Wednesday, March 30, 2011

White Lion

Heljan's latest model of a diesel prototype, D0260 Lion, is now on the shelves and, although I have so far only seen photographs of her, she does look like a stunning model.
The prototype Lion was built in 1962 by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (BRCW). She was a Type 4 diesel with a Co-Co wheel arrangement and was fitted with a 2,750 HP Sulzer engine. She weighed 114 tons and had a top speed of 100 mph.
She certainly looked striking enough in her coat of white paint with five gold stripes along the body-side, however, I cannot imagine that she stayed white for very long since life on the railways is a dirty business!
Initially Lion began life on the Western Region and was based at Wolverhampton Stafford Road Shed. Later she was moved to Finsbury Park where she worked services from King's Cross.
Sadly, though, her revenue-earning life was short-lived since the decision was made by BR to purchase its new standard Type 4s from Brush Traction and these, of course, became the 500+ strong fleet of Class 47s.
Lion was subsequently withdrawn in November 1963 and, although full details of her fate after withdrawal are somewhat shrouded in mystery, it is known that she found her way to AEI Works at Attercliffe. Here AEI recovered all of their electrical components from the locomotive and, at some stage, Sulzer recovered their 12LDA28C Power Unit and sent it to Vickers in Barrow-in-Furness for reconditioning.

Apparently this power unit was later installed in a production Class 47 but which one this was is not known. The body of D0260 was then sold to scrap merchant T W Ward for around £350 whereupon it was eventually cut up, probably in 1965.
Heljan's model of Lion, like their earlier model of Kestrel, is a Limited Edition of 4,000 pieces and sells for around £100.

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