First I would like thank everyone who came to visit our stand at the Telford and Swindon shows. At Swindon on the Sunday we displayed for the first time Adrian’s double track Scale 7 diorama as shown on the website with Taunton Castle and also the LT weathered Pannier. We hope to have the diorama on display also at the Bristol Show in January. It's always a great pleasure to meet you when you come to the stand, whether it's just to look at our offerings or to discuss any matter of interest. We are always keen to hear your views on new models, even if it takes time for us to get them made!
I am sorry there has been such a long gap since the last news bulletin. Why has it taken so long? The answer is that we have been very (very) busy working virtually every day fitting out engines to meet specific requests from customers, delivering engines to the remoter parts of the UK, preparing for the two-day shows, constantly corresponding with the builders and visiting Korea, not mention traveling to a number of preserved railway workshops to check out and gather more information on engines that we are building. It all takes so much time, especially as the special requests are carried out by Colin Dowling which means I have to travel to Stowmarket.
49XX Halls and 6959 Modified Halls
We have worked extensively on the detail for the Halls and Modified Halls programme, discovering more complexities in the build as our research became deeper and deeper. There are four types of cab, (five if you include some engines modified when being converted back from oil burning to coal). Originally we had planned to offer only the 49XX Collett Halls, but we discovered many of you wanted 59XX and 69XX Collet Halls, so we widened the choice. We were then faced with the question of whether we should offer the Modified Halls as a separate, later programme? We soon realised that everyone had already waited a long time for the Collett Halls, so it made sense to offer the Modified Halls at the same time.
There is also the question of different oil pipe covers on the smokebox upper flanks and, of course, the selection of chimneys. On the Modified Halls we discovered that not all engines fitted with the tall ID chimneys kept them. Some reverted to Grange chimneys so that the chimney pattern changed quite often over the engines’ service lives. For the oil pipe covers the work we did earlier on the Granges has proved to be invaluable. Frequent changes of the pattern of oil covers occurred as boilers were swapped around. We have tried to get this right as far as we can for all the individual Collett original and Hawksworth Modified Halls.
While I was in Korea the builders showed me the castings for the mechanical lubricators on the late Modified Halls. The finish on the castings was simply exquisite. These late Modified Halls will be very special engines. There are a few Collett Hall's available in GWR and BR livery, as well as a few Modified Hall, all in BR livery.
In late July I received a request from the builders for additional information on the footplate of the square-frame 28XX engines. This resulted in a visit to Swindon Steam Museum to take about 50 pictures of 2808 which is preserved in its late BR condition without outside steam pipes with the original square frames, but painted in GWR plain green. We uncovered a lot more detail on the complex relationship between the cylinder casings and the footplate drop frame section.
We also took the opportunity of providing detailed photographs of the riveting on the footplate and cab sides. The 28XX models with no outside steam pipes and square frames make an interesting variation of the 28XX series. In case anyone is interested, there are some engines still available in this configuration, both in plain GWR green and BR plain black.
Both the 28XX/38XX and Hall and Modified Hall engines are in production. The tenders are complete and the builders are now working on the locomotive bodies and chassis.
Class 52 Western
These models are now largely complete. As part of the process of ensuring the model are as accurate as they possibly can be, we decided to double check the exact shape of the cab front windows and roof overhang by taking tracings, measurements and angles from an actual locomotive. To do this Adrian and I went down to Williton in August where we were able to trace the windscreen and characteristic 'hood', as well as taking key measurements on D1010 Western Campaigner.
We are pleased to confirm that the window shape on the model – which we had already revised with the builder – was correct, but some further changes were required on the hood. We had a wonderful day clambering over the front of the engine thanks to a marvellous purpose-designed access frame. We have passed all these details, photographs, measurements and drawings to the builder to correct the hoods. We are most grateful to the Diesel & Electric Traction Group for giving us privileged access to D1010.
Grange and Class 47XX
We have now sold out of Granges in GWR livery except for one engine in Scale 7 used as demonstrator. We still have a good choice of BR plain Black and BR lined green engines available with Churchward 3,500 gallon, Collett 3,500 gallon and Collett 4,000 gallon tenders. Very few Scale7 engines remain.
On the 47XX we still have a few BR plain black and some (not many) BR lined green engines. There remains a good choice of GWR plain green engines. All the lined black BR engines have now gone. We have a few engines left in Scale7.
57XX and 8750 Panniers
There is a good choice of 57XX and 8750 locomotives, both in GWR green and GWR black, as well as a few BR engines. All the original LT engines have gone, but the demand for these has been such that we are planning a further run up to 12 additional LT engines, all in O gauge. There are very few BR top feed engines left and no GWR riveted tank 57XX models remain. We can offer some 57XX engines in GWR green in early configuration. One customer has asked us to make a special 67XX dock shunter. When it is ready we will try to post some pictures. Scale 7 engines are now very scarce. We still have to deliver a number of engines including two S7 LT engines to Italy and the USA.
Only a few engines are now left – mainly Type 3 flat tanks (with extended buffer beams and no outside steam pipes) in GWR plain green in O gauge, and Type 5 sloping tanks in BR lined green. All type 1 and 2 engines have gone or are sold awaiting conversion. We have one type 4 and also one example of my favourite engine – 4507 in BR lined green in Scale 7. Someone must have this iconic old fashioned engine that should have been saved from the breakers.
We still have a good choice of single chimney engines, but double chimney engines are down to the last few. There is only one GWR livery one single chimney engine left. We can still offer Clun Castle, Great Western and Gloucester Castle. If you would like a particular engine please contact us with your request.
We have one BR lined green engine in weathered form and 3 pristine GWR Castles, all pre-owned.
Available engines are:
5018 St Mawes Castle Collett 4000 gallon tender GWR Green
5034 Corfe Castle Collet 4000 gallon tender GWR green
5038 Morlais Castle Collett 4000 gallon tender GWR green
5047 Earl of Dartmouth Collett 4000 gallon tender BR lined green weathered by Martin Welch. This is a superb example of a weathered engine.
We have just taken delivery of pre-owned 70010 Owen Glendower in early BR Lion-over-Wheel livery in 'as new' condition; it has had little running and is superb. The customer is a reluctant seller, due to space. This is a lovely locomotive but despite its interesting name is an Eastern Region engine. If you want a Britannia this is really one worth considering. The Lion-over-wheel engines were much better executed than the totem versions.
Duchess: LMS Red Streamliner 6242 City of Glasgow
Again, our customer has decided to sell due to lack of space. This is a double chimney red (Crimson Lake) streamlined Princess Coronation (Duchess) locomotive, little used and in excellent condition. This a rare chance to acquire a double chimney streamliner (not many were made by us). The original engine, after removal of the streamlined casing, was involved in the horrendous Harrow rail crash and was subsequently repaired, having the front footplate changed from the utility open to the curved drop frame. I saw it in BR lined green livery with the curved drop frame as a small boy in 1958 at Crewe Shed while passing on an express from Euston to Liverpool Lime Street hauled by Rebuilt Patriot, E Tootal Broadhurst. If you would like a streamlined Duchess in pristine form please consider buying this locomotive. Also it looks much better with the double chimney.
73XXX Standard Class 5
This project has been held up by the delay on the Class 52 Western. We have asked the builder to produce a sample of the Caprotti engine.
Rebuilt Royal Scot/Rebuilt Patriot/Rebuilt Jubilee and British Legion
We have received the drawings and sent them to the builder. The new Wild Swan Book on the Royal Scots has come out just at the right time. I would like to acknowledge and to thank David Hunt, one of the authors of the Wild Swan Book, for his wonderful help with the drawings. We need to decide how best to work this programme. Bob Meanley has also very kindly drawn up detailed schedules of the differences in the various classes. We are most grateful to Bob and David for all their encouragement and help with this project.
8 October 2019