Building a ModelWorks 5700 Pannier Tank Engine in 5" Gauge

Kit 12+:
Boiler Testing:
Following a good day at ModelWorks on the 5th April 2005 it was time to get the all important boiler certificate. So I dispatched 9659 to the safe hands Dave, the St Albans MES boiler tester. 9659 received her first successful pass and certificate issued. Dave did find a few leaks from clack valves and a few other fittings during the steam testing that had not been seen on the 5th. Dave being the “Mr Fix it” type person soon had all working and had steamed her for a short run on a piece of test track. Thank you Dave

I took a decision in Kit 11 to solder the Cab and to make it simple to remove as one unit. This concept proved itself as it made it much easier for Dave to work on some of the leaking fittings having removing the Cab. Dave also proved that the Cab could be removed and refitted without causing damage to the paintwork which is a nice to have bonus.

Dave also suggested a modification to the cab floor, because the cab floor has quite a large gap between itself and the boiler which allows coal fragments and dust to drop through directly over the rear axle. Unchecked this could cause long term damage to the rear axle bears and the eccentric driving the lubricator. The modification is simply to add an additional floor plate above the original that pushes up close to the boiler but is not fixed securely allowing for expansion and contraction. In practise this has worked very well. When cleaning 9659 after steaming I still check for contamination of the rear axle, but always find very little.


First Run:
The first run 9659 received was deliberately on a quiet non club day at the St Albans track attended by a few of the faithful! Also on the day another member was having his first running of a new (to him) second hand 3.5” gauge Princess Marina.

This was not the first time I had driven a steam loco but was the first time I had steamed any locomotive from start to finish!

The St Albans club have their own “club” loco which they fully encourage people to use and learn on.

I have a lot to learn!

Note that I have still had some detail items to finish such as applying cab side numbering.


On one of our first trips, noting that smoke and steam is emitting out of all the correct places.

One thing I learned from this run; It is wise to wear a hat!!!

Note that I am using a borrowed driving truck (thanks to Tony), whilst building a driving truck from a Maxitrak kit (more on that latter).


Roger with his Princess Marina. He was the first to admit that he has a bit of work to do before she will be running as well as she could.

When steaming your own loco for the first time you soon realise how much you have to learn; the balancing of water levels/feed whilst maintaining a good fire etc is hard work for a beginner. The experts make it look so easy. Basically on the day 9659 performed as well as could be expected and we went home happy!

Of course when you do get home the fun continues!?

But it is fun cleaning and oiling before putting her to bed, which takes 1.5 to 2 hours on average.

I have now made an adaptor for the vacuum cleaner which makes cleaning out the Smoke Box very easy. Noting that I did permission from the Boss first.

I know I have said thanks many times to many people, however you do need the help and assistance of many people to realise such a good day as this. I must particularly thanks the staff of ModelWorks (especially Ian and Debbie), and the members of St Albans MES. Of course I also have to thank my family and especially my wife, who whilst having a good and healthy interest in all things steam, does remind me that the decorating schedule has slipped a little!


ModelWorks Owners Day – Bedford 22-05-2005:
9659's next steaming was again at the St Albans track. This time I managed to let the fire go out and struggled to maintain steam. However, I did get to use my own Driving Truck this time.

I used the time between steaming to build this small but simple Maxitrak Driving Truck.

This truck is designed for ground level use. I have modified it so that it can be also be used on raised track.

I have also shortened the seat and added a coal hopper.

The next steaming was away from home ground at the Bedford MES track. This was a special day ModelWorks owner's day, supported jointly by the Bedford MES and ModelWorks.

wo issues bugged me before I could get going; firstly I found it very difficult to light the fire because the matches kept getting blown out by what was only a slight breeze cutting across the steaming bay. Then once I did get it to light and whilst raising steam the fire went out!!!!

A solution to the fire lighting problem was given to me by a member of St Albans . It is to us a domestic Kitchen Fire Lighter. These work extremely well, being able to get a constant flame anywhere you want inside the fire box.

They need not be expensive, the example shown is available from Betterware for all of £2.99, for which you get two of them!

After I got the fire going 9659 steamed beautifully lap after lap.

