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Jiquay Railway #33

Jack Hewitson built 34 engines, starting in the 1930s. His first engine is still running, as are all the others of which he knows the existence. Over the years, some have been sold and the traces are lost to time. Every Hewitson locomotive that I have seen has been a great steamer, and very reliable. Every one, that is, except this one. The characteristics of Hewitson Engine Works #33 are completely unknown. It has never had a fire in it.



In the early 1950s, "Curly" Lawrence designed a very simple four-wheel industrial locomotive for beginner modellers. Called "Tich," (Welsh for "Little One,") it is probably the most popular design of all Live Steamers, worldwide. It wasn't just beginners that built "Tich," either. Many experienced builders turned their hand to this engine, as a break from some of the bigger, more complex designs. Completed in 1992, Jack built #33 and tested it on compressed air, then put it in the display case.



At the time of the "Tich" plans were being published in "The Model Engineer," a cartoonist named Rowland Emett was also publishing caricatures of Live Steaming and trains in general in the humour magazine "Punch." I think Jack got the Emett drawings and the Lawrence drawings mixed up as he built this engine! Not to be outshone by her husband, Ivy Hewitson stitched up the engineers' costumes for "Steamer" the engineer (in the cab) and "Achy Brakey" the brakeman (at front.)



I have always admired "Tich," both as a plan and as a running model. I have seen them do some pretty incredible things, given their size. While the initial design allowed for variations in boiler, valve gear, and cab, I have not seen very many "Tiches" (Tichii, Tichs, Tich? How do the Welsh do plurals?) with large variations from the "Words and Music" of LBSC.


I have the Tich book and the Emett cartoons. It is amazing to see the similarity of #33 to some of the caricatures.