Hercules

 

Named after the actual type of locomotive by the manufacturer "Hercules" is a Cheddar Models 0-6-0 locomotive from one of the last few ever made in 2005.

Cheddar Models ceased trading in June 2005, and in a sad turn of events the founder John Woodroofe passed away. Stuart Models bought the designs and Cheddar's master boilermaker Tim Chastimowitz went on to start up Cheddar Valley Steam, sadly neither company has decided to make any more steam locomotives.


Cheddar were from a marine engineering background, and both Stuart and Cheddar Valley continue to produce items in the genre to this day. They (Cheddar Models) made three steam locomotives for the garden railway field, "Hercules" being the largest of these and without doubt being over-engineered compared with anything else at the same price point.


Some say that the majority of the locomotives were sold with little profit being made, infact some being sold at a loss taking into account the number of man hours being needed to produce such an item. The scale was "chunky" compared with offerings from Roundhouse etc, they looked somewhat bulky and although this made them easy to operate and give immense haulage power they did not sit well with 16mm enthusiasts.


"Hercules" features a fully functioning tender, carrying water and a gas tank submerged in the water so if you used warm water in the tender in colder months that also helped to warm the gas in the tank! the needle valve that fed gas to the burner also regulated pressure so as the gas warmed up you needed not to keep turning the burner down.

 

The tender featured a hefty manually operated water pump. In contrast to Roundhouse Engineering offerings all electronics for the radio control equipment is carried on the loco. A whistle is slung under the chassis of the tender.
This created a slight problem for the loco as the engine found it unable to traverse very tight curves due to the three silicone tube pipes running between the tender and loco.


"Hercules" was delivered to the Elmtree Line without a radio control handset or a drawbar to couple the engine with the tender. It was pretty obvious that the loco had never been run on rails and a new radio handset was purchased, the drawbar was fabricated on site at the Elmtree Works.


The loco was extremely powerful on test, but did not like some of the tighter curves on the Elmtree Line, even though they were 10ft radius. Transporting the loco was a pain having to connect all the pipes up, filling the tender up and having to carry the tender and loco seperately due to the size and weight of them.


For this reason, and the reason that the long span of the 0-6-0 chassis made the loco prone to jumping the rails on anything less than perfect track she did not see much mainline running.


In late 2010 "Hercules" was sold.