The Don Young Rail Motor

Rhymney Railway RailMotor

Rhymney Railway Rail Motor

Introduction


Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from qualifying purchases made via links on this website.

I had originally planned on building a 3½" gauge Tich as a first live steam locomotive. Billed as an ideal beginner's loco and even the subject of a book entitled "Simple model locomotive building introducing LBSC's Tich", this attractive little engine seemed like the perfect introduction to the hobby. There has, however, been a considerable amount of debate in online forums and in the model engineering press as to just how suitable Tich actually is for the beginner.

The prevailing opinion seems to be that due to its small size, building this diminutive engine would be more akin to watchmaking than model engineering. And once complete, the tiny fire requiring constant attention, would not make it an easy engine for the inexperienced driver to learn on. Besides which, in the end, after all that work, one is left with a loco that will barely pull the driver and not much else.

In search of an alternative design for an introductory model, paging through old copies of Model Engineer Magazine I came across Don Young's Rail Motor. A 5" gauge 0-4-0 loco which reputedly is an excellent choice for the beginner - relatively easy to build, easy to drive, and by all accounts an excellent performer on the track. In addition, for me, it has the added appeal of it being a model of a real-world prototype rather than a freelance design.

The prototype


In 1907, C.T. Hurry Riches, son of the famous Taff Vale Railway Locomotive Superintendent Tom Hurry Riches, designed a pair of Railmotors for the Rhymney Railway. The two 0-4-0 engine units were built by Hudswell Clarke & Co of Leeds, each being permanently attached to a 64-passenger coach built by Messrs Cravens Ltd of Sheffield. These proved less than successful in practice eventually being rebuilt as 0-6-0WT locomotives. After grouping, when the Rhymney Railway became a constituent of the Great Western Railway, these passed into GWR hands as GWR 661 and 662 until both were withdrawn and scrapped in 1925.

The model


Two variants of the model were described in Model Engineer, dubbed No 1 and No 2 respectively.
The No 1 engine drawn by Don from photographs of the Rhymney Railway Rail Motor was intended as a close to scale model of the engine unit, substituting a tender for the rail motor carriage. While the No 2 engine as a simplified freelance redesign of the locomotive speculating as to what it may have looked like as a tank loco.

In August 1982, details of a third variant dubbed Railmotor No 3, were published by Steve Titley and Harry Lumb in Don Young's own magazine - Locomotives Large and Small (LLAS). This combined a No 1 boiler with a No 2 chassis to create a representative model of the Southern Railway S14 0-4-0 tank engine.

Following on from the success of the 5" gauge locomotives, Don subsequently produced two 7¼/7‌½" gauge designs. Namely Tug, a simple but robust tank engine, as well as the close to scale Rhymney Rail Motor once again with a tender replacing the rail motor carriage. Construction for both engines was serialised in LLAS. For the newcomer to model engineering, either of these handsome locomotives would make a compact but powerful introduction to the larger gauges.

For myself, having decided to build in 5" gauge, and at the time not yet being aware of No 3, it simply came down to choosing between the No 1 or the No 2 engines. It was not an easy decision as both of these little locomotives have tremendous appeal. Yet, despite the No 2 being the simpler of the two engines to build, and also having the advantage of being a compact self-contained unit, the No 1 won out based on a combination of looks and my preference for a model of a real-world prototype.

Summary of Rail Motor designs

  Gauge Length Wheel Dia Boiler Dia Cylinder Bore
Railmotor 1 5" 21.5" (exc tender) 3.5" 4.75" 1.25"
Railmotor 2 5" 21.5" 3.5" 4" 1.0625"
Railmotor 3 5" 19" 3.5" 4.75" 1.25"
Rhymney Rail Motor 7¼/7‌½" 55" (inc tender) 5.25" 7.25" 1.75"
Tug 7¼/7‌½" 30" 5.25" 7.25" 1.75"

Bibliography



The construction series for Railmotor No 1 and No 2 was serialised in Model Engineer between April 1968 and March 1969.
Railmotor No 3 along with the two 7¼/7‌½" engines were later designs published in Locomotives Large and Small (LLAS).

