My Magnum Opus - A Train No Less!

So here is my Magnum Opus - yes it is a locomotive, from a bygone era. This loco was designed by Robert Stephenson to replace the outmoded reciprocating steam engines of the Victorian Era. Sadly this locomotive never made it to service, but it is believed that it was secreted into a hidden tunnel somewhere on the UK rail network and sealed up, never to be seen again - maybe not!

The reason this technology never made it to daily operations, is not because the Victorians decided not to hand it down to us for fear of us misusing it - the common assumption, but because the patents were all bought by a major oil company, through a series of deceptions, underhand practices, etc. and shelved so that they could continue to make huge amounts of money out of burning fossil fuels. Fortunately, after I learnt of the existence of the loco, I was able to commission a “friend” to break into the vaults of said oil company and steal the patent drawings for most of the parts of this intriguing machine.

So here is the start of the project:

UPDATE - Picture changed for more up to date version.

Showing the front bogie and drive motors. I am just “blocking out” at this stage to get the overall feel of each piece. I will return over the coming months to each mesh and refine it, along with much more detailed texturing.

Here is the second bogie, with not much in the way of suspension yet, and the High Pressure Gas Turbine that will drive the AC generator to provide power to the traction motors, along with the “boiler” where a “liquid” is converted to high pressure gas to drive the turbine - much like a Steam turbine, but not driven by water, if you get my drift:

The boiler and heat source - much more on this later, but it was patented and built by Fosdyke Advanced Reactor Technologies Ltd. and provides heat from combining three chemicals together in a chamber. This will be housed in the “tender” behind the loco - yes, like all privately educated schoolboys, this loco has a tender behind!. :eyebrowlift: Here are some more details of the turbine:

The flexible pipes coloured red and blue convey the high pressure gas to the turbine and return it through a forced-air condenser to the boiler, where it is reheated, re-pressurised and reused. You can make out the gas induction “Thromulators” in this image, these are located on ether side of the brass inlet pipes and control the pulsing of the gas into the turbine for maximum efficiency. You can also see the “Necromatic Lubrication Modules” at each end of the turbine, these have the small copper pressure stabilising chambers and relief valves on them. :stuck_out_tongue:

From a Blender point of view I should say that every thing on the model so far is fully rigged and operational, including all the motors, driveshafts and transfer gearboxes, the loco is also rigged to travel around a curved track. The drive motors have torque-reaction damper springs to stop damage to the loco caused by the immense power they have. These motors are of the “Rotating Magnatronic Pulse” variety - lost to us from Victorians times, but similar to a modern brushless AC induction motor. You will see banks of resistors above each traction motor - these are for braking - any motor of this kind can be slowed by simply connecting a low resistance across any two of the three input wires to the motor - much like your typical radio controlled car of today. I have also discovered that “gas compensated, oil filled motion dampers” are nothing new, there are some already on the bogie, but more need to be added. As befitting the will of the Victorians, the gas balance chambers on these are made of copper.

But here I need some help, unfortunately some of the drawings are notated in Latin (Bloody Smartarse Victorian Engineers :eek:) and I cannot decipher what the three chemicals required for the reactor are. The first one is a bright orange in colour (I have a coloured drawing of the reactor), the second is a lightish blue (maybe there is Phosphorous in it?) and the third is lime green - eek!. All three and iridescent, quite stable when apart, but highly volatile when mixed in proportions of 1/2 first, 1/3rd second and 1/6th third, the resultant compound is a kind of purple/magenta colour. So if anyone knows what these might be, I should be most grateful for any help. :yes:

So here it is - despite the best efforts of the fossil burners to stop this marvellous technology, I aim to reproduce this loco in all its glory over the next - probably year, I think. Again any help with the technology, where I cannot find the details off the stolen drawings, would be gratefully received.

Cheers, Clock. :wink:

Well. some progress, I have blocked out the generator - this was made by Thompson-Roebuck Universal Motive Power Ltd. Another stalwart of the British Industrial Revolution, now sadly long gone… It generates AC at 670 volts, with a maximum power output of 4,250Kw. :eek:

So here it is:

I have used a texture to get the wound copper effect rather than a mesh - that would be around 750,000 verts for this as opposed to only 1,200 for this method, although I need to look at the texture image in more detail once I have the blocking out done elsewhere, I also have to revisit the motors and use this approach for their coils… :yes:

I know a lot of this looks like a plastic toy for now, but I will be doing all the materials in greater detail later on. I have also to model the carbon brushes for the generator, and wire it up as well.

