Some LB&SCR Scratch Builds for “00”


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Following the discovery of a second-hand copy of Guy Williams’ book Model Locomotive Construction in 4mm Scale (Ian Allen, 1979) for £1, I decided that I would like to try a scratch build. At that time I had recently built a whitemetal kit where the boiler was only fit for scrap, and by the time I had re-built it I felt that I had learnt some of the basics. The cost would be very low as the kit cost would be replaced by that of a sheet of brass and possibly some tubing, plus a few cast fittings. Obviously the add-on costs of wheels, motor and gears would be the same but if the attempt failed they could be passed to another project. In conclusion, there was little to loose in trying!

It is generally assumed that scratch building is the province of the expert metal worker and engineer and I dare say for many prototypes it is. I’m neither, and for the choices I made the only difference between scratch and etched brass kit assembly is that I had to cut my own metal and source castings and fittings elsewhere. The method had to be simple and the first stage was to print drawings to 4mm scale, cut out each paper part, and glue the drawings to sheet brass using a glue stick (which acts as a low-tack glue on brass), thus marking the areas to be cut or drilled. Most sheet metal cuts were straight lines in 10-15 thou brass or nickel silver sheet, for which I used a heavy duty snap blade knife and a steel ruler. I found I needed at least one (ideally two) strokes of the knife per thou thickness of metal, which was then clamped in bending bars and waggled till it broke! Curved cuts of small radius were filed. Parts requiring large radius cuts such as splashers, were made from 5 thou brass cut with repeated strokes of a compass cutter of a type intended for use on sheet plastic. An advantage of modelling in 00 was that there was space to fit a length of 1/16th inch brass square tube along the under surface on each side of the footplate, to provide strength and simplify the attachment of splashers etc. All locomotives were built with a compensated chassis (Scalefour Digest 41), the frames of which were cut from 18 thou sheet (nickel silver except for the B2). Some parts were produced in plastic; including a thick plastic block behind the rear frame spacer of tender locos to which the drawbar was attached so as to ensure it was electrically insulated from the loco body (the tender was given the opposing earth polarity to the loco and made electrically common with the wiper pickups on one side of the loco).

Billinton B2 (1895)





[2003] One of the first magazines I purchased when I took up the hobby contained plans for a Billinton B2 (Railway Modeller Nov. 1995), and I had fancied the idea of building it ever since! Furthermore, I had a suitable dome and chimney in my spares box. Amongst the few items I needed to buy were tender axleboxes; the choice was limited and the chosen Stanier castings are over sized but of the correct general appearance. The chosen prototype was No. 320 Rastrick, named for John Urpeth Rastrick, engineer for the London & Brighton Railway.

The motor is a Mashima 1220 powering the front drivers via a Comet single stage gearbox; all the wheels are from Markits (RP25 “finescale” profile). There are wiper pickups on the driving wheels on one side only, the other side being live to the axle; the remaining axles all have one live wheel, with the tender given opposite earth polarity to the loco. For compensation the two driven axles are treated as a 0-4-0, with a fixed axle and an axle in a tube (Fig. 35 in Scalefour Digest 41); bogie suspension uses a conical spring. The boiler was made from 10 thou sheet brass, marked according to the instructions given in Guy Williams’ book and rolled by hand (although I did make it a little under size). I had fully expected that I would need two attempts and regarded the first as a test to see where the problems lay, but it worked first time! The main chassis was cut from 15 thou brass; Comet etched chassis parts were used for the bogie and tender. Adding weight to the model proved a problem and it will only haul a light train, e.g. the depicted “Sunny South” comprised of Ratio kit plastic LNWR coaches. Apologies to the purists; I know the Sunny South was probably never hauled by a B2 but the B3 is similar in appearance! It has also been provided with two Billinton bogie carriages and a double ended 6 wheeled brake.

Victoria Class Single (1868; Stroudley rebuild of 1871)






[2004] The availability of a whitemetal kit Craven tender (based on that used with No. 248 Hove) and period carriages from 5&9 Models opened up the possibility of building a series of Craven locos. One problem with Craven locos is that they generally had very tall chimneys and huge domes. No 256 Victoria was a member of the Victoria Class which had a chimney barely taller than that used by Stroudley, and a tender at least superficially identical to that of Hove. The dome on Victoria was not as large as some, and its valve bonnet rather GWR-like. Alan Gibson sells many of his boiler fittings as separate items and careful scaling of his catalogue drawings indicated that the dome and valve bonnet of a GWR 517 Class might suffice; proper drawings confirmed that they were a very good match. Other fittings such as the chimney, smokebox door, backhead and buffers were also from the 5&9 Models range.

