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HELJAN REISSUE POPULAR METROPOLITAN BO-BO By Tony French

In 2015 Heljan made the bold decision to release a model of the Metropolitan Railway (later passing into London Transport ownership) Bo-Bo Electric Locomotive. Whilst London Transport models and locos have a very good cult following it wasn’t clear how they would be received by the mainstream model market. The model was well received and sold quickly, leaving many modellers disappointed on missing out on one and equally as many asking the question “where’s Sarah Siddons?” The prototype: Twenty of the class were built between 1922 &1923 by Metropolitan-Vickers up in Barrow-In-Furness, a fair distance from what would become their home! The original intention was to rebuild the twenty existing Metropolitan electric locomotives (built by Westinghouse and BTH respectively) however this proved impractical and the plan was switched to building twenty new locos using as many recycled parts as possible. It wasn’t until 1927 that the class received their names, nineteen of them being named after people, real or fictitious, linked to the areas served by the Metropolitan. The one exception being loco No.15 which was named “Wembley 1924” after the British Empire Exhibition, itself having been an exhibit at the exhibition (although records indicate it was 1925 when the loco visited). The end for the majority of these quirky looking locomotives came in 1962 when electrification reached all the way to Amersham and the need to switch from electric to steam power was no longer required, allowing the A stock units to run the full length of the system. Two of the class survived into preservation, No.5 “John Hampden” is on display at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. The other No.12 “Sarah Siddons” has been in service on the system for heritage events, most notably the Steam On The Met events and L150. She has also travelled from time to time, reaching the NRM at York for one of their Railfest events and working a Railtour in the Kent Area (including the now closed Dover Marine station) in 1985. The Models: Heljan have released five examples on this occasion: • No.19 in as built Metropolitan livery. • No.6 “William Penn” also in Metropolitan livery, but as we’ve learnt from the history section obviously this livery is post 1927. • No.11 “George Romney” in London Transport livery. 74

Model Railway Express Issue Two January 2017  
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