By David Pinniger
This engine was for many years the flagship of the Archangel works. The first ones were built by Stuart Browne with two cylinders, slip eccentric gear and internal meths firing in 1972 and cost the Princely sum of £250
With various modifications, they were made for over 15 years with prices ranging from £479 in 1977 to £1320 in 1990. They were based on the engines built by Davies and Metcalfe for the Vale of Rheidol Railway in 1902 but unlike the ‘rebuilds’ which have survived to the present day, had inside valve gear and not outside Walshaerts gear. They also were built with straight side tanks rather than the extended bunkers added later on
All the original engines had a meths-fired Smithies boiler which needed a battery blower to raise steam and then a steam blower valve to keep the draught when stationary. The meths is carried in a tank in the back of the cab and feeds the wicks in the firebox via a chick feed sump
Both side tanks carry water with a balancing pipe in the cab and there is a hand pump in one side tank to pump water into the boiler, but none of the early engines had a water sight glass. A number of versions were built with a very efficient crosshead driven feed pump which pumped water into the boiler when running via a by-pass valve.
Sometime around 1980, Stewart Browne designed a very efficient fire tube boiler which he used for the later “Prince of Wales” and “Rheidols” instead of the Smithies boiler. There are also a number of later versions which were offered by Archangel including, meths pot boilers, gas fired centre flue boilers and coal firing
My loco has the fire tube boiler and was originally built in 1982 for Bill Abbott, who was one of the founders of the 16mm Association, and it was his pride and joy. When he sadly died in 1999, I bought the engine together with three matching 1980’s Archangel Vale of Rheidol bogie coaches
“Prince of Wales” is one of my favourite engines, the balance between steam generation and cylinders is exactly right and so it is a beautiful runner. Even though it is nearly 30 years old, and for detail cannot compare with more modern versions, it is still much admired and is a great example of a really good bit of 16mm model engineering. Its prodigious hauling power can be seen in Keith Skillicorn’s video which he took when he had the engine on loan in 2011