Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by richards, Dec 13, 2019.
Are there no more left in the world?
There was a discussion on the now-defunct forum. If memory serves (a big if!) the problem was the power deliverable through a drive box in the back-to-back dimension of the 2ft gauge. I seem to remember that the 350hp of the Funkey was about the limit. Maybe have to go for a jack-shaft and rod drive; that won't be easy, I'll bet.
ISTR there was another Funkey in SA, but it had a less powerful engine fitted. Not sure what happened to it.
There have been some interesting discussions about bigger diesels for WHR over the years.
The SA Class 91 cape gauge diesel electrics were converted "as required" by fitting 2ft gauge bogies, and two of these are preserved at Sandstone Estates.
These appear to be rated at 640hp, but they are much too tall for WHR and probably too heavy. The height of the engine and generator cannot be lowered.
Eimco Australia built four diesel hydraulics rated at around 720hp for the Mackay sugar cane railway:-
These could be trimmed to fit WHR (slightly too tall and wide), but there are only four, they are still in use and will probably be completely knackered if they ever become available! At 40 tons, they also exceed the WHR axle loading.
I've also heard that it might be possible to fit more powerful (1000hp), compact engines in the Funkeys, but the existing transmissions are "marginal" with the current 350hp engines and there have been several expensive failures (no spares available).
AIUI the biggest problem is squeezing a suitably robust final drive between 2ft gauge wheels - whether hydraulic or electric.
More recent comments suggest that "management" is happy with NGG16 Garratt reliability and bigger diesels are an unnecessary expense.
Just two locos managed to handle the whole of last season with only a very few failures. There will be three available next year and four from around 2022, with NG15 134 to follow.
ahh I had not realised there were only two built, though from Festipedia it says they had been modified to work in multiple, though by the sounds of it that's been removed now.
this is the other Garrett I had dreamed off but would be more of a pure WHR loco.
Or for that matter, double-headed LyD2s? (If the FfR can get its hands on any!)
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ISTR that FR considered them to be "track bashers" at line speed and the cabs are too tall for the NWNGR bridge arches.
Searching around, I've found a photo of the third Funkey at the Shurugwi Peak Light Railway in Zimbabwe. It certainly still existed in 2005:-
WHHR has three, maybe could cement the relationship between the two. Or wiki says there 14 inopperable in Poland as well as 15 in working order, info from 2006 but still could be useful.
EDIT: Although at this point, sure building something new is going to be the most sensible thing to do.
Interesting discussion. Has anyone looked at the TU7 at Brecon Mountain Railway? 400hp and still in production. Buy a pair off the shelf and run them back to back. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TU7_diesel_locomotive
But I tend to agree that new build (built in house or at least specified in house) might be best to avoid compromise.
The Lyd 2's I suspect would destroy the track at 25mph. Rigid wheelbases and the WHR's many sharp curves are not likely to work well together - and in the worst of all possible worlds their considerable overhang is likely to lead to hunting on the straights.
I have no wish to start hostilities but it is rumoured their owner(s) have no desire to see them working for the FR. (like the owner of Beddgelert the NG15)
Now that's what I'm talking about, Nigel. Very nice.
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The Class 91s weren't convertible to 2' gauge, it was actually the other way round. They could be fitted with 3'6" gauge bogies and run over the main lines in SA to the main works for overhaul. I believe a fair number of them have been scrapped, but in any event they are far too large and too heavy for the WHR.
I haven't heard anything in recent years about the Zimbabwean Funkey, but the Selukwe Peak (Shurugwi) Railway that it ran on closed several years ago - so who knows what has happened to it since then?
Regarding the existing Ff&WHR Funkeys, there is a school of thought that suggests they could be upgraded using modern earth mover hydraulic transmissions and larger engines - 1,000 b.h.p. minimum has been mentioned.
The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway LyD2 diesels have a top speed of only 15 mph according to the warning to drivers posted in their cabs. Their engines are old technology in terms of efficiency and I too suspect they would be tough on the track. In any event, they're privately owned and would not, I think represent much of an improvement in power over the Funkeys.
Finally, the Ff&WHR is running the Diamond Jubilee Appeal, and one of its stated aims is the provision of one or more powerful diesels for the combined railways.
It seems surprising that in the 21st Century it isn't possible to build a 2ft diesel that cant be beaten by a steam loco!
There's no need if they can work in multiple, you just need enough of them.
If there were two, or more, in multiple, plus a failed Garratt and a ten carriage train, would they fit in the platforms / passing loops?
I'm sure that this idea will be shot down in flames but...........
How about building a diesel loco on the similar principle to a Garratt, i.e. engine and drive (electric or Hydraulic) carried on a central frame with the bogies carrying the fuel and cabs on either end.
So sort of like a crocodile but diesel and with the cabs on the power units. Can't help but wonder if the PB&SSR had the right idea with electrification, in fact the power station for this was built and still operates to this day.
Fascinating looking at the history websites and what the line was trying to do. The electric Valtellina line in Italy to Ganz's design seemed to be a success. So the powerful electric engines and power station were built for Wales, but getting electric distributed to the rails was not so easy and worked out expensive (similar to the Paddington mainline now?). A similar electric line in Canada to Ganz's design also had problems.
Had the PB&SSR had more money to get the electric supply distributed to the rails with local engineers who understood the system, might have been succesful and existed longer.
Electrication was given up and the less powerful Russell steam loco ordered.
The 6 powerful electric Ganz design locos were never delivered and scrapped.
The current Santa rake is 11 carrs and two locomotives. There's still enough room to stick the front loco on the rear of the train when you get to Rhyd Ddu. Said Santa rake is also modern stock and is therefore a lot longer than the normal ten car train. Waunfawr is the shortest loop (I think), but you could still manage it.
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