Brake blocks - cast iron

All ferrous blocks can be supplied in 'soft' grade or 'hard'. 'Soft' grade (normally 180-200 Brinell) are suitable for 'first fit' after wheels have been retyred or reprofiled. There are also circumstances, in aggregates or track ballasting, where the grit getting between the block and tread causes judder, and 'soft' blocks may be preferable. 'Hard' blocks (typically 220-240 Brinell) are longer lasting but should not be fitted until the wheel tread has work- hardened in service.  I have some other patterns for brake blocks but these are the most common, if you need anything not seen here, please contact me. Note: many BR-era blocks were cast with 1-1.5% phosphorus which did extend the block life, but phosphorus is an unstable material and nowadays no UK foundry is prepared to cast small numbers of blocks in that materail.

yec1477    YEC1477 a 'general purpose' block in that it fits a wide range of locomotives and is equivalent to the erstwhile BR4.  A similar block YEC1970 is available for locomotives with thicker brake hangers. YEC1477F is available for short wheelbase locomotives.

YEC1456 The 1456 is available for use on the later type of Hunslet diesel hydraulic with the wider brake hangers. The YEC1738 is similar but suits narrower brake hangers.

  YEC1515 - similar to the YEC1456, this block fits Sentinel and Vanguard rod drive (0-4-0 and 0-6-0) locomotives.
  YEC1738 (no illustration) - this block fits the Stephenson range of industrial locos and several others. Similar to the YEC1456 (above) but for narrower brake hangers
For narrow gauge applications  
IMG 2636 edit YEC1894 This block is suitable for a variety of locomotives and railcars, since it is interchangeable with a block used on certain Baguley locos and s.g. railcars.
  YEC1643 (No illustration) This block is the standard 20/28 Simplex type block.

 Brake blocks - composite

Composite brake blocks have improved over the years and are widely used on national rail networks. They are all asbestos-free. There is a widely-held view that composite blocks cause wear to the treads - there is no evidence of this with current blocks, indeed, at least two of my customers are convinced that they extend tread life. The blocks offered here have a friction characteristic that closely matches cast-iron blocks over the speed range to be found in industrial and heritage railway environments.

10 inch block - This is the block which I fit when converting locos from cast-iron to composite using the carrier illustrated below.    
12 inch block - This block is physically interchangeable with the R1 and R6 blocks, and can therefore be used on carriages.  For other applications, please contact me  IMG 1239 edit
Loco conversions. This photograph illustrates a Vanguard 0-4-0 (chain drive) locomotive converted to composite in 2008 and so far (late 2016) still on the original blocks although previously going through a good set of ferrous blocks every 12 months.  Charlie compo

General locomotive and railway components

I supply new and exchange components for a wide range of industrial and ex-BR locomotives. I can only show a selection here.

Charge pumps

The Hoburn Eaton charge pump beloved of locomotives fitted with Twin Disc torque converters ceased manufacture in the 1980s, leaving only the Barnes-type. Base pressure in the converter is critical to efficient performance and I can supply new replacement charge pumps with external relief arrangements.

IMG 3766 edit
 belts and a-v mounts

Drive belts and all manner of anti-vibration mounts.

While many early locomotives had rigidly-mounted power units, 'modern' shunters have flex-mounted arrangements which  both reduced manuafcturing costs and improved the driver environment.  Some of the popular engine mounts of the 1960s and 1970s are though totally obsolete and I supply alternative mounting bracketry using current generic types.

Radiator caps. Just one of the many 'odd-ball' components I supply. Cooling systems function best when pressurised, but worn rad caps with tired springs mitigate against this. A fresh cap and matching neck is the answer. radcap


sentinel bearing

Engineering plastics have been used on industrial locomotives for years. Here (upper) are a  batch of wear pads that rivet to the back of roller bearing side rods on many Yorkshire locos. Side rod bearings, brake hanger bushes, even main bearings and thrust faces can be succesfully manufactured in modern plastics. The first side rod bearing I supplied, incidentally, was for an 08 class shunter around 1996.

The illustration (left) shows a spherical bearing for a Sentinel type side rod.

Sensors and switches. I supply suitable pressure and temperature switches to replace worn-out or defective protective switches on locomotive electrical systems. Where loco control desks employ capillary temperature gauges, or mechanical pressure gauges  that are connected with vulnerable small bore copper pipework, I advocate conversion to modern electrical gauges and matching sensors. sensors
tcsuction filter Filters and conversions. Apart from supplying all manner of filters, I also am able to supply conversions for obsolete filter makes. Seen is here an installed conversion for an obsolete Purolator filter, comprising a spin-on filter, cast-aluminium head, mounting bracket and pipe adaptors.

