Littlelec – General Info

What is it?

LittleLEC is an annual event which attracts competitors from all over the UK.  The name comes from Little Locomotive Efficiency Contest.

In principle the contest is very simple.  The locomotive must weigh less than 50 lb, which in practice limits it to 3½” and small 5” gauge locomotives.  The objective is to run for 20 minutes continuously, pulling a live load.  The work done is calculated from a detailed survey of the track, the weight of the load and the distance travelled.  This is compared with the theoretical maximum based on the calorific value and weight of the coal used.  The result is the efficiency of the locomotive, and the competitor with the highest efficiency wins.  Each driver has two runs, and with the number of contestants lasts over a weekend, typically with a first run at 09-00 and the last at 17-00.  On the Sunday, the last run is 16-00 to allow for prize giving etc.

Although it is a light hearted event compared with the larger scale equivalents (IMLEC and SEQELEC), the competitors take it very seriously, and involves skill and gamesmanship on the part of the driver.

Full details are on

Why BRS?

The event is held at tracks all over the country.  In recent years it has been held at Worthing, Guildford, The North London Society, Fareham and West Huntspill.  It requires a challenging track, and our outward straight and climb to the cutting at the far end is certainly that (it has caught out most of our drivers at some time or another).

It provides nationwide publicity for the Society as it is supported by the Model Engineer, who contribute to the prizes and carry a detailed article following the event

BRS Involvement

Overall Management is the responsibility of the LittleLEC Co-ordinating Group, who are highly experienced in the contest.  However BRS must supply support staff, to carry out a wide variety of duties which range from being passengers, stewarding, steaming bay support, loading and unloading, and last but not least cheering the competitors on.  It is not necessary that BRS support staff are there all day both days (although no doubt some of us will be), and roles and a rota will need to be defined.

Important Dates

BRS have been asked to host this event in 2019, over the weekend of 15th/16th June, and have confirmed their willingness to do so.