  • Railmotor 1 & 2 - ME

Volume Issue Date Page Article
134 3342 05.04.1968 325 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3343 19.04.1968 389 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3344 03.05.1968 442 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3345 17.05.1968 484 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3346 07.06.1968 553 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3347 21.06.1968 610 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3348 05.07.1968 640 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3349 19.07.1968 704 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3350 02.08.1968 753 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3351 16.08.1968 811 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3352 06.09.1968 862 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3353 20.09.1968 912 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
134 3354 04.10.1968 958 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
134 3355 18.10.1968 1016 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
134 3356 01.11.1968 1062 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3357 15.11.1968 1122 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3358 06.12.1968 1174 Building 5 in. Gauge Rail-Motor Locomotives
134 3359 20.12.1968 1231 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives (drawings pg 1230)
135 3360 03.01.1969 30 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
135 3361 17.01.1969 81 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
135 3362 07.02.1969 124 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
135 3363 21.02.1969 194 Two 5 in. gauge "Push and Pull" locomotives
135 3364 07.03.1969 235 "Push and Pull" locomotives (final tender details)
  • Additional Construction Notes - ME

After the conclusion of the construction series, additional construction notes were included with some of Don's subsequent designs.

Volume Issue Date Page Article
136 3397 17.07.1970 694 No. 1 Rail Motor progress report - lubricator drive error
136 3403 16.10.1970 999 The Author's Rail-motor progress to date - photo
136 3404 06.11.1970 1054 No. 1 Rail Motor - link trunnion error
136 3405 20.11.1970 1106 No. 1 Rail Motor lubricator drive - photo
  • Railmotor 3 - LLAS

Issue Date Page Article
12 August 1982 23 No 3. Railmotor
  • Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug in 7¼/7‌½ in. gauge - LLAS

Issue Date Page Article
41 Nov 1989 29 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 1
42 Feb 1990 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 2
43 May 1990 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 3
44 Aug 1990 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 4
45 Nov 1990 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 5
46 Feb 1991 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 6
47 May 1991 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 7
48 Aug 1991 25 Rhymney Rail Motor and Tug - Part 8
  • Miscellaneous articles

Listed here are some articles that have been published in Model Engineer (ME), Engineering In Miniature (EIM), and Locomotives Large and Small (LLAS) that may be of interest to potential constructors.

  Volume Issue Date Page Article
ME 141 3521 19.09.1975 903 No 1. Rail motor refit
ME 142 3543 20.08.1976 800 A 5 in. Gauge "Rail-Motor" built by Anthony Vince
ME 175 4002 06.10.1995 426 Don Young Memorial Rally - Photo of Railmotor built by Don Young
ME 183 4101 27.08.1999 278 1999 Don Young Designs Rally - No 1. Railmotor, photograph
ME 200 4325 09.05.2008 553 Rail-Motor boiler - My first boiler
ME 200 4327 06.06.2008 679 Rail-Motor boiler - My first boiler
ME 201 4329 04.07.2008 26 Rail-Motor boiler - My first boiler
ME 201 4333 29.08.2008 259 Rail-Motor boiler - My first boiler
ME 201 4335 26.09.2008 382 Rail-Motor boiler - My first boiler
EIM 28 10 Apr 2007 330 Rhymney Railmotor
LLAS   18 Feb 1984 34 Reflections on a Rail Motor

Modifications and errors


  1. Model Engineer #3397 17 July 1970 pg694:
    The frame stay immediately behind the cylinders fouls the lubricator drive. Invert the stay and then slightly alter the drive from the feed pump eccentric, while shortening the drive arm on the lubricator by 1/4".
    A photograph of this modification appears in Model Engineer #3405 20 Nov 1970 pg1106.
    Alternatively, this frame stay be omitted completely as per point two below.
  2. The drawings I received from Reeves had a barely legible handwritten note alongside the frame stay mentioned above:
    "This stretcher fouls lubricator drive. Suggest omit as frames well stayed without this stay."
    A second handwritten note on the same drawing:
    "P - Easier to fit s/box if this dimension reduced to 1/4". This applies to the distance between the top of the frames and the smokebox mounting holes also annotated by a "P".
  3. Model Engineer #3404 6 Nov 1970 pg1054:
    The link trunnion 9/32" dimension should read 13/32". This supersedes the error reported around the motion plates in ME #3397 17 July 1970 pg695 which should be ignored.
  4. As Don was unable to determine the correct shape of the chimney cap from the photographs that he had available at the time, he drew two variants for the No 1 engine. The one shown on the front view with a convex top curve, while on the side view it is shown with a concave top curve. Although a minor detail, for the sake of fidelity to the original, the concave shape as shown on the side view is apparently the correct one.
  5. Some suggestions have appeared on the Model Engineer Forum:
    • The No 1 cylinder bores should not be opened out beyond that specified for the No 2 cylinders i.e no larger than 1 1/16" in diameter.
    • For the No 3 Railmotor the turret bush should be positioned on the boiler so as not to foul the plate-work when this is erected.
    • The mounting holes for the stretcher fixed to the front bottom corner of the frames share the same holes as three of the cylinder bolts which could pose difficulties when trying to tighten these.