Locomotive Portrait: Cork, Bandon & South Coast Railway B4 Locomotive

Graham Bridle


I have liked the look of this loco ever since I took a greater interest in Irish railways. I know of no kits but Alan kindly sent me some 4mm and 7mm drawings. At the time I was modelled in 4mm.  I built a chassis for a B4 in 4mm but before I got any further I was at a small local show that was run by Gauge 0 Guild members. Although many scales were there, I was taken with gauge 0, which suited my eyes and ten thumbs better.  So I changed scales. I made a loco from an etched kit and bought a brass pannier, yes I know not Irish but GWR is next best! I also decided to go with the flow and stick to 32mm gauge using C&L products.  I decided to scratch build a B4. I made many mistakes as I went along for I am not good at working out all the pitfalls first. The chassis I built first and I will at some time make another.  I tried full spring suspension but found making sure all was level difficult. I had made the frames from too thick nickel silver and found the gearbox too wide. I fixed the axle bushes and after some filing it fitted. But I forgot to reassemble on the jig so the running was poor. I think I stripped and reassembled four  times, but it does run. The other main problem was with the bogie. Getting the right tension was difficult and I wonder if I should have used a swivel on a pivot set back.

The footplate and body were easier. The tank sides and cab were cut and soldered together to make sure they were symmetrical. There are flanges on the bottoms with captive screws so that the cab and tanks plus the boiler can be dismantled from the footplate separately although I now think this is not necessary. I invested in a riveter and roller.  Rolling the boiler was not too difficult, the riveting monotonous and not easy to maintain a line if a reversal in the riveter had to be done.  I do not have a lathe so I spoke to Laurie Griffin (Miniatures ). I sent the drawings to him and he did a good match with the boiler fittings. The chimney is not quite right but as all are screwed on I could change it if I find a better match. The boiler door also came from him and the darts.  Other proprietary fittings such as the buffers, jack, and couplings were picked up at trade shows. The sand boxes I made and are also screwed on. The coupling rods I think were universal ones from Slaters laminated at the right length.

My painting expertise is not brilliant but it will pass my inspection and as it is intended for my attic this is okay. The detail is not totally accurate because I noticed things after I had soldered up (e.g. the buffer mountings should be round and the bunker is not quite right) but overall I am pleased.  This has taken me several years to complete and I have enjoyed doing it. My better half said it was wonderful (honest!) but then it keeps me out of her way for many an hour. I bought a MGWR J26 kit on e-bay which will be my next engine. I do like the lines of the Neilson and Dubs engines supplied to the CB&SCR but I have no drawings. Anybody out there have any?


1 Comment

Filed under Modelling

One response to “Locomotive Portrait: Cork, Bandon & South Coast Railway B4 Locomotive

  1. Most of our Narrow Gauge lines were pulled up and destroyed in late the 50’s which is why there is very little stock left here in Ireland. A real shame and now recognised by everyone as a terrible piece of societal vandalism.

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