The builders are still working on the final sample models, which are due in the next two weeks. We have a part-finished 4575 model (above), which will be available for view at Doncaster. The 45XX/4575 programme has become far more complex than originally planned as the variations in configuration of these locomotives over their working lives is enormous.
We have now finalised the production programme, which is as follows:
45XX Flat Tanks: 110 locomotives
• 45XX Type 1 Earliest Wolverhampton built engines in GWR green, 8 locomotives
(Short chassis, small low bunker, no top feed, short smokebox, tapered cast iron chimney, square drop plate footplate)
• 45XX Type 1 Earliest Swindon built engines in GWR green, 7 locomotives
(Short chassis, small low bunker, no top feed, short smokebox, parallel cast iron chimney, square drop plate footplate)
• 45XX Type 2 Modified Type 1 engines in GWR green, 15 locomotives
(Short chassis, small taller bunker, top feed, extended smokebox, parallel cast iron chimney, square drop plate foot plate)
• 45XX Type 3 Modified Type 1 or 2 engines with long chassis and packed rear buffer beam, tall extended bunker, top feed, extended smokebox, tapered cast iron chimney. 35 locomotives
Type 3.1A1 GWR green square drop plate, no ATC, 5 locomotives
Type 3.1A2 GWR green square drop plate, ATC, 5 locomotives
Type 3.1B BR Black square drop plate, ATC, 5 locomotives
Type 3.1C BR green square drop plate, ATC, side handrails, 10 locomotives
Type 3.2A GWR green curved drop plate, ATC, 5 locomotives
Type 3.2B BR green curved drop plate, ATC, 5 locomotives
• 45XX Type 4 Locomotives curved drop plate footplate, long chassis, tall extended bunker, extended smokebox, top feed, tapered cast iron chimney. 45 locomotives
Type 4A1 GWR green, no ATC, 5 locomotives
Type 4A2 GWR green, ATC, 15 locomotives
Type 4B BR black, ATC, 5 locomotives
Type 4C BR green, ATC, 20 locomotives
4575 Sloping Tanks: 50 Locomotives
Type 5A GWR green, 25 locomotives
Type 5B BR Black, 10 locomotives
Type 5C1 BR green, 10 locomotives
Type 5C2 BR green with side hand rails 5 locomotives
Total production of the 45XX/4575 is planned as 160 locomotives.
We now have the 70XX Castle samples here in the UK, which arrived late last week from Korea. There is a complete single chimney locomotive, the new Hawksworth tender, a heavily modified Collett 4000 gallon tender and a partially-built double chimney locomotive body representing the “odd man out” 7013 Bristol Castle. Bristol Castle has the earlier 4073 type cab and the Davies and Metcalf mechanical lubricator together with the lubricator oil tank (reservoir) on the right had side of the smokebox. It is quite a beast with its imposing double chimney and intricate lubrication pipework. It has that presence of power that only a Castle with a double chimney has on an enthusiast’s eye.
For those of you who don’t like Castles with double chimneys, there is always the single chimney locomotive to fall back on. But do give the double chimney models a chance as they do grow on you, especially if you are lucky enough to see a real preserved locomotive such as 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. Please note that there are still a number of modifications to be made before these models finally go into production, including the correct spring settings for the tenders which are currently riding too high.
Tenders are often a difficult topic with individuals often having very strong opinions for or against particular designs. As a boy owning a Hornby Dublo Bristol Castle, I always favoured the Collett 4000 gallon tender over the Hawksworth variant. I now have been pouring over the two sample tenders continually swapping them over behind the single chimney Castle sample model. After much thought I have come to the conclusion that it is dead heat and that I like the Hawksworth tender behind a Castle just as much as the Collett version. We are offering customers the opportunity to take up two tenders with their Castle locomotive. So far there are only a few takers, but I would urge those who select individual Castle locomotives that swapped tenders during their particular era of interest to consider the option of a second tender.
We have been approached by two customers who want their 70XX Castles to be in the 1948 condition, just after nationalisation, which is basically GWR livery but with BRITISH RAILWAYS on the tender. This is an interesting combination as it allows many more 70XX models to be in what is virtually GWR livery with all the early features. So if you are a GWR buff and your 70XX never had GWR livery with Great Western on the tender, do think about the 1948 BRITISH RAILWAYS option.
We are very impressed with the sample models that represent a major step forward both in terms of detail and technology improvement on our earlier models. It has a new drive chain (completely new gearbox and motor) as well as split axles that eliminate conventional or plunger pick-ups that are frequently a cause of electrical conductivity problems. The new technology means a huge improvement in running performance. So all you modellers with layouts both O gauge and S7 should really be able to appreciate the changes.
The builders are now pressing me to start full-scale production, but before we do this we are having the sample models extensively checked our by our panel of experts. We will then go back with the inevitable list of changes and corrections to incorporate into the production models.
The Castles will also be on display at the O Gauge Doncaster Show on Saturday (June 4th). We look forward to seeing everyone there.
02 June 2016