Introducing what is, at present, the only steam locomotive that we have running on our railway.
This is Hornby's BR Standard Class 5, Nº 44781, Catalogue Nº: R2686A and she is a real beauty.
She is fitted with sound, head and tail lights, a flickering smoke-box, real coal, footplate crew and a Seuthe smoke unit.
Actually, we have had her for some time now but have been reluctant to run her on the layout while there was still ballasting work being carried out since she is quite a delicate (and expensive) locomotive!
However, this weekend we gave her a proper run-in and, although at first she was a bit jerky, she soon settled down to become a lovely little mover and is definitely the star of our show at the moment. Yes, I can see that she is going be used on many a steam special in the future.
Hopefully she will be joined, in the not too distant future, by one of Bachmann's new S&D 7F's and it would be interesting to know if this particular Five also worked on the S&D since many of its class were used on that iconic railway.
At first she was fitted with the two sets of buffer beam steps but these interfered with the front wheels on all curves causing the loco to regularly derail so, unfortunately, we have had to remove these steps.
Some people have told me that they would never install a smoke unit into a model steam locomotive since the heat and oil could damage the plastic of the loco body, which of course they could. It is also claimed that the smoke does not look very realistic either which, again, is probably true. However, it is nice to see some smoke coming from the chimney as the loco makes its way around the layout and, to me, it is all about creating an impression.
As for the possibility of doing any damage to the loco, well, there is always that potential, of course, but she is not going to be used very often and, even when she is, she will not necessarily be allowed to smoke - I mean, at her age she really ought to know better. So, with care, I am sure we should not have any problems.