North of the Border

A complaint that seems to rear up now and again is that modellers of Scotland are being neglected by the manufacturers. That is to say, while there are plenty of engines that worked in Scotland on the market (e.g. Black 5s), there are few specifically Scottish engines on the market. Hornby’s recent Clan goes some way to rectifying this, but otherwise all there really is for the Scottish modeller is the ex-Triang Caledonian Single and Hornby’s 1980s-origin Caledonian Pug and Barclay diesel shunter.

It’s a thorny question. The counter-argument is that there are relatively few Scottish modellers. However, it’s also worth noting that people used to say exactly the same thing about the Southern, now superbly well-supplied.

The other point I would make is the Murphy’s Models argument. Irish railways were utterly unrepresented in the model market, other than in the form of a few reliveried and unambiguously British prototypes. Murphy’s Models leapt into that niche and made a success of it. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to suggest that the same thing could happen for Scottish railways, if enough people clubbed together and approached a manufacturer.

See, I’m a firm believer that sometimes the model creates the market. I know several people who own a Q1 but are not Southern modellers, but just like the engine. And it seems very unlikely to me that everyone who bought the NRM/Bachmann Deltic models the appropriate line/period for such an engine to make an appearance.

I’d suggest something like the Caledonian Railway 439 class, pictured left. It’s small, lasted a long time and is typically Scottish. 74 passed into BR service and one survives on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway.

The other suggestion I’d make is the Jones Goods, perhaps as a limited edition? These lasted well into LMS days and one, of course, survived into preservation. It performed on a number of railtours in BR days and would add a welcome splash of colour.

I’m no expert on Scottish railways, I have to admit, and would welcome all thoughts and comments from other folk.


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