Thursday, 23 February 2012

MOTW - Russell

This week it's time to set the record straight.

I was ticked off recently when I described NGG16 number 87 in a Model Of The Week post as the flagship of the restored WHR.

'Surely', wrote a correspondent, 'There's only one WHR flagship, and it's Hunslet 2-6-2 'Russell'?'

It's an interesting point, but I'm sticking by my original statement for a couple of reasons.

Firstly because this blog is almost exclusively concerned with the FR-controlled rebuild of the WHR but also because a flagship, in a naval employment of the word, can be switched from vessel to vessel, or as in this case locomotive to locomotive.

Russell, I would argue, is in an altogether different and more prestigious category. The sole surviving NWNGR locomotive is the icon of the WHR.

Our Russell, the one seen here, is a second generation model. The first was a Chivers whitemetal kit running on a semi-scratchbuilt chassis. The chassis is still going strong running with another Chivers body representing the loco in 1930's cut down form. (Good for winding up the audience at exhibitions.)

This one is a Backwoods Miniatures kit. It runs as well as it looks and represents the loco the first time it ran on the FR after restoration in 1988.

Of course on that occasion, and since, it has never ventured further than Rhiw Goch, but we don't let such minor details as the fact it couldn't squeeze through Garnedd Tunnel deter us running it on Dduallt.

Let us hope that when Russell's current overhaul is completed (and the appeal is still open donations) relations between the FR and the WHHR at Gelert's Farm will have thawed even more than they already have in recent months and we will not be straining credulity when we run our model on Bron Hebog.


  1. Well cut down Russell could be a flagship. Looked like a WW1 battleship in that config. Love it!!

  2. Just found this blog and thought I could contribute, to help.... Russell in 1988 did not have the sand pit fitted, it did on the second venture to tell FR, but not on the first 1988 venture. Hope that helps, if you go with the later FR trip she had WEAR No. 1 painted on the buffer beams?