Having been in the top 10 of various wishlist polls for many years, the S160 2-8-0 has been a regularly requested / wish listed models. With Rapido Trains UK being an offshoot of the North America (albeit Canada) it seems a bit of a no-brainer for them to make a model of an American-built loco that operated in the UK.
You may be wondering why it is being featured here, so read on…
These locomotives were a standard design used by the US Army Transportation Corps (USATC) and were within the UK loading gauge. Almost 800 were shipped to Britain between 1942 and 1943 ready for the Invasion of France in 1944.
Prior to the invasion, the first 400 were used by all four of Britain’s main railway companies, including the SR.
Numbers 1771, 1926, 1920, 2356, 2378 and 2590 were officially allocated to Exmouth Jn. However 30 went through Eastleigh works for final assembly and were run in on the SR before being transferred to their allocated depots. The later later S160s were prepared by USATC personnel at Ebbw Junction before being greased and stored ready for use after D-Day 6th June 1944.
After the Invasion of France the Ebbw Junction stored S160s were shipped out to France, then the S160s on loan to the railways companies were returned to the USATC and shipped out to France. Those allocated to Exmouth Junction were all transferred back to USATC by September 1944.
Due to the considerable variations of the members of the class, especially as different manufacturers were involved, the Rapido Trains UK plan is to produce models of the original locomotives ‘as built’, when they were seen across the entire country during the Second World War. They will also produce tooling to allow for several preserved examples to be modelled as closely as possible.
Rapido Trains UK have also announced their intention to produce the small industrial Manning Wardle L Class 0-6-0, no Southern connection as such although some of the SR pre-grouping companies did operate sister classes of Manning and Wardles.
It should be noted that although announced today, it is slightly frustratingly, not a full announcement with any details of the actual variations and liveries being produced or pricing, so it is not actually possible to pre-order the models today, so watch this space.