Rapido Trains UK have announced that their forthcoming N Gauge BR Class 44 ‘Peak’ diesel locomotive is now available to pre-order.
The Class 44 were conceived to fulfil an order of ten new Co-Cos from Derby Works by British Railways as part of its appraisal of comparative locomotive designs (dubbed the ‘Pilot Scheme’).
They were inspired by the LMS’ and Southern’s pioneer diesel designs and were outwardly similar to English Electric’s Type 4 (subsequently Class 40). Although fitted with a Sulzer 12LDA28 diesel engine capable of 2,300hp, the new BR Type 4s were heavy. Their 133-ton weight required a 1Co-Co1 wheel arrangement.
The first, D1, emerged from Derby in 1959 and was named Scafell Pike. The remaining nine locomotives were also named after English and Welsh peaks and the class soon gained the nickname ‘Peak’, which was also applied to the subsequent Class 45s and Class 46s.
Although a mixed traffic design, they were initially used on West Coast Main Line passenger services before being transferred en masse to the Midland Main Line. The subsequent arrival of the Sulzer Type 4s (later Class 45) meant that the BR Type 4s (which would become Class 44 on TOPS) were allocated predominantly to freight work radiating out from Toton. Consequently, they could be seen as far afield as York or Severn Tunnel Junction.
Any small class of locomotive was always under threat and the ‘44s’ were no exceptions. 44003 was withdrawn in July 1976 and all had gone by the end of 1980. Happily, two survive: D8 Penyghent is based at Peak Rail and D4 Great Gable is owned by the Peak Locomotive Company and is based at the Midland Railway- Butterley.
The Rapido model will be available in a variety of liveries covering the loco's history, from its origins in BR Green to the ever-popular BR Blue including D4 Great Gable, in its BR Blue preserved livery.
They will feature a variety of details and variants seen across the working life of the locomotive, including plated-over steps on the body side, removal of inner sandboxes and extra steps on the bogies. All versions will also be fitted with a radiator fan grill and separately fitted fan, directional lighting, a smooth-running mechanism, a factory-installed speaker, NEM Coupler pockets, and a Next18 Decoder Socket. The models can then be personalised with a selection of discs so you may apply your chosen headcode.
The model is currently in the tooling stage and Rapido plan to have samples in Q2 of 2024. The order book is open, and you can pre- order your DCC Ready (RRP £144.95) or DCC Sound Fitted (RRP £249.95) version directly from www.rapidotrains.co.uk today or from any official Rapido Trains UK retailer.
948001: D1 ‘Scafell Pike’ in BR Green (as built in 1959)
948002: D7 ‘Ingleborough’ in BR Green (as built in 1959)
948003: D2 ‘Helvellyn’ in BR Green with small yellow panel
948004: D5 ‘Cross Fell’ in BR Green with small yellow panel
948005: 6/D6 ‘Whernside’ in BR Green with full yellow ends
948006: 3 ‘Skiddaw’ in BR Blue
948007: 44007 ‘Ingleborough’ in BR Blue
949008: 44008/D8 ‘Penyghent’ in BR Blue with bodyside stripe
949009: D4 Great Gable in BR Blue
For more information on the Class 44, visit the Rapido Trains UK website.