The Telford locomotive is a long-awaited model from the Mamod production line and anticipation is already growing for its release.

While it is still an ongoing project at the company's headquarters in Smethwick there has already been talk of a slide valve version being made. At the moment the oscillating version is still in the production phase and will not be released until all the problem areas have been ironed out to Mamod's full satisfaction. Once it is finally launched collectors will no doubt want to know how to fire up this impressive model.

Mamod has undergone trials and tribulations with the Telford, which was once dubbed "the runaway train" by engineers as it became too powerful to stay on the track. It has resulted in a number of rethinks in its designs and many hours of returning to the drawing board to determine which method would be the best to bring its speed down. It is something that Mamod continues to battle with.

As it is unlikely to be made available in kit form it is important that it is fired correctly and safely. In preparation for its release, Mamod has released information on how modellers can ensure that the Telford is up to speed with minimal fuss. Following this guide, you will be able to get the very best out of the Telford train when it is finally released.


Before attempting to fire up the Telford you need to ensure the model and yourself are fully prepared. All the moving parts need to oiled with the wheels and cylinder being the priority of this job. Make sure you are wearing protective gloves as there will be points when the engine gets very hot so safety is of paramount importance.

Prior to attempting to fire up the Telford, half fill the oil reservoir. Mamod recommends steam oil 460 for this particular job. When coating the moving parts, steam engine oil 30 or 40 is highly recommended. Once the preparation is complete you are ready to fire up the Telford engine.

Getting started

Once the oil reservoir is half filled and all the moving parts are sufficiently oiled, remove the safety valve and place the black funnel into the safety valve hole. Using freshly boiled water fill the boiler to the appropriate level and then turn on the gas until you hear it coming through. Ensure the gas is on a low setting and then light it, ensure the flame is not too high as it can end up burning the cab.

Mamod advises to place the engine on two wooden blocks, raising it off the surface. This will allow the build up of condensation in the cylinders and thus letting steam pass through via the turning wheel. This is known as priming and moves the pistons and shifts as the condensation grows.

Firing up the engine

The priming stage should take place just before you try to start the engine. Make sure the boiler is producing steam and you see bubbling in the sight glass, these are the signs that the engine is ready to go. Open the regulator at the top of the boiler protruding out of the cab as this will help the steam go through the engine to the pistons.

By this point the engine will almost be ready to go. Once it is steaming place it on the track and put it in gear. Prime the wheels and give it a little push to get it going, then it will happily chug along on your specially designed track.

Once up and running

As the Telford travels along the track your job is not finished as it needs to be monitored while running. Mamod states that people should never leave an engine unattended and it is imperative that the sight glass is checked regularly to ensure the boiler does not run dry.

When in motion the engine normally loses gas before the water due to the volume in the gas tank being much lower than that of the boiler. You can top up the boiler using the provided valve and it can remain on a high heat when you replenish the water. Simply stop it on the track, open the top up valve and refill it allowing time for it to steam up again.

Stopping the engine

To stop the engine all you need to do is shut off the regulator which cuts off the gas to the boiler. Make sure you are wearing gloves at this point however as the engine will be very hot and you need to allow it time to cool down. Once cool, drain excess water from the boiler and wipe it down making sure that the powder coating is clean.

Check the gland nuts are tight and just give it an overall inspection for any loose fittings. If you have managed to overfill the oil reservoir then excess oil can form on the chassis and track and will thus need to be wiped off and cleaned.