Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Hattons/Heljan Class14 on test

Heljan's new Class 14 14029 (D9529) in post-preservation BR blue

Being the official ‘Our Man in the North’ for Model Rail magazine, I hot-footed it over to Hattons of Liverpool this morning to pickup a review sample of the exciting new Hattons/Heljan ‘OO’ gauge limited edition Class 14 diesel hydraulic.

I’ve been watching progress of this model for some time as I’m seriously tempted to treat myself to either a BR Green or NCB blue one (both would be nice, but I don’t earn enough!). After a train ride into Lime Street and a cab to Allerton Road, I met a jolly nice young chap at Hattons’ store who brandished the magic blue cardboard box. After relieving myself of a few notes of the Queen’s currency (a bag full of late BR-era Bachmann wagons), I mooched down to Auberge cafe for an all-day breakfast and a good look at the new model.

The new Heljan Class 14 being put through its paces

Carefully avoiding getting greasy fingerprints on the lovely thing, I kept it in its clear plastic sleeve while managing to jot down my first impressions. With press day on Thursday, the review will be just in time for the March issue (out Feb 25), so look out for it! I shan’t give too much away here...

Maude takes a close look at that impressive chassis

Gosh, I do miss Liverpool. Me & Mrs D used to dream of moving to Allerton from our bijou terrace in Wavertree and spent many a Saturday carousing up and down Allerton High Street. With a visit to Hattons, naturally. Mind you, I miss the old shop further down Smithdown Road, with Norman Hatton himself in his shop coat, wrapping models in brown paper to be sent out. I’ve been a customer there for 25 years and my Dad a decade or two longer. I even used to pop in on the way to band rehearsals, at a mate’s house just off Penny Lane – I can remember buying a Regional Railways Lima Class 101 3-car DMU. There was just enough room for it inside my guitar case. ROCK N’ ROLL!!!!

Anyway, here are some images of one of the many preserved ‘Teddy Bears’, D9555 at Lydney Junction on the Dean Forest Railway. I was passing when I realised that there was diesel gala on, sometime in 2008 (I think).

Note the Jerry can on the running plate. Emergency fuel? Extra Coolant? I wonder...

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