Today, via their Engine Shed blog, Hornby have announced that they are to produce the ex SECR / SR Wainwright H class 0-4-4 tank as part of their 2017 range. The blog post also includes images of the first 3D Stereolithography printed samples showing the excellent progress that they have made so far. Ever since they posted a teaser picture some time ago on their Engine Shed blog and social media, taken on the roof whilst photographing and measuring the only surviving member of the class, number 1263, on the Bluebell Railway the rumours have been circulating; although I have been fortunate to know it was being worked on for some time now.
The first 64 of the eventual 66 members of the class were first introduced by Wainwright of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway between November 1904 and 1909. The final two members of the class were eventually built under the auspices of Maunsell in 1915! They first appeared in Wainwright’s fully lined dark green livery followed by by Maunsell’s plain dark green livery, then the wartime dull grey livery up until 1923. In Southern Railway days they were in lined olive green which gave way to Bulleid black under wartime conditions and eventually British Railways lined black.
All but two members of the class (numbers 1264 & 1312 due to cracked frames) entered British Railways service with withdrawals taking place initially between 1951 and 1953 as a result of the spread of electrification and the remainder between 1959 and 1964. A large number of the class were fitted with standard SR air control Pull Push gear from 1949 onwards to replace some of the aging D3, R & R1 0-4-4 tanks. There were a number of slight differences within the class such as steam and Westinghouse braked versions, slight variations in coal and water capacities, while fifteen of the class had straight sided rather than flare topped coal bunkers.
Hornby have announced their intention to initially in 2017 to produce three versions: SECR full lined green, Southern olive green (subject to confirmation) and early emblem BR liveries; along with a fourth BR late crest variant in a train pack with two Maunsell 6xx series Pull Push coaches.
Final details and actual locomotive numbers etc will be further revealed in due course, and posted on this blog when available, however the Hornby design team have advised me that they are tooling to accommodate steam and Westinghouse braked versions, flat and flared bunker sides along with those fitted with air control pull push gear.
This will no doubt be a popular release and very useful for modellers of the Eastern and Central sections of the Southern Railway rather then the Western Section which has already recently been well catered for by Hornby with their M7, N15, S15, T9 and 700 class releases.