By Steve Herring
Rear three-quarter view
I’d always liked the Glyn Valley Tramway with its unique Tramway Engines. Early on in my 16mm days I started building its rolling stock finding its 4 wheeled coaches and wagons an ideal size for those of us who have small railways with lots of sharp bends.
Getting hold of a loco was a problem however. As regards live steam, Gosling built a handful or so which are now collector’s’ items and Finescale also did a run whose numbers weren’t large. However JD Models produced a battery version and I managed to get my hands on one of these in 2010.
Front three-quarter view
John Turner trading under the name of JD Models built these GVT locomotives between 1990 and 2005. All three locomotives which were battery powered were offered with from very basic detailing on the earliest ones like mine, to a very high level of detailing on the last builds. JD also offered a full range of GVT stock, steam outline battery models and latterly Diesel outline models. On his retirement in 2005 John sold off the patterns and rights to J.A. Replicas who don’t seem to be around any more. (Correct me if I’m wrong please)
My particular model is of ‘GLYN’ the third of the GVT’S Beyer Peacocks. I managed to contact John Turner, now long retired, and he confirmed that mine is a quite early model. I bought ‘GLYN’ in 2010 from Wilf Ricketts and it is believed that he bought it second-hand from Brandbright where it was a trade-in.
I believe that all the models were battery powered as sold but of course could be adopted for 2-rail operation. On mine, when I bought it, it was powered by a RSSB unit from Regner with the motor driving both axles. The batteries were 7.2 volts mounted under the skirts. The motor was single speed, reversible and was controlled by a switch under the cab floor. The lever was extended upwards by an aluminium tube. This became in effect a reversing lever with the centre position being off.
Front View from above
The bodywork is plastic with some of the detailing being cast items and some in wood. The latter include the dome, tool box, vent pipes and sand boxes. Later on these too were replaced by cast items. Some examples I have seen also have the condensing pipes fitted. The livery is black with red lining and brass name plates are fitted with works plates stating “Turner Loco Works Luton”.
Put straight into service on my Windrush Valley Railway it ran steadily and slowly and could take a reasonable load. Then after a while it started slipping under load. I realised it was only driving on one axle now instead of both. Also I was a bit frustrated by the single speed setting and decided to do something about it.
View of Underside
The rebuild was undertaken for me By Roger Hine of Friog Models who still builds and repairs models when he’s not at his day job as the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Bala Lake Railway. Roger fitted a complete new power unit which consists of a four wheeled chassis with the two axles connected by chain drive. The motor, well I’m not sure what it is but it’s big and powerful! Drive from the motor to the axle is by steel bevel gears which if given the correct lubrication should outlast me. The batteries were original the C size charged by a smart charger but I found that they protruded a little too far under GLYN’s skirts and on an uneven track tended to act like a skate. They were replaced by two packs of AAA sized NiMH.
Roger also fitted speed control which gives me from barely moving to a brisk walking pace (in 16mm scale of course).
With GVT Coaches
As regards duration and pulling power I really don’t know! Recently I hooked her up with 28 axles (all my GVT stock and its weighted too) and let her go at a steady pace. Two hours later I got bored and called it a day. Let’s say performance is more than sufficient!
I’ve also been asked to include a few words about the GVT Coaches shown. These were scratch built by me in the mid 1980s. In fact I built a rake of four; 1st, Centre Door Saloon, Clerestory and Open. I also built one of the mineral wagons. At that time with a young family and a mortgage also all my early stock was built by me apart from the wheels and couplings. The raw materials were nothing special but the kind of rough-grained ply that you find on the backs of wardrobes, on kitchen drawers etc!
With GVT Coaches
Not many years later I sold them off when I was in my L & B phase and regretting it I slowly replaced them by kit built stock. Then after the passing of a quarter of a century, at Peterborough last year I was gob-smacked to find them up for sale on the Heritage Stand! They were bought by Dave Pinniger for his AVR where I knew they would be in good hands. However a few months later at an Open Day on the AVR Dave most generously presented two of the coaches back to me! I was delighted to accept of course. So now I have a vintage GVT train to take me back to the early days of 16mm.
With Darjeeling Stock
While like most of us in the Association, steam comes first it’s sometimes good to put a battery engine on the tracks. On a nice summer’s afternoon you can be doing a bit of gentle weeding or dozing in a deck chair, the peace at intervals being disturbed in a quiet sort of way by a Tramway Engine and its train rumbling past.