Stephenson Memorial Miniature Locomotive Association – Report

on the 64th trials event held at York Model Engineers, Dringhouses, York, 11th September 2019

Associated PDF Downloads: –

This report …
Official results ….
Analysis of results ….



It is now over twenty years since a new host invited us to run our trials event at their track site, so it was with pleasure that we accepted the invitation to run the event at the Dringhouses site of York Model Engineers, close to the centre of the City of York.

I had visited the track at their old site near Chaloners Win many years ago, but for some reason I hadn’t got round to a visit to this site. Malcolm Lummas who has entered the trials on a few occasions recently, proposed the venue and took it upon himself to persuade the York committee that they should stage the event.

Son Joe and I made a visit in July with a couple of engines to see if the venue was suitable and ran both tracks. Deputy Chairman Richard Gibbons, who had been tasked with organising the event, welcomed us and we discussed the arrangements for the trials and answered his many queries to his satisfaction.

Most of the requirements for the event had been considered and we were able to see how York were going to load the trains and many of the other trials logistics. I therefore had no problem in recommending we accept the invitation.

So Sunday 11th September saw us gathering at the York track. For the previous two weeks, the weather forecasters had been predicting a dry sunny day, but what we got was overcast and there was the threat of rain. Fortunately the rain held off until late afternoon when we were packing away the equipment and locos, but the down side was that with the tracks being largely through trees, conditions for photography were far from ideal.

York has two tracks, and the trials for 5″ and 3 1/2″ locos was to be held on the raised track as usual. The ground level track was to be used for 7 1/4 entries only and since this was a different track these entries were not eligible for the Stephenson Trophy and the runners up trophy as provided in the rules of the competition.

The raised track is constructed from steel bar mounted directly on concrete piers, much as the track at Workington and is 1047 feet long. There are two rising gradients, the first starting at 1 in 1322 (in the North Easter Railway style) increasing to 1 in 94 on a 53 ft radius curve (more on this later).

Once over the summit the railway runs drops at 1 in 197 into a 38 ft radius curve followed by a climb increasing to 1 in 128 leading to the starting point on a slightly falling gradient.

When we arrived, a little later than anticipated after negotiating a lengthy diversion through housing estates due to roadworks on the normal access road, our first runner was already steamed up and ready to back down on his train.

Run 1 As usual a member of the host society was our first runner. Malcolm Lummas had entered his LBSC designed “Duchess of Swindon” a 4-8-2 of with clear ancestry in Swindon locomotive works.

This was LBSC’s idea of what the Great Western Railway would have built after WW2 to handle what was expected to be a huge increase in traffic on cessation of hostilities. Malcolm had elected to take a load of 588lbs made up of single passenger car, the driver and two precast concrete track supports secured by ratchet straps.

Malcolm ran quite quickly and consistently and clocked up a over 11 laps a distance of 3998 yards. Having used 24.27 ounces of coal Malcolm’s score put him in a disappointing eighth place.

Run 2. The Great Northern Railway atlantic of Joe Gibbons, Tyneside SMEE, was next to run. The locomotive was loaded to 750lbs on a single passenger car. We have come to expect exciting running from Joe and 1418 and we were not disappointed, with an excellent continuous run covering 4570
yards in the allotted time of 20 minutes. The fast run was reflected in the coal consumption of 21.83 ounces, producing a score that placed Joe third overall.

Run 3. Last year’s winner Stephen Duncan of Sunderland once again had his BR Class 7 No 70000 “Britannia” with a load of 773lbs. Stephen started his train without difficulty and was soon lapping at a consistent 7.5 mph, a fraction slower than the previous competitor, accumulating 4415 yards in
twenty minutes. Coal consumption was just 11.39 ounces putting him top of the leader board, where he remained till the end of the trials. Stephen was awarded the Stephenson cup as overall winner and the 3 1/2″ gauge shield for the best placed 3 1/2 ” gauge locomotive.

