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The 94xx Pannier Tank returns to the Bachmann Branchline range and with its unconventional appearance – with large water tanks and extended smokebox – this model will bring a real presence to any model railway. A quintessential part of the GWR for many decades, the Pannier Tank design was developed and refined before the 94xx, the final design of GWR tank engine, was produced. No. 9466, as depicted by this model, one of only two preserved examples, found fame after returning to steam in the mid-1980s and operated on the mainline hauling ‘Steam on the Met’ rail tours.
Take a closer look at the Branchline model and you will see a wealth of detail, from the separately fitted pipe runs that extend all the way from the front bufferbeam to the back, to the modelling of the inside motion which is authentically decorated too. There are handrails aplenty – all separately fitted of course – whilst the metal lamp brackets, separate smokebox door dart and whilst with guard and supply pipes all catch the eye. Sprung buffers are fitted at the front and rear along with a copper cap to the chimney. Look inside the cab and a full complement of controls and dials is present, all decorated accordingly, which is only added to by the firebox lighting system which adds a further dimension of realism to every model.
Technically the 94xx shines as well, with a Next18 DCC decoder socket paired with an integrated speaker making SOUND FITTED models an option if you wish to enjoy sound effects when operating your model railway. The powerful coreless motor drives the rear axle and electrical collection comes from all wheels, whilst each axle is fitted with a pair of separate metal bearings.
GWR 94XX CLASS HISTORY
The distinctive 94XX Class 0-6-0 Pannier Tank was the last steam locomotive built by the Great Western Railway (GWR); the first ten being turned out in the company’s Middle Chrome Green by Swindon Works before nationalisation. Effectively a tank version of the Collett '2251' tender engine, the remaining 200 locomotives were built for BR between 1949 and 1956 by outside contractors Robert Stephenson, Yorkshire Engine Co. and W.G Bagnall. Outshopped in unlined black livery, there were minor detail differences between the locomotives built by different contractors. All were capable of providing steam-heating for coaching stock.
A development of the numerous ‘57XX/ 8750’ Class Pannier Tank, the 94XXs were designed for secondary mixed traffic and shunting duties, with an instruction from the GWR’s General Manager, Sir James Milne, that they should be of a more modern appearance than the traditional GWR Pannier Tank. The design of the Class was unusual in that they were one of the few Pannier Tank designs with tapered boilers. Superheating was fitted to Nos. 9400-9409 only. The locomotives were mostly used for heavy shunting and short distance freight and passenger duties, but numbers 9400-9406 were employed on the former LMS system at Bromsgrove giving banking assistance on the Lickey Incline.
With the onset of modernisation and the introduction of an ever increasing number of diesels, the working life of the Class was very short and of the 210 built, just 78 were still in use in January 1964, withdrawals having commenced in 1959. By the end of June 1965, the last members of the Class were withdrawn with some examples being cut up when they were barely 5 years old. Fortunately, Nos. 9400 and 9466 survive in preservation.
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