A high quality, large-scale range of narrow gauge engines suitable for the larger
garden railway or club track,
from5 inch to 10 1/4 inch gauge
Available ready-to-run and now as
fully-machined kits for
Designed and built in the UK
(and mainly Lincolnshire at that - click here for more pictures of some of the engines we've built)
See our engines running on YouTube
Current price list for all our engines
Stafford kit build manual
kit build supplement
What we build
Designed and built in the workshop here, we originally conceived "Stafford" as a robustly-engineered, easy to drive locomotive - something equally at home on a garden railway or public running at the local club. Over the last three years the design has proved a powerful, reliable performer on private, club and commerical railways throughout the UK and overseas and has now expanded to a range of engines from 5 inch to 10 1/4 inch gauge, with a choice of styles and wheel arrangements.
Having worked on some hundreds of locomotives over the years, a lot of the design choices fell into place easily:
An all-welded steel boiler with replaceable tubes - easy to
service and maintain, with the ability to run at 120psi making for easy
steaming and a good reserve of power
Full-sized controls - the regulator, reverser, steam and
water valves are built to fit a driver's hand, they aren't scale versions
which are difficult to get hold of and, when you do, are discovered to be
Steel wheels. Cast iron wheels + steel rails = grooves in
the treads - in the first season on my Tinkerbell (admittedly running a
commercial service), which needed tyres at less than a year old. In contrast,
the wheels on our demonstrator engine still look pretty much the way they
left the lathe
Sealed ball-bearing axleboxes, which reduce maintenance,
increase service life (by keeping grit out of the bearings) and ensure that
as much power as possible gets to the drawbar, rather than ending up being
used to overcome rolling resistance.
Walschaert's gear for it's accurate control of the
valves over a wide range of cutoffs - this allowed us to set out the gear to
give generous full-gear cutoff for reliable starting (and I've lost count of
how many big engines I've driven that need a bit of driver's leg assistance
to move away after stopping on a "dead spot" in the valve gear)
whilst still allowing economic high speed running with the lever
Cast iron cylinders with slide valves. Pistons are in iron,
fitted with the incomparable Clupet rings
TIG-welded stainless steel water tank. I can't
remember how many grotty old rust-filled tanks we've cleaned out and repaired on
other engines over the years (usually they either start leaking or shedding
rust into the injectors, both if you're unlucky) - Stafford's tank is welded
and pressure tested before
priming with an acid-etch and spraying in two pack paint.
Ball valve regulator - as fitted to my Tinkerbell in 2002
and still going strong (not to mention just about every other successful
commercially-built locomotive of the last ten years). Silky smooth in
operation, light action even under high working pressures, absolutely steam
tight and easy to replace should the need ever arise
The engine has been designed in SolidWorks, allowing us to test assemble and simulate the motion of all parts before transferring them to our CNC machines to cut metal. The valve gear was calculated from first principles before extensive simulation to check accuracy and symmetry of valve events at all cutoffs.
Frequently asked questions
Having talked to a lot of people during the development and testing of "Stafford" over past few years, both at shows and in the workshop, some questions come up again and again:
Where do you get the engines made?
Easy - we make them ourselves, here in the workshop. First time we heard this one it made us laugh, but the question has come up enough times now for us to realise that there is a genuine belief that everything is made overseas these days! Far from the truth - our engines are conceived, designed and manufactured in the UK just outside Lincoln, a city with a great heritage of steam engineering.
Does the engine come with a boiler certificate?
Yes. The boilers are built to rigorously-controlled standards and inspected at key stages of the build by Royal & Sun Alliance who witness a twice working pressure hydraulic test when complete before stamping their mark on the boiler. The boiler itself is CE-marked and is delivered complete with all material and welding certification allowing future testing either by a commercial or model engineering club inspector. Prior to despatch, all engines are steamed to check operation of safety valve and injectors.
I'm a complete beginner - would I be able to drive and
look after the engine?
Absolutely. The engine comes with a comprehensive set of operating & maintenance instructions which cover everything from unpacking the engine when it first arrives to dropping the fire at the end of a day's running. Having taught people to drive everything from a 2 1/2 inch gauge "Dyak" to a 7 1/4 inch gauge Baldwin K36 over the years, there aren't many problems we haven't come across! Anything that isn't covered in the manual, we're only ever an email or phone call away.
Is the engine available as a machined kit?
Yes, we can supply the engine to build yourself - it comes as a set of twelve fully-machined kits, complete with assembly instructions. There is more information about the kit build option here.
There are quite a lot of engines in your range - how do I
pick the right one for me?
Dead easy - read this handy bit of paper we put on the back of the price list handed out at exhibitions, you'll know your Feldbahn 0-6-0s from your Stafford FC7s in no time. There are pictures, further information and brochure downloads on the individual engine pages.
Will I be able to get spares in the future?
Yes. We keep most of the "service" type spares (bushes, valves, etc) in stock on the shelf. The remainder can be manufactured rapidly using the original fixtures and programs used to build the engine.
Is it guaranteed?
Yes. The engine is guaranteed for 12 months against defects in manufacture. Just like our secondhand engine policy, I like to think it's a "no quibble" arrangement, the design is intended to provide a reliable, easy to service piece of machinery which will give good service for many years if looked after sensibly.
How do I order a "Stafford"
Just ring us up! We ask for a deposit of £250, for which you will be given a receipt, your engine's works number and expected delivery date.
Telephone 01526 328772
International +44 1526 328772
Copyright © 2000-2016 Station Road Steam Ltd