Large Scale Central

The Bachmann "Emily" Sterling Single...upgrades

Here it is, guys and gals. The single thread for everything pertaining to a Stirling Single, based on Backmann’s Emily: part of the Thomas The Tank Engine family.

Other threads have discussed available detail parts, and ideas, for upgrading Emily, to a more detaild model, closely resembling a Stirling Single…ideas and experiences are welcome…here.

Well done, Fred. 'bout time, too.

tac, ig, ken the GFT & The Starlight Express Boys

PS - good to chat, eh?

Hi, Fred,

Thanks for settiing up this new thread. One stop shopping will make it much easier for all of us to share this material. I got the impression from your notices in the two original threads that they were being transferred here, but I don’t see that they are now closed or that any of the old material has moved over. So I fear it may take awhile to wean people away from then.

Can you edit the title of this thread please: The Singles were named for their designer, Patrick Stirling, not Sterling as in the British pound.

Also, what happened to your wonderful avatar? The little guy seems so terribly one sided since the site makeover. I kind of liked his dual personality.

Thanks again for helping advance this issue.


My Avatar has gone missing, with the changes around here…pity…
I can’t change the spelling in the Heading, but I’ll see if Bob can do it

Here is #1’s backhead from the book I have.(

Thank you, Jerry…

Shame about your avatar, Fred. What IS a two fisted drinker to do these days?

Jerry, that is a wonderful picture of the backhead. Should be very handy when my parts arrive. Would you mind posting ID data on the book you mentioned?

Thanks, Ted

Book is: ‘The Stirling Singles’ by K.H. Leech & M. G. Boddy published by David & Charles in 1965.

This place has a few copies:

Thank you, Jerry. I ordered one today. I’ve had good experiences with Abe Books before.

  • Ted


Did you order those Emily parts already? Thought they were not ready to order till the middle of the month or so?


Yes. While it was somewhat unclear whether we were supposed to be assembling a group order or to be ordering independently, I called Garden Railway Specialists and placed my order with Michael Adamson.

He indicated he had been expecting a group order for five packages or more, did not have quite everything in stock for that many orders, and was in the process of acquiring the necessary last pieces. I told him that we mostly knew about each other only online because we lived all over North America, and I didn’t know anything about how a single group order was to be assembled. He repliied that it posed no problem, that he had enough on hand to fill my request, and accepted it.

The parts haven’t arrived yet, but I wouldn’t expect them this quickly. Mr. Adamson seemed a very pleasant, helpful person to deal with.

Best I can tell you.



I should have known better than to answer you so quickly. I came home from lunch to find the parts delivered.

So everyone knows, these are the parts in the selection:

AM2282 - Midland 2F Backhead Set

PDG2206 - Buffers Parallel Shank Brass 4 pieces

DG2093 - Couplings Screw pair

DG169 - Brake Standard

AM2321 - Smoke Box Door GW Dean WM 50mm dia.

BE351 - Steam Heat Pipe Set cast brass

BE350 - Vacuum Pipe Set cast brass

All the parts appear very well made. There were no truly unpleasant surprises and a few happy ones:

  • I expected the backhead set to be nothing but smale details to be added to the plain Emily backhead. Instead it has a complete cast backhead that snuggles up to Emily beautifully plus eight small detail parts to be placed onto or near the backhead. VERY NICE!

  • The buffers are fully working. They appear massive enough to take on a UP Big Boy head to head and win. Actually they are a very close match for Emily’s non-working buffers. The major difference: they are parallel shank where Emily’s are taper. (My books show photos of Singles with taper, parallel, and bell shanked buffers.) Not only are these fully sprung, they are adjustable by a screw in the rear so the length of extension can be controlled. VERY NICE!

  • The smoke box door is nicely domed with a long bar hinge on its left. Emily’s face just pulled off by my fingernails, and this door looked like it would fit right in. But it is a silly millimeter or so smaller, so it fell right in. Easily fixable with a thin styrene false front laminated on the smoke box to support the door. (You didn’t really want to swap the face on and off, did you?) UNFORTUNATELY, there are no “clock hands” bolting and locking handles, so substitutes will have to be found or made. BUMMER!

  • The screw couplers are nice castings, but the turnbuckle screw isn’t operational. Still, they look very nice. I am considering ordering more for some coaches I am building.

  • The brake standard is a standard brake standard. The heat pipes and vacuum pipes are nice brass castings still on the sprue. Although they are packed separately, they share a single set of instructions that comes with only one of the packages. That is not as bad as it sounds, however, because the instructions don’t instruct. They merely identify the names of the parts in the heat pipe set only. Both of the sets have too many parts so you can configure them as you wish. I think you are supposed to strip the insulation off the pieces of heavy electrical wire to get your hoses.

  • There are no instructions for anything else, so you will have to rely on your pictures. But nothing else really needs instructions.

All in all, I am more than happy with this collection. My hat is off to tac and Michael Adamson for making it possible.


Mr Adamson is known world-wide for his care and attantion to the needs of large-scale modellers. Without his efforts, Gauge 3 in UK would still be a millionaires’ scale. His store, and the endlessly helpful folks who work in it, is a model of what a train store in any scale should be.

And no, I’m not related, just one of untold thousands of satisfied customers over the large thirty years or so.

I respectfully suggest that anybody who has not done so take a look at the website, to get some idea of the scale of the business.

Ted - I’m very glad that you are made happy - me, I was never in any doubt.

tac, ig, ken the GFT & The Tay Bridge Disaster Boys

I sent him an email. Hope he takes Paypal, so I can hide it from the Mrs.

Jerry Barnes said:

I sent him an email. Hope he takes Paypal, so I can hide it from the Mrs.

How much is our silence worth?

Chris Vernell said:

How much is our silence worth?

Spoken like a man who knows how to wring true value from our hobby.

Ted Tuck said:

Chris Vernell said:

How much is our silence worth?

Spoken like a man who knows how to wring true value from our hobby.

No, spoken like a man who has spent years trying to hide things from the Mrs :frowning:

I got a Paypal invoice from them today, so it’s paid, he said they would ship next week, waiting for one part.

Chris Vernell said:

Ted Tuck said:

Chris Vernell said:

How much is our silence worth?

Spoken like a man who knows how to wring true value from our hobby.

No, spoken like a man who has spent years trying to hide things from the Mrs :frowning:

Perhaps I should have said,"…wring true value from his fellow hobbyists."

Question: Is “black mail” two words, or just one like “extortion”?

Egadzooks…what have we started here…would Terry approve…!!!