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February 1st Meeting

Posted 5/2/2017

Mamod steam by Mike Wakefield.

Report on the February 2017 meeting by Andrew Vaughan

Having acquired an old Mamod live steam locomotive model last year from a certain well-known online auction site, I was looking forward to hearing Mike Wakefield’s talk all about Mamod railways.

Mike began the talk with an overview of how Mamod got started, its development of stationary engines, traction engines, cars and boats, with the first locomotive coming along in 1979. The early steam models were fired with meths, which was then changed to solid fuel blocks for safety. These little smelly fuel blocks are not a patch on a good meths fire, but they do work as I have used them myself, but a bit of ‘Mamodification’ is quite common to convert them back to meths (including my own loco).

I had heard the brand had something of a chequered financial history, but I hadn’t realised quite how chequered it had been. Mike explained about several changes in ownership of the company, with and without the design rights and tooling of various parts of the trains and track, and legal issues with another company, MSS, who had continued to make the old style locomotive. Eventually though the legal stuff seems to have been ironed out, and the company now seem quite busy being successful.

More recent developments of updated locomotives included converting to gas power, adding lubricators, changing to piston valves, and various other tweaks. As it would turn out, many of the upgrades didn’t work quite as well as hoped with reports of paint burning off and lubricators that didn’t lubricate! However in the case of the lubricators this is now fixed - their new locos feature Mike’s own design!

The more recent models and new ones in the pipeline - Brunel, Thomas Telford, and Stirling - are having their issues addressed, and Mamod products continue to be popular with collectors. If the new proposals are going to be up against some tough competition in Accucraft and Roundhouse, it will certainly be interesting to see what Mamod can do in the future.

Thank you Mike for a very informative and interesting presentation.

Oh, what about Harry the Rocket? hmm… I think the less said about Harry, the better!

Andrew Vaughan