Footplate Extension

In order to be able to fit a cab assembly to the Stafford that appeared to allow space on the footplate for a driver it was necessary to extend the footplate about 2" (50mm) beyond the original buffer beam.  This extension should have been easy to make from a length of mild steel angle (even allowing for the fact that it had to fit around the dumb buffers) but only after it was cut, welded and finished did I discover that the loco's rear buffer beam wasn't straight.  As a Showing the bend in the buffer beam..result the first footplate extension I made ended up in the scrap bin and I had to make a second one.  Quite why the rear buffer beam is not straight is a bit of a mystery, but suffice to say that it is perfectly symmetrical with both outer ends 2mm closer to the front of the loco than the truly straight centre section between the longitudinal frames. The photo here quite clearly shows the gap between the ruler and the red buffer beam widening towards the right of the photo.  The other manufacturing problem was getting the fixing holes in the correct place to match the existing buffer beam mounting bolts.  An email to Station Road Steam very quickly resulted in a set of dimensions with the caveat that I should check the positions on my Stafford "just in case they weren't in accordance with the dimensions supplied in the email".  Measure twice and cut once is a well known engineering adage, and in this case it was critical as the holes I needed to use were not where the email suggested.  Thankfully I did manage to get the holes to line up satisfactorily on that second attempt at making the footplate extension.

Note: Stafford's built in the production batches after mine have a welded chassis and the footplate actually overlaps the rear buffer beam.  As a result of this design change anyone wishing to make a similar modification to their Stafford will probably have to use a slightly different design for a footplate extension.

Stafford Steam Locomotive - Footplate ExtensionThis photo shows the second footplate extension ready for painting.  The main footplate, cut from 1/8" (3mm) mild steel sheet, is shaped to match the bends in the buffer beam and all of the other parts of the assembly have been cut from sheet and welded into place.  This took quite a lot of weld dressing to end up with pristine flat faces, and as it was all done by hand using files followed by various grades of wet & dry paper it took the best part of a day to make (as well as ending up with sore hands from using files for almost 7 hours).

As previously mentioned the four mounting holes had to match the existing buffer beam mounting bolt positions, so various paper templates were cut and fitted to the buffer beam until they correctly fitted around the existing bolts.  The paper template was then used to mark out the footplate extension for drilling.  Several months passed between making the footplate extension and finally fitting to the loco after all the cab parts had been painted, so I was quite relieved when it fitted correctly into place.

The photos below show views of the completed footplate extension from above and below.  They show how closely the extension fitted to the "bent" buffer beam and how it fits around the dumb buffers.  You can also see that the top of the existing buffer beam has been painted black (it was red) so that the completed footplate does not have a red line across it.

Footplate extension for a Station Road Steam Stafford loco seen from aboveFootplate extension for a Station Road Steam Stafford loco seen from below