The Southern Region has taken a back seat of late for new locomotives, but this month has seen the arrival of Bachmann’s brand new model of the Wainwright ‘C’ class 0-6-0 – a long lived class with a 60 year history at work on the SECR, Southern Railway and British Railway’s Southern Region.
The first of the class was introduced in 1900 as part of a plan of three new locomotive designs introduced by new Locomotive and Carriage Superintendent Harry Wainwright to replace aging and under powered locomotives from the 1800s.
In total 109 ‘C’ class 0-6-0s were built with 70 being built at Ashford, nine at Longhedge, 15 by Neilson Reid and 15 by Sharp Stewart. The last entered traffic in 1908. When new the ‘Cs’ were painted in Wainwrights lined dark green goods livery, but this later gave way to black – a livery which stuck with the class throughout its Southern Railway and BR Southern Region career.
The class remained on the Eastern Section of the Southern Railway network throughout and withdrawals began in the late 1950s with the onset of electrification on the Kent Coast. Two entered departmental service and one of these – originally SECR 592 – is preserved at the Bluebell Railway.
The subject of Bachmann’s BR liveried model of the SECR ‘C’ 0-6-0 is 31086. This locomotive was built in September 1900 at Ashford Works and emerged as 86. It was renumbered by the Southern Railway after the 1923 grouping as 1086 and finally became 31086 after 1948 and the nationalisation of Britain’s railways. This locomotive survived in traffic until October 1960.
The model is a characterful portrayal of the prototype locomotives. The ‘C’ class was a robust and simple design which had few external features. However, its overall appearance can only be declared as Victorian with its short smokebox, open back cab and inside valve gear.
However, the utilitarian appearance of the ‘C’ has been captured superbly by Bachmann. The face of the model looks just like the real thing and is enhanced by features such as lamp irons – including addition brackets on the smokebox frame for Southern Region discs – smokebox door dart, factory fitted bufferbeam fittings and a wonderful model of the chimney. The large dome of ‘C’ class is modelled neatly too together with the safety valves on top of the firebox.
The driver’s side of the ‘C’ has the most detail to include covering a single sandbox on the front of the middle driving wheel splasher, ejector pipework and the Westinghouse air pump fitted to these locomotives. The firemans side is much more Spartan, but nevertheless equally well done.
One area which has been left on this model is detail between the frames. This area of the recently released ‘D11’ 4-4-0 was detailed, so it seems a shame that these fixtures have been left out on the ‘C’.
However, there is more fine work to appreciate in the cab interior which is fully detailed and crying out to have a crew added to the footplate while the tender body and chassis are again superb models which really capture the looks and features of these locomotives. A removable metal coal load is included on the tender, although the coal space is flat beneath – presumably to allow space for a decoder and speaker to be installed inside the tender.
The paint finish on the BR liveried ‘C’ class is undeniably simple, but up to Bachmann’s usual high standard in satin black. The numbers, crests and a Bricklayers Arms (73B) shedplate on the smokebox door. This particular model as BR small early crests on the tender sides.
Our review sample of the ‘C’ was another excellent runner straight from the box. It ran smoothly and quietly throughout the speed range and offered more than enough haulage capacity handling a 20 wagon goods with ease. However, unlike the recently released ‘D11’ the ‘C’ does not have pick ups on the tender wheels. While we didn’t find this to be a problem, clean track will be essential for the best performance from this model.
A 21-pin DCC decoder socket is located inside the tender which comes coupled to the locomotive through a four-wire connection and an adjustable drawbar. The wired connection can be released to separate the two halves of the ‘C’ if required. Inside the tender there is space for both a decoder and a speaker with holes drilled through the tender floor to allow sound to escape for those wishing to install sound.
Bachmann’s new ‘C’ class is a wonderfully good looking model and it has the performance to match too. Okay, it may not have detail beneath the boiler and the lack of pick ups on the tender seems to us to be a step backwards following on the from the ‘D11’, but this is still a superb model which runs as well as it looks.
Another area which really does impress about this model is its price – at full retail price the ‘C’ class is less than £85 which is really quite impressive. Bachmann’s new Southern Region 0-6-0 is excellent and available now. (MW)
Cat No: 31-462
Description: Wainwright ‘C’ 0-6-0 31086, BR black
DCC: DCC ready, 21-pin socket
Couplings: Small tension locks in NEM pockets