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 Decauville built in the 1880s



After restoring a 2 foot gauge Arne Jung locomotive  several years ago I decided to embark on a new build project. Some years ago a late friend of mine, Chris walker, an author and authority of narrow gauge locomotives worldwide showed me a catalogue of the famous  French firm “Decauville”. Inside was one of the prettiest little locomotives I had ever seen, A tiny 0-4-0 outside cylindered side tank locomotive originally  built in 500 mm gauge then later 600mm.  This locomotive was a little over 8 feet long and weighed in at around 3 tons!  Bore was 135mm diameter and stroke 200mm,slide vale cylinders with walschaert valve gear. Boiler pressure of 170psi. No drawings are known to exist so I will have to draw them myself with information I have collected over  several years. I am currently drawing the main frames and boiler. I have been to see several boiler makers and am currently working on a design for a traditional riveted boiler but incorporating all current design factors. I am expecting the project to take around 3 years if all goes well.

Well over the festive break I have been very busy with drawing work and valve gear calculations resulting in many A4 sketches before committing to the drawing board. Many of you out there might say it would be better using a CAD system but I much prefer traditional drawing methods. Anyway it would be a shame  not to use all that training from my Technical Drawing teachers back in the mid 1970s!

Well here I am in my neat drawing office or “man cave” as my dear wife Caroline refers to it as. I have several drawings on the go at present but the one I am working on now is the Axle boxes and horns. I have several good images of an original engine and about 3 known dimensions to work from but I am enjoying it.


Adding some final dimensions to the drawing so we can start the axle box and horn patterns. The drawing sheet underneath are the main frames and buffer beams. I am hoping to cut the first piece of metal by the end of January which will give me such a boost, can’t wait!.

Well research work is still on going but very slow, I was very pleased to have a friend of mine who has recently moved to France with his partner who is very enthusiastic about this project. My friend guy used to help out many years ago in the workshops and driving on our 10 1/4″ gauge line ant Berkeley. He has contacted the narrow gauge museum of Chemin  De Fer Touristique Du Tarn and explained what I am doing and he has kindly invited me to make contact. I am hoping this will lead to a visit where I can view the little loco and get many pictures and measurements I urgently need.

5TH MARCH 2014

Well research has been going on behind the scenes and I have recently made contact with Jacques Daffis of the CCFT where the little French Lady I want to reproduce is in storage awaiting restoration. I have also been contacted by several other people in France who are all being very enthusiastic and helpful. A trip to France is planned to take place some time in May so until then I have decided to halt drawing work until I take measurements and pictures. I am itching to cut some metal towards the loco but have to be patient. I have already started a “fund” towards the project and have even made a substantial purchase !  A good friend  and narrow gauge expert and loco owner has track down a pair of small Schaffer injectors. These were the type of injectors fitted to the little Decauvilles.

A pair of small Schaffer injectors, the one in the foreground has never been used! This type of injector will lift water several meters! I was very lucky to acquire these little beauties and although I wont need them for a long time I have them…..


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