Introduction: World's Oldest Functional Steam Loco-FAIRY QUEEN

About: I am interested in reverse engineering a thing. Also interested in beekeeping, DIY, cycling, gardening, and farming.

Hello friends,

I am going to make a cardboard model of the world's oldest working steam locomotive.

The Fairy Queen is also known as East Indian Railway Nr 22 is 1855 built steam loco restored by loco works Perambur, Chennai in 1997. it was listed in Guinness Book of Records in 1998. It runs between New Delhi and Alwar.

To gather the approximate dimensional details of the engine it took 5 days and another 5 days to complete the working model. Here I give all the dimensions in the drawings, steps and also in the image notes.


  • Cardboard ( corrugated, single ply,double-layered,...)
  • scissor
  • steel ruler and tape
  • pencil
  • Hot melt glue gun
  • paper
  • Glue
  • String saw (optional)

Step 1: Foot Board Making

It holds the boiler,firebox,chimney,cylinders,etc....

I made it by 2 pieces of single-ply cardboard(1.5 mm thick) of size 73 cm X 27 cm

to reinforce the 2 boards, I pasted 2 cm wide strips of corrugated cardboard between the 2 pieces of single plyboard

Step 2: Holes for Driving Wheel ,...

Cut the portions as per the dimensions mentioned in the diagram.

Try to cut the holes in the cardboard before reinforcing with cardboard strips.

Step 3: Axles

PVC pipe is used as axle

Diameter : 2 cm

Length : 19 cm

No of pieces : 3

Step 4: Driving Wheel

No of spokes: 20

The angle between spokes: 18 degree

Width of spoke: 1 cm

Length of spoke: 7.6 cm

Wheel hub: Made by rolling a 2.5 cm wide strip of paper around the PVC pipe(2 cm dia)

Draw a circle in a paper and mark 18-degree segment lines as shown in the image

Glue the spokes with the hub using normal glue. Once it dried apply hot melt glue.

Now 2 strips of 1.5 mm thick cardboard were pasted around the spokes as shown in the image

The length of the 1st strip is around 56 cm.

Once the 2 driving wheels are ready, attach it with the axle

Overall dia of the wheel: 18 cm ( not critical)

Step 5: Lead and Trail Wheels

No of spokes: 12

Angle b/w spokes: 30 degree

Width of spoke: 1 cm

Length of spoke: 4.4 cm

The other steps related to the lead and trail wheels are almost similar to the driving wheel making. The difference comes from the dimension and the no of spokes

After making the lead and trail wheelsets, attach them with the footboard as per the dimension in the diagram.

Once the lead and trail wheels are glued with the footboard, attach the driving wheel.

To attach it correctly you need to place cardboard strips of about 1.5 cm thickness between the driving wheel axle and the footboard.

Driving wheel center lies 34.5 cm apart from the backside of the footboard

from there, the leading wheel center is 25 cm apart and the trailing wheel center is 20.3 cm apart.

Step 6: Firebox,boiler,smoke Box

The total length of these three things combined are 53.5 cm

Length of,

Firing chamber: 14 cm

Boiler: 32 cm

Smokebox: 7.5 cm

I used a PVC pipe of 11 cm dia and about 45 cm long to aid in the making of the above-mentioned parts.

For the boiler, I took single sheet cardboard from a notebook and wrap it around the pipe. ( you can also make it using thin corrugated cardboard)

For the smokebox, use 2 sheets of cardboard around the pipe, as for the firing chamber use 3 sheets of cardboard.

Step 7: Steam Dome

Overall height: 8.5 cm

Height of cardboard cylinder: 5.5 cm

Dia of cardboard cylinder: 6.5 cm

to make the dome use newspaper.

Step 8: Chimney

Height: 12 cm

Diameter: 3.3 cm

I made the chimney with 2 cm dia pipe, cardboard pieces, and newspaper.

I wrapped the newspaper over the pipe and cardboard until I got the 3.3 cm dia.

If you have a cylindrical object near to 3.3 cm dia, you can use a sheet of cardboard to make it.

Step 9: Smoke Box Door

Diameter: 10.5 cm

I used a stainless steel water jug having a curved bottom to form the cardboard into a curved shape

Step 10: Cylinder and Cross Head

Cylinder Diameter: 5 cm

Cylinder height: 7 cm

No of cylinder: 2


Guideway length: 5.5 cm

Guideway width:2 cm

Piston rod: 4.5 cm length

Glue the pieces together as shown in the images.

Step 11: Connecting Rod,pin,bearing

Connecting rod length: 22.5 cm

Connecting rod width: 1 cm

Bearing dia: 1.8 cm

Crank Diameter: 3 cm

Crankpin: 1 cm length ( paper wrapped over refill)

Step 12: Driving Wheel Cover and Brake Assembly Cover

Cut the cardboard as per the diagram and glue the pieces together, see the pictures for reference.

for making a smooth curved top cover, you can partially cut the cardboard strip with a 2 cm gap between them.

Step 13: Side Cover

Cut the cardboard as per the diagram

Step 14: Driver Cabin and Roof

Roof post height: 22 cm

No of roof posts: 6

Roof size: 31 cm X 31 cm ( This piece is curved by using a large cylindrical vessel)

Cabin side cover size: 1) 9.5 cm X 9.5 cm

2)14 cm X 13 cm

Step 15: Fine Details

Smokebox door handle, control levers, fasteners, gauges can be also added.

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