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Fire in Incheon Factory

It is with great regret that we have to announce that a fire broke out in the Incheon (South Korea) factory of one of our builders earlier this week. Thank goodness it appears that no one was injured in the fire, but extensive damage was caused.

Although it’s too early to be absolutely certain, it seems that the cause of the fire was a fault in the electrical system. Fire swept through part of building destroying virtually everything in its path. In addition there is water damage from the firemen fighting the fire.

The only Masterpiece Models affected by this are the ex-Kemilway LBSCR and GNR ‘Atlantics’– the build of which we had been hoping to take over subject to assessment – and the Class 52 ‘Western’ diesel hydraulics.

Fortunately the Class 52 ‘Westerns’ were in a part of the factory which mainly suffered from smoke damage rather than the full effects of the fire, so we understand they were not seriously affected. Very sadly, however, all the ex-Kemilway ‘Atlantics’ have been completely destroyed, together with a full set of Gauge 1 German outline coaches being made for one of the builder’s other customers.

Atlantics fire damage

Terminal fire damage to the ex-Kemilway 'Atlantics'

Insurance claims are now being filed to recover the losses, but where does this leave us – and more importantly our customers who have placed orders for these models?

Well, the outlook is not as bleak as it may seem. The ‘Western’ diesels will be moved as soon as possible to a new factory where the builder was planning to relocate anyway in February. This may result in a slight delay to the production while the builder gets back on his feet, but barring any complications we are still optimistic that the models can be delivered in 2020.

As regards the ‘Atlantics’, we had already put a considerable amount of work into the programme having received a very positive response from potential customers after we announced the possibility of taking over the Kemilway build. As a result, we are now looking at restarting the ‘Atlantic’ programme from scratch, which means that we would be able to build the models to full Masterpiece Models standards from the outset.

The Halls, Modified Halls, 28XX/38XX and rebuilt BR/LMS 7P 4-6-0s are not affected by the fire as they are being made at a different factory on another site. The Standard Class 5 is also not affected.

These are early days and a full assessment of the fire damage is ongoing. We will continue to update you when and as we receive further news of developments. Our intention is to proceed with all the builds for which we have made commitments.

John Borkowski 17 January 2020