Roundhouse Billy

by Mark Pengelley

Billy's beginnings.

Billy was officially the second live steam locomotive I owned from my childhood after my SL1 'Steamy' (see oscillator pages). Given to me on the Christmas of 1995 (and very recently discovered from Roundhouse Engineering that Billy was made on 26.5.1995), Billy was my first serious introduction in garden railways as I know it. The plans had been drawn and the track had been purchased and I was gradually gathering some of Brandbrights finest freelance wagons and coaches (all of which I still have) for the beginnings of the RHLR back in 1996. Sadly this never came to light, the section of garden earmarked for the line was redeveloped into a 'feng shui' section of the garden and a pond plonked right in the middle of the area. So I made myself happy with Billy, a straight line on the garden path and played until my hearts content. Years of playing, learning to drive him and running had taken their toll on Billy and my interests had moved onto other things as I turned 16, and Billy was put away for some years, boxed in the garage.

2010, Billy is found!

It came the summer of 2010 and I was clearing out the garage for some reason and I found the boxes with Billy and Steamy in. I was hooked again once more and that was it! I ended up buying many little Mamods during that year and once again Billy was returned to service. A new direction servo and a fresh new receiver saw Billy flying around once again. Initially Dad and I set up a length of rail in the house up the hallway to run the trains, but eventually I set up a semi permanent line in the garden on a boundary wall (the flattest place) to scratch that itch! :-)

Here is Billy stood in the kitchen warming up for the next run, still missing a few minor parts from having been stripped and cleaned prior to running in 2010.

Coming on...

Fast forwarding a few years to 2013, Billy was brought out again for some serious running. Things were starting to leak and Billy was looking worse for wear with many, many war wounds sustained from the early tutorial process of my childhood fingers. It was time for a minor rebuild! From having had a summer of fun, I decided to bring Billy up to date with a set of 2.4ghz radio, a bit of a touch up on the paintwork, a set of cylinder seals and eliminate the horrible spitting upon first movement by fitting a Summerlands Chuffer. I made a nice video of the account of the fitting for Chris Bird and he featured it on his website!

It seemed I was doing something right by Billy as he just got better and better!

Below is the video that was featured:

Roundhouse Billy Summerlands Chuffer fitment

Moving forward to 2014, Billy has finally received his first set of name plates, he was never called anything different so I continued with the name. I also received a gas regulator lever modification for him and promptly fitted it. See the cab view below.

A much easier method of control and a great visual reference as to where the gas is in terms of open position. It is not easy to hear the burner level when the safety valve is lifting!

I have some plans for Billy and I feel now he is turning 18 this year, I want to make it a special one. I have now received new sets of motion from Roundhouse Engineering to bring him back up to glorious smooth running condition, a pair of buffer beam overlays and cylinder covers to offer a bit of a visual interest. I am considering giving Billy a full repaint in his original colours in 2k automotive paint to really freshen him up.

In time I shall add these bits and pieces and update accordingly.

< Running with a goods train in the summer sun, a really beautiful day.

Stood warming up one >
dark winter evening whilst I play around with some lighting

Well, as a celebration of the spring feeling this weekend I decided to run Billy and Jane-Susan (RH Lady Anne) as they were both ready for the off.

Billy & Jane Susan spring trundle