Note that by now I have learned to wear a hat whilst driving.

Further pictures of the day can be found on the ModelWorks web site - Pictures.


The members at Bedford were very supportive, patient and understanding and I have since joined Bedford MES as well as St Albans . As I live geographically between the two clubs it does give me a good choice of driving venues.


Shake down Issues:
Ian at ModelWorks did warn me that it would take a few months to shake out early problems and he was not wrong.

When next steaming at the St Albans track I had a failure of the water feed pipe from the hand pump to top clack valve. This pipe was the first to fit (see Kit 11 & 12 descriptions), and is very short and difficult to shape.


Extract from Kit 12:
The pipe runs from the inside of the right hand water tank to the boiler top feed is very difficult to bend; you have to avoid interference with the boiler whilst getting the correct shape and angle to line up with the clack valve. When fitting the top feed cover from kit 12, it was found that the feed pipe was fouling the cover and stopping it being fitted centrally. Off came the right hand water tank and attempts made to reshape the pipe. After many attempts and despite annealing the pipe it eventually cracked! However this proved to be a blessing in disguise because in reality the feed pipe is too long as supplied. I cut out a 5mm section of the pipe at the crack and soldered it back together using a home made brass collar. The feed pipe does not look pretty but is now the correct length and the cover fits nicely.

Unfortunately the soldered join failed and it became difficult to sufficiently feed water into the boiler with the hand pump, and because I had still not mastered the control of the Injector I had to cut short the day.

To my rescue came another member of the St Albans club. A very nice man called Roy stepped forward and volunteered to make a new pipe for me; having better workshop facilities including silver soldering equipment and used the failed pipe as a pattern. This not only fitted better but actually worked without leaking water.

The next issue arose whilst raising steam to test the new water feed pipe (at home with the loco raised up on blocks of wood), when I decided to play with the injector. Whilst I managed to get the injector to work and feed water, the clack valve failed to reseal allowing live steam to escape via the injector. I attempted the standard fix for such problems. The clack was removed, cleaned internally and the seal improved by “lightly” tapping the ball into the valve seat. When tested whilst 95% better it was still allowing a small amount of steam to leak. Therefore, the ultimate fix has been to fit a new clack valve.

During the next visit to the St Albans track and whilst running quite well I suddenly lost all control of the regulator. I could move the regulator handle but had no actual control. My suspicion as to why proved correct upon investigation.

The regulator linkage had moved on the regulator shaft controlled by the handle. This shaft locates into the regulator body using a simple hole and spigot concept. However the spigot machined on the end of the shaft is too long and the linkage can move forward off its “D” type section onto the round spigot; resulting in a loss of control. I had suspected this could happen during the build but had also ignored my own suspicions and trusted that it would/could not happen (next time I will listen to the voice in my head!).

Top View of Regulator:

Regulator Shaft



Regulator Body

The fix was simple:

I made a spacer to fit over the round spigot and between the Linkage and Regulator Shaft.

What was less simple was the fact that I had now to manufacture a new gasket for the Dome.

This was made easier because before fitting the original gasket supplied by ModelWorks I had scanned it and stored it as an image on my PC.

All I needed to do was to print the image and use it as a template.


I produced the 3mm holes by making a made a simple punch and die from a 3mm drill bit and a small section of square steel boxing.

The drill bit was ground at the “blunt” end with an inverted “V” shape (ala an office/desk paper hole punch). I then used my pillar drill as a make shift fly press to punch holes in the new gasket. This worked very well, the resulting holes being cut easily and without any tearing to the gasket paper you would expect if you tried to drill the holes. The resulting gasket was crisp and clean and fitted perfectly.

Believe it or not during the next steaming at the St Albans track I again lost all control of the regulator. Again I could move the regulator handle but had no actual control.

This time upon investigation I found that one of the two split pins used to locate the linkage pins had rusted away, and had obviously not been made of stainless steel! Fortunately when the linkage came apart the pin did not totally fall out. Therefore, the repair was quite simple; re-connect the linkage and fit a new pin. Not forgetting I had to make yet another dome gasket, at least this time I knew how to and had the correct tooling already available.

Having had a few steaming sessions at the St Albans track which had been successful but at times I had struggled to maintain steam, which I put down to my lack of firing skills. I took 9659 on the 9 th October 2005 for her first steaming at the Bedford track as a member. Again she steamed and ran fairly well and I believe my firing skills are getting better, but I was not convinced that she was performing as well as she could.

As you can see I now seem to be able to light a fire better and raise a good head of steam. When the safety valve lifts on 9659 it can make you jump if you are not ready!

Notice that I know have cab side and smoke box numbers and shed plate (81A – Old Oak Common). These were supplied by GLR Model Supplies and were not overly expensive but you do have wait for them to be made.

I have also fitted a Lamp supplied by The Miniature Railway Supply Co Ltd.

Very high quality, you just have to paint the body and choose the lense colour (white or red).

9659 was steaming reasonably but at times again showed a tendency to not maintain pressure.

This picture nicely shows the use of the Maxitrak driving truck. Under the seat you have a convenient space for tools etc. I plan in the future to modify the truck to have an additional water supply under the seat. This will supply the injector. Apart from the benefits of additional water this also will ensure the injector is supplied with “cold” water, a must to ensure the injector works.

ModelWorks designed this model to have automatic drain cocks. During her first steaming at the factory these proved to be a problem (see Kit 12 description), and I subsequently changed their position and added pipes to ensure the steam, oil and muck went forward in a more prototypical fashion.

In this picture you can see steam emitting from at least one of the left hand automatic drain cocks when it shouldn't! During past steamings, I had noticed this on occasion and the fact that it did not always happen, and from the drivers angle it did not look too serious I had underestimated the issue.

However, when I saw this and other pictures taken at Bedford by my wife, I realised just how much steam 9659 is loosing. She could be loosing 30% or greater of her useful steam. I now suspect I have found the reason that on occasions she steams poorly and struggles to maintain pressure.

This picture shows two things:

  • I have learned how to fire on the move
    • Not as easy as it looks!
  • The leaking drain cock/s is on the left cylinder

There are three chooses now as how to resolve this issue:

  • Repair
  • Replace
  • Fit manual drain cocks

Ultimately I would prefer to fit manually operated drain cocks; this would not be easy now she is built. I believe having looked and taken a few measurements that this is achievable without too much stripping down but would take some time to achieve.

To the best of my knowledge replacement automatic drain cocks are only available from ModelWorks and given that technically they are very simple (effectively very similar to a conventional clack valve) a repair needs to be tried before considering replacing. I have since removed both left hand drain cocks and attempted the standard fix for such problems; cleaned internally and the seal improved by “lightly” tapping the ball into the valve seat. To date I have not had opportunity to test the repair. More will be known when I next steam her.


St Albans Model Engineering Exhibition:
During the weekend of 24 th 25 th September held a Model Engineering exhibition in a local school. During the show 9659 was placed on display and unknown to me whilst I was busy on our portable track running young would be model engineers up and down behind the club loco my wife had entered her into one of the competitions.

As you can see she won the “Pauline Husband Trophy”, which is awarded to the best kit built railway exhibit.

This was nice to win but humbling coming from those who have helped and assisted me build, test and run her.

I spent most of the weekend helping to run the train trips on the portable track using the club loco (a 2-6-0 version of a Simplex design). Fun and hard work at the same time, it is also good experience for those learning how to drive and fire for extended periods.

The St Albans club now have at least two more members building Kit Locomotives. One is building a Maxitrak 5” gauge 0-6-0 loco and one the ModelWorks 5” gauge Britannia; John has also setup a web site to allow people to follow the build - .


Future Plans and Projects:

  • As already mentioned I plan to modify my Maxitrak driving truck to carry water for use by the injector.
  • I will be building a Rolling Road , to allow running and testing to be done before taking to a track.
  • I want to add further detail fittings to 9659, such as dummy brake and steam heating pipes etc.
  • I also want to build a driving truck to my own design.

These modifications and projects will be summarised as they happen.


Read the Build Story by Kit:

Kit 1 Kit 2 Kit 3 Kit 4 Kit 5 Kit 6


Kit 7


Kit 8


Kit 9


Kit 10


Kit 11


Kit 12


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