I am no further forward on the required chemicals for the reactor, I was hoping someone here would know what they might be, from any Steam Punk work, perhaps? :eyebrowlift2:

Cheers, Clock.

A bit more progress. You may recall the Victorians liked overhead shafts powering their looms, etc. in their factories. So It is the same on the loco, including a cardan shaft to take the system over to the loco from the tender, where the power for this comes from:

You can see here the Donkey Engine, that runs on another of the Alchemists’ potions :eek:, fed from the tank above. Below is some detail of the cast iron brackets that support things on the loco:

The pink fuel will glow, once I spend some time on the compositing. I need to look at some more details on the donkey engine, particularly its carburettor and valve gear - these are not finished yet.

Cheers, Clock. :eyebrowlift2:

Here’s a wireframe of the donkey engine case:

Hi Clock, when I read your opening post the first time I thought you were joking. But then I did some research and learned that this machine did exist really. There isn’t much to find on the internet, though. Where did you find your references?

You started a true opus magnum, indeed.

That’s a long story, so I will tell it bit at a time… Back in the late 1970’s I worked as a Principal Technical Officer in the drawing offices at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby. At one point my boss, Ernie Boyd, asked me to design a new freight wagon underframe that was stronger, lighter and with lower deflections than anything we had at that time. He suggested I went down to the drawing stores to get drawings from some existing wagons as reference material. Whilst down there I discovered an old, dusty, mahogany plan chest with brass fittings that was locked. I picked the lock and started to open the first drawer. On top was a drawing of an underframe made of deep section “I” beams in the middle and light channels on the outside. These channels were bent up over the centre of the bogies, this I did not understand at the time and the title was “Project RS-13”. Before I could get to the next drawing, Ernie appeared and said “Alan, you must never go in there!”. Next time I went down to the drawing store the chest had gone…

So I tried to remember as much as I could about the underframe and designed mine the same, apart from the raised sections over the bogies, now I know that these are for the three main springs between bogie and underframe on either side. When I came to do the stress calculations I found that the underframe was A) Lighter than normal, B) Stronger than normal, C) Had much lower lateral and vertical deflections, for the same load, than normal. I finished the work and submitted it for approval - months later I asked what had happened to my design and was told that “British Rail does not buy steel of the sections you have used, so it would not be economical to build” I never saw my drawings again or heard any more about the underframe I had spent so much time on. Ernie retired shortly afterwards and went to live in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, I never heard from him again. :no:

So my reference material came from patent drawings “borrowed” from the major oil company as described in my first post, I also have other sources that I will go through later on. The Railway Technical Centre, as was, no longer exists, so I have no idea where the plan chest went.

Here is one part of the drawing for the Steam Turbine - I have the rest of it, but decided not to show it all:

Cheers, Clock.

Actually @minoribus - there is something you might be able to help me with…

On the wiring diagram there is a device called a “Wegelphleffer” that has wires going into it from the transformer and wires going out to the four traction motor speed controllers. This was manufactured by Osterheider & Krupp GmbH of Hamburg, Germany. I don’t have a drawing for it as yet, but it may be in my papers somewhere, so I cannot describe it in detail. It is liquid cooled, as is the transformer, and the cooling system for both parts is connected to one radiator. So… I am wondering if you know what this might be and what it might look like? It’s a long shot I know, but I thought I might just ask. I thought it might be a rectifier, but he german word for that is “Gleichrichter” or “Stromrichter” I think - so I am not sure what its purpose might be.

Cheers, Clock.

First, thanks for your explanation. Now I know where your love for trains is coming from. “Wegelphleffer” does not sound like a German word. I did a search for it and also for the mentioned company, but I didn’t find anything. I pm’ed you my e-mail address. Maybe I can have a look at the diagram?

OK, thanks for that @minoribus, I have sent you a mail. :slight_smile:

I am going to go “out on a limb” here and post the wiring diagram for all to look at as well - maybe someone knows what this might be:

I have just scanned the document - this is the one used for the patent, not the full wiring diagram, which is a better work of art, but shows nothing that this one doesn’t. I did try to clean it up a little to make it more readable, like “fading” some of the creases and tears. :eyebrowlift:

Cheers, Clock.

