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Beautuful B12 By Tony French

One of Tri-ang’s earliest releases, way back in 1963, was the B12/3. Back then it was a revelation and the model was well received. However, 1963 was a very different time in the world of model railways and although a close approximation to the real thing the model had long slipped behind today’s high standards despite several minor upgrades over the years. Hornby have now rectified that problem with their stunning new tooling of the loco. The Prototype: Designed by S.D Holden, the B12 was designed to be more powerful than the existing D16 (“Claud Hamiltons”) however, the requirement for light axle loadings and short wheelbases on the GER (Great Eastern Railway) resulted in a relatively small 4-6-0. Seventy One were built for GER service, with a further ten being built in LNER. Their days in LNER service also brought a transfer of a total of 31 members of the class to former GNSR (Great North of Scotland Railway) their light axle loading proving ideal for the route’s weaker bridges. In 1932, with the LNER improving permanent way standards on the GER routes, the decision was taken to rebuild fifty four of the class with a larger diameter boiler and round top fireboxes (Holden’s originals had been designed with Belpare fireboxes) as a higher axle loading could now be accommodated. The rebuilding was not applied to the Scottish allocated B12s as the new boiler would have made them too heavy for those routes, although nine members of the class did receive a rebuild with a smaller boiler (becoming B12/4s). During the war years they could often be seen away from their native territory of the GER, hauling heavy troop and ambulance trains most notably in the South West of England. Withdrawals began as early as 1945 (with the exception of 1506 which had been destroyed in an accident in 1913), by the end of 1954 all original B12/1s and B12/4s had been withdrawn, leaving 44 B12/3s in service. By the end of 1959 all but one locomotive had been withdrawn, this loco would go on to become something of a minor celebrity amongst railway enthusiasts. 61572 (LNER 8572) had initially been withdrawn at the same time as her remaining sisters in 1959 but Norwich shedmaster Bill Harvey seemed to take a shine to her and kept her in service until 1961. This crucial extra stint gave the Midland & Great Northern Society time to raise funds to purchase her (and J15 65462). Following two more years in storage purchase was completed in 1963 and she embarked on probably the most iconic B12 working to date, hauling the “Wandering 1500” (the name derived from the nickname of the 82

Model Railway Express Issue Two January 2017