Footplate Steps

Front dumb buffer fitted to a Station Road Steam Stafford locomotiveThe footplate steps were one of the quickest and simplest parts I made to modify my Stafford.  As shown in the photo the main section is a simple 1/8" (3mm) plate with an 'S' bend shape to its forward edge.  To ease the work with a hacksaw these plates were included in my Laser Cutting order and cut with an additional 3" (75mm) added to each end so that they would fit into my bending machine (click here for details).  Once bent to the correct shape the excess length was cut off and the actual step plate was MIG welded to the bottom, and a short length of angle was MIG welded behind the top to create a mounting bracket to allow the step to be bolted to the footplate.  The angle bracket was drilled and tapped M6 as it would be very difficult to hold nuts in place behind the step to bolt it into position.

Two cut-outs were required in the assembly, one to fit around the angle section that joins the buffer beam to the footplate and the other to clear the 'U' bolt fixings that I use to clamp the Stafford into my van for transport.  As usual the finished steps were etch primed with ACID 8 aerosol paint and then top coated with Halfords gloss black.

The finished footplate step fitted to the StaffordWith the step fitted to the loco I decided that it looked a bit too pristine so I added a couple of dirty footprints.
This was done by cutting some pieces of thick card to create a correctly sized sole and tread pattern of a typical workman's boot (actually copied from the safety boots I wear when working on the Mid Hants Railway) and then painting the tread pattern with matt black paint.  This still wet "boot" was then pressed onto the footplate step, and before the imprint dried dirt from my workshop floor was sprinkled over the imprint.  Once dry the surplus "dirt" was tipped off leaving the dirty footprint on the step.  I find that simple features such as this always amuse visitors to the miniature railways when "public running" and as giving the public rides is actually about entertainment then something else to amuse them must be a good thing.

This photo also shows the two M6 bolts that attach the step assembly to the footplate.