In the meantime, I have blocked out the compressor, this provides air for the mechanical controls, brakes, etc. It was supplied by Pankhurst & Rimmington Internal Combustion of Kidderminster Ltd. - The pneumatic actuators for the gas valves, other pneumatic parts and fittings etc. were supplied by a World leader in pneumatic control systems during Victorian times:- William Arthur Norris Kinematics Ltd. of England.

Here is a screenshot of the compressor, rendered:

This compressor is powered by the overhead power shaft - driven by the donkey engine.

I am no further forward on the electrical system, or the reactor fuels however, so I still need some help here please… :eyebrowlift:

Cheers, Clock.

Very cool modeling here!

Unfortunately my research didn’t reveal anything about the mysterious Wegelphleffer. Would be interesting if someone else could shed some light on this.

unfortunately some of the drawings are notated in Latin (Bloody Smartarse Victorian Engineers) and I cannot decipher what the three chemicals required for the reactor are. The first one is a bright orange in colour (I have a coloured drawing of the reactor), the second is a lightish blue (maybe there is Phosphorous in it?) and the third is lime green - eek!.

Don’t know if this list of colours for different chemicals could help.

What are the names for the chemicals in the drawing?

Wow - thanks for the colour table - I cannot read the drawing at all - it’s all smudged, so from the colour chart I reckon the orange one is Dichromate based, the blue one is Vanadyl based and the lime green one is Copper-Tetracloride based. I will investigate further…

I found the fuel for the donkey engine in another paper - it is, take deep breath - “Dinitro-Tetrahydrotoluate” :eek: and was provided by Goodridge-Underwood Fusion Fuels Ltd, but I don’t know yet if they also supplied the reactor fuels - maybe so, since they provide “Fusion” fuels. I will see if I can find a catalogue for them and maybe I will find the others… :yes:

I have blocked out the fuel pump for the reactor from the patent drawing, I need to find the detailed one to get it just right:

You can see the colour coded hoses, but the tank measure glass is empty just now - the big tank will hold the orange coloured fuel. The other two smaller ones are hidden just now. I have to add much more detail to the tanks, but I just wanted to get them in to see how they fit.

Cheers, Clock. :slight_smile:

PS. Thanks @minoribus for the nice comment about the modelling, there is much more detail and materials work to do, that will keep me very busy once I have everything basically in place.

So I know where I am going with the power systems, I have just “blocked out” the reactor - this is a Two Stage, Plasma Coupled, Gas Cooled, Hyper-Phartomatronic Fusion Reactor :eek::

It was originally developed by the Patterson Institute for Serried Sciences & Energy Development and then taken up by Fosdykes to build, as I described in post #1 I think. I have much, much, much more work to do here… :eyebrowlift: I may well leave this for a little while until I have the other major components in place.

Cheers, Clock.


I have just realised that I have to UV map the turbine - I think that might take a while too!!!

I also forgot to post this un-rendered picture of the fusion capsules :o :

That is an explosive mixture, I guess, but I’m not very versed in chemicals. The lens stars on the fluid containers are a nice effect. Did you add them in the compositor?

BANG! - just joking… The chemicals are allowed to “fester” in the first stage of the reactor (12 chambers) before being combined in the second stage (16 chambers) - were the purple colour appears - the plasma couples are not in place yet to trigger the reaction, so technically the image is not correct. Also the Graphite-Strontium rods are not shown yet, without these the reactor would go into uncontrolled fusion and explode taking the loco and the surrounding 3 miles of countryside with it.

Yes, I used Compositor Nodes to get the stars, etc - some “Fog Glow”, some “Streaks”, Some “Gaussian Blur” and some “Lens Flare” all mixed up with various Maths nodes. I am not entirely happy just yet, but it gives me a basis to work on. :yes:

So - some other trades have been in:

The ironwork for the frame that will form the outer skin has been started, on the original loco this and all other iron work, was carried out by Aveling-Roe Structural Engineers Ltd. they were based in Ironbridge (near Telford) in England, I think they are now long gone… but they were the foremost experts in the “Iron World” at the time. They had perfected the “Top Hat” section to make carriage and loco bodies, this section is very strong for its weight and can easily be riveted to, for the outer panels for example. It can also be easily rolled or pressed from hot flat plate - 5/32" in this case. Here is a sample:

You should be able to see the section, I have used a Solidify Modifier to get my thickness. It will be easy to rivet the outer plate to this. In my days at BR I used this section extensively to make carriage and loco bodies, only then we welded the outer plate to this section rather than rivet it. I guess Aveling-Roe were ahead of their time… :eyebrowlift: I did not see this section in use before the 1960’s in the old drawings I looked at.

