By John Wenlock
Whilst Roundhouse Engineering started their production life with the Victoria tram engine, they quickly introduced a more mainstream generic range in the shape of Lady Anne and Dylan. These were both twin cylinder, meths fired 0-4-0 models, with slip eccentric valve gear, Lady Anne being side tank and Dylan saddle. You could buy them in the early ’80s, memory saying that they first surfaced in 1983 at the Llanfair Gala in the Institute.
John’s loco is the second generation of Lady Anne (still currently in production though in totally different guise as an 0-6-0 for a start). It was regarded by a majority as better looking than Dylan, which meant that model deleting from the range. The original Lady Anne had an open cab, and John’s was the first model to boast a fully enclosed version, a wider body and larger cylinders, though John removed the wooden dumb buffers! It was produced in 1984, the first with very substantial photo-etched bodywork. John bought it secondhand at a swapmeet in Chester in the mid to late ’80s, and it has given sterling service since. Roundhouse at that time used a form of rocking arm valve gear. The pivots wore through lack of lubrication, with the resulting ‘lost motion’ affecting the valve events. New pivots were made by John, no further problems coming from that area. The 0 rings were renewed in 2006, otherwise it has been utterly reliable.
The locomotive is impressively powerful, capable of pulling 13 bogie coaches even up the gradual gradients of the Clwyd and Dee. Duration is comfortably 45 minutes, as long as the meths tank is topped up, and of course running is almost silent apart from the exhaust beat.
Despite having a number of bought in and self build locos, John uses Lady Anne regularly, even on visits to other lines, and it is always the pathfinder when the Phurcombe Hall layout is erected. It is named ‘Inchbrook’ for no particular reason other than John liked it, infinitely preferable in his eyes to ‘Blanche’.
If you are ever lucky enough to be offered one of these early models, snap it up. You will pay less than for one of the current budget new locos available from a number of suppliers, but do not worry about age because the service and parts availability from Roundhouse is acknowledged by everyone. A mint Dylan, though a later gas fired, was snapped up from the M2M this year at the AGM.
John Wenlock, Keith Skillicorn and Derek Wiggins