Heljan have this week announced that now in development is for release in 2022 is a ready-to-run 0 gauge model of English Electric’s pioneering Class 73 – their first electric locomotive in this scale.
Designed to operate on both third-rail electric and diesel power in non-electrified areas such as yards and depots, the Class 73s lived a relatively mundane life until they were thrust into the limelight when the new ‘Gatwick Express’ operation started in 1984. Over the years, the class has worked everything from express passenger to newspaper and mail, freight and engineering trains. The advent of Sectorisation in the mid-1980s saw the standard BR blue livery replaced by a rainbow of liveries, a trend that continues today.
Despite a steady decline in the 1990s, these hugely versatile locomotives have seen a revival in the 21st century and continue to play a vital role hauling engineering and test trains for GB Railfreight and Network Rail on the 750V DC third-rail network and beyond. Now seen over a much wider area than in BR days, the ‘EDs’ have gained a cult following and 13 locomotives have even been rebuilt with more powerful diesel engines and modern electronics transforming them into 1,600hp go-anywhere machines.
Heljan’s all-new model is being designed to offer a range of authentic detail variations covering the entire career of the production batch built in 1965-67, many of which are still active on the main line network and heritage railways. These will include locomotives with or without high intensity headlights and NRN radio aerials, radio pods and optional fibreglass arc shields fitted to the bogies from the mid-1980s onwards.
Ten versions have been selected, covering a broad cross-section of BR, Sectorisation and Privatisation era liveries from 1965 to the present day – see below for more information. They are also currently examining options for models with factory-fitted DCC sound, details of which will be confirmed separately. The likely Price for DCC Ready models will be £625.00.
- 7300: BR Blue E6008 (small yellow panels/grey solebar) WEATHERED
- 7301: BR Blue E6020 (small yellow panels)
- 7302: BR Blue 73137 (full yellow ends)
- 7303: BR Large Logo Blue 73114
- 7304: InterCity Executive 73102 Airtour Suisse
- 7305: BR Civil Engineers ‘Dutch’ grey/yellow 73108
- 7306: Revised Network SouthEast 73126 Kent & East Sussex Railway
- 7308: EW&S red/gold 73128
- 7309: Network Rail yellow 73212
- 7310: GB Railfreight blue/orange 73107 Tracy
Standard features will include sprung buffers, wire handrails, fine etched grilles, separately fitted buffing plates, SR 27-way multiple working cables and hoses, windscreen wipers, sandpipes, bogie and bufferbeam details. CAD work is currently in progress. It will also feature their proven high-performance twin motor/flywheel chassis with all-wheel drive and pick-up, separately switchable cab, headcode and engine room lights, an ESU XL pin decoder interface and provision for DCC sound.