A drawing was scaled from F. Burtt, The Locomotives of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway 1839-1903 (Branch Line reprint, 1975). The motor is a Mashima 1220 acting on the drivers through a Branchlines 2 stage 50:1 Slimline gearbox. The drivers were from Gibson and a pickup wiper brushes against each of them. The other five axles (Markits) have one live wheel, with the tender given opposite earth polarity to the loco. The front of the boiler was packed with lead, and the front axle has a fixed centre point so that it can rock; the rear axle is lightly sprung. This crude arrangement of compensation gives this single greater pulling power than some six coupled models!

Croydon Class 2-4-0 (1854)





[2005] The next project pushed time back even further. A fellow member of the Brighton Circle (Chris Cox) had kindly offered to turn a chimney, dome and valve bonnet for my next scratch build project and I chose the first coupled passenger tender class to be built at the Brighton works, and specifically LB&SCR No. 1; these were unofficially known as the “Croydon engines”. The tender chassis comes from the 5&9 Models tender kit and I added a freelance body of suitable height.

Again a drawing was scaled from Burtt’s book, although I subsequently learnt that I could have obtained a GA drawing from the NRM. The motor is a Mashima 1020 driving the centre axle via a High Level Kits “SlimLiner+” gearbox, folded so that the motor sits over the driven axle (diagram). It was also necessary to leave the two parts of the gearbox body flexible otherwise it was impossible to fit the body to the chassis. This resulted in poor pulling power as overloading causes the gearbox to try to unfold and lift the front of the loco body off the track! The solution was to scratch build some light weight plastic coaching stock (photo). All wheels are from Markits and there are wiper pickups on the driving wheels on one side only; the other side being live to the axle; the remaining axles all have one live wheel, with the tender given opposite earth polarity to the loco. Compensation is provided by a modification of the rigid beam system (Fig. 47 in Scalefour Digest 41) in which bearings for the driven axles are mounted in swinging beams.


The early Craven livery was said to be a lighter green than that used in later years and if E.F. Carter’s book (Britain Railway Liveries 1825-1948, Burke, 1952) is to be believed SR malachite would be a reasonable match. Photos of early Craven passenger locos show no obvious lining, although I doubt a Victorian engineer would really have missed an opportunity to embellish his creation! Later photos show a single bright line, possibly with broad dark and fine mid-shade lines so I decided to use Eric Gates’ Stroudley lining transfers which are white-black-red, together with the number in an elaborate oval frame, as sometimes used by Craven.

Manning, Wardle 0-6-0 Goods (1866)





[2006] I then wanted a pre-Stroudley goods loco to use on a new layout based on Rowfant.

The LB&SCR purchased Nos 219-220 from Manning, Wardle; they were originally built for the Cambrian Railway who could not complete the order. No. 219 worked as a ballast loco in the construction of the East Grinstead - Tunbridge Wells line, before becoming a goods loco. D.L. Bradley (The Locomotives of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway, part 1; RCTS, 1969) recounts the story that in 1878 No. 219 worked through Grange Road where it’s tender and a cattle wagon derailed; a cow was prompted to give birth, and the fireman discovered latent midwifery skills!

Drawings were published some years ago (Model Railways Aug. 1977) and a Circle member kindly copied the article for me. The 5&9 Models Hove tender kit was used but this time with inserts at the corners of the body to make it larger. The chimney, dome and valve bonnet are of the Jenny Lind pattern and were kindly supplied by 5&9 Models. The motor is again the Mashima 1020 but this time driving the rear axle via a High Level Kits “SlimLiner+” gearbox (diagram). The wheel base had to be shortened by 1mm to so that the motor cleared the backhead. This also allowed the use of ready made (Gibson) coupling rods, although in retrospect their ends are the wrong shape and it shows. All wheels are from Markits and there are wiper pickups on the driving wheels on one side only; the other side being live to the axle; the tender axles all have one live wheel, with the tender given opposite earth polarity to the loco. Compensation uses Variflex bearings (a type of hornblock) for the middle and front axles; the rear axle is fixed (Fig. 39 in Scalefour Digest 41). The original livery was described by Bradley as dark green with black bands and gold lining, and bright red wheels; the model carries a simple interpretation of that.

Stroudley G (formerly F) Class Single (1877)







[2007] I was given an incomplete scratch build (dated from late 1950s or early 1960s) that was intended to become an EM gauge model of G Class single No. 329 Stephenson. I decided to use these parts as the basis of No. 325 Abergavenny, a loco which was based at Tunbridge Wells [West] and regularly operated through Rowfant, aside from a few years service on the Newhaven boat train (1880-1888). Abergavenny was named after the Marquis of Abergavenny, who lived at nearby Eridge Castle.

Stroudley’s first single was Grosvenor, built 1874, which had 6’9” drivers and was the sole member of the B class. Abergavenny, assigned to the unique F class, was built in 1877 and was the forerunner of a later (1880) series of 24 6’6” G class singles, which included Stephenson; both the B and F singles were later reclassified as part of the G class. Abergavenny was withdrawn in 1909 following an unfortunate incident. It was the only available locomotive to haul a Tunbridge Wells-Lewes-Brighton service one wet afternoon when LB&SCR Chief Mechanical Engineer, D.E. Marsh, happened to be amongst the passengers. It undertook the duty despite being unsuited to the steep (and wet) inclines and it failed on Falmer Bank; within hours Marsh had ordered its destruction! All remaining singles were withdrawn over the next five years.

The ready-made parts were loco cab and frames, and a Stroudley inside frame tender body, as used by Abergavenny from 1885. I already had a set of test castings from Chris Cox for a Craven tender which was a good match to the estimated (from photo) dimensions of that used with Abergavenny between 1882 and 1885, so I decided to equip this model with a choice of two tenders, omitting only its pre-1882 tender (Stroudley outside frame). Boiler and cab fittings were from the 5 and 9 Models range of scratch builder parts. The motor is a Mashima 1020 geared through a Romford slimline 50:1 box, and brake gear was largely modified from E.B. Models frets. As per Victoria, the rear wheel is sprung and the front allowed to rock against an axle centre point. At the time of construction no 4mm scale non-crank 6’6” driving wheels were available, the nearest being 6’8” plastic centred wheels from the Gibson range, so I had to slightly overscale the main splashers to take these oversized wheels. The other loco wheels, and those on the inside frame tender, were all 4’6” and these too had to be from the Gibson range (Markits largest tender/bogie wheel is 4’3”). Given the smooth running and good electrical pickup of my other scratch builds I wanted to keep to the one wheel live to the axle system. Not being able to use Markits live axle wheels (except on the Craven tender) I fitted Brassmasters etched brass “connecting wires” to one wheel on each axle of the loco and the inside frame tender; Allan Sibley article in Model Railway Journal 143 (2003): 133-137 described how to fit similar connecting “wires”. Each tender was again given opposing earth polarity to the loco, which has only one wiper pickup and that is electrically common to the tender drawbar.

One feature of some 1870s Stroudley locos was that each boiler handrail was tubular and protected a thin control rod (the left for a blower valve and the right for a cylinder lubricator); these were removed in a later modification, probably when its boiler was modified. In the model the tube was formed from 1/32” brass tube (made by Special Shapes) and the control rod from 0.3mm nickel silver wire. One feature not correctly modeled is the wheels. At the time this control rod system was fitted the driving wheels had square ended balance weights and the loco wheels were burnished bright metal, not the usual Stroudley yellow. Given the difficulty of making plastic centred wheels look like bright metal I decided to adopt the prototype’s later style. Another unusual feature of Abergavenny was that the lining on the side of its last tender (Stroudley inside frame type), had a single lined-out panel rather than the usual double panel (possibly unique), as indicated by several photos taken after the boiler rebuild. However, the only photo showing it with a Stroudley inside frame tender combined with its earlier handrail arrangement indicates that its tender was initially lined in the standard split panel manner (I might modify the model accordingly).

Craven No. 22, 0-4-2ST (1855)





[2007] In 1855 Craven built two (Nos 11 and 22) flat-topped saddle tanks. These had a bar-framed chassis and downwardly inclined cylinders and they were allocated to two new branch lines, one of which was the Three Bridges to East Grinstead line through Rowfant. The bar framing was reminiscent of earlier locos and these saddle tanks may well have included recycled parts from former tender locos, perhaps from some of the Bury locos withdrawn around 1850.

Boiler fittings were produced using my own newly acquired lathe (Unimat SL of 1957 type). The frames were cut from 18 thou nickel silver sheet, with a large cut-out to suggest the bar-framing; there was little purpose in trying to properly model these complex frames as all other details would be hidden behind the driving wheels. The 5ft drivers are Markit RP25 types designed for the Billinton E4, with one side live to the axle; an LH17 motor powers the front axle via Romford gears and a S.E. Finecast small motor mount (the latter from my spares box). A compensation beam rests across the rear two axles. Although most of the boiler is hidden it was still included as a single tube to ensure that the smoke box and firebox were correctly aligned, and to provide for the few visible areas of boiler under the saddle tank. The motor is angled high so that it clears the visible part of the boiler between the wheels, and although that meant it protruding through the boiler top, it is hidden by the saddle tank.

The loco is made of three modules:

·        Chassis;

·        Footplate, splashers and smokebox;

·        Cab, firebox, boiler and saddle tank.


Some compromises had to be made. A Brighton Circle member drew my attention to some notes made about these locos (principally No. 11) by A.R. Bennett in Locomotive Magazine in 1909. Bennett noted that Burtt’s drawing showed the wrong style of splashers, as they had radial openings, and that the dome was of copper. Copper is difficult to turn, and radial opening splashers would be very difficult to produce with any degree of consistency. The Bennett article also discussed some other locos built that same year and noted that these varied in the style of their valve bonnets (some fluted others not), implying some interchangeability of the two types. As I had found it difficult to replicate the fluted valve casing I opted for this simpler non-fluted style.


Unfortunately I was half-way through construction before I found out that an OPC drawing listed as being of an 1859 0-4-2ST was in fact this loco! I ordered the drawing and luckily found that nearly all my assumptions about the plan view were correct. The exception was that the cab walls curved round to meet the firebox; who would expect that on a loco that in all other respects had nothing but right angles, and when most Craven tanks known from photos have a right-angled front to the cab area!


The OPC drawing also indicated just how little room the driver and fireman had. My chosen Aidan Campbell driver just happened to have his arm stretched so had to be placed doing something; the only place he would fit sensibly caused his hand to be on a Salter valve, and hence the silly caption!


At the time of the final photo linked above, the ornate cab-side number had not been produced. A fluted valve bonnet has also been fitted since (courtesy of 5&9 Models).

Craven Small Single No. 24, 2-2-2 (1864)






[2008] Between 1862 and 1866 Craven built 10 singles that Bradley (Locomotives of the LB&SCR vol. 1) classified as “small singles”. Five of these operated between Three Bridges and Tunbridge Wells at some stage in their lives. No. 31 (6’6” drivers) spent its later days on the line as No. 259 Littlehampton; Nos 234 and 232 (6’0” drivers) were also allocated to Tunbridge Wells in their last years and worked the line as Nos 474 and 485 but were never allocated names.


Numbers 24 and 33 (5’6” drivers; briefly and initially 190 and 191) were built specially for the line in 1864 and appear to have remained there until scrapped in 1882. Again, Stroudley did not allocate names, which suggests that they retained their open splashers even when painted in his livery. No. 24 is known from a Burtt drawing and that is used as the basis of the model. The tender is based on a drawing (in the National Railway Museum), and uses some spare parts from the E.B. Models Belgravia kit.


The model is powered by a Mashima 1015 motor with a London Road Models 50:1 gearbox. The driving and rear axles are linked by a pair of swinging beams hidden with the firebox area; the front axle is allowed to rock against a fixed centre point. Although easier to achieve than springing, this has proved to be a bad method regarding traction as weight is needed in the same area as the motor. A loco with deeper frames could have similar beams placed between the driving and front wheels where weight could be added easily.

Stroudley C1 No. 432, 0-6-0 (1887)

[2009] This is not an own-build but was purchased second-hand. The body is generally very well made, if a little inaccurate in places, but it was powered by a very old 3-pole motor and had already been over-painted making the paint layer very thick. The photo shows it after paint stripping, and with a part built replacement chassis, giving it a 50:1 gearbox, flat can motor, and compensation. Other required modifications include the need to add a backhead, raise the tender 1 mm, and add the correct counter-weights to the driving wheels.


Around 1900 some of the New Cross C1s, e.g. No. 432, regularly operated along the East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells route, making this an ideal tender goods loco to run in sequence after the 1866 Manning, Wardle described above.

Craven No. 167, 0-4-2SWT (1863)






[2011] In 1863 four 0-4-2s were built at Brighton Works, numbered 164-167. After only a month Nos 166-167 were rebuilt as 0-4-2 SWTs. Bennett describes the differences between these locos and this drawing of No 167 was formed from that of No 166 (Burtt fig. 64; Bradley fig. 62) in accordance with his notes and NRM drawings. No 167 worked as a goods locomotive on the branch from 1866, and was withdrawn in 1877. There is no known photograph (except of the unmodified No. 165; Bradley fig. 61).


