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The Holden B12 and the Raven Q6 Class - the story so far

The Holden B12 and the Raven Q6 Class - the story so far


Hello and welcome to another edition of Engine Shed! Last time, we came to you direct from The Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham with two exciting additions to our 2016 range. The inclusion of the 0-8-0 Raven Q6 Class and 4-6-0 Holden B12 Class completes our line-up for the coming year and it’s been really interesting reading your comments about the range on various forums and Social Media sites.

Since the full range announcement, a few questions have been asked and also, a number of suggestions have been made about what we should include in our future ranges. We realise that some of you may have been disappointed that a loco you suggested earlier in the year will not be appearing in the 2016 range, but it is important to remember that in Development, we occupy a different timeframe to the ‘real world’. So, as 2015 draws to an end, we saw this as an opportunity to illustrate this by looking at how matters stand presently.

The announcement of the 2016 range during the weekend of the Warley Show was the culmination of a series of events that were finalised during May and June this year. The new items of tooling for the 2016 range, such as the Q6, Collett Coaches and the Bulleid and Maunsell Cattle Wagon, were actually finalised a year earlier during May/June 2014, with research and design taking place between then and November 2015.


On-site-at-STEAMThe world's best job? Our Researcher out and about tracking down the information for models that wont see the light of day for at least 18 months! 


The new items of tooling for 2017 were decided upon by March/April this year and we are currently half way through design work on those subjects, research having been completed and measuring trips taking place as each designer becomes free. The remaining range line up is currently being worked on (with the first draft having just been completed) and we would hope that it is finalised and ready for approval by the end of January 2016.


Out and about in December 2015Out and about in December 2015 measuring up for a 2017 product. 


Ideas for the new items of tooling for 2018 are already being collated, with background research having taken place over the last few months on a shortlist of subjects. We would hope to have whittled these down to a definitive list for approval by February 2016, so that research can take place whilst the designers are finishing off the 2017 range items.

Given these timeframes, any wishes for new items aired during the summer of 2015 would, if we decided to pursue them, feature in the 2018 range. Sometimes, like this spring, any openings in design capacity can allow an item to be squeezed in to the current range being worked on (which is what happened with the Maunsell 58’ coaches and Peckett 0-4-0 this year), so an item may be brought forward in our schedule of releases.

Yet again Warley was tremendous fun, it was great to speak to many of you and note down your ideas for future products. It was also fantastic to speak to you one-on-one and just talk "Model Railways", after all, that's why we're all here right? As you may have seen, it was an amazingly busy weekend at the Hornby stand with crowds flocking to see our displays and layouts but it was perhaps our surprise additions that got the most attention!



0-8-0 Raven Q6 Class


Class: Q6Loco: 2220Date: 19372220 in 1937 NE195 Credit Colour Rail


At the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the upsurge in the growth of mineral traffic in the North-East exceeded the amount of steam haulage available to transport it. The existing North Eastern Q5 locomotives, were extremely capable engines but it was felt a more powerful, superheated design would be justified in the circumstances.

Between February 1913 and March 1921, 120 examples of Raven’s new T2 eight-coupled locomotive were built, in six batches, resulting in a powerful, sturdy and reliable engine design that fulfilled its requirement to haul mineral and heavy freight traffic, right through to late 1967. The first seventy were built at Darlington, with the last batch of fifty being constructed by Armstrong Whitworth & Co. of Newcastle.

The class was not intended for passenger traffic and was therefore purely equipped with steam braking for bother engine and tender, five different types of which were used with the locomotive which ranged from the early 3,940 gallon tenders to the later 4,125 self-trimming type. When the NER was absorbed into the LNER at Grouping in 1923, the locomotive class was designated as Q6 and they operated from sheds across the North-East of the territory, from Humberside to Tyneside and across Northumberland into Cumbria, even making it into Scotland during 1923.

Although the class remained visually similar during its lifetime, subtle differences arose when the boilers were updated, starting between 1927-29. Identified by the boiler dome being placed just over a foot further back towards the cab, with a flatter aspect, in due course all the engines were fitted with these new Diagram 50A boilers. Other detail differences were evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, with items such as smokebox doors, chimneys and buffers changing form, whilst the introduction of positive drive led to changes in the position of the lubricators.

A single Q6 has been preserved, saved by the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group and housed at the North York Moors Railway, which is Locomotive No.2238.





