Shedding Some Light On The Network Rail Class 31s, Our Latest Accurascale Exclusive Pair!
We are very happy to reveal a pair of very special Class 31s in our Accurascale Exclusives range, Nos. 31105 and 31285 in Network Rail yellow. Like many past models in this series, such as ‘Deltic’ No. 9016 Gordon Highlander in Porterbrook purple and Class 97/3 No. 97301, these additional releases showcase a considerable amount of unique tooling to accurately depict these locomotives in 4mm scale.
The acquisition of the venerable Brush Type 2s by Network Rail, which eventually totalled five locomotives, was something of a formalisation of the previous arrangement between its predecessor Railtrack and Fragonset to provide motive power for infrastructure monitoring trains. This deal had even seen one member of the class, No. 31190, repainted in Railtrack’s blue and green house colours before the company was forced into administration.
No. 31285 was the first Class 31 to be outshopped in NR yellow, being released from Fragonset’s workshops at the former RTC site in Derby in October 2003. While the livery was striking enough, even more dramatic was the addition of five large spotlight brackets (two on the lower cab front and three on the cab roof) and a forward facing camera in the plated nose door at the No.2 end.
The ultra violet spotlights – of various designs over time – gave it the nickname ‘scooter’ and were deployed when running with the Structure Gauging Train and were also fitted to Nos. 31233 and 31602 (cab roof only). Meanwhile, the No.1 end also featured various sockets for connecting to the test coaches.
At the start of 2008, No. 31285 debuted new larger LED tail lights and, at the same time, lost its original windscreen washer jets and baffles in favour of new wiper-mounted versions. After 12 years of service with NR and some 54 years after being delivered to Tinsley as D5817 in October 1961, it was retired and sold to Harry Needle in August 2015. It has been based at the Weardale Railway ever since, still with full light package, and is operational.
No. 31105 was the third of Network Rail’s Class 31s to return to traffic and the only former disc headcode-fitted locomotive in the fleet, although it could often be found partnered with Howard Johnston’s hired in Fragonset, later BR blue-liveried, ‘skinhead’ No. 31106 on test trains. The former D5523, new to Stratford in March 1959 and withdrawn from Bescot in May 1997, was selected in 2002 for rebirth in NR’s QADD pool along with No. 31107.
While the latter fell by the wayside, No. 31105 was released from Derby in yellow in August 2004, externally almost unchanged from its previous condition, even retaining the extra lamp iron on its plated nose doors. However, by the second half of 2005, Derby had taken the opportunity to remove the cab roof vent cover from the No.1 end cab roof to match the No.2 end that had been rebuilt in early 1984. While in late 2007, the front ends were further modified with same LED tail lights and the washer jet modifications described above with No. 31285.
All good things come to an end though and No. 31105 was withdrawn for the second time in February 2015, leaving just No. 31233 still active for NR. Still in working order, it was occasionally used as a shunter at the RTC site before being sold into preservation at the Mangapps Railway in Essex in October 2018.
Accurascale’s extensive Class 31 tooling suite has been designed to cover Nos. 31105 and 31285 and Network Rail’s other trio of Brush machines, Nos. 31233, 31465 and 31602. As well as the modified cab roofs, fully functioning spotlights and No. 31105’s additional lamp irons, other never before produced tooling on our initial NR pairing correctly dates these locomotives to the period from 2008 onwards with LED tail lights / washer jet modifications.
Of course, the lights should be more purple in hue and they will be on the finished production models. The brightness will also be dulled down on the production models too.
This latest pair of 'Peds' are now available to pre-order direct via the Accurascale website only in both DC/DCC Ready and DCC sound fitted formats. We are due decoration samples towards the end of this year and delivery will take place in Q3 2024. As will all Accurascale Exclusives, both locomotives will be complete with special presentation packaging.
Pre-order with no money down by clicking the link below!