Plymouth Devonport & South Western Junction Railway locomotives, a guest review of the CSP Models

For this post I am indebted to friend and fellow Southern Railway modeller Tony Teague for providing the pictures and text about his models of these two unusual engines. The prototypes for these three interesting but diminutive tank locos were originally built by Messrs Hawthorn Leslie for the Colonel Stephens engineered Plymouth Devonport & South Western Junction Railway (PD&SWJR). The line ran between Lydford and Devonport and they also adopted the East Cornwall Mineral Railway between Kelly Bray and Calstock, which was later connected it to the main line at Bere Alston and eventually became the Callington branch. The PD&SWJR was later absorbed into the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) and subsequently the Southern Railway. Locomotive No.756, an 0-6-0T named ‘A S Harris’, was never renumbered by BR and lasted until withdrawal in 1951, spending many of its later years at Nine Elms and Stewarts Lane, whilst both 757 and 758 named ‘Earl of Mount Edgecumbe’ and ‘Lord St Leven’ respectively were 0-6-2T’s, received their BR numbers and ran until withdrawn in 1957 and 1956 respectively; spending many of their later years in the Plymouth area and finally at Eastleigh.

The two PD&SWJR locomotives No756 and 757 built from CSP kits
The two PD&SWJR locomotives Nos. 756 and 757 built from CSP kits

The two 4mm models now available from CSP Models are part of the former Agenoria range and have been reduced from 7mm kits. The kits are complete, minus motors and gears, including nameplates although a separate motorising kit is available as an option which was used in the construction of the kits forming the subject of this review.

As Tony chooses not to build loco kits personally, both were built, painted and lined by an experienced professional builder, Chris Phillips Chris has built numerous other kits for Tony and for many other customers and he comments that, as etched-bodied kits, he felt them to be very well designed and manufactured. Whilst the bodies went together remarkably well, especially when compared to some kits of this genre from other manufacturers,  the chassis did however cause some problems.

PD&SWJR 0-6-0T No. 756 A S Harris
PD&SWJR 0-6-0T No. 756 A S Harris

In particular Chris found it necessary to rebuild No.756 with a centre axle drive, whereas the instructions suggest a rear axle drive. In addition there were problems with clearances, possibly caused through the reduction from 7mm to 4mm and then to 00 gauge. As a result it was necessary to fit spacers between the chassis and cylinders in order to give more clearance in this area. This in turn meant having to modify the motion brackets, to allow the slidebars to stay in parallel to the frames.

PD&SWJR 0-6-2T No. 757 'Earl of Mount Edgecumbe’
PD&SWJR 0-6-2T No. 757 ‘Earl of Mount Edgecumbe’

The instructions provided with the kits suggest filling the side tanks with lead sheet, which was done, but Chris also added weight to the front half of the boilers, using weights from curtain-weighting strips. Ultimately it seems that the bodies of the two kits were well designed but that the clearance issues with the chassis might render them difficult to construct by a less experienced builder.

another view of the PD&SWJR locomotives Nos. 757 and 756
Another view of the PD&SWJR locomotives Nos. 757 and 756

Tony’s layout is set in the period 1938 to 1948 and so the models are finished in SR Maunsell lined olive, and as the end user, I find that each of the two models are good looking locomotives which appear to be a pretty strong representation of the original; after running-in, each performs well and the additional weight means that if required, they should pull trains equal and probably greater than their prototype.

Once again thanks to Tony for his input into my blog, it is much appreciated to be able to bring wider subject material, also see his comments on the ’00’ Works Ready to Run ex LBSC I3 class here.

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