Illawarra Hot Pot Re-visited to drive a robust, elegant 5 GWR 0-4-2

Entrance to  the Illawarra Hot Pot  is by means of a donation of three large tins of soup per person. There is a continuous serving of soup with bread rolls etc for most of the event. Breakfast is provided each morning for a small charge, lunch can be the continuous cups of soup and access to a dinner bus can take you to a place for a very reasonably priced dinner. I can’t do justice to the organisation or to the organisers – an event well worth attending.

I have  just finished driving the 5” GWR 0-4-2 at the Illawarra Hot Pot 2018 and can look back  at my second visit to this railway track with satisfaction. Running on the 5” Gauge ground level track was not without its drama.I was still learning to drive a substantial distance on welsh steam coal loaded into a fairly small grate and correcting damage to a copper water feed to the injector.

 During 2017 and 2018 I continued to sharpen my driving skills on the  small GWR 0-4-2 locomotive as well as getting use to the welsh steam coal as a replacement for the char which used to block the bar grate with clinker. I used the welsh steam coal rather than change the grate in the locomotive. The injector has continued to operate very effectively with the occasional clean. The injector was obtained from Ben Gabriel  of  E.J.Winters. I now use a stronger walled rubber hose for the water supply pipe to the injector to prevent the rubber pipe from collapsing as the injector draws the water from the riding car. Somehow, at the Hot Pot, the water copper water feed pipe had become kinked and restricted the flow of water from the riding car. Other problems such as the change in the position of the valve (tap) to the water tank on the riding car also had to be corrected. Once these problems had been solved during a process that I call ‘bush repairs’ the locomotive ran very well.

This little loco needs constant attention to maintain the fire and water level. However,these are not unpleasant tasks. Oil by displacement lasts approximately one hour. The driver and two passengers can be pulled quite easily on a dry track. I chose to drive on the ground level track as I like to run through points and I like the realism of it all.

Bowande install a steam take off valve for the injector during production however, I have recommended to Bowande that three clack valves be fitted to the next batch of the locomotives. There are currently two clack valves on the first batch: one for the  hand pump and one for axle pump.A friend installed an injector by piggy-backing it onto one of the two clack valves and the injector works very well. The injector is excellent and it is only the ancillary gear such as rubber pipe and other fittings that let me down. An injector is the way to go if you plan  to run over large distances on a model railway.

This model represents excellent value for money.It is an excellent loco for the experienced driver who wants to try something different and certainly an excellent locomotive for the beginner.

I am looking forward to test driving the Gauge 5( 5”Gauge)BR 4MT coal fired locomotive when it becomes available.

Britannia  ‘Iron Duke”

An elegant, well detailed model, providing powerful and reliable performance.

As well as running on the 5” ground level track at the Hot Pot I also enjoyed the 45mm track. Both the Britannia and the C38 were displayed on the sidings and people noticed the difference in size between the Britannia and C38 owing to the difference in the respective loading gauges in Australia and the U.K.

 Radio control has not yet been fitted to the Britannia. One feature that I have noticed is that there is very little water being ejected from the chimney.  It has excellent detail and reflects Bowande’s standard of excellence in model building. The ceramic burner behaves immaculately and provides a steady source of steam to the cylinders. The improved safety valves provide quick release of steam pressure and quickly re-seat  thus minimising the amount of steam used in the process. A ’ lift off’ section of the cabin roof as well as a high level of precise detailing make this a very handsome model. The locomotive  ‘talks’ to the operator as it negotiates the track with a good load of passenger or freight stock

C38s Unstreamlined and Streamlined.

It was a great feeling to demonstrate the C38 in its state of origin. We have taken a great deal of pride in the production of this model and it has been well received by modelers.

The first batch of these locomotives was introduced nearly two years ago and both models have performed excellently at club and private layouts. These locos never to fail to impress the spectator. They are very smooth, powerful runners under different types of conditions. I took the opportunity to run the C38 on the 45mm track at the Hot Pot and people commented upon how smoothly the loco performed. Observers also noticed the quick release safety valves at work on the model. The C38s are painted in the traditional NSWGR ‘special’green and represent the type just after they came out of the grey livery in the late forties and early fifties.These are authentic models. The models come already radio controlled and represent excellent value for money  at $4999 each.