In honour of Bradley Wiggins riding triumphantly into Paris yesterday as the first British victor of the Tour De France I thought it might be appropriate to look at the Maunsell Lord Nelson class…
Introduced by Maunsell in 1926 the four cylinder 4-6-0 locomotives had 6 ft 7 in diameter driving wheels, a boiler pressure of 220 lb psi and a tractive effort of 33500 lb that was the the highest of any British express passenger locomotive of the time. In service the Lord Nelsons were found to be not as free steaming as the King Arthur class which remained the majority of footplate crews’ favourite. Performance of the class could be erratic and this was attributed to unfamiliarity with its firing needs. In the hands of an experienced LN crew such as from Bournemouth where the many members of the 16 strong class were often allocated exceptional performances could be obtained.
Bulleid improved the class by fitting Lemaître multiple jet blastpipes and larger diameter piston valves. He also introduced the final design of tender, still with 5,000 gallons capacity but with a sharper slope to the bunker floor which helped make the coal tumble forwards more easily. The sides were raised which increased the depth of the bunker.
The model was first released by Bachmann in 1992 and was a regular in their catalogue up until 2002 after which it has only appeared again in 2008 and 2009/10. Although one of the more detailed models for its time, as the bar has continually risen over the last few years with ready to run models such as the Bachmann N and Hornby’s Q1, M7, T9, Schools and N15, it is now showing its age.
A number of simple improvements can be made to the model to improve its look and update it a little:
1) Painting the rim sides of the front bogie wheels and maybe even the main driving wheel rim sides too.
2) The missing lamp irons can be added on the front and those moulded on the tender rear replaced from either thin brass or as I tend to use all the time, cut down ‘Bambi’ staples.
3) Bachman’s representation of the Bulleid wide diameter Lemaitre Chimney has not really captured the shape at all well, let alone the fact that it is solid. The Chimney is a separately fitted item and drilling down though the middle of the chimney and the lug that holds it on to the boiler with simply allow the removal and easy replacement by a brass one (available from Markits Model Railway Products) which certainly improves the look no end, I have already done this to all three of mine as per the pictures on this post. If nothing else drilling out the middle and reaffixing with glue the original Bachman chimney is an improvement on its own.
4) The loco to tender coupling is a simple plastic peg protruding from the front of the tender then hook under the back of the locomotive rear framing. This does leave quite a large gap and can sometimes allow the tender to uncouple from the loco over areas or slightly uneven track. One simple cure for both issues is to slip over the peg a short (3mm or so) length of tube cut from the top end of a biro pen insert as this increases the diameter and length of the peg therefore bring the tender closer to the locomotive and also prevents the uncoupling tendency.
5) Fabricate and fit front steps and also possibly the fitting of drain pipework from fine copper wire
6) The simple addition of real coal in to the tender to cover the moulded coal load.
7) The addition of other detailing items such as Southern engine headsignal discs, crew and fireirons etc.