Well here we are again, another weekend and another post about how my train doesn’t really work. Poor thing. It’s like the Tiny Tim of the locomotive world. Cute, but ultimately a perineal weakling, and not one the metabolically-challenged controller would waste much time on.
So let’s first list what does work: the reverser valve does now seal and the boiler will now raise enough steam to lift the safety valve. This means also that the sight glass seal, boiler solder joints, pipes and reverser valve and steam dome O rings are in decent order. Also, the whistle works. So far, so good.
However, the cylinders, i.e. the very things that convert this from a very expensive stationary whistle into something that actually moves under its own power, are hardly working at all. The faces don’t seal terribly well, the con rod and the hole it passes through is a bad fit, and I have a feeling the pistons are also not fully sealed, causing any steam pressure in the cylinder to leak out past the pistons and through the exhaust. It’s pathetic.
The faces are particularly annoying. I flattened them off with some fine sandpaper, got a near perfect face and then ran the loco, only to find all the semicircular scratching had come back. I did the same again after attempting at length to wash any residual bits and bobs out of the cylinders, and now the scratches have reappeared again, perhaps not as bad as before but still there. I notice also that the exhaust pipe is positioned so that it’s damned close to holding one of the cylinders off its mating face, which seems pretty daft.
So what does a test run look like? Well, when the loco’s fired up and pressure starts to build you’ll get water slowly oozing out from the cylinder faces even with the reverser shut, but the safety valve does lift. Some leaks out from the reverser but this seems largely fixed. One the valve is moved, water and steam will start to leak from the cylinder faces and there’s the sound of hissing through the exhaust, even when the wheels aren’t moving. Getting the wheels to move is rather tricky, and below a certain speed the whole thing gets stuck, while at a higher speed the boiler’s contents quickly drain out from the cylinders taking with it any steam oil applied to them, leaving large oily puddles on the floor. So far I have yet to run out of tablets before running out of water.
What next? Well I suppose it has to be done, I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and shell out on DreamSteam’s upgraded cylinders, which will also mean buying and fitting a displacement lubricator, something which looks a right bastard to fit in to the loco. So that’s another £75 quid and yet another rebuild…
Look, I’ve seen these engines working on YouTube, it is possible for them to run. I’m so damn tired of this constant failure. Is it too much to ask that a kit costing nearly £200 should JUST FUCKING WORK?!