Large Scale Central

East African 1/24th scale Class 59 Beyer-Garratt - 'Mount Gelai' running with a train

Let’s just introduce Southern African railways to you. The East African Railway, mostly running in Rhodesia, has meter-gauge track. Further South is the South African Railway, running on 3ft 6in gauge - called Cape Gauge. This is the rail gauge of New Zealand and most of Japan, and is represented in model form by 45mm track - very near to Cape Gauge, and dead-on for metre gauge - in 1/24th scale.

Because of the relatively large size many southern African locos, there are a few modellers in this scale based in the RSA who scratch-build them in 1/24th scale - they belong to the Centurion Model Engineer Association - centred around Western Cape.

A friend of mine, Andrew Giffen, an ex-pat SA, builds locomotives from the 16mm scale Walmer NG line on live steam and electric, and standard Cape Gauge models in electric and live-steam for the 4-6-2s, 4-8-2s and Beyer-Garratts - all running on 45mm gauge track. He also builds for 3.5" gauge, 5" gauge, 7.25" gauge and 10.25" gauge…the 15f in the last scale weighs in at around 2 tons and is around 16 feet long…

Here is one of his 7.25" gauge models in action…

However, this very day, builder Andrew Giffen, new owner Ron Mitchell and I ran the first train hauled by the EAR Beyer-Garrett ‘Mount Gelai’ - on trial over at the Fenland Light Railway in rural Cambridgeshire - with grateful thanks to the management, of course.

I hope you like seeing this magnificent model - gas-fired and radio-controlled - operating at scale speeds on our track at Ramsey Mereside. Cars were built back in RSA by Riekus van der Westhuizen and Carel Janse van Rensburg. Riekus has his own Youtube channel - well-worth a look. Just type in Riekus.

Here are Andrew’s own words -

‘EAR Beyer-Garratt Mt Gelai out in the heavy summer sunshine, a good hour’s run and of course…
…for the first time at the head of her own consist built by Riekus and Carel. The videos just can’t do justice to the sheer majesty of this train, but I did my best.
Performance-wise, what really stands out by miles is the exceptional regulator control for scale speeds - no ridiculous scale 200mph runs here!!
This is made much easier down to my custom built regulator in tandem with keeping cylinder bores smaller than scale. Axle pump doesn’t quite keep up but gives a few laps before needing a manual top up.
Huge thanks to Graham Langer and [David Mees]for help with burners and design.
To be seen out and about this summer where tracks have a little more loading gauge clearance than scale.’

There are five videos in the series on YouTube. [This post has been translated from Afrikaans by yours truly - any mistales are my own :wink:


Good seeing you posting Tac !

Thanks for posting that Tac. Those Garrets are beautiful.

I’ve just spent a wet weekend on Riekus’ channel. That’s a rabbit hole I’ll be revisiting!