Chronicling the development of my Cambrian and Narrow Gauge 4mm scale model railway



For those of you who know your Bible, you will know that Tubal-Cain was a blacksmith. He was also Tom Walshaw, an Engineer who designed many model stationary engines (not to be confused with stationery engines which are the things you knock together to look like a steam engine in Latin class using your pencil sharpener etc.) 

For Christmas one year when I was about 7, the Patriarch made me a Tubal-Cain designed stationary engine. He tells me he knocked together in about 10 days on the run up to Christmas. You’d think he’d have been busy with other things given his occupation…

After our trip to the steam fair at the weekend, he suggested I got it out as Mini Me 1 would like it (I think Mini Me 2 will too). 

I gave it a once over and apart from needing a new wick (£2.20 with free postage from eBay for 10m of 3/16 braided wick – should last a while) and a new filling syringe as the rubber piston had glued itself to the cylinder of the syringe, all seemed to be well. 

I ran it today to see how it went. There was still oil between piston and cylinder which shows the good build quality as it hasn’t run for about 25 years. After a quick clean, and oil round it was off. It was a little rough at first but with some more librication it improved. Then it had a monster prime, vomited out some gunk, stopped, and then restarted and ran sweet as a nut. 

Next steaming will be with the Mini Mes in attendance. 


Author: Chris H

Having now officially reached middle age, I am a rolling stock engineer and have worked in many different locations including a 7 year spell in Sydney, Australia, where I arrived with a suitcase and left with a wife and a son. I am now based back in my home county of Yorkshire where I juggle full time work, being a Dad to two rascally mini-mes, and trying to fit in railway modelling, assisting the GWR 1014 County of Glamorgan project, and visits to the top left hand corner of Wales. In addition to my heavily railway themed life, I am interested in rugby, cricket, reading crime novels, falconry, and medieval re-enactments.

3 thoughts on “Tubal-Cain

  1. In typical engineer fashion you fail to explain that Tubal Cain was the Nom de Plume of a model engineer who wrote articles in the “Model Engineer” for many, many years in the 1980’s. I loved those articles when I was a teenager trying to learn how steam engines worked. Your article is a good trip down memory lane, thanks.

    • Thanks! That’s probably because proofreading was interrupted by the next instalment of, “Daddy….”!
      I’m sure I’m not that typical – I can write! 😉

      • True! Hope all is well with you and yours.
        Still no steam here in Nashville.
        We do have an absolutely massive 4-8-4 on a plinth in a public park here, and a group has just started a campaign for the $3 million they think is needed to get it running.
        Hopefully my $10 will buy me permission to spend days scraping rust off the inside of some inaccessible part of it for a few years…

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