James Boyd

General Facts

Gauge: 9 1/2 inches

Wheel arrangement: 2-6-2 tender

Cylinders: 2 inches diameter bore x 3 inches stroke

Driving wheels: 7 1/8 inches diameter

Operating Pressure: 100 pounds per square inch (maximum 120 pounds per square inch)


JAMES BOYD (formerly TUBBY II) is a freelance 'Prairie-type' design, inspired by overseas narrow gauge practice, especially the Indian metre gauge. The locomotive's inception was based around the success of the 2-6-2 wheel arrangement and general dimensions of STANTOR (before it became Tubby) after its first rebuild by Robert H Morse. The intent was to use as many parts from Tubby as possible and utilisation of an available boiler. But in essence, it became a new locomotive in its own right.

Build and Arrival

John Milner of Milner Engineering Chester Limited took on the project. Building steam locomotives since 1972, TUBBY II was the last locomotive to be built by the firm. Manufacture took place from 1991, to its arrival at the Downs in April 1992.

1992 - Renaming

The Board of Trustees decided that TUBBY II was significantly different from its predecessor and warranted a new name. Their decision was to rename the locomotive JAMES BOYD to recognise the significant effort of its namesake. In November 1992, a prestigious naming ceremony was held with Philip Trevor-Jones unveiling the nameplates.

1992-2003 - Enhancements

During the early yeas of the 1990s, the locomotive was modified to include a displacement lubricator to the steam brake, a hand brake to one of the tender bogies, and the replacement of the single chime steam whistle with a multi-chimed larger version.

2002 - Re-tubing

At its 10-year point, JAMES BOYD was removed from service and received new boiler tubes by Roderick McCrea, returning to service in 2003.

2011-2015 - Major Overhaul

In the latter part of 2010, JAMES BOYD started exhibiting problems with its regulator valve. Attempts to address the leak failed and the locomotive was removed from service at the end of the year. The locomotive remained mothballed until it was removed from the Downs in March 2012 as part of a safeguarding effort by the Trust.

The boiler was removed off the frames to address the regulator and have its 10-year inspection completed. Deterioration was found on the fire box crown. The boiler was sent to the boiler makers, however attempts to repair the crown distorted the firebox. Given wastage in other areas, a new boiler was commissioned. The locomotive was originally built around an existing boiler. In order to accommodate the proportions of the locomotive, an extended smoke box had been fitted. The new boiler was extended by 6-inches, with a different tube arrangement. The rest of the locomotive underwent a comprehensive overhaul by Timothy E Pennock, which included a complete strip down to address wear and tear on the motion, a new smoke box and boiler wrapper were made, and two new wheel sets for one of the tender bogies. The locomotive was given a partial repaint.  

The overhaul was completed in the February 2015, returning to the Downs in the May for its final steam trials. The locomotive returned to service in June 2015. 

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