After a visit to the kind folk at North Yorkshire Moors Railway, work began on the CAD for the Q6 one balmy afternoon in June 2014. Since then we have received running samples and decoration samples - all of which we’re extremely happy with!

If you haven’t already, you might want to take a look at our Advent Calendar today, for a rather special treat!

The Q6 is available to pre-order now, and is expected in July 2016.




4-6-0 Holden B12 Class


61565 at Nottingham March 194961565 at Nottingham, March 1949


The restrictions on locomotive weight and length were keenly felt by the Great Eastern Railway and whilst James Holden’s S46, D56 and H88 Claud Hamilton 4-4-0 designs were not unduly restricted, when he came to consider a 4-6-0 design for high performance express work, the inside cylinder was his only real option. To gain power, Holden was quick to embrace the idea of superheating and so in 1911, the first order was placed for his S69 class locomotive.

Under the GER, seventy one S69 engines were built, fifty one at Stratford and twenty at Wm Beardmore & Co. in Glasgow. The reason for the ‘odd’ locomotive arose when No.1506 was destroyed in a collision at Colchester when only five months old, the number was not re-used, the replacement being included as part of order M77 at Stratford.

The large enclosed cab with side windows and an extended roof were a noticeable feature of Holden’s design and allied to the large Belpaire firebox, decorative valance over the driving wheels and short 3,700 gallon tender, gave the impression of the locomotive being bigger than it actually was.

Allocated throughout East Anglian sheds, the S69 saw sterling service hauling the Liverpool Street-Norwich mainline trains, as well as the Harwich Boat Trains, Cambridge and Great Yarmouth services. At Grouping in 1923, the S69 became classified as the LNER B12 and extended its range to Doncaster, Leeds and Manchester. The LNER’s plans for 2-6-4T engines to operate services to Southend were abandoned following issues with the type’s stability and so a further ten B12 locomotives were ordered from Beyer, Peacock and Co to fill the void, the design being fitted with vacuum ejectors, Lenz poppet valves and dual air and vacuum brakes and classified as class B12/2.

With large scale upgrading to the permanent way by the LNER, it at last became possible to increase the weight of locomotives and so a larger, round topped boiler pattern, with a bigger superheater was introduced, along with modified valve gear, resulting in a new B12/3 classification. Further modifications were carried out to the boilers of nine of the twenty five Scottish engines, this resulted in the final variation of the class, the B12/4.

During 1944, due to their wide route availability, a number of the B12/3s were utilised to work on ambulance trains hauling air braked, American built stock, mainly in the West Country. To improve the loading gauge, the footsteps were cut back and holes cut into them, making them instantly recognisable in later years.

Seventy two locomotives entered British Rail service at Nationalisation in 1948, further withdrawals taking place at regular intervals until the last locomotive, No.61572, was withdrawn in September 1961 and it is this engine that is preserved at the North Norfolk Railway.


Research trip 1 web

Research trip 2 webMeasuring up at North Norfolk Railway.


We’re really excited to finally be able to announce the B12 as an addition to the 2016 range, after all, it is a highly suggested loco on forums and on our Social Media pages. We’ve been working on the loco since February this year with a visit to North Norfolk Railway in November 2014 providing extremely valuable measurements and data to make the design possible. We’ve received the stereo samples and the model is being tooled at this very moment. It hasn’t been without its fair share of challenges though. Our aim with locos like this and the Q6 is to pack as much weight into the chassis as possible, all the while maintaining the recognisable gap between the chassis and the boiler.  We feel like we’ve cracked it now, and it was during the design of the D16 that the current method became clear.


R3430 B12 LNER CAD - WEBR3430 B12 LNER CAD 



B12-web Early Stereo Sample of 4-6-0 Holden B12 Class


Work is progressing nicely with the B12 and so far we have received the Stereo Sample from our suppliers and whilst there are still a few more tweaks to make, we are hoping to receive the first shots from the tooling early in the New Year!

Well there we have it, our last Engine Shed blog post before this month’s festivities! How does Hornby feature in your Christmas build up? Why not head over to our Official Forum and tell us about it in their competition to win R1183 A Master of the Glens Train Set. As always, let us know what you think of The Engine Shed over at the Forum and on Facebook and Twitter.

Engine Shed is taking a well-earned break but we'll be back on 1st January 2016 with more behind-the-scenes news. Thanks for reading and from everyone here in the Hornby Development Team, have a very Happy Christmas.



The Engine Shed Team


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