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Gaining momentum by Zach Bond

My garden railway exists on a narrow L-shaped flowerbed, in a tiny courtyard garden, in a sleepy market town in Suffolk. Due to the nature of the space, the railway must have tight curves (ahem – corners) that are around 2ft 6in radius. Because of this, running my manual locos was rather fraught, with the exception of my geared Regner ‘Vincent’, which simply ploughed on regardless. The worst affected loco was DVLR

No 1 – a Roundhouse ‘Millie’. It has plenty of power but the comparatively long wheelbase meant that it often stalled on an inevitably difficult to reach tight spot. The loco would sit and build up pressure while I battled my way towards it in order to rescue the stricken train. It was almost certain that just before I reached it, the loco would self-start with a large build-up of pressure. Hence it would then race out onto a straighter piece of track and proceed to merrily distribute the rolling stock and

Left: The Zecar mechanism as supplied Below: The Zecar mechanism in place. The axleboxes are the only point of contact between the mechanism and the van body.

DVLR No.1 heads sedately away with a good train, the momentum van being marshalled as the second vehicle from the locomotive footplate crew about the garden at high speed, before derailing much to my chagrin. Now this really was no way to run a railway and the passengers had started to complain and so a solution was sought. Experiments with radio control were not terribly successful ‒ the loco was still jumpy, making driving a challenge and being absent minded, I would often forget to charge the batteries. Downhearted I left the loco sat on a shelf for well over a year, letting the other locos in the fleet take up the workload.

Then the other day, whilst sorting through the shed, I came across an

30 G a r d e n Ra i l 2 4 6 F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 5

Au thor by

Photos

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