By Andy Cooper

This is what I was aiming at.


  • 1876 delivered from the Vulcan Foundry.
  • Early problems were due to excessive rolling and various attempts were made to change the suspension of the rear bogie. The original inside framed trailing bogie was rebuilt with external frames.
  • The locomotive was heavily used.  The bunker was enlarged in 1878 and a balance weight was fitted between the bogie frames in 1879.
  • 1881 Taliesin was retubed.  The original sandboxes were replaced with those of the ‘standard’ FR pattern. The tanks were altered to give more water space.
  • 1883 the cab was cut down by an inch and a quarter.
  • 1887 the dome was polished (it had been painted to this point) and the two small brass handrails added to the smokebox.
  • 1887 Taliesin is recorded as being “In working order but in need of heavy repairs”.
  • 1898 to1900 Taliesin was completely rebuilt with larger tanks, a new steel boiler from the Vulcan Foundry, a more enclosed cab and new smokebox.
  • 1932 Taliesin dismantled. The boiler was later sold for scrap in 1935.
  • The name “Taliesin” was reused almost immediately, when the engine “Livingstone Thompson” was renamed “Taliesin.”

I already had a DJB Taliesin gas-fired boiler. I acquired second-hand a set of DJB Engineering body frets with wheels and frames.  I ordered from DJB a set of drawings, the Stephenson’s links for the valve gear, smokebox and chimney, brass dome and whistles, buffers etc. I also spoke to Peter Angus about his method of building this loco and he recommended substantial angle on which the steam bogie pivot would be mounted.

Not much like the real thing!!

Body work was gradually added to this basic frame and footplate, Boiler and smokebox placed on the frames.

I made the roof of the open cab and the cab backplate, then fitted the sandpots safety valve and dome.

I used a Roundhouse gas tank in the bunker and a Roundhouse burner.

1887 detail has been added to the smokebox

DJB buffers and “original” pattern couplings

I made the regulator, lubricator, gas control valve and “Goodall” valve, which was placed where the top of the water gauge glass would have been.  There was no room for the gauge glass.

The steam power bogie has been placed under the frames.  The steam chest has been fitted.  The cutouts are for the tops of the large wheels which need to be above the footplate as on the prototype.  The rear bogie was “manufactured” from a Locomotion wagon bogie with the DJB detail and axle boxes soldered in front.

I made the cylinders, steam chest, pistons and valves.  Here the help and expertise of John Orson was invaluable!!

Here is a side view of the common steam chest with valve in place.

Here is the cylinder block with pistons and cylinder backplate Steam ports have not yet been drilled, nor has the side of the cylinder been “rounded”

Back plate with ports and crosshead fitted.

Here is the ‘Power Bogie’ completed. This is a tight fit for four eccentrics !! The main steam pipe runs on the inside of the frames and enters the steam chest at the front.  A flexible coupling was added at the rear of the bogie.   At this point the reach rod ran underneath the pivot.  This did not work because the centre-mounted reach rod did not allow the bogie to swing.

After much discussion with friends the pivot was remade with a slot in one side.

First painting :  single etch primer with many topcoats of airbrushed Humbrol maroon Smokebox matt black high-temperature motorbike exhaust paint

Satin black lining out of tank tops and sides

Transfers from Peter Blackham

Name and makers plates to1887 pattern by John Lythgoe

By the way the flexible steam coupling can be seen beneath the footplate where the grate would be.

The picture above shows ‘Taliesin’ running on Lawnswood Light Railway pulling a 1880s Ffestiniog set, which includes a circa 1992 Brandbright Ashbury coach, restored and painted by Chris Cooper.

Taliesin was started November 2008 and completed in spring 2010.

Andy Cooper