No the title does not say I'm leaving deviantART, I'm just going up further north into Oregon's wilderness towards Portland and Springfield, to look further into one of the great mysteries of my history research, and to have the chance to see 4449 "Daylight" at her home turf.
In the meantime, I wanted to bring up a very interesting theory I have been brainstorming for the past few weeks. I've recently got a nip of "narrow-gauge" fever and have been spriting a few locomotives to the 1.*86 pixel-per-inch scale. I've also been thinking about a very overlooked subject in the Railway Series that I feel should finally be brought up for the public to investigate.
In The Island of Sodor: It's People, History and Railways
, it makes mention in the Mid Sodor Railway chapter that there was already a 2ft. 3in gauge mineral tramway that hauled lead out of the Cas-ny-Hawin mines to the Port of Arlesburgh. Originally horse-worked this line adopted steam traction in 1866 after seeing the success of the Skarloey Railway's locomotives. It does not say what type of steam locomotives these were or how many were acquired, but it does say they were used only for mineral traffic. Passengers were hauled on the line, but free at their own risk and only charged according to the number of merchandised they carry along with them.
In 1872, the mine owners were introduced to the Peel Godred Town Committee who saw great potential in extending the tramway to Peel Godred, and after several talks formed the Mid Sodor Railway Company and relaid the tramway to Board of Trade standards to permit official passenger carrying services, and the work was completed in 1874. Little-known or looked into aspects of Sodor have greatly interested me over the years and the mention of the "Arlesdale Tramway," had really nipped the bud for me. It then raises a lot of questions and possible ties I could make to it. At the mention of the word "tramway," you'd think an engine like Tim from Awdry's layout could've been acquired from this line, being considered a "tram" engine with side plates covering his wheels like Toby.
But I've had trouble associating Tim with a real-life prototype, as the kit he was based off of, the OO9 Gem Vari-kit tram version, with a real prototype. The closest I could find was a seemingly modified W.G. Bagnall industrial narrow gauge engine of unknown origin, photograph here:unnycoombelala.blogspot.com/20…
Trouble is W.G. Bagnall wasn't formed until 1875, so this wouldn't work for the supposed build date of the tramway locomotives of circa 1866. Beyer Peacock could be a likely candidate if you're looking to associate Tim's prototype with the Glyn Valley Tramway locomotives, but bear in mind these engines were event built until 1888 so that wouldn't be a good fit in there either. None of the other MSR engines are based on any prototypes that date back to 1866, as far as I'm aware of...
The only other companies I could think of that were building narrow gauge steam locomotives as early as 1866 would be the George England Hatcham Ironworks of New Cross, South London and the Fletcher Jennings & Co. Locomotive Works of Whitehaven. Of course these works are associated with building some of the first ever narrow-gauge steam locomotives to be built, the Talyllyn Railway's Talyllyn and Dolgoch in 1864 and 1866 respectively, and the Ffestiniog's England Class locomotives, consisting of Prince, Palmerston and Welsh Pony, as early as 1863!
So this gave me a epiphany. Since the Arlesdale Tramway looked to the Skarloey Railway for inspiration of finding a proper engine for a steam-driven railway, prior to the time Rheneas arrived from Whitehaven in 1866, wouldn't it only be natural for them to be in sprinted to get an engine just like either Skarloey or Rheneas to run their lead mining line? This would be a perfect opportunity not only to implement the TV Series-only character Smudger into RWS/TIOS canon, but would also give a purpose of existence for a certain unknown model of a red Fletcher Jennings Class Bb locomotive that remains in the box with the other MSR engines.
But I know what your thinking, if Smudger's gonna work on the tramway, wouldn't he need cow catchers and side plates? Well if your railway's classified as a tramway, does that really mean all
your engines have
to have cow catchers and side plates to run on them? I've heard that laws like the Light Railways Act of 1896 and the Tramways Act of 1886 might state this, but these are way too late for 1866, so back then it may have not applied to have your engines fitted with special features in order to run on a tramway. After all, in the twilight years of the Mid Sodor, it was relabeled as a "mineral tramway," but there was no mention ever made of Duke, Stuart, and Falcon being given cow catchers and side plates to run, did they? Plus I don't think the MSR runs alongside or on any stretch of public road, so I don't think this would be much of a problem.
But there's another loophole. By having Smudger built in 1866, and possibly implementing him on the MSR after the tramway is absorbed and becomes their No. 2 alongside Duke, that means Smudger would be older than Duke by 13 years! Perhaps I could use this as a bit of a cautionary experience to Duke in his young years, seeing such a rambunctious engine on the rails and encountering a certain demise would lead him to become the "Granpuff" he is known for, to help steer other engines in the right direction they need to go in life in order to be Really Useful engines. An interesting story idea would come out of that...
But that's just my two cents on it. If anyone reading this wishes to adapt on my theory and ideas, I totally embrace and endorse it. I have personally been hoping to start sometime soon on writing my own Railway Series books to expand on the Sudrian universe but haven't found the time to do so yet. Ah well, perhaps someone and I could brainstorm ideas and maybe collaborate on something together, I'd be happy for the help.
Well anyways, I think I've ranted on long enough. Now it's off to bed for me or else the grandparents will really be cranky in the morning. Anyways, good night my friends!