While the main focus of the Strathspey Railway is running steam trains for the paying public, a small but dedicated group of volunteers has been restoring other items of heritage interest in spare moments between working on the loco fleet and improving locoshed infrastructure and facilities.

The current project is a Ruston Hornsby 48DS diesel shunter of 1948 which worked at Longmorn distillery until 1980 (even though Dr Beeching had closed the adjacent main line in 1967). Because it was presented to the Strathspey Railway repainted with advertisements for Queen Anne blended scotch whisky, it is known to most people as “Queen Anne”.

To find out more about our aims, follow this link or click the [About] button above.

This Blog was started over 5 years after the project began, so most of the initial blog entries are retrospective.

Friday, 17 September 2021


There had not been much progress recently until the glass for the windows arrived.

Fitting the glass

The glass was ordered from Highland Joinery and Glazing of Dalcross who very generously waived the cost as the Strathspey Railway is a good customer.  6mm laminated glass was chosen for safety reasons.

As explained in an earlier post, the original rubber moulding that located the glass in the aluminium frame is no longer available, so a rectangular "U" channel moulding was used instead.  This was cut to size and mitred using a jig and then a bead of adhesive was applied to the channel and the moulding placed around the glass.

With the rubber moulding on all four sides, a further bead of adhesive was applied to the inside of the the aluminium frame.  The glass and its moulding was then carefully offered up the the frame and pressed firmly home.

After 24 hours curing, a further bead of sealant was applied to cover the small gap between the moulding and the frame and allowed to cure before finally cleaning up.

The adhesive/sealant used was Bostik ISR 70-03.  Application was made much easier by using an inexpensive pneumatic caulking gun fitted with a pressure regulator to control the flow rate.

A piece of glass with a length of moulding fitted

The finished windows all cleaned up

The sealant and pneumatic caulking gun

Chain Oiler

It appears that some later Runton 48DS locos were fitted with a chain oiler, for example the one at Rogart station (although we haven't inspected this yet to see how it was done).  It is important that the rollers on the chain are oiled to ensure they do not seize on the pin.  The maintenance manual states that the chain should be regularly brushed with light oil, but this involves getting under the loco.  In order to make operation of the loco more "foolproof" it has been decided to fit an automatic chain oiler.

Two ex-steam-loco drip-feed oil pots were found in the locoshed and refurbished (one for each chain).  Each will be fitted with a 12 Volt solenoid valve which will be connected via a pipe to a wire brush lubricator in contact with the chain.  The oil pots can be adjusted to get an appropriate drip rate, and the solenoid valve will ensure that oil will only get through to the brushes if the engine is running.

At the moment the oil pots are the only parts we have.  They will be mounted under the bonnet, one on each side of the engine.

The refurbished oil pots

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Latest Progress

 Painting - Topcoat Applied

The brown topcoat has now been applied over most of the loco and the buffer beams finished in red.  The colours are the same as those used on the Hornby model (see here).  For the record, the brown colour is NCS S-7020-Y30R and the red is RAL-3000 "Flame Red".  The roof has been painted gloss black.  As the following photographs show, she is looking very smart.


There are a few more details to complete and some more work inside the cab, but since the space in the Carriage Restoration Shed is now needed, Queen Anne has been moved out.  It is hoped the paintwork will be completed later in the year.  The artwork for the advertising vinyls is ready and these will be ordered once painting and lining is complete.


Some investigation was done to see if 3D Printing could be used to produce the rubber seals for the windows.  Unfortunately the 3D Printer available was an early (and now obsolete) model which failed, and most printer software does not readily support printing in flexible TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane).

So it has been decided to use commercially available rectangular U-channel rubbers and glue them to the aluminium frames.  This has been tested using a piece of 6mm plywood to determine the correct glass size.  The windows will eventually be glazed with 6mm toughened glass.

Glazing rubbers trial fitted using 6mm plywood

 The frames will be pre-painted with brown on the outside face and cream on the inside.  This will allow them to be glazed "on the bench" and bolted onto the locomotive once other painting is complete.

Other Videos

There is a short video clip on the P-Way blog (see "Associated Blogs") of Queen Anne on the move in the yard in her new brown livery taken on 17/10/2020.  Also, a video was uploaded to Youtube in 2010 of Queen Anne being craned out of the isolated section of track next to the old Speyside station :-

Strathspey Railways Queen Ann Geting Lifted (Part 2)

Friday, 11 September 2020

Queen Anne Moves Again


 Queen Anne has now moved (under her own power) into the Carriage Shed for painting.  She is currently in primer.

Primer paint applied

First Moves

The last time Queen Anne moved under her own power was somewhere around 35 years ago.  The first test runs were carried out recently in the yard at Aviemore.

Only a few minor adjustments were required.  The brakes needed tightening up and the clutch spring for first gear needed adjustment.

A short video of the first moves has been produced :-

An initial load test was also carried out and a coach was pulled in and out of the carriage shed without any problems.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

A Few More Pictures

There obviously hasn't been any progress in the last few months, but here are a few pictures taken earlier in the year.

The one-piece bonnet doors were made by bonding the 2mm sheeting to a steel frame using industrial adhesive.
The glue is applied to the steel frame

The frame is clamped to the steel sheet
 The bonnet doors were fitted with gas struts to make them easy to open and close.