Run 4. Eddie Gibbons (Yours Truly) was next to the track with His LNER A4 No 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley. The load was again increased to 820llbs spread over two passenger cars, and was started easily by the pacific. Once round the first curve at a leisurely pace it soon became apparent the speed was falling on the slight gradient and by the time the 1 in 94 was reached the gradient and the curvature brought the train to a stand from which it was impossible to restart.

My fault entirely, forgetting the steepest part of the railway was also on a sharp curve, a novice mistake from a veteran of around forty trials. After backing up to the start of the incline, some time was taken to recover boiler pressure and a second attempt made ending in another failure to reach the summit.

Again the train was reversed, this time to the beginning of the curve before the incline so that the engine was able to gain some speed before tackling the gradient. All this used up about two thirds the running time but some swift running was in order and 1284 yds were covered before the horn went for the end of the run. Coal used was 20.92 ounces putting me in a shameful ninth place.

Run 5. Next up was trials stalwart Wilf McHugh of South Durham with his Alice Class Hunslet, Ransome. Originally built as an 0-4-0ST Wilf has added leading and trailing pony tucks to stabilise the loco and stop it from leaping off the railway when running.

With a trailing load of 994 lbs Wilf made good progress for a time until forced to stop to recover steam. Completing almost eight circuits of the
track, 2692 yards for the consumption of 22.19 ounces of fuel Wilf was placed 6th. It might be noticed that this was not as the original issue of the results as Wilf had noted the load shown was 608 lbs when it should have been close to 1000.

A check by the Judge at York John Chambers revealed there had been an error in the transfer of the data and the weights of Wilf and passenger cars had been omitted from the calculation.

The calculation was remade with the correct data and Wilf was elevated to sixth place from eighth.

Run 6. Tom Jones our Chairman had approached the Furness Model Railway Club at Barrow to see if they would be interested in hosting our trials event at some time in the future. Dave Fuller the Chairman of the model engineering section decided he would join us at York to see what it was all about before committing to having us at their track in Barrow and brought his Simplex 0-6-0T as his entry.

Dave had said to me that he didn’t often drive the loco, since when he brought it to the track, other members were invited to drive it, particularly the youngsters, so he didn’t expect to do well.

With a respectable load of 1031lbs, Dave started his run in good order but soon needed to stop to regain pressure. With later stoppages the loco completed just over 5 laps with a coal consumption of 18.1 ounces. This was sufficient to place Dave 7th at the end of the day.

Run 7. A nicely finished GWR 1500 class 0-6-0PT, Speedy to most of us, driven by a young member of the York Society, Charlie Bauckham, was our next runner. Charlie had elected to take a moderate load of 930 lbs.

Initially Charlie seemed to have trouble keeping steam, but soon had things under control and started lapping consistently building up a total distance run of 2549 yards, something over 7 circuits. The coal consumption of 16.83 ounces was the second lowest in the event and put Charlie in 4th position, a creditable effort for a first timer.

This result gave Charlie the President’s Shield, awarded to the best placed newcomer on the day.

Run 8. Our Chairman, Tom Jones of the West Cumbria Guild of Model Engineers has been a regular runner in the trials over many years, with lots of credits for his excellent BR class 2-6-0. Tom’s load was 1115lbs and whilst his run wasn’t continuous, with a short stop at the start of the back straight to recover steam or water at one point, the pace was good and a total of 2718 yards was clocked up in the running time. Coal consumption was 18.91 ounces resulting in Tom being placed second overall,the highest placed 5″ gauge locomotive.

Tom took away the TSMEE trophy for the runner up and the Rocket trophy for the best 5″ gauge runner.

Run 9. Another of our regular runners David Davies of West Cumbria was our final entry in the trial for the Stephenson Memorial Cup. His locomotive, a Sweet Pea 0-4-0ST “Lady Stephanie” made a good run with 1133lbs on the drawbar and completed over 9 laps of the track (3240 yards) on 28.36 ounces of coal, the highest of the day, putting David in 5th position overall.