Speed limit signs, laser cut from 3mm steel. Normal ones are 5, 10, 15 and 25, but they make great house numbers, so any number can be produced to order. As the signs are produced digitally, scaled versions can be produced to add atmosphere on miniature railways or model engineers test tracks.

Directional arrows also available.


Apart from being able to supply vacuum exhausters and control valves, I can carry out complete vac installations through to swan necks. Contact me for

+ exhausters, 3 or 4 pot reciprocating and rotary

+ filters and snifter valves

+driver's brake valves, air/vac proportional valves

+ swan necks, hoses and couplings.

Springs. I can supply laminated locomotive springs, either manufactured to your drawing, repairing your existing, or for some types, by exchange from ones I have in stock. Prices vary depending on the extent of new leaves and buckles.  Leaves are prevented from spalling by nibbing the ends, not by drilling through the centre.  

Safety Scotch (Depot Protection Equipment)

The unique Safety Scotch, which I invented in 1989, enables a rail vehicle to be securely locked aginst unauthorised movement and has been used for years in the rail industry. With two wedges brought together on opposite sides of the wheel, the mechanism then closes and is lockable.

Three sizes are currently available -

SS1 The original unit, improved in 2013/14, is intended for wheel sizes up to 4ft 6in (08 shunter)

SS7 The intermediate size, introduced at the behest of BR in the 1990s, suits the common '840 new, 770 worn' wheel size to be found on many modern emus and freight vehicles, but will also suit  wheels outside that range, so equally suitable for B4 and B5 bogie stock, for example.

SS3 The smallest unit, intended for wheels under 770 diameter and down to around 450, is ideal for lighter vehicles like Engineers plant. For narrow gauge and Light Rail vehicles, whose flange profiles are significantly shallower than heavy rail, different position flange clips are provided to maintain security.

IMG 0312 efit small Part of an order of SS7s for Colas Railfreight, with at the top, an SS1 for comparison

So how effective is it?

The only comparison is the traditional wooden wedge. Generally you find these with long length of handle sticking out one side which means they fall over if not firmly between wheel and rail. The proof of the pudding though is when a force is applied to a scotched vehicle. A sudden impact (like a collision) squeezes the wooden scotch and fires it out sideways like a bullet from a gun- well o.k. an air rifle maybe. In contrast, with Safety Scotch the wheel rides up slightly onto the leading wedge, and the weight acting on that wedge performs like a sledge brake on the rail head, bringing it back to rest.

Some years ago EWS trialled an SS1 at Toton on a class 60, in comparison with the loco's parking brake. Unlike a sudden impact, they applied a slowly increasing force to the drawhook. When the loco's parking brake was overcome, the loco started moving and continued to move, the parking brake remaining ineffective. The parking brake was then released and one SS1 fitted in place. At roughly 1.5 times the force required to overcome the parking brake, the loco 'jumped' a few inches and stopped. As the tractive force built up again, the jump was repeated.

I have over the years watched Safety Scotches be impacted, and attempts made to drive out of them,  but to the best of my knowledge, no-one has succeeded in normal use.


So where are they used?

In maintenance depots, loading and unloading areas, even out in the field where crippled wagons need securely holding before and during repairs. Being light and effective (the SS1 weighs around 13kg, the SS7s and SS3s around 9kg) they should be as ubiquitous as a 'Not to be moved' board.


How does Safety Scotch work?

Ok, let's take a twenty year old Safety Scotch and put it through its paces.

As you can see I'm holding the operating handle open with my left hand (on the new ones, the handle butts up to the carrying handle) and with my right hand I'm pulling the "follower" wedge out to its maximum.

 Next I present the Safety Scotch with the left end first, getting the flange clip behind the wheel. Then I swing the follower wedge around the other side of the wheel. (I keep the handle fully open during this, it allows maximum travel for the follower wedge.)  SS-2
 With the follower wedge sliding into position on the back of the wheel, the job's half done.  SS-3
As the follower closes up, it exposes the adjuster nut. Screw this in until it is disappearing into the back of the follower assembly. (Generally, most depots are dealing with much the same type of vehicle, in other words, the same nominal wheel size throughout. Therefore it follows that most vehicles will come through the shops with partially worn wheels, so adjusting for a different wheel size is minimal)  SS-4
Move the handle back to the front. As you do so you feel the internal spring engage and, correctly set, the lever goes over centre and finishes the closure on its own. (But I have heard of people with the Scotch so tight that they struggle and strain to get it to close. It isn't neccessary and with some lighter rail vehicles, it will almost jack the wheel up, making it a so-and-so to remove!)  SS-5
Done. At the far end (out of sight) the handle lines up with a tab on the end so that a padlock or operator clip can go through it. The wedges are resting firmly against the wheel, preventing in either direction, and the flange clips are behind, consequently it cannot come off on its own.  SS-6
OK, let's get it off again. Release the padlock or whatever and open the handle.  SS-7
This gives you sufficient travel for the follower wedge to slide back and clear the flange, so keep the handle open with your left hand like before (again on new Safety Scotches, the carrying handle is positioned to make holding the operating handle open even easier).  SS-8
Slide the follower wedge assembly out from the wheel until the flange clip clears  SS-9
Then pull the follower assembly out, and swing the Safety Scotch forward so that the front wedge slides clear. Notice that at all times in applying or removing the Safety Scotch your hands remained outside the wheels/rails.  SS-10

Can it be used on flush tracks? (concreted yards, etc)

Yes. Safety Scotch has nothing that goes below rail head level.

Technical bits

Safety Scotch is a fabrication mostly from mild steel sections and profiles.  The wedges are cast in SG iron, grade 420/12. The adjuster screw is stainless. The locking tabs are designed to take a padlock with up to 10mm (3/8") bar (not supplied).

Derailers (Depot protection equipment)                                                                                                                                         


Left and right handed fabricated derailers to suit 95BH or 113FB rail sections. Derailers act as depot protection for slow moving vehicles, lifting and deflecting the vehicle to one side. A faster moving vehicle may override a derailer.

(Photo to follow)




Voltage regulators (AVRs)  

For older locomotives with 24V dynamos, I produce an AVR  that replaces the electro-mechanical unit with a solid-state controller in an enclosure similar to the one depicted. Prevention of the battery discharging through the armature of the dynamo is by means of a high-current diode. Optionally, I can supply the unit with a relay built on to the pcb and wired in series with the field winding of the dynamo: the relay coil is energised by the keyswitch, oil pressure switch or whatever, thus disengaging the dynamo when the engine is not running. This AVR can also be employed with older 24V alternators where the regulators are external.

For 90 and 110V locos (such as 08s and their ilk) I can supply solid-state AVRs that superceed the carbon-pile devices. There are several versions of these, (4 wire and 6 wire to begin with) so each unit must be made individually, and for appearance and ease of conversion I re-use the original AVR casing.

Code lights  

The traditional cast-brass code or marker light boxes were a feature of many first generation diesel locos. I manufacture a fabricated equivalent, complete with traditional bulls-eye lens, but inside is a 'cartridge' which comprises a fabricated steel mounting plate for a PCB with a group of red and white LEDs. A simple switch (mounted on the bottom) changes from off to white or red, as opposed to turning a coloured lens over a filament bulb. The normal voltage is 24 (but 12 or 90/110 can be supplied) and relatively low output LEDs are fitted to mimic the level of illumination from a filament bulb.

The pcb can be supplied seperately for other applications with alternative colours/intensities.  

 Brief delay relays ('de-glitch')

On many locos, the shutdown system is linked to the oil pressure switch, and even the briefest break in the feed causes the engine to be shutdown. So a hot engine is working hard, the oil is thin, and a sharp close of the throttle momentarily drops the pressure and the switch operates. Far from protecting the engine, it makes matters worse as the fan and water pump stop, sending temperatures higher. Yet research has shown that even with a catastrophic oil pressure failure you have a second or more before the oil fim breaks up and damage occurs.

The YEC1510 Oil pressure delay relay is introduced into the wiring betwen the oil pressure switch and the Run relay. In the event of a glitch in feed from the oil pressure switch, a 1/2 second time delay is introduced before the Run relay is de-energised. If the oil pressure switch restores, the engine continues to run, if the YEC1510 times out, the engine is shutdown before damage can occur.


Speedometers and tachometers

I manufacture speedometers and tachometers built around the traditional 4inch diameter + 4 bolt bezel.  THe movement is 4-20mA, 240 degree rotation and can be scaled to suit any application. Driver electronics (external) can be supplied to suit a range of inductive sensors or generators  speedo

This portfolio of products can only give you a glimpse of what I can supply. If you don't see exactly what you're after, contact me.



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