Hi Jem, I would go for a 5" loco, not to big but big enough to pull. A good first design, ok it's not a mainline loco, is a Sweet Pea. Many people have started out with Sweet Peas and many still have them. The castings are readily available from Blackgates, as are the drawings and advice. The Sweet Pea can be lifted easily by 2 people but I wouldn't advise trying to lift it on your own. It's all outside motion etc except an axle pump if you choose to fit one. All is easy access for maintenance and building, easy to fire, easy to drive and I have had mine pulling 4 adults, 5 kids and the driver, up a 1;90 bank, ok we didn't break any speed records but we got there. If you have the time, it is reckoned you can build a Pea in 12 months, such is the basic design and I have to admit, I won't be getting rid of mine. So there you go, all the advice from around the world. Let us know how you go, what your building etc. Dave. ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jem Harrison" <Jem.Harrison@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> To: <modeleng@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 11:16 AM Subject: [modeleng] 3½ versus 5 Here is another 'new' topic, on which I would appreciate your opinions. I am a relative newcomer to model engineering. I have no engineering background. In the distant past I have scratchbuilt models in 0 gauge (2-rail electric) and some wagons in Gauge 1. I have a Myford ML10 in reasonable condition and a small bench pillar drill (rough!). For the best part of the last three years I have been doing some restoration work on a Dore Westbury Mk.1: surgery on the motor, fitting new lead screws and nuts, devising different ways to attach the handles top the lead screws, making a drawbar, making a machine vice kit. It has been a long learning exercise! I now have some digital read-out bars that I have not succeeded yet in fitting....I do wonder if these are really worth the hassle. I want to get started on a locomotive. Until recently I reckoned that I would tackle something in 3½-inch gauge, but the vast majority of the received wisdom has advised against this size. So, what I would be interested to read on this discussion group is your views for and against 3½-inch and 5-inch gauge, oh and while we are about it, we could add 2½-inch gauge. Best wishes, Jem Harrison Basildon MODEL ENGINEERING DISCUSSION LIST. To UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, send a blank email to, modeleng-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. MODEL ENGINEERING DISCUSSION LIST. To UNSUBSCRIBE from this list, send a blank email to, modeleng-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line.