satin Black


A Life Time Passion for Steam, by Mike Penny.

The early years….

This may seem a strange way to start, but I cannot remember my first brush with a steam locomotive. My parents told me about it in later years, we all went to Salisbury Station to catch a train, and I think it was probably to Bournemouth, this would have been in early August 1945 and I had just celebrated my fifth birthday. We must have caught the bus into Salisbury from Woodford and on reaching the station dad took me along the platform to see the engine, I am not sure what happened next but I suspect the safety valves lifted just as we got there, I was apparently not impressed and screamed blue murder and was quickly taken back down the platform out of earshot

We now move on to 1951, I was eleven in the early August and by this time had developed a fascination for fire and anything connected with it. My great grandfather on dad’s side was a blacksmith by trade so I suppose that’s where it came from.

Repairing the local roads at this time was all done by hand, the only mechanical aids were the lorry bringing the tarmac and the steam roller to flatten it down. The tarmac was loaded at a mixing plant somewhere, covered with a tarpaulin to keep the heat in and then driven to where it was required. It was unloaded a little at a time then quickly spread while it was still very hot by a gang of men using stone prongs, these were kept hot using a fire kept close by usually in a forty gallon drum with holes punched around the bottom, the fuel for this fire was often some of the steam coal supplied for the roller. There were more prongs than men, the spare ones were left over the fire getting hot ready to be swapped for the prongs in use as they cooled. As soon as a large area was laid the roller started rolling with water spraying onto the rolls to stop the hot tar sticking to the rolls, it worked its way across the repair leaving the flattened tarmac steaming behind it. The tarmac was made from quite a coarse stone so there were quite a lot of small holes in the surface after rolling and these were filled by throwing shovelfuls of what looked like oily soot across the surface, this was then brushed about until all the holes were filled and any surplus moved on to the next patch.


The roller was a green Aveling and Porter with a canopy, single cylinder and weighing I suppose either six or eight tons and when it’s working day in Middle or Lower Woodford was finished it would return to a lay-by just below where I lived, this was quite a large lay-by which went from the edge of the road down to the edge of the river, ideal for filling up with water in the morning before setting off to where the days work was. There was a huge Elm tree at both ends of the lay-by, each with a trunk of about five feet in diameter and some sixty to seventy feet tall, these framed the picture of the roller parked alongside the living van with the drivers little Austin Seven car parked on the other, if the work lasted more the a week he used the car to go home for the weekend.


Then the roller was using the base this end of the valley, I would wait until I heard it trundle past after its days work and then go down to the lay-by for a closer look. There would be the roller all ready sheeted up for the night, boiler full up with water, fire pushed forward and banked up against the tube plate and a hat on top of the chimney, it sat there hissing quietly and periodically talking to itself up the chimney.

The living van would be stood with its door wide open, just inside the door on the right hand side was a small cast iron cooking stove with an oven, and it looked the same to me as the kitchen ranges I had seen in some local cottages but only half the size. After the roller was put to bed the driver lit a fire in the stove and cooked his tea. When working in Upper Woodford the roller base was moved up alongside the blacksmith’s shop under the Horse Chestnut trees by the river just before the Bridge Inn, the blacksmith’s shop is still there today only not used for that purpose any more. This is where my great grandfather practiced his trade during the latter years of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth .


A young man who worked with my great grandfather took the business on after he retired and ran it up to the late 1950’s and when I was in my early teens I spent many happy hours in the smithy with him. He would let me blow the fire with the bellows when he was forging, usually repairing the harrows for the local farmers, the tines of the harrows wear short when being dragged through the soil, he would weld a piece of steel onto them just using the fire, then paint and re-fix them to the frame, after they were all done the harrow was like brand new.


To get back to steam, I remember one day we were in the school class room closest to the road and being taught by the headmaster, in the distance we could hear the road roller coming, heading for Upper Woodford.


All of the windows were on the road side of the class room but the window cills were at least five feet off the floor, not many of us saw anything only a few on the side furthest from the road and that was only the exhaust from the roller and the roof of the living van, no one dared to stand up for a quick look not with Mr. Gray out in front watching us all like a hawk.


Christmas 1952 was very special for me, this was when I got my hands on steam for the first time. I was given a model steam stationary engine, the usual configuration base plate, brass boiler, oscillating engine with quite a large flywheel and fired by a methylated spirit three wick burner. I think the engine parts were wrapped up to stop them getting damaged and I remember dad putting it together, the boiler was filled with hot water and the burner lit and placed underneath. Pressure soon rose and the piston and rod popped out of the cylinder and fell onto the base, something was wrong! The burner was blown out and I picked up the piston and rod and could see a hole in the end of the piston rod, dad had put the rod into the cylinder with the piston on the outer end so as soon as pressure rose it just blew out of the cylinder. I turned it around, put the piston into the cylinder and the hole in the piston rod over the crankpin on the flywheel, the burner was re-lit and after a few minutes and a push on the flywheel the engine was running much to every ones delight.


I have often wondered in the years since whether dad put the engine together incorrectly on purpose just to see how much I knew, I had many happy times steaming the model over the next few years and often wonder how much methylated spirit I burnt and how much water was evaporated.

To be continued…


The committee of the Sarum Model Traction Engine Club would like to wish all of its members, their family and friends a very happy Christmas and New Year, and look forward to seeing you in 2012.


Jnr club member driving his 4” Foster at the recent Derek Marder Steam Up. 

"Just The Ticket Engineering Supplies”, Roger Melton (club member) can supply from stock tools and materials for the model engineer and the light engineering industry. Typical stock includes drills, reamers, taps and dies, various lathe and milling cutters, BA nuts, bolts and washers, rivets, paints, steel/brass stock and much more. Catalogues are available so please give him a call on 01980 61005


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