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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 6 (September 1, 1934)


A Notable Model Railway

Running on a small circular track a little over 400 feet in length, in the garden of Dr. Hubert Bush, Orrong Road, Caulfield, Victoria, is one of the most remarkable locomotive models in the world. Built to the order of the doctor by Mr. J. Mahony, a clever mechanical engineer of West Melbourne, it approximates closely to the proportions of the locomotive hauling the “Flying Scotsman,” of England.

What brought this beautiful model into existence is the doctor's own romantic passion for “trains,” enduring through boyhood into maturity, combined with a desire to see perpetuated in miniature one of the finest examples of British engineering skill. The choice of the “Flying Scotsman” as a model, it may be said, was not haphazard. Its contours and sense of power revealed in the pictures of it which came to Australia were not more appealing to the doctor than the undeniable attraction of its being British.

So, in order to justify his patriotism and feed his hunger for the mysteries of locomotive mechanism, Dr. Bush determined to commission a model of the “Flying Scotsman” locomotive.

All that he submitted to the pattern-makers was his own drawings, representing on a scale of two inches to the foot, the approximate proportions of the “Flying Scotsman” engine. From the preparation of the first drawing to the fitting of the last nut, the time occupied was roughly nine months. Mr. Mahony erected the model in the small garage adjoining his workshop. It became his pleasure and recreation after his hours of work. It was a labour in which his admiration for British skill was fervently expressed.

The model, including tender, is 12ft. 6in. in length, and differs only from its famous prototype in two or three particulars. In the first place, it has two cylinders instead of three; its boiler is made completely of copper, and its tender diverges from the fixed eight-wheeled vehicle of the orignal in having two four-wheeled bogies. This change was made necessary to enable it to accomplish the journey around Dr. Bush's circular track. The track, by the way, is 10 1/2 in. gauge (approximating to the Victorian gauge of 5ft. 3in.) and is constructed of 141b. rails, dogspiked on sleepers 2ft. x 4in. x 2in., ballasted with sand. One small section of the track has a grade of 1 in 33, which the little locomotive takes with no apparent diminution of effort even when hauling half-a-dozen passengers.

The locomotive, which is a Pacific 4-6-2 model, is 28in. high from the rails to the top of funnel, and its grate is 12in. square. The barrel, which is 11in. in diameter, is of 3-16in. plate, thickening to 1/2in. in the firebox. The boiler is lagged with asbestos of 1/2in. thickness. It contains 32 flue tubes 7/in. in diameter, and is fed with water by a mechanical pump which is more than sufficient to supply its needs, though there is also an injector of the standard kind. The Wootton smokebox is fitted with a ring type blower around the exhaust nozzle, which is of the regulation type. The cylinders are 2/34in. diameter by 4/12in. stroke and are fitted with internal admission valves. The steam pressure is 100lbs., and the boiler test is 200lbs. The driving wheels are 13 1/4in. in diameter, and the bogie wheels 7in. The cylinders are oiled by sight-feed lubricators situated on the footplates on either side of the smoke-box. Other features of this engine are its Walchaert valve gear, pop safety valves, and vacuum brakes, and in its cab are miniature gauges, reverse lever and regulator. The tender, equipped with a tank carrying 20 gallons of water, provides a seat for the driver, and the locomotive, which is capable of hauling a load of from two to three tons, has a maximum permissible speed of 20 miles an hour.

According to all competent critics who have seen it, Dr. Bush's midget locomotive is an outstanding achievement. In its finish and performance, particularly in the accuracy and delicacy with which the relatively microscopic parts have been turned and fitted, it is a monument to that patient, painstaking endeavour which staggers the lay-mind and earns the applause of engineers.

The famous “Royal Scot,” of the L.M. and Scottish Railway, on view at the Century of Progress Exposition at Chicago, 1933.

The famous “Royal Scot,” of the L.M. and Scottish Railway, on view at the Century of Progress Exposition at Chicago, 1933.