A story of creativity and eye for detail by Mike Lewis
This is the story of the Pallet Line Railway locomotives built at the Shed Works at Burgess Hill. The first of these ‘Shed’ Class locos, engine number BHSW001, was a small tank engine constructed principally of square wooden blocks to a design copied from a 1980 prototype toy. This first of its kind was completed by November 2019 and, although of an unsophisticated design and of rather poor proportions, was nevertheless snapped up when offered for sale at a local craft fair.
It was decided to go into production with traditional steam locomotives with full length boilers and multiple wheel arrangements, and the first of these, engine number BHSW002, was ready by the end of the month. This particular model was provided with a 4-4-2 wheel set-up with the driven wheels connected by two side outriggers to give the visual impression of the wheel linkage. It was also equipped with a separate steam dome and whistle, smoke box handles, boiler pipework, and front buffers. Engine name and number plates were also added to each side of the rear tender and to the front of the train.
A third engine was soon put into production and was completed by early January 2020. BHSW003 was identical to its sister loco but now without the outrigger which was considered unwieldy, and a rear coupling hook and buffers were also included. The cab roof was refined and a wooden driver made.
A new model design was now required so a sectional boiler style with banded joints was produced in February and numbered BHSW004. This engine omitted the buffers and whistle for simplicity, and reduced the number of wheels to just three pairs. Fresh innovations to this model were the fully enclosed driver’s cab, front view port holes and side windows.
A new locomotive to leave the Shed Works has been engine number BHSW005 which has the enclosed cab again but has reverted to the one-piece boiler and steam pipework. It has been fitted with the full collection of smoke box handles, name and number plates, whistle, and rear coupling hook and has gained an additional axle with four sets of fully detailed wheels.
The new sculpted wheels have now been employed on a new innovation with engine number BHSW006 which is an elongated locomotive incorporating an integrated tender with coal. The driver’s cab is provided on both sides with a step-up and handrail, and the engine nameplate has been repositioned to the side flanking plates.