Peter Nutbrown : The Earl


Taming a Pearse Earl

I purchased a Pearse Earl through an advert in the Bulletin in 2019 and collected it at the Peterborough show along with some W & L carriages. Radio controlled with an FXi4 system it functioned well but I personally couldn’t control it. It would shoot off like a jackrabbit even with the 3 heavy coaches behind it unless the boiler pressure was way down and then it would eventually crawl to a standstill 50 yards on at around 10 PSI which was not a satisfactory situation.

Talking to Andy Cooper he reminded me that sometimes people have replaced the stop valve on the turret with a Roundhouse R/C regulator. Initially I was averse to this concept as it meant stripping down the loco but after a gauge change to 32mm at the York M.E. circuit I found that the RH centre wheel bearing bush was turning within the frame, this could not be observed when set to 45mm. This was the impetus I needed to go ahead and strip the loco down.

It was a simple job to extract the old bearing from the frame by removing the wheel end screws and locking screws to slip the axle out, but slightly harder to make the chassis hole round again. A new bronze bearing was made and fitted and all is now well in the running gear area.

I had a Roundhouse valve, but without a rework I couldn’t get it to fit in the available space, the copper piping was hard and even after annealing wouldn’t bend sufficiently. I decided to use the original much shorter valve and just removed the plastic knurled knob in order to fit a lever arm. A bracket was made for the mini servo motor which was positioned on the LHS footplate rather than between the frames where the R/C receiver was located. Without the bodywork the boiler was prepared and a more controlled run was achieved though I still had difficulty with the LHS transmitter lever wobbling around with no return spring, its an age thing I guess.

I was happy with the test run for leaks and the new bearing and so my thoughts changed to the transmitter. I know the Flysky system is for aeroplanes but it has some advantages in so much as most of the equipment is compatible. After a quick Google (the instructions are incomplete) I was able to bind the receiver to a newer Fxi6 transmitter which still had the centreing springs. The control was improved so I decided it was time to clean the engine down while it was in its bare state.

In the RHS bunker area I came across some Velcro, loosened by the thinners, I then realised the battery pack or receiver had been mounted adjacent to the boiler, not underneath. I removed the receiver from between the frames which was an oily mess and checked the lengths of servo cable. It was still possible to mount the receiver within the RHS tank, helping it to balance the weight. I took the opportunity to upgrade the receiver to a FS-iA6B one which would be able to relay the receiver voltage back to the transmitter unlike the original and allow fine adjustment on the end positions of the servos. I now had a space between the frames in which to locate the throttle servo in the future if I needed space for a driver on the footplate.

Looking at photos of the original loco I noticed that like THE COUNTESS, THE EARL also had a bell mounted on the roof. As one of the hinges was broken and the bodged repair to centralise the roof was ineffective, I decided to make new angle pieces to centralise a lift-off cab roof. A brass bell and hanging strap was made to similar dimensions to that of the Accucraft THE COUNTESS.There were four holes in the buffer beams presumably for brake pipes, so back to the pictures. No help there eight pictures showing different combinations from a six foot long one at the rear to shorter versions to none, which length to choose and how many? In the end I opted for two standard length ones which wouldn’t foul any of my rolling stock which were made out of scrap brass rod wrapped in cord, who’s looking anyway, obviously not me for the last 18 months. Now did the loco have stone guards at the front? because they are there at the rear, I can’t see where they could be fitted if ever on the frames.

The battery pack mounted in the rear bunker could be seen quite clearly so a cover plate with a coal load was made to disguise the wiring, but still allow the charging lead to clear. Not being much of a painter I was thankful for an original good paint job so it was a simple final task paint the buffer beams red and to touch up with black the more noticeable minor scratches and missing paintwork and put the bodywork back on No.45.

Here’s to hoping it doesn’t sit on the shelf for too long.

December 2020
































Contact Us | ©2008 Yorkshire Group