Trial fitting of gas strut and brackets

The doors are finally fitted
When the original folding louvre doors were replaced by one-piece doors prior to the locomotive being donated to the Strathspey Railway, a 2 inch gap was left front and back to provide ventilation for the engine as the louvres had gone.  To keep the new doors at the correct spacing at the bottom, special stops have been made with a powerful magnet in the end.  The magnets provide an additional closing force to prevent the doors opening of their own accord in the event of wind, vibration etc.  With the gas struts fitted, it only requires a force of a few kilograms to begin opening the doors.
The magnetic catch/stop
 More of the paintwork as been rubbed down and undercoated in preparation for the final top coats.
Undercoated cab and buffer beam

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Announcing New S&T Blog

There is now a Blog covering the activities of the S&T department at the Strathspey Railway.  Please take a look by following this link https://signallingstrathspey.blogspot.com/ or via the "Associated Blogs" on the right-hand side of this page.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Bonnet Door Progress

Door Fabrication

As stated in a previous post, it has been decided to initially restore the locomotive to the state in which it was delivered to the Strathspey Railway with flat bonnet side doors and "Queen Anne" whisky advertisements.  This means that the original bi-fold doors (which are more difficult to fabricate) can be made and fitted later, and also means the loco looks the same as the recently-released Hornby 00-gauge model.

The side sheets have been cut from 1.5mm steel sheet and the top edge folded over at 90 degrees.  Sections of 6mm steel strap have also been cut and bent and these will be welded together to form a rigid frame under the steel sheet.  Some lengths of continuous steel hinge have been obtained and cut to length and drilled to fit the locomotive.  The remains of the old hinges which were part of the bonnet and rusty and distorted have been cut off  leaving a straight edge to the bonnet.
LH Door sheet temporarily clamped

RH Door sheet temporarily clamped
The hinges have been bolted to the bodywork and the side sheets trial fitted using clamps.  The appropriate dimensions for the doors have been obtained by referring  to a number of old photographs of Queen Anne, as we no longer have the old doors to refer to.

Detail of the continuous hinge
The original "Queen Anne" doors were propped open using hinged rods bolted the the running board.   This would have been slightly awkward to use, not to mention the risk of the bonnet door falling on one's head.  For the new doors a gas strut will be employed on each side.  Using a gas strut means that the doors will slowly self-open once pulled beyond a certain point and slowly self-close after being pushed back.  The force required to open and close the doors is only a few kilogrammes - much less than the weight of the doors.  Fortunately there is a website with a very good online calculator that allows you to design your own gas strut system.

The original Ruston bi-fold doors were much lighter, as there were 2 doors on each side.  The design was quite clever - when opened the rolled bottom edge of the door could be hooked behind the edge of a channel running down the middle of the bonnet to retain the door in the open position.
A bi-fold door in the open position


The wheels have now been needle-gunned / wire brushed to remove the old paint and primed.  This was the only part of the locomotive that had not been cleaned up.
Newly primed wheels

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Wiring and Colour Schemes

Wiring completed

It is fortunate that in 1948 Ruston Hornsby made extensive use of electrical components used in cars of that era.  The enduring popularity of classic car restoration means that many of these components are still produced, meaning that Queen Anne’s electrical system can be restored to its original condition.  In particular, brass bound armoured cable would be very difficult to imitate were it not still being made (although at a premium price).

The electrical system is very simple and the photographs below show the various components wired up to the control box and working.  Similar armoured cable has also been used to connect to the battery, starter and dynamo.

The front light

The rear light

The cab light

Control box and wiring

Note LH horn switch by cab opening

Colour Schemes

Recently some colour photographs of Queen Anne in its original green livery have been obtained.  The green colour is certainly not the standard “Deep Bronze Green” as used by Rustons before WW2 and later on.  Some of these colour photographs can also be seen on the revised “Queen Anne History” page.

An early view at the loading dock

A later view in 1979 or 1980
Prior to donation to the Strathspey Railway in 1980, Queen Anne was repainted with the whisky advertisements on a chocolate brown background.

Getting ready to leave Longmorn

Some more of the Longmorn staff

The new livery with chocolate brown background
Some time after arrival at Aviemore the background was repainted in a beige shade.  This has been confirmed by sanding down the paintwork and by comparing the lining above the rear advertisement, which is lower down after the beige repaint.  All this may seem a bit pedantic, but modellers seem to be very particular about liveries.

Note brown background and lining on rear panel

Later beige background and different lining
One outstanding item in the restoration of Queen Anne is the restoration of the bi-fold louvre doors on the bonnet sides.  These were replaced with flat panels when the locomotive was repainted with the Queen Anne whisky advertisements in 1980.  The louvre doors will take some time and effort to reproduce due to the rolled edges and punching the louvres themselves.

The Queen Anne style flat doors would be much easier to make and in view of the fact that Hornby is producing a model of Queen Anne in its as-donated livery, it has been decided to initially restore the locomotive in the same form as the Hornby model.  This would be contingent on financing the brown background paint and the vinyls for the whisky advertisements.
The Hornby Model

The ultimate goal is still to return the locomotive to its 1948 condition, but restoring to “Queen Anne” condition initially may help generate more widespread interest in this restoration project in view of the imminent release of the Hornby model.