Next there is the wooden frame for the cab - this was made from Ash planks. The work was undertaken by a well know firm of Cabinet Makers at the time - Chatterly, Robinson And Peacock Ltd. of High Wycombe in England, now a town renown for wooden furniture production, amongst other things, like a very active “Red Light” district. :stuck_out_tongue: You can see below that they would have steam-bent the ash to follow the iron underframe, and I have done the same with my modelling, if you can’t guess how I did this I will tell you - at some point. :evilgrin:

The sign writer also had a go at doing some coach-line work, I may have to employ another artisan, since I am not sure about this method just yet - I have still to discover, in the paperwork, who the original painters were. I know that the loco would have been hand painted with very slow drying coach enamel applied with a long bristled brush - a skill that I suspect is also long gone with the generations younger than me.

Cheers, Clock.

PS. Any help you can provide with the chemicals or other such things would still be gratefully received and much appreciated. :yes:

I’m a little worried about the use of Thromulators in this application; isn’t there a risk of resonant coupling leading to runaway thromulation? The necromatic lubcrication may help with dampening, but I’m sure you know that already.

Yes, thank you for pointing that out, you are quite correct in what you say. Resonant coupling is a major cause of over-thromulation on all high pressure gas turbine engines in Victorian times and is still a concern today.

This condition, in the end, leads to catastrophic failure of the turbine gas inlet re-flanging mechanisms and thus destroys the turbine. So in the case of this loco, there was a very effective Engine Management Unit (EMU), built using Valves, rather than transistors or silicon chips, that I have still to add to the loco. Personally I would not even try to run this engine without the Thromulation Resonant Coupling Debigifier (TRCD) module of the EMU in place, also I would never rely on just necromantic lubrication to dampen out the problem.

Thanks for you very wise and valid input.

Cheers, Clock.

A little more work on the cab, some glass and ironwork added:

I have also worked on the materials for the panels, adding some displacement in the node structure. Same applies to the roof panels, but I haven’t added the rivets yet.

I will start work on the inside of the cab, a little, to get the feel for where things go.

Cheers, Clock. :slight_smile:

A very, very interesting project indeed! How lucky you were, to have worked on the railways.

Your knowledge on this is impressive. As I understand it, TRCDs were classified Highly Secret by the Ministry Of Railways And Canals to prevent the Germans (or even worse, Americans) getting hold of this technology; as such any plans had to be kept in a locked bureau away from the eyes of wives and servants. It’s wonderful that the information has survived to this day so you can incorporate it in your design. I look forward to finally seeing an EMU with an integral debigifier!

A more general question; have you chosen a particular livery for your locomotive?

@evertrainz - thanks for the kind words, I have your PM and will get on it tomorrow. :eyebrowlift2:

@Jaxtraw - thanks also for your kind words and:

On the livery side, the loco had its own livery of dark green, red coach lining and black underframe, etc.

On the matter of the Thromulators, yes indeed the papers were highly secret and were not to be shown to wives, servants or mistresses (a mistress is defined as “that which comes between master and mattress” :stuck_out_tongue: ). I was reasonably sure of how they worked before I started this project, but I found, in my “borrowed” paperwork, an academic research paper by Emeritus Professor Josiah Pendleton-Smythe, principal of the Telford University Research Department on the matter and he seems to confirm what I already knew from my days working in this field, along with adding some more detailed and theoretical info I wasn’t aware of. I will be building the EMU in the next week, I have to sort out the electrical systems and I still don’t know what the “Wegelphleffer” does or looks like. :frowning:

I have added some detail to the cab, like the buttoned (no buttons yet) leather inner panels, the checker plate cover over the raised portion of the centre bearers of the underframe and the Axminster carpet:

Its not a good render, but gives the idea, frankly I am very tired just now and cannot be bothered to spend ages rendering this properly, but tomorrow is another day and I will be better after a good night’s sleep. :o I have also added the wipers and they are rigged to run automatically if it rains. :wink: (Mercedes were NOT the first to do this…)

Cheers, Clock. (where is the “tired” smiley…)


Here’s another image of bits of the cab: