A matter of Liberty

A Matter of Liberty

Luckily for you this isn’t going the be a post about Liberty or any of that political nonsense. No, this one is about my Liberty Belle loco for the Eternity Diamond Mines RR.

The loco is a Liberty Belle 2 which was a special edition available through Brandbright but made for them by Roundhouse Engineering. A bit sobering is the realisation that as it was bought for my 40th Birthday its now 20 years old. Due to the lack of a garden railway it is genuinely a low mileage engine.

As delivered, it was fitted with RCS radio control which was horrible to use. It may have been fine on a flat line, but it just didn’t react quick enough for a line with frequent changes in gradient.  As a result, its first re-equipping was to fit it with standard (then) 40MHz radio. This was done for me and at the same time it was fitted with a whistle.  It was then only steamed a couple of times before the old line was dismantled.

It probably sat just on a display shelf then for about 15 years. Last year we upgraded it to 2.4 GHz digital radio by swapping the receiver. It then steamed twice, once at home and on my incomplete line and a second time on a visit to the Slap & Tickle Railway where it failed in traffic. Investigation revealed that it had melted the servo horn on the whistle servo with it in the open position.

Plan A was to replace the servo arm on the whistle. Getting the cab off this one isn’t straightforward due to a lot of the cosmetic additions. Once it was off it was obvious why it had failed. It was far too close to both the burner and the superheater pipe from the lubricator.

Plan B was to re-site the servo for the whistle but the loco fought this all the way. Some of that was the loco and some of it was down to the fact that none of the tools in the model room for the electric trains were big enough and everything in my main workshop was too big. In the end, partly because I was getting nowhere and partly because I was not convinced by the whistle anyway, I hit on Plan C which was ditch the whistle.

Plan C came with a twist. During all this messing about the old and massive throttle servo gave up the ghost. Plan C became: –

  1. Remove the whistle
  2. Blank of its steam take off
  3. Replace the direction servo. There was nothing wrong with this on but at 20 years old it seemed sensible whilst the loco was apart.
  4. Replace the throttle servo which involved a new servo bracket as the new servo is a different format.
  5. Set up and test
  6. Reassemble

I have got as far as (5) and am writing this whilst waiting for it to cool down. Here is video to prove it works on the bench. Hopefully, tomorrow there will be video of it pulling trains.



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