Teething problems

IMG_0948So my locomotive is all assembled, all the faulty parts have either been replaced or fixed, and as you can see cosmetically it’s looking pretty good now I’ve added the fancy handrails and a couple of aesthetic touches – first painting the smoke box hinges in enamel silver, and then carefully scratching off the MSS logos from the panels.

But still there’s problems getting it to do what its supposed to. It just won’t hold steam to the point the safety valve raises. The only time it did this successfully was on the very first steaming. As soon as it starts to steam up there’s a myriad of leaks coming from the reverser valve, the mating surfaces between the cylinders and the frame and finally the holes out the back of the cylinders. It will run – just – but it  goes through water twice as fast as tablets, leaving puddles everywhere.

Most puzzling of all, moving the reverser valve forwards or backwards seems to send a whole load of steam out of the exhaust. There’s a fundamental problem somewhere but there’s a limit to the number of times I’m going to be prepared to do a full disassembly of it to investigate (I’ve built it up three times so far).

Well it has to be said, my little train’s been quite a disappointment so far. The quality of workmanship leaves a lot to be desired, reminding me of the sort of problems an old mechanic friend told me about from when he worked in a British Leyland dealership. I’m resigned now to one more rebuild to get at the reverser valve and cylinder faces, go at them with some fine sandpaper and see if I can get them smooth enough to function properly. If that fails, I suppose I could send for some upgraded cylinders but that really will be the last resort.

Poor little thing, it looks so cute but just doesn’t perform. It’s not just that it’s bedding in, it’ll never have a chance to bed in if it can’t even run to a reasonable level. It should have been up and running a fortnight ago…


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