A separate trial for the 7 1/4″ gauge was run on the ground level track. This is 520 yards long with a ruling gradient of 1 in 75. There is an inner loop line at the north end of the site leading to the station, but for the purposes of the efficiency trial the trains were to run on the mainline only. We had hoped to have two entries for the 7 1/4″ gauge trial , but Dave Henderson had transport problems in the week before the event and had to withdraw leaving Nick Wright a certainty of the trophy if he could complete his run.

Nick’s loco No 534 is a 1/8th scale version of the popular 3 1/2 gauge 0-6-0T Rob Roy described by Martin Evans a Caledonian Railway dock tank which won the 7 1/4″ trophy last year on the home track at Sunderland. Nick’s defending run was made concurrent with that of Charlie Bauckham’s on the raised track as time was getting on and the weather looking as if it was changing for the worse.

With a load of 2355 lbs Nick ran steadily with two stops, one to recover the boiler pressure and water level and the other for an unexpected derailment of a passenger car on the turnout for the loco shed. Whilst there was no obvious cause for this the Judge decided that an extension to Nick’s running time of one minute was appropriate.

With a total running time of 21 minutes the train ran a distance of 2302 yards for 25.43 ounces of coal. Nick was awarded the 7 1/4 Trophy Richard Gibbon announced and presented the trophies as follows

The Stephenson Trophy for the overall winner and the 3 1/2″ gauge Shield to Stephen Duncan of CoSMES

The TSMEE Cup for the runner up and the 5″ gauge (Rocket) Trophy to Tom Jones TSMEE

The 7 1/4″ gauge Cup to Nicholas Wright of CoSMES

The President’s Shield for the best placed newcomer to Charlie Bauckham of YDMES.

My thanks to Richard Gibbon and his members for hosting our 64th trials event. Thanks also of course to the people who did all the work, organising the event, stewarding, and clearing away at the end of the day, with a special mention of Malcolm Lummas who started the ball rolling and John Chambers who was time keeper and a very fair and unbiased judge for the day.

The official results and analysis are attached at the end of this report

Next year we have been invited to the railway of the Furness Model Railway Club who’s 3 1/2 and 5″gauge track is in “The Park” at Barrow. It is a quarter mile long and looks from the videos to have somelong straights and plenty of sweeping curves for us to enjoy.

The proposed date for your diary isSaturday 12th September 2020. Sadly there’s no 7 1/4″ so those of you wanting to run your big locos will have to wait till 2021 when South Durham will once again host our trials.

Photographs from the day follow.

My Thanks to Joe Gibbons, Tom Jones and David Davies for their
contributions. Photos not by them are from my camera.

Results and analysis are attached as separate documents

Wishing you All the Best for the coming season and hoping to see you at Barrow next year.

Now the photographs.

Figure 1 Malcolm Lummas started proceedings with “Duchess of Swindon”
Figure 2 Joe Gibbons and the Atlantic at speed
Figure 3 Stephen Duncan and Britannia
Figure 4 Eddie Gibbons and the A4 eventually got going
Figure 5 Wilf McHugh going well with Ransome
Figure 6 A determined Dave Fuller and Sally
Figure 7 Charlie Bauckham and the 15xx – and a full glass
Figure 8 Tom Jones and his BR Class 2 powering away
Figure 9 David Davies and Lady Stephanie climbing the bank
Figure 10 Nick Wright and 534 well loaded

The Awards

Figure 11 Steven Duncan awarded to Stephenson Memorial Cup for the best performance overall and the Shield for the highest placed 3 1/2″ gauge locomotive
Figure 12 Tom Jones receiving the TSMEE Trophy for the runner up and the Rocket trophy for the highest placed 5″ gauge locomotive
Figure 13 Nick Wright Awarded the 7 1/4″ Gauge Cup
Figure 14 Charlie Bauckham receives the Presidents Shield for the best placed newcomer
Figure 15 John Chambers our time keeper and judge
Figure 16 Richard Gibbon in control of the day’s events

And on a lighter note

Figure 17 I know we’re late but I’m not going till you stop blowing that thing!
Figure 18 Could this be LBSC’s nemesis?

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