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Model Rail Magazine have announced via their August 2019 issue, No. 263, that they have commissioned Danish manufacturer Heljan to produce the Class 12, 350hp diesel 0-6-0 shunters along the with the War Department, LMS / GWR Class 11 versions. Twenty six of the shunters, with English Electric 350hp engines, that became Class 12 were ordered by the Southern Railway before nationalisation but were first built at Ashford in 1949 and the order completed by 1952.

Class 12 350hp shunter, No. 15211 in orginal black livery

Numbered 15211-36, the Class 12 locomotives, looked very similar to the later numerous Class 08 and Class 09  and the earlier Class 11 350hp 0-6-0 shunters but had larger 4ft 6in diameter “Bulleid-Firth Brown” type wheels, the same size as used by Maunsell on his three 1937 shunters) as opposed to the 4ft 2in, normally spoked variety used on the others (Note not called ‘Boxpox’ as per the original North American style, as often incorrectly used for the Bulleid-Firth Brown type, including within the Model Rail magazine article announcing these models).

The Model Rail Class 12 version will include Bulleid-Firth Brown style wheels and the additional lamp irons / marker lights, however due to tooling limitations it may mean it will not be possible to include some of the smaller detail differences between the Class 11 and Class 12. All models will include a NEXT 18 DCC decoder socket, working head and tail lights, a stay alive capacitor and a factory fitted ‘sugar-cube’ speaker.

The Class 11s being produced first are not expected until Q1 2022 with 15 liveries available and the Class 12s the following year Q1 2023 with 5 versions available, all livery versions are limited to 300 pieces.

Class 11

  • MR-501: WD green, 70271
  • MR-502: Longmoor Military Railway blue, 878 Basra
  • MR-503: LMS pre-war black, 7120
  • MR-504: LMS post-war black, 7128
  • MR-505: BR black, British Railways lettering, 12043
  • MR-506: WR green, British Railways lettering, 15106
  • MR-507: BR black, early emblem, 12049
  • MR-508: BR black, early emblem (weathered), 12075
  • MR-509: BR plain green, late crest, 12105
  • MR-510: BR green, wasp stripes, 12100
  • MR-511: BR green, wasp stripes, 15105
  • MR-512: BR blue, D12062
  • MR-513: BR blue (weathered), 12052
  • MR-514: ICI grey/orange, Joule
  • MR-515: NCB orange, 12099

Class 12 (with larger 4ft 6in diameter “Bulleid-Firth Brown” type wheels)

  • MR-601: BR black, 15223
  • MR-602: BR black, early emblem, 15235
  • MR-603: BR green, wasp stripes, 15224
  • MR-604: BR green, wasp stripes (weathered), 15221
  • MR-605: BR blue, 15212

They will be eventually available to pre-ordered via the Model Rail webiste http://www.modelrailoffers.co.uk/ in due course.

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And now for for something slightly different… Along with the other railway companies at the time , the Southern Railway, during the 1930’s, were also looking for the future of locomotive power. In 1937 Maunsell ordered three six coupled 350hp diesel electric locos, built by the SR at Ashford with English Electric power units, to compare against the Z class 0-8-0 tanks. These along with later versions ordered by Bulleid, were the ancestors of the British Railways large class of 350hp shunters that became the 08/09 class.

This picture from my collection shows Nº1 still in Southern livery taken on the main line, for a change, at Norwood junction (so not that far from home) on 6 June 1948

The construction of the frames, cabs and bodywork was completed at the Southern Railway’s Ashford works. English Electric, at their Preston works, then installed their  6K power units developing 350bhp at 680 rpm, traction equipment and motors after which they were returned to Ashford for final assembly.
The coupled wheels were 4’6″ in diameter and the weight in working order was 55¼ tons. Numbers 1 and 2 entered service in August 1937 with Number 3 following in September.

rear 3/4 view showing the distinctive rear cab overhang and the sloping lower rear windows

One distinctive feature of the Ashford body was the overhang at the rear of the cab with two angled lower windows, as well as the more normal two vertical windows, giving clear visibility of the buffers and coupling area. Most drawings available for these locos do not show these two lower angled windows, and at least one photograph shows they were not fitted when first delivered so they were a later modification, but one made very soon after they entered service.

No. 1 in post war livery,  still needs a couple of handrails added to the front steps

All three were allocated to Norwood yard for the majority of their working life on the Southern. It is therefore somewhat modellers licence that  my model sometimes makes an appearance on Fisherton Sarum.  When these locos were first introduced they were not described by the Southern as ‘shunters’ but as ‘trip’ locos. However, in trials on short freight trip workings around London the maximum speed of 25 mph was found to be too slow for regular use on the heavily used suburban passenger lines. On nationalisation they were renumbered 15201, 15202 and 15203 in the BR numbering scheme. All three were withdrawn and broken up in 1964.

My model was build from a Golden Arrow Productions resin body on a Lima chassis, (being the best option available at the time, although it might end up on a more recent finer  Bachmann or Hornby 08 chassis eventually).

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