Friday, 2 March 2012

MOTW - Britomart

Our Model Of The Week is the most diminutive member of the locomotive fleet: 1899-built quarry Hunslet ‘Britomart’

This delightful little blue engine was brought to the FR in 1965 from the Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry by a group of railway workers, principal among them the legendary ‘Stefco’ (Steve Coulson) and today given tender loving care by his son, and current Boston Lodge fitter, Rob.

Our model is made from a Chivers Finelines whitemetal kit and runs on an old N gauge Arnold 0-4-0 chassis.

In fact this is Britomart’s second chassis. The original was a very elderly second hand example which was so decrepit only the rear axle was powered. With the weight bias of the body well towards the back anyway it meant the locomotive was prone to performing wheelies when setting off.

It is rare to see the locomotive running solo on the layout. Its very small wheelbase - and the old Arnold’s rather crude mechanism - mean it is prone to stalling when running through the points.

On occasion, however, it has been seen heading a train on its own, like here with the vintage twins, carriages 11 & 12.

There have been tantalising glimpses recently of a prototype outside framed chassis and body kit for the quarry Hunslet on an narrow gauge modelling forum and we are among the many crossing our fingers that the designer will be able to bring it into the market.

Remarkably, the real Britomart has run the entire length of the FR & WHR network in one day – an 80 mile round trip – double-heading with Baldwin tractor ‘Moelwyn’ on a charter train last year which we recreated days later on Dduallt.

A few weeks ago Britomart took a two carriage charter train to Beddgelert alone.

These occasions meane we have all the justification we need for our little blue engine to see service on Bron Hebog.

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