I.M.L.E.C.  Success

In 1971, our Society was represented in the 3rd annual 'International Model Locomotive Efficiency Competition' (IMLEC).  This is a steam locomotive driving challenge in which, during a half hour run, the weight of coal consumed, average draw-bar pull (passenger loading) and distance travelled are all measured, then used to calculate the efficiency of the locomotive.  Of course this also requires the best efforts of the driver to handle the locomotive efficiently.

At the Southampton Riverside Park track, Austin Heyden drove a near perfect half hour session hauling eleven persons in total, to win the 1971 IMLEC competition with his beautiful 5" gauge miniature of the G.W.R. Dean 'Single' (4-2-2) "Lorna Doone".  Construction of the locomotive took some 4 years and Austin made all the patterns and castings, apart from the wheels.

The 'Model Engineer' magazine of 3rd September 1971 contained a full description of the competition runs, and the cover photograph showed Austin preparing "Lorna Doone".

The square box in the foreground of the cover photo is a parafin fired boiler, which allowed Austin to raise steam using the locomotives own blower.

Below is an extract of text from the full IMLEC article, Page 840, describing Austin's winning run.

Reported by D.E. Lawrence.
Mr. Austin Heyden from Newton Abbot proves the winner with his G.W.R. "Single"

The next run, No. 6, was one that many of us had been waiting for.  Mr W. A. Heyden is from deep in the Great Western country - his home club is Newton Abbot - and not unnaturally his entry was as Great Western as could be.  His 5 in. gauge 4-2-2 Dean bogie "Single" had stood in the steaming bays for some time and had attracted so much attention that calls on the p.a. system were required at times to clear unauthorised people out from the bays.

The Dean "Single" was resplendent in polished brass and copper and gleaming paintwork in the G.W.R. livery of the late 1890's.  It was very well made and the lining carefully executed; the detail work was very good and the tender and big splashers over the drivers were adorned with the appropriate badges and coats-of-arms.  The tender was fairly low and the cab short, which gave easy access to the neat and tidy footplate.  The cylinders are of smaller bore than scale, being 1 5/16 in. bore by 2 1/4 in. stroke; Stephenson's gear drove slide valves located under the cylinders.

Mr Heyden had spent four years making this engine and had made all his own patterns and castings, except for the wheels.  It was very clean indeed, both inside and out, and a great credit to it's builder.

Martin Evans watched this run with interest as here was complete vindication of his recent remarks about the suitability of single wheelers as passenger haulers.  Whether the "Dean" would have behaved quite so effectively on a more heavily graded track is another matter, but here, with a load of driver, observer plus 9 passengers, she performed very well.  At the start on the level there was some slipping, but once the engine had got the train rolling, she settled down to lap the track consistently, reeling them off around 65-67 secs per lap, which was a good though safe speed.  There was very little noticeable slipping on the run.

Austin Heyden's handling was impeccable; he fired deliberately and made only occasional small adjustments to controls.  His handling of shovel and controls was economical of movement and one got the impression that he just let the locomotive get on with it, but in fact, he carefully watched his engine and the track and only did what was needed at the right moment.  The safety valves lifted briefly on only the odd occasion and he evidently kept boiler pressure fairly steady up near 80 lb. (the normal working pressure).

At the conclusion of the run, there was well deserved applause from the big crowd.  A little while afterwards the "score" of 7.99 lb. of coal per d.b.h.p. went up on the board and this attracted immediate attention because it was well in front of the previous best.  Mr Heyden was metaphorically on the "totem pole" and a target for subsequent competitors to aim at, but as it turned out, not to beat.