This loco required the production of a lot of complex parts which would be difficult to fabricate by hand. CAD software was used to design the parts which were then commercially etched in brass and nickel-silver, as appropriate. The sets of parts were designed to incorporate some features appropriate to the tender locos 164-165, and for either P4 or 00 construction, and the parts were made available to other members of The Brighton Circle.

Craven No. 175, 2-4-0 (1864)





[2013] In 1864 four 2-4-0s were built at Brighton Works, numbered 174-177. No 174 achieved infamy when its boiler blew up at Lewes in 1879. A photograph (in Disused Stations web site) taken at East Grinstead’s second station (1866-1883) shows a very similar locomotive which was probably No. 152, which was based at Three Bridges. However, the photo was initially identified as No. 175, and that is what I am modeling (there are few details of what No. 152 looked like after modification by Stroudley so 175 is a better choice anyway). This drawing is based on that of No. 176 (from Burtt, fig. 71) but modified to show the differing features of No. 175. No 175 was withdrawn in 1891. It will be modelled in Stroudley livery (post 1870) as per the one known photograph of it, and to match the similar appearance of the loco (probably 152) photographed at East Grinstead.

Like No.167, above, parts were commercially etched and made available other members of The Brighton Circle.

Craven No.120, Long Boiler 2-4-0 (1857)




[2013] No. 120 (drawing) was a long boilered 2-4-0 built in 1857; withdrawn (as No. 297 in 1875). It was used in the construction of the 1866 extension of the East Grinstead line to Tunbridge Wells, and then allocated to Tunbridge Wells shed. It was approximately figured by Bennett (fig.28B), who depicted it with a flat footplate. However, other long boilered locos had arches to clear the cranks (Burtt fig. 28 is a similar loco) and for reasons of practicality the model will be constructed in the latter form.


Tender for No. 120 (drawing); it is not known what type of tender it would have had but a drawing of a six wheeled LB&SCR tender, with similarities to those produced by Sharp in the 1840s, was available from the NRM and made for a very interesting and unusual model. A very similar tender was fitted to 0-6-0 No. 311 and it is possible that some Craven tenders were originally built in this distinctive form and then fitted with captive buffers in the 1860s. The curved headstock houses a huge transverse leaf spring against which the buffers pushed.


Parts for No.120 were prepared using a method of profile milling, similar to that described in by Terry Bendall in Scalefour News 165 (Dec. 2009): 10-12.

Hackworth 2-2-2 No.58 (1847), rebuilt as 2-4-0T (1858); Under Construction

No. 58 (drawing) was built as a 2-2-2 in 1847 (Burtt fig. 11); re-built as a 4-2-0 (Crampton type) in 1853 (Bradley fig. 8; see model by Chris Cox); re-built as a 2-4-0 in 1855 (similar Bradley fig. 7); re-built as a 2-4-0T in 1858 (Burtt fig. 12); withdrawn 1868. In its final form (as modeled) it was used in 1866 as one of the contractor’s locos in the building of the extension of the East Grinstead branch to Tunbridge Wells. There are NRM drawings of No.59 (when re-built as 2-4-0T), which was similar.


Parts for No.58 have been prepared using a method of profile milling, similar to that described in by Terry Bendall in Scalefour News 165 (Dec. 2009): 10-12.

Other East Grinstead locos

A loco known to have been along the route in 1866 was No. 106. At that date the number 106 appears to have been allocated to a Longridge tender goods loco (0-6-0) similar to that shown as No.101 in Burtt and Bradley (figs 19 and fig. 13, respectively) but with a shorter boiler and wheelbase, and different boiler fittings. A suitable drawing cannot be traced and from available descriptions it would be difficult to modify that of No. 101.


No. 226, an 0-6-0 standard goods also worked the route; built1866; withdrawn (as No. 467) in 1895. Initially based at Battersea, it was transferred to Three Bridges in about 1886 (as No. 392) where its duties included the route through to Tunbridge Wells. The similar No. 227 may also have served along the route as it was based at Tunbridge Wells from 1888 to 1890 (as No. 393).


Other locos based at Tunbridge Wells were not specifically recorded as working the branch. They included No. 153/164 Spithead, a 2-2-2 built in 1862 as No. 153. It was not withdrawn until 1891 and there is a photograph of it as No. 164 taken late enough for it to be carrying “TW” as a shed code on the front valence (Bradley fig. 47). There is a drawing in Burtt (figs 55-56) and in the NRM.

 © Ian White, 2011/2012/2013