What’s in the Shops: Bachmann GCR/LNER ‘improved Director’

Taking a close look at the graceful Robinson Class D11 ‘improved Director’ OO-gauge model with Nigel Burkin.

Originally classified as a Class 11F by the Great Central Railway (GC), the first of 35 ‘improved Director’ locomotives were introduced by the GC for express passenger duties on its main line between London Marylebone and Sheffield Victoria.

A further batch was built by the LNER (after Grouping) in 1924 for use on North British Railway (NBR) routes in Scotland. They were introduced between 1919 and 1924, numbered 501-511 by the GC and given Nos. 1378-1401 by the LNER.

A popular model in the Bachmann range is the GC ‘improved Director’ 4-4-0 locomotive, classified as a Class 11F by the GC and Class D11 by the LNER.

The LNER-built locomotives for use in Scotland were modified to suit a more restricted loading gauge which included lower boiler fittings, chimney and a different cab design. To distinguish between the two sub-classes, the LNER classified the GC-built locomotives as Class D11/1 and the larger Scottish NBR contingent as Class D11/2.

This locomotive has a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement with tall driving wheels making it an excellent locomotive for fast passenger duties, but unsuitable for freight trains.

D11s are quite large locomotives for the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement, being almost as large as some 4-6-0 locomotives and as powerful too. Enthusiasts and modellers are quite fond of the class and little wonder – the locomotives are nicely proportioned with a long parallel boiler, long driving wheel splashers and wide wheelbase including the leading bogie.

The motion was located between the frames, adding to the clean exterior appearance of the locomotives. Add the elegant GC livery to the mix (D11/1) and they are impressive-looking machines indeed.

All 35 locomotives were named, with the GC locomotives bearing the names of famous battles, company directors (those that did not make the D10 class naming list) and royalty. The NBR locomotives were named differently in contrast to their GC sisters, with evocative names such as Luckie Mucklebackit, Bailie MacWheeble and Haystoun of Bucklaw; names adopted from Sir Walter Scott’s poems and novels.

For the full article, see November’s edition of Modelling – available now!

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: www.railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk/distributors