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  • Writer's pictureBen Jones


All-new BR freight diesel unveiled at Warley National Model Railway Exhibition on November 26th.

Above: Hand decorated sample by Brian Daniels. Below: Factory decorated sample of #5851.

Visitors to the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition this weekend will be the first to see HELJAN’s new O gauge Class 58 – a surprise addition to our range of high-quality British outline diesel locomotives.

This all-new model has been produced in response to strong demand from O gauge modellers and provides an appropriate follow up to our hugely popular Class 56. Six liveries will be available on general release via HELJAN stockists (see below), with a further locomotive in Mainline Blue available from Gaugemaster stockists as part of the ‘Gaugemaster Collection’. Two more versions will be available exclusively from O gauge specialist Tower Models – see for more information.

Standard features will match the demanding requirements of today’s O gauge modeller, including a ‘plug-and-play’ DCC interface (ESU LokSound XL #58515 decoder required – not supplied), LED lighting with independently switchable headlight, powered roof fans (separately switchable in DCC mode), cab interior and tail light functions, provision for a DCC-activated smoke unit and a large speaker, sprung buffers/couplings, detailed cab interior and bogies and much more.

Suggested Retail Price (SRP) is £729.00 or £749.00 for factory weathered models.

Tooling covers both ‘Phase 1’ and ‘Phase 2’ locomotives with numerous authentic detail variations on the bogies and cabs, including sandboxes with transparent covers on ‘Phase 2’ locomotives. All models will be supplied with three alternative sets of cab door handrails or etched metal baffle plates allowing locomotives to be tailored to specific liveries/timescales.

Above: Class 58 O gauge sample on test. BRIAN DANIELS.

British Rail Engineering Ltd (BREL) built 50 Class 58s in 1983-87 to a modular design aimed at the export market. For much of their career they were based at Toton depot near Nottingham and deployed on merry-go-round coal trains between East Midlands collieries and power stations. In 1994, the fleet transferred to Mainline Freight and quickly expanded its range across the south-east of England and to a more diverse range of freight traffic. In 1996, the fleet was absorbed by EWS and although it was expected to form a key part of the company’s long-term plans, withdrawal took place between 1999 and 2002. EWS and its successors exported many ‘58s’ to France, Spain and the Netherlands for further use.

#5850 Railfreight ‘Red Stripe’ 58042 Ironbridge Power Station TOWER MODELS EXCLUSIVE ERA 8

#5851 Railfreight ‘Red Stripe’ Class 58 unnumbered ERA 8

#5852 Railfreight Coal Sector grey 58014 Didcot Power Station TOWER MODELS EXCLUSIVE ERA 8

#5853 Railfreight Coal Sector grey Class 58 unnumbered ERA 8

#5854 EWS Red/Gold Class 58 unnumbered ERA 9

#5855 Railfreight ‘Red Stripe’ 58034 Bassetlaw WEATHERED ERA 8

GM7240601 Mainline Blue 58021 Hither Green Depot GAUGEMASTER COLLECTION ERA 9

#5857 Mainline Grey Class 58 unnumbered ERA 9

#5858 Unbranded three-tone grey Class 58 ERA 8/9

Factory decorated samples have just arrived in the UK for review and the project is progressing quickly. We hope to deliver the first batch of models in mid-2023. Look out for further updates on all these new models here and on our Facebook page over the coming months!

However, as a timely reminder of what the Class 58s were all about, here's a superb video of them doing what they were built to do in the late-1990s.


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