Activities: Interactive Displays & Learning


Valve Gear Simulator


A Walschaerts’ valve gear simulator in 5 inch gauge will be one of the active demonstrators. This will have cut-away piston valve cylinders to show the ports and valve motion and also cut-away main piston cylinders to show how the piston moves according to the steam delivery and exhaust sequences provided by the piston valve. The wheels can be turned by a handle and reduction pulley arrangement so it can be rotated slowly to observe the sequence of events.

Other Interactive Displays


There will be a number of active displays that aim to address both basic scientific principles and show how things work. For instance, there will be a display which shows the different compressibilities of gases compared to liquids. This has direct relevance to steam locomotives as water in cylinders can be the caused of major failures. It is also relevant to the home as water hammer in pipes is normally the result of an air lock in the system. Another display will show the difference in thermal expansion between metals, again an issue of importance in many applications, and there will be a Doppler whistle pitch change demonstration. More displays will be developed and information will be made available later.


3D Visualization


In addition to being able to handle the true scale locomotive parts, it will also be possible to view the CAD images on a large TV screen. Using the software, components and assemblies will be able to be studied by taking away components that hide others, like peeling an onion, in order to see what is inside and how they work, whilst at the same time holding the assembly. For those interested in how a locomotive works, this should provide an absorbing display.

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The Branch Line

Beech Hurst Gardens

Haywards Heath

West Sussex

RH16 4BB