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Owning a four wheeler

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by sir gomer, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. sir gomer

    sir gomer New Member

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    Good day all

    May not get any replies to this. After years of consideration I am starting to set my sights on owning a four wheeler industrial of some kind. An 0-4-0 RSH, Hawthorn Leslie, Bagnall etc can be a useful tool and a couple of Mk1s at its own pace is well within capability. Realistically I believe that this is the only size of engine available (and only just available!!) to the average pocket lets say. Anything bigger and you’re into even bigger bucks and the bigger they get the bigger the kit you need etc.

    I guess my question is, in the climate (hopefully post covid), is there “work” out there for anything that size? I am a couple of years away from considering a purchase but I’m working out all options. It may end up being a roller if a suitable plan can’t be made up for a railway engine. I make no bones about it...it’s an extremely costly and money losing idea/project and I very much accept that you need to pay to support your own pride and joy because it’s yours and you need to support it with no hope of recompense. However the parts I’m unsure about is if there is work about for a small engine and the arrangements regarding storage/shed space etc. Do you come to a deal of use for space etc? This is where I’m a bit green. It’s all well and good buying the engine but you need somewhere to restore, run in, operate and preferably have a shed for it to live in.

    Just for fun really. Knowledge is power.

    Cheers
     
  2. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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  3. Avonside1972

    Avonside1972 New Member

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    Wow, now there is a 64000 dollar question when we are in the middle of a pandemic!

    My money would be 'buy a roller', you will get far more fun per Ton! ;-)
     
  4. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    If you can find a roller - Most have sadly been converted to fake Showman's Engines these days...

    Richard.
     
  5. sir gomer

    sir gomer New Member

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    Quite so. We all have to hope though that the pandemic will be over one day. When is the question mind...
     
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  6. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    I pondered over the same question loco v. roller when I bought my first engine back in 1974 (God! was it that long ago!). A small industrial loco was cheaper, I was already involved with several group owned locos and I had a place to keep/restore one at Steamport. In the end I bought a roller (actually a convertible) even though I had no experience of road steam as I felt it was more manageable and could (and did) move with me when I relocated to the IoM. With a road engine you can be 'your own boss' and go where you like (at 3-4 mph). Whilst I agree with Richard that a disgraceful number of good rollers have been bastardised there are still plenty for sale. Something like an Aveling in running order can be had for around 40k. If you haven't done so already get involved with a loco and a roller and see which suits you better. Hope this helps.
    Ray.
     
  7. big.stu

    big.stu Well-Known Member

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  8. Avonside1972

    Avonside1972 New Member

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  9. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    "Most" ??!

    That suggests the majority have been converted - certain models of roller that's probably the case, but of all rollers that survived being scrapped at the end of their working life?
    That's quite some claim you're making there.
     
  10. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    I believe the owner of a tank engine that is on the market at the moment is wanting to sell it with a view to buying a Steam Roller instead, so that is obviously the way to go!
     
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  11. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    We’ve got a similar dilemma. We have an 0-4-0ST under restoration. It was a very faithful servant to the railway until the boiler ticket ran out 10 years ago. During that time our railway has extended from 2.5 to 4 miles.

    There is some debate about whether our loco will be of any use. There are two schools of thought 1) anything that has a boiler ticket can be of some use or 2) it will be too underpowered for anything significant and may well spend a lot of time on hire away from the railway to earn its keep.

    the big question is of course whether any railways will want to hire a loco of that size. Any railway more than a couple of miles long would probably consider the loco to be too underpowered for anything other than the odd gala appearance. However there are some line of around 2 miles or less which might be of interest eg Helston Railway recently hired the SDRT Peckett.

    I’d suggest that the best thing to do would be to see if you can build a relationship with a line who may be interested in homing your loco, would have a definite use for it and would be willing to take on some of the maintenance work in exchange for use etc.

    regards

    Matt
     
  12. Avonside1972

    Avonside1972 New Member

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    Another thing to factor in is travelling time and costs. You may find the ideal railway to host your loco, but if its the other end of the country, you will spend a whole lot of time just travelling! unless you can move nearer.... and with this Government (and probably successive ones too) hell bent on removing cars from the roads, those costs could expand greatly.
     
  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Point of order. No-one AFAIK, other than the Amish and dreamers, advocates removal of cars, lorries or any other class of motor vehicle from the roads, just those chucking out the harmful products of hydrocarbon combustion.

    This, of course may all change if and when site-to-site particle transportation can cope with shifting more than a few molecules in a lab .... and do so in an economically viable manner.

    unnamed-3.jpg
    This isn't about to happen any time soon.
    [Somehow credited to Reddit .... but it's obviously a Simpsons (Gracie Films) image]
     
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  14. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    Another point to consider is that if you or your 'owner's representative' are not able to be present on a regular basis your loco may not be looked after quite as carefully as you wish. Most hirers are fine but ........
    Ray.
     
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  15. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    Have a look on the Traction Talk forum if you're a member... There have been a lot converted.

    Richard.
     
  16. THE MELTER

    THE MELTER New Member

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    If he’s a member lmao of course he is,
    And he knows what he is Talking about so if I was you I would just say thank you for the information and hang your hat up.
     
  17. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    The great majority converted into 'Showlers' were 10T Fowler rollers - very few of any other make.
    Ray.
     
  18. brennan

    brennan New Member

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    sir gomer, you say "the average pocket", well you will need deep pockets even for a four wheeler. While you may be able to find something in working order it's inevitable that at the next overhaul there will be a need to throw money at it. Steam locos and boats have a lot in common in that they are both wasting assets and require regular, large, cash injections. Gone are the days of "paraffin overhauls" and getting your mate to make a few stays etc when on night shift and the foreman's not looking. All railways, even the small ones, are being driven down the full compliance path by the ORR so everything has to be specified, certified, tested, signed off etc so that in the event of something going wrong the culprit can be found and pilloried. The fact that you may have years of experience in engineering counts for nought if you haven't been assessed as to how to change a disc on an angle grinder!

    Having purchased the love of your life you then have to find a home. This is another can of worms. Very few railways that have got past the first couple of years of running actually want anything this small as harsh economics come into play and on many lines a four wheeler can't pull enough coaches to carry the passengers required to balance the books. Also, after a bit, those running the railway will think a four-wheeler looks silly with a Mk1 coach and aspire to something more impressive. There are a few exceptions but usually this also means they can't afford to pay you what is required to maintain your pet or fix it again when the dreaded ten years comes along. Steer well clear of "use it and fix it " agreements. These are not worth the paper on which they are written. The chances are that when heavy maintenance ( and expense) is due your loco will find itself at best stuffed at the back of the shed, at worst , left in a siding with a string of other basket cases. Every repair will cost twice as much and three times as long as estimated. How do I know all of this? Been there , have the tee-shirt etc..

    If you are desperate for a steam machine the roller path is better for the individual. At least you can park it in your driveway, hang flower baskets off the canopy etc. Again, depending where you live, rollers and modern traffic don't go well and what anyone gets out of owning one I have no idea. By the way, these are neither cheap to buy or run either but it is more manageable than dealing with any form of steam loco and as of yet, you don't have the ORR breathing down your neck. You may consider a quarter scale model that are now very popular. At least you can keep this in your garage!
     
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  19. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    Have a word with Stuart Reeder (sometimes seen on these pages...) :)
     
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  20. sir gomer

    sir gomer New Member

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    Quite agree with your points. Don't get me wrong, when I say "average pocket" I'm literally referring to the purchase of an engine (or a wreck) being just about within the pocket of the average person. For example, some of these four wheelers can be picked up in complete (but none operational...) condition for circa 20k which is less than the cost of a mid range car these days. Having access to equipment and many trusted friends with all of the required skills, knowledge and expertise in the relevant subject helps of course. Trying to attempt something commercially would not be viable. We worked out around 200k would be a fair estimate for a commercial bill for an average sized 0-6-0 industrial to be overhauled to a fair standard commercially.

    As I say I'm considering all this under no illusions whatsoever as to the state of the world and the various politics and issues surrounding preserved railways and little engines. Having your own pampered pet is a fabulous idea containing many hours of work and no doubt countless pounds down the drain due to the wasting nature of the asset. Though you paint a grim picture, it is a realistic one. I can think of many former colleagues who have purchased a 'bargain of the century' to then come to the realization that they'd need five times the purchase price to fix it...thus, as you say, the poor thing ends up buffer to buffer with various rusting wrecks in a siding.

    From the variety of comments on here the general consensus seems to be "it's more trouble than it's worth". A shame, but reality is reality...
     
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