1014 The G.W. County Project
Little County Projects

David Pollard:
At the beginning of 2010, the Project had a visit from David Pollard (who already owns a spoke of 1014) and Frank Birchell from Cornwall. Between them they have found/inherited(?) a 5" gauge partially completed model of a County and they came to Didcot and the project group to ask for help in undertaking this task. Mike Cooper agreed, on receipt of a donation to funds!  The model is to be of 1014 with a double chimney, so it was suggested that we might set up a connection between the full size and 1/11th scale model, on the web site. 

David Pollard writes:

Just imagine.…. that you walked into a semi derelict timber garage and workshop in deepest rural Cornwall and discovered an amazing collection of miniature steam locomotives, traction & showman’s engines and various other part built miniatures, all wasting away in an endless time warp.

The collection included at least six locomotives, but hidden away and looking very sad, was a 5” gauge Hawksworth County loco (rare in any miniature gauge ) roughly painted in Dulux green. Most of these engines had never moved out of the workshop where they were built - the constructor was only interested in building, not running his live steam miniatures. However, it is reported the County had run at one of the fairgrounds for public entertainment, although this is strange for it has no brakes!

Little 1014 as found The County model as found in the workshop, Dulux green and all!
(David Pollard)
I should mention that Frank is an octogenarian with a truly remarkable talent for mechanical engineering, despite being trained in electrical engineering at Metrovick. To this day, he normally builds a 7 ¼ “ gauge loco every year in a workshop no larger than 4 x 3 metres. He and his locos have a nationwide reputation for superb construction, free steaming and trouble free operation.

As a kid, I lived in Manchester and enjoyed the wonders of ex LMS, GC , LNER and standard class traction, but no GWR. However, I had a great uncle who lived in Worcester and on visits there, he would take me to Worcester Shed, where I saw magical GWR locos including, on occasion, Counties. It was ‘love at first sight’ for the Counties ……… sad but true! Eventually, upon moving ‘south’, I had a few more opportunities to see Counties, especially on holidays to Cornwall, before dieselisation replaced all steam.

However, my thoughts often went to this lonely 5” gauge County, facing an uncertain and unloved future in its wooden ‘coffin’, so I bought it some four years’ ago! A visit to Didcot in January 2010, meeting Richard Croucher and the superb ‘County of Glamorgan’ project team has kick started our enthusiasm to complete the little 1014…….. there are often challenges when the heart replaces common sense!
The County model following purchase and set-up ready for work to begin -
its going to be quite a job! (David Pollard)
Little 1014 prior to restoration
So, the following are the most immediate challenges:

Firstly, whilst our County will look very similar to ‘big sister’, because of the smallness of scale, the way of operating a miniature locomotive (for example, short hauls around a miniature track do not justify a super heater in this scale) and the unfortunate crudeness of construction of our loco, it would probably have been better and more cost/time effective to build a new County.

Secondly, when we started, we had no plans of this loco and despite the fantastic help from the Didcot 1014 group, we still have great difficulty in obtaining plans for certain key parts……the front bogie being one of the current ones, because the existing bogie is totally incorrect and does not even look right!

Lastly at the moment, our dream is to have little 1014 in full operation (perhaps at times on a temporary track at Didcot) and as a mobile PR aid for big sister. However, this steaming hinges on whether the current boiler can be restored to meet certification standards, because to buy a ‘one-off’ new boiler probably would be prohibitively expensive.
Boiler ready for testing The boiler having been removed from the frames is being prepared for testing and assessment of the work required to make it 'fit for purpose'. (David Pollard)

The loco is completely in bits! Frank has carried out partial restoration of the tender and is now concentrating on ‘working his magic’ with the boiler. Currently, I am trying to source bogie plans; the Didcot team do not have them because they have the real thing!

Our next report will reveal progress or not with the boiler and developments with other parts of our project. Needless to say, we would be delighted to hear from anybody interested or provide input, especially on bogie plans!

David Pollard (davidpollard@email.com)

Gary Davies:
Gary Davies, one of the 'County Set', started making a 5''gauge county from scratch about two years ago and as he was also working on the full size project it proved most useful for securing information. As he lives in the County of Monmouth his model will be number 1020.

He obtained scale drawings of some of the parts from Peter Rich, who later passed all his drawings and patterns to Pete Thomes of Pollymodels who can supply many castings, as they are similar to his Grange class model.  Recently he finished machining the wheel castings supplied by them to the scale size 21 spoke pattern made by Peter Rich.

Completion is a long way off, but he has many parts awaiting final assembly, a bit like the big County.

Gary has sent in some images showing progress with his live steam model of 1020:
Rear view of frames
14/07/2010 - Progress to date - rear view of locomotive frames, wheels, cylinders and tender frames. (Gary Davies)
Frames and parts
14/07/2010 - view of front end showing buffer beam and cylinders and assorted smaller components. The quality of Gary's engineering is clearly evident here.
(Gary Davies)

Paul Archer:
Built about 20 years ago and after a period of inactivity was 'inherited' by Paul Archer this 3½" gauge model has been returned to steam as the images show. It is intended the model will be painted in the lined black B.R. Mixed Traffic livery and will be 1019 'County of Merioneth'.

Peter Aldridge:
The second is a 3½" gauge model being built by Peter Aldridge, which came to light when he approached Mike Cooper at Didcot for permission to measure 1014's double chimney. He states that he had just finished a LNWR Jumbo and a member of his club suggested he might care to complete some bits of a County he had acquired at a show, including a new professionally built boiler. In the event, he had to make new frames, axles etc., re-machine the driving wheels, completely remake the bogie, profile the cylinders, make new covers, valves and pistons. He will also have to remake the tender, cab etc.
He intimates that we may finish ours before he finishes his!

Four views of his County under construction are shown below:

Peter Aldridge 10xx 1 Peter Aldridge 10xx 2
Peter Aldridge 10xx 3 Peter Aldridge 10xx 4

John Williams:
News of another little County arrived at the beginning of May 2012, when John Williams sent some details and images of a live steam, but non working 3½" County model he purchased recently. The images show the model as initially purchased, in a non-prototypical livery, while the second, taken at Carrog (Llangollen Railway) when on display for the Steam, Steel & Stars III Gala at the end of April, shows the locomotive with the boiler removed. Since receipt of the images, John has informed that the boiler has successfully passed a steam test and will be reassembled shortly and finished as 1010 ' County of Caernavon'.

1010 as purchased
1010 without boiler

Jonathan Godfrey:

3½" gauge, 1005 "County of Devon" was completed by my late grandfather, Derek Pring, in 1980 and for some years ran mainly at Ashton Court in Bristol, last running in 1994. We inherited the loco in 2011 and have since returned it to steam. The attached photo shows it minus safety valve bonnet and cab roof but basking in spring sunshine following its steam test in May 2012.

Jon has sent additional images showing 1005 "County of Devon" in steam in spring 2013.


1005 in steam

1005 'County of Devon', in 3 1/2 gauge and in steam.

1005 front view 04/13

13/04/2013 1005 'County of Devon' as rebuilt.

1005 rear view 04/13

13/04/2013 - 1005 again - rear view.

County of Devon update

02/04/2016 - 1005 in steam around Easter.

Mike Cooper:

While being indisposed Mike, our project leader, spent his time usefully finishing off his 7mm model of 1004 "County of Somerset".

7mm 1004 side view

11/05/2013 1004 'County of Somerset. A heavily modified 7 mm / O gauge 'Just Like the Real Thing' kit with Slaters wheels.

1004 rear view

11/05/2013 1004 'County of Somerset' - rear view.

Michael Williams:

A model made by my father, the late A J Williams, for 3½" gauge operation. It is fitted with a fully operational double chimney, 3-element superheater and 7/16" boiler tubes. Once a regular performer on the Bristol SMEE track at Long Ashton, it is now too small for the size of train now run and being in need of an overhaul, is little used.

It is not a model of any particular 'County' (father was not into rivet counting). It carries the number 1030 and name "County of Bristol" in commemoration of Bristol's status as a County in its own right, until implementation in 1974 of the Maud Report on boundary changes, when Bristol's shire status was abolished.

1030 County of Bristol

1030 'County of Bristol' shown as built. The double chimney appears to be based on that adorning 1000 'County of Middlesex' when originally built.

Andrew Bowdidge:

Reported in May 2015, this 3½" gauge live steam model, was built about 25 years ago, by Andrew and his father. It is based on LBSC practice witha modified Martin Evans 8F boiler. Number 1004 it carries the name "County of Somerset" and is finished as it would have run in the 1950s. The locomotice still occasionally works at Ashton Court Miniature Railway, hauling passengers.

1004 'County of Somerset' in steam

Dicky Boast

Since the 1970's Dicky has been a member of the Gauge 1 Model Railway Association (GIMRA) and has had a County for years. It is fairly basic but runs well and has been a frequent runner on his club's track. In the last few years he thought he would build a 5" version of 1014, but in a year he managed only a pair of buffers. As a result, he purchased a 3½" gauge version which, again, runs well, so after the 2017 season he will improve it by fitting a double chimney and then repaint it.

Dickys County

Summer 2017 - Dicky riding behind a County!

Dickys Counties

Summer 2017 - Dicky's two Counties - the one behind is the recently purchased model.

Are there any other County class builders out there? If so, contact the webmaster, preferably with images.