Accurascale announces first O gauge locomotