Live steam

Alexandra Palace and the London Model Engineer exhibition. A little sparser than previously and slightly less interesting. Still worth an afternoon out though.

Always like the live-steam railway exhibits. This is a gauge 1 layout using miniature real coal in a real miniature firebox with an authentic coal-fired aroma!

There is a minor campaign to persuade Hornby to reintroduce their real steam 00-gauge models.



The fountain in the Strand entrance to the Savoy Hotel, London. It is said that the extremely tight turning circle of the London black cabs was developed so they could negotiate the sweep around the fountain in one movement, without the need to reverse.


Pop pop boat

Traditional tin-plate toy powered by the World’s smallest steam engine.


The two tubes seen in the base of the hull are filled with water.  The small frying-pan like gadget then has a piece of candle wax placed in it which is melted over a flame and a small wick (cut from the ‘string’) inserted and lit. The flame is then placed under the small metal boiler (the small grey bit) and the resultant expansion as the water in the tubes turns to steam and subsequent contraction as more water is drawn in, propels the boat. The distinctive sound of the expansion and contraction gives the toy its name.

This one was purchased at the London Model Engineer exhibition at Alexandra Palace in January. The chap that makes them uses the proceeds to restore an old water-mill in Cumbria.

Crystal Palace Sprint Meeting 2015

The rain held off and there was a reasonable selection of machinery for this year’s meeting back at the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May.

Particularly liked an awesome Cooper-Daimler V8 with a lady driver.


But spent far too much time inspecting a 1952 Aston-Butterworth Grand Prix with its unusual flat-4 engine. In reality it was unreliable and had a tendency to catch fire!!


Cockpit would give a modern GP driver nightmares for life!