Bertie’s Story

Hello I’m Bertie

I have just arrived at the Summerfield Miniature Railways.

The locomotive I am based upon is an ALCO S4 Diesel Electric Switcher (ALCO = American Locomotive Company). These engines were built from 1940 to 1957.

So, what is a Switcher? Well, that is the American name for a shunting engine, one that ‘switches’ trucks between trains.

Now what is an American switcher doing in Bedfordshire?

 WELL……   There were only ever four ALCO locomotives of this type in the UK  (although there were many around the world).  These locomotives were purchased by British Steel for use in their Port Talbot Steelworks.  They were model S1 built in 1949 and sold off in 1983. Two of these switchers are still around, both located at the Nene Valley Railway – one located at Ferry Meadows Station.

I am painted in the green livery of the Burlington Northern Railway Company in America, hence my name. It is taken from the old music hall song ‘I’m Burlington Bertie of Bow’ (ask your grandparents!).

My power is from 2x12volt leisure batteries which can drive my 2 Horse Power electric motors for about 6 hours.  I can make Diesel Electric Locomotive sounds and I have two horns one quiet and refined the other screams GET OUT OF THE WAY.  I am able travel either way round with a light at each end. I am fitted with a vacuum pump to control the brakes of the carriages.

So please look out for me at the Summerfield Miniature Railways.