From the editor

With heads reeling from the seemingly non-stop announcements of new models in all the popular gauges, particularly over the weekend of the Warley Model Railway Club’s NEC Exhibition on November 24-25, perhaps it’s finally time to take stock and let it all sink in.

Even the models we are reviewing right now are exceptional, with the resurgence in ready-to-run O-gauge exemplified by two wonderful GWR releases by Heljan – first the 61XX Large Prairie tank that you read about last month, and now the 43XX 2-6-0 tender engine that Nigel Burkin describes at length on pages 14-16 of this issue.

The Danish firm continues to put its faith in the more unusual British diesel classes, too, with the announcement of an O-gauge model of a centre-cab Type 1 Class 17 ‘Clayton’ expected to be available by the end of the year and, moving to narrower gauges, one final Heljan delight has been the announcement of a forthcoming ‘OO9’ model of Lynton & Barnstaple Railway 1898 Baldwin 2-4-2T Lyn.

Accurascale’s announcement of a plethora of finely detailed OO-gauge ‘Deltic’ diesel-electrics, some versions of which will be marketed in a tie-up between the manufacturer, Locomotion Models, Rails Limited and the Deltic Preservation Society, came as another welcome surprise.

Widnes retailer Hatton’s plans to market a ‘mighty atom’ in the shape of an N-gauge version of the OO-gauge LMS 2-6-6-2 Beyer Garratt that it successfully introduced in 2014, and another Hatton’s announcement is of a Plasser & Theurer 12t single-jib general purpose crane.

And the good news just kept coming, including the first engineering prototype samples of Bachmann Branchline’s OO-scale Class 159 three-car diesel multiple unit and, from the Graham Farish arm, the updated N-scale Stanier 8F 2-8-0 and five types of BR Mk2F coaches.

It’s also great to see more historic types of steam locomotive models being produced in several different liveries to cover their long life spans, a prime example being that of the Caledonian Railway McIntosh 812 Class 0-6-0 that is now under development by Bachmann.

Expected to be delivered in 2020, the variants will include a premium blue version dressed in the complex and iconic original CR blue livery and three others in plain black.

There’s much to come from Hornby, too, including a completely retooled version of a streamlined ‘Princess Coronation’ Pacific due out any time now, and there will be a report on Hornby’s Media Day in the next issue.

Nigel Burkin’s cover photo of a brand new Hornby model of ‘Princess Coronation’ Pacific No. 46225 Duchess of Gloucester on a KPF Zeller rolling road reminded me so much of the late-lamented Rugby locomotive test station that began as a joint project between the LMS and LNER. Building started in 1936 but was curtailed by war, and the facility did not open until after the formation of British Railways in 1948.

The idea of such a plant – for the testing of locomotives from all companies – was first mooted by the great Nigel Gresley as far back as 1927, and a site on the outskirts of Leeds was identified, but sadly the economic conditions at the time were not favourable, and the government help asked for was not forthcoming.

Testing at the Rugby plant was supplemented by dynamometer car runs with very heavy trains between Skipton and Carlisle, and No. 46234 Duchess of Abercorn achieved one of the most remarkable outputs by any British steam locomotive at 3350ihp (indicated horsepower).

When these magnificent locomotives reached the end of their days, noted railway writer Ossie Nock wrote: “There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe a ‘Princess Coronation’ in full cry.

“We shall never see their like again.”

Pete Kelly, Editor

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