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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 14 - December 1972

Fowler 0-4-0DM No. 20067 Osram

Miss Osram

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J R Fairman

Diesel locomotives are not usually thought to have very much personality; not like a steam engine! At Quainton we have the exception to prove the rule. In the east yard is a very perky little four wheeled diesel with a neat copper capped chimney which is every bit as good as many a steamer. Miss Osram is the subject of this article; strictly speaking she was simply named Osram but everybody knew her better with the addition of the word Miss.

The picture shows her resting behind her joint owners, David Dunbar and Ted Rogers who are friends of long standing, (that's why they are leaning on the running plate!) Miss Osram was bought new by Osram Ltd., for use in their glass works at North Wembley and she was delivered in October 1933, Works No. 20067. Accommodation was provided in a shed until one day a driver reversed out the wrong way and converted the shed into a car port. The builder of the engine was John Fowler & Co. (Leeds) Ltd., who are famous for their road engines; hence the rather smart chimney which is similar in profile to the cut down top half of the stack of a Fowler steam roller. At Wembley Osram had a steam crane as stable mate and on one occasion, during an overhaul, an LMS 0-6-0ST was hired but this distinguished itself by becoming derailed in the factory.

The years passed and the glassworks activities closed at Wembley but Osram continued to be used for shunting in the GEC factory until 1969 when rail traffic finally carne to an end. The sidings were lifted and the locomotive was made redundant. This was the time that David and Ted made their offer which was accepted and restoration work started. Osram was parked on a line by the workshop but weather protection was wanted so they made a shed of Dexion angle and PVC sheeting which gave them satisfactory conditions for working. In October 1971 a very smart green Osram was moved to Quainton and offloaded in the yard beside the Norwegian Mogul. Being in the fresh air wasn't going to help the paintwork so a giant parcel was made of Osram using black polythene and thick string. The winter passed and at Easter 1972 the parcel was unwrapped for the open days and David and Ted were able to see their favourite stead after its winter hibernation.

Miss Osram is really quite a rare bird because Fowlers made only one or two locomotives to the design with this engine. In fact, she is the sole survivor of what was called their 50 HP, 12 ton class. The engine proper is a 5 3/8" inch bore and 8 inch stroke three cylinder Ruston and Hornsby oil engine, type V03 and it has Ruston fuel injection equipment. It develops 50 BHP at 900 revolutions per minute. The drive is mechanical through a multi-plate friction clutch and a three speed, forward and reverse gearbox, thence to a jack shaft by bevel and spur gearing. As will be seen in the photograph the jackshaft is in front of the carrying axles and drive is to all wheels by connecting and coupling rods. Starting a diesel engine is sometimes a problem and in Osram case it is by a starter motor like a car. Two six volt batteries power the motor and there is a gear driven dynamo for battery charging. Osram's duties, however, never involved running for long distances like your car. Consequently a separate CAV-Bosch battery charging unit is provided with a socket in the cab for connecting the unit. Another feature arises from the former intermittent nature of her duties. This is the removal of the radiator fan and the almost complete blanking off of the radiator. These alterations allow the engine to warm up quickly but caution will be necessary if Osram ever attempts any long distance running with heavy loads in the future. Circulation of coolant is by gear driven pump. Perhaps you might underestimate Osram's capacity for hard work. Although she is quite a little loco it is known that she could move up to 26 loaded 10 ton wagons on the level with her 6720 lbs of tractive effort. A weight of only 12 tons is rather low if slipping is to be avoided on a damp rail so gravity fed sand pipes are provided ahead of the coupled wheels and to 'port' and 'starboard' of the rear wheels. Originally the front sandbox valves were linked by levers but this arrangement has been removed. The next problem, to stop the train, is catered for by a hand operated brake with shoes on all wheels. There is also a brake on the transmission shaft. As a warning to the unwary there is a klaxon horn and a very nice electrically worked brass bell which will be fitted in its proper position under the roof in front of the cab.

Inside the cab the layout is for left hand drive for gear change and reversing levers but the throttle and clutch are operable from both sides and the handbrake is definitely the fireman's job. There is a half compression lever to facilitate starting and when the engine is started the control lever is moved from the start to the firing position and finally to the running position. To complete the description of this 'quality' locomotive, there is electric lighting in the cab, front and rear lights, a mileometer counter, an oil pressure gauge and an ammeter.

In 1967 new bearings were fitted to all boxes and new tyres to all wheels. Thus, Miss Osram was in fair mechanical condition when purchased but she had suffered from exposure since being taken out of service. At some time in her career she had been over painted in light green and this year, during stripping down to bare metal, some of the original paint and lining has been disclosed. The first appearance was in a dark green livery, very fully embellished with straw coloured lining to all panels, sandboxes, cab sheeting and engine louvres. The traces of this finish have been photographed for future reference for it is David and Ted's plan to complete the restoration to the original splendour. Already they have applied four coats of paint and August 13th 1972 was a proud day for both of them. For on the 13th Miss Osram came to life after more than three years of inactivity and proved how fortunate we are in having such a handy little shunter for the east yard with such an enthusiastic crew.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1972 and so does not reflect events in the 40+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Miss Osram - Quainton News No. 14 - December 1972

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 21 October 2017