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Ready to Run Locomotives

Please note that since this document was originally prepared in the mid 1980s there have been many changes to the range of available models. There are now a number of manufacturers offering ready to run locomotives,often of very high quality, whilst the former Lima and Minitrix ranges have now been discontinued. Whilst some attempt has been made to bring the details up to date these notes are far from being a complete listing and although they may assist the complete beginner 'old hands' will probably find little of interest in this section.

Graham Farish

The 0-6-0 'GP' side tank is of a common inside-cylinder design which appeared in the last century. There were many thousands of basically similar locomotives built by various companies, by changing the funnel and boiler dome a range of different examples can be represented.

The LMS 3F 'Jinty' was introduced by Farish to replace the 'GP' tank model. The Jinties were introdiuced in 1934 and all withdrawn by the end of 1966. They were extensively used for shunting duties and as 'station pilot' loco's, for shunting parcels vans, assembling passenger trains etc. Another use was as a 'banking' loco, where up to three might be used to help push a heavy freight train up an incline. The Jinties were all painted in unlined black by both the LMS and BR.

The GWR 57xx 0-6-0PT (also available in kit form from Langley, to fit the Farish 96xx chassis) is perhaps the archetypal GWR pannier tank loco, seen all over the GWR system from their introduction in 1929. Production continued until 1950, but all were phased out of BR service by 1966. London Transport operated a few until 1971, in LT lined red livery, and the National Coal Board was still operating at least one in 1980.

The GWR 2-6-2T 61xx suburban passenger loco's were confined to the London area, being relegated to parcels and empty stock workings when diesel multiple units started to appear. A variant, close enough to be represented by this model, is the 81xx, used on suburban passenger duties in the Birmingham and Bristol areas. BR painted some in lined black, as mixed traffic types, but most were in lined green passenger livery.

The GWR 94xx 0-6-0PT heavy tank loco was introduced in 1947 and worked on a wide range of passenger and freight duties. They were intended to replace many 0-6-2T freight loco's the GWR had inherited from the Welsh companies at the 1923 grouping but some were fitted for hauling passenger trains. The 0-6-2's were associated with coal trains in South Wales and the 94xx was regularly used for these duties. They were also used as shunting loco's and in the mid 1950's a few were transferred to London Midland region for banking duties on the notorious 'Lickey incline' on the Birmingham to Bristol line.

The MR/LMS 4-4-0 Compound was originally built by the Midland Railway for passenger duties. The term compound refers to the additional low-pressure cylinders added to get the last once of work from the steam. Under the LMS they spent their life in maroon livery and four survived the second world war still in maroon. During the war most were painted pain black and under BR they were turned out in lined black. All were withdrawn by 1961.

The LMS 8f 2-8-0 built in 1935 and all withdrawn by 1968 these were a successful heavy goods loco which owed a lot to the 'Black 5' 4-6-0. The design proved a success and a large number were ordered by the wartime Ministry of Supply. These were unusual in that they were built by all four of the pre-nationalisation companies as well as by several outside contractors. Many of the MOS loco's were sent abroad and some of these remained in use into the 1980's

The LMS Stannier Black 5, of which nearly a thousand were built starting in 1934, saw service everywhere on the LMS and also on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line and in Scotland. They had all been withdrawn by the end of 1968.

The SR Battle of Britain/West Country loco appeared in 1945 and they lasted until 1967, mainly on passenger duties. They were derived from the earlier Merchant Navy class. In 1955 the air-smoothed casing was removed on some examples as part of an upgrading program as it hindered maintenance, they retained their unusual

The GWR Hall 4-6-0 loco's were introduced in 1924 and withdrawn by 1966. These are a most useful mixed traffic type, seen on all parts of the GWR and BR/WR as well on inter-regional duties.


The GWR 14xx 0-4-2 tank engine was developed from broadly similar earlier types, they appeared in XXXX and served sextensively, mainly on branch lines. They hauled both passenger and freight trains, the former often consisting of a single 'auto-coach', a coach fitted with a drivers cab so the loco did not need to run round the train when it reached the terminus. On occasion two such coaches were used, with the locomotive sandwiched in between them.

The GWR 45xx 'small prarie' 2-6-2 tank engine was a maid of all work widely used on the GWR system.

The SR 5MT 0-4-4 locomotive was one of the few engines to make a success of this wheel arrangement, although it was said to give a rather wobbly ride for the crew.

Hornby Minitrix

3MT 2-6-2T -Known as the 'Micky Mouse' and built with passenger duties in mind the 3MT version used a variation on the standard GWR boiler. Some of the 2-6-2T loco's were fitted for push-pull passenger working.

3MT 2-6-0 tender engine, essentially similar to the 76xxx class but slightly larger. This model was (I am told) the weakest Minitrix model in terms of its hauling power.

70xxx class 7MT 'Britannia' 4-6-2 [Minitrix]. Only 54 were built, officially classed as mixed traffic locomotives, were introduced in 1951 and were withdrawn by 1968. These loco's were seen everywhere in the country. They were mainly used for passenger trains in the early years but later they could be found on almost all freight duties, including branch line pick-up goods work. The Minitrix model was actually their Britannia body mounted on a continental chassis, although this introduced some distortion the model looked the part to my eye and performed very well with good haulage at commendably slow speeds.

The 9F heavy freight locomotive was introduced in 1954 and all were withdrawn by 1968, were the last and possibly the best steam loco's produced by British Railways. They were heavy freight loco's but managed to appear everywhere, occasionally hauling passengers and were even used for 'pick-up' goods operations on occasion. The 9F loco 'Evening Star' was the last steam loco built by BR and was painted in GWR lined green with a copper capped chimney, all the others were painted in unlined black. Not fitted with steam heating equipment they were non the less used for occasional passenger trains in summer.


The LMS 4F tender loco's were introduced on the Midland Railway in 1911 and officially classed as freight loco's both the LMS and BR painted them in unlined black. The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway and the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway both received a number of these loco's and used them for passenger workings as well as freight. Some were fitted with a cab-back on the tender to allow tender-first running. They were all withdrawn by the end of 1966.


The Peco LMS Jubilee introduced in 1934 and withdrawn by the end of 1967 these were primarily passenger loco's although they were seen on goods duties. They had three cylinders as opposed to the two of the Black Fives. This model is no longer in production but does turn up occasionally. The chassis was made by Rivarrosi and I understand that the early examples had internal gearing between the wheels which became problematic with wear (a replacement fine scale chassis is available as a kit to members of the 2mm Scale Association).

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