Part 9 – La Fin, and helping a friend…

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La Fin

Work continued with Criccieth Castle making good progress and without any fuss CC just seemed to appear and hustle along as if it was a veteran, no if or buts just got on with doing what it was designed to do straight out of the box!.


Criccieth in the trailer ready to go out for a spin!!

So what is next? Well, on an outing to the FLR with both HC and CC on the 17 October there were several engines on the roster which meant that in the end only CC came out to play and HC stayed in the trailer! Mike took on the initial public hauling on passenger stock and then CC came off handing over to steam.

After a while CC was handed over to Terry, (owner of a quarter scale Harlech) and CC happily meandered round the track between the public timetable. Yes, they run to a time table with a cafe providing hot drinks and snacks for all.

Mike arranged with Terry to look into doing an upgrade on the bigger HC and sorted out some options for him to consider. A few days later Mike had modified his trailer to take the larger engine and secure it adequately and then arranged to pop over to Ramsey Mereside and pick it up and take it back to the ALW where Mike would strip it out and confirm matters before proceeding with the upgrade.


New 4QD controller and protective boxes, also fitted is a relay board to operate lights and horns from the hand controller. Also a protective cover over the motor has been fitted to prevent any stray bits falling into the windings from above.

By the 17th of November the basic upgrade work was done and a track test carried out, it now has dual end control sockets fitted utilising a 4QD pro-120 controller unit with a deadman’s hand throttle, plus the horns and lighting can be operated from the hand throttle control.


On test at the Lynnsport Miniature Railway, ensuring the controller performs as expected. This loco is somewhat bigger than our quarter scale ones!

A toggle switch inside the rear of the cab allows selection of the front 55watt head lamp or if it is running cab end forward the rear head lamp. The hi-lo horns are LOUD so will wake up any engine crew that might be resting (asleep) in the cafe! The engine steps were fabricated and fitted so that they can easily be removed when required although they do stick out a bit making them vulnerable to damage.


Steps fitted to the larger Harlech, something it never got from the original supplier

The cab has a new heavy duty removable roof to permit easy access to one of the heavy 110amp batteries, so anyone dropping that on their tootsies will not be doing that a second time!


Cab roof being formed


The front engine bonnet fits as it did before except that the wiring for the front head lamp needs to be disconnected and reconnected each time. A third 12 volt battery is now required to provide the power for the horns and lighting, this sit under the cab desk and adds weight for tractive purposes. It is imperative that the batteries are placed so that the best tractive weight distribution is directly over and between the 3 axles.  Plans to return the engine in late November with the new stainless steel window surrounds and special window rubbers (for Terry to complete) has been interrupted by the sudden onslaught of Winter snow and ice so HC sits silently waiting in the trailer ready to return for a resumption of duty.


New headlamp unit, ouch! Very bright!

The FLR is “out in the sticks” as we say around here, and access from our part of the world is down some rather lumpy narrow roads with big ditches, so the return journey had to be put on hold until the weather was better. The most expensive part of this upgrade was the purchase of the new 4QD control system.


Waiting to go home to the Fens!

Now, Terry has a more complete looking loco with the finishing touches he wanted, there’s only a few minor cosmetic finishes to our quarter scale Harlech and Criccieth Castles to do and they will be completed. Everyone is happy, or larf’in…!


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