These powerful 2-6-2 tanks designed by Churchward were a common sight on suburban
and major branch lines. Their excellent combination of weight, cylinder and wheel
diameters gave them the acceleration required for the short distances between stops.
The first 51xx tank appeared in 1932, developed from 31xx class. They lasted
right through until the end of steam and can therefore carry several different liveries,
from shiny GW Green with gold faced lettering, to BR lined black and eventually ‘Barry
Our model represents the 51xx & 61xx classes covering the majority of the
large Prairie class. The model is designed with working outside cylinders with ‘O’
ring seals. Inside slide valves are driven by a simple, robust, and easy to set,
slip eccentric gear. A hand pump is located in one of the water carrying side tanks
which also feeds water to an axle driven pump. The split bunker carries meths in
the rear and water in front compartment which also acts as the balance pipe coupling
both side tanks together.
You will require a bench and vice, some hand tools, a drilling facility
(which could be an electric drill on a stand) and a small gas torch for soldering.
The work includes bending sheet metal, drilling piloted holes out to size, tapping
threads in holes ( in many cases nuts could be used instead), soft and hard ( silver)
soldering of small items. The model making hobby is littered with part built projects
which have been abandoned because the modeller has hit a problem. Included in the
price are two hours of our time, a ‘get out of trouble’ service. It could be advice
on the phone, a practical soldering training session in our works, correcting a mishap
or setting valve timing. Apart from phone calls, a modest charge will be made for
time spent over your two hours.
We can also supply replacements for individual components providing they
are returned for us to identify. For etched items there will be charge depending
on the size. Whitemetal returned with stamped addressed packing are free. Laser cut
steel may be a problem as there are minimum order quantities involved and we shall
only order a limited number of spares.
The Construction Guide comprises over 30 pages of photographs, exploded
diagrams produced on 3D CAD and text, together with identification diagrams and drawings.
It takes you through each stage, including jigs and methods, settings and adjustments,
finishing with operation and use.