Originally announced back in April 2012 the SR USA 0-6-0T Tank commissioned by Model Rail Magazine has now arrived. The gestation period although appears long, due to a number of factors including switching the manufacture from Dapol to Bachmann, researching and checking all the variation differences but boy has been worth the wait, I am also pleased to have been able to play a small part in this process.
Model Rail Magazine originally announced 4 variations:
- MR-101 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery
- MR-102 number 68 in Southern Black livery with Sunshine lettering
- MR-103 number 30069 in BR Black livery with early emblem
- MR-104 number 30064 in BR Lined Malachite Green livery with late crest (Sold Out).
They later also added a further six versions:
- MR-105 number 300 in Longmoor Military Railway blue
- MR-106 number 30071 in BR Black livery with late crest and weathered finish
- MR-108 number 72 in Keighley & Worth Valley Golden Ochre livery
- MR-109 number 30067 in BR Black livery with Late Crest
- MR-110 number DS237 “Maunsell” in BR Departmental Green livery
To a certain extent it is the number of variations being produced and the tooling differences required to cover them that has added to the complexity and time taken to produce the models. I am now the proud owner of two MR-102s one will stay as number 68 and the other will become s64 with British Railways in Southern ‘Sunshine’ style lettering on the tanks. The models have captured the looks and fine details extremely well including; a multitude of separately applied hand rails and pipework, a detailed cab interior, well applied cab glazing.
The chassis with its fine and complex looking walschaerts valve gear is powered by a powerful and well geared 5 Pole Motor giving excellent performance with pick ups on all wheels. The die cast chassis gives a weighty feel and ensures good haulage capability.
The Bachmann and Model Rail Magazine team have managed to incorporate all the slight variations that existed between the relatively small members of the class that includes cab window styles, coal bunkers, steps, cab ventilators, handrails, pipe runs, smokebox doors and lamp irons etc. (although there has of course to be a compromise in some cases such as with smokebox door U shaped hand rails being present and single not twin lubricators on 30064).
An excellent new style of information sheet is included with the model, which I believe is to become standard with future Bachmann releases, also shows the positions of the additional detail items included with the model for owners to fit such as buffer beam pipes etc.
The Southern Railway purchased 14 (plus one extra for spares) of these powerful, short wheel based locomotives from the United States Army Transportation Corps in 1946 for use within Southampton Docks. They were modified at at Eastleigh works to suit SR use including: adding steam heating, vacuum ejectors, sliding cab windows and larger front square windows, additional lamp irons and steps and new cylinder drain cocks. Once the locomotives started to enter traffic, large roof-top ventilators were fitted, British regulators to replace the US-style pull-out one, extended coal bunkers, separate steam and vacuum brake controls and wooden tip-up seats. Six of the class were later transferred to departmental stock and could be found at locations such Guildford shed and Meldon Quarry. They were eventually replaced at Southampton by the Class 07 diesel shunters. Withdrawal of the class took place between 1964 and 1967. A number have entered preservation.