Chance to see rare loco in action at Lea Bailey

By Ross Gazette reporter   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 15th September 2016 9:56 am
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Nick Harper driving the Eimco 401 on its first run at Lea Bailey ()

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Railway enthusiasts are expected to attend the Lea Bailey Light Railway Open Weekend this Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th.

A dedicated team of volunteers work at the former Lea Bailey gold mine, near Ross-on-Wye. The railway operates on a short section of two foot gauge track incorporating a small section of the bed of the former Mitcheldean Road & Forest of Dean Junction Railway.

There is sure to be a great deal of interest in the Eimco 401 which has successfully completed a test run and will be working during the weekend. There are only five of these machines in the world and the one at Lea Bailey is believed to be the only survivor outside North America.

Owned by Nick Kelly, who arranged for its shipping from British Columbia where it had been used by a mining contractor, the Eimco 12B has been offered to Lea Bailey on a two-year loan.

Eimco compressed air locomotives were manufactured in Salt Lake City in the 1960s by the same company that produced the well-known compressed air 12B rockershovel. It is powered by a five cylinder Eimco Type 200 rotary air motor (as also fitted to the 12B). The motor is connected to a two-speed transmission. Over 200 were built (highest works number known is 221. Number 401-216 at Lea Bailey has a working pressure of 110 psi and a full charge gives a running time of approximately 10 minutes. It has been converted to run on 2ft gauge.

The WR8 ‘Murphy’ has also successfully been tested with a full set of five 12v batteries. Both locos will be performing at the Lea Bailey Open Weekend, together with the Simplex and the rockershovel plus a visiting Lister loco brought by Gareth Rees. Any LBLRS members who would like to help at the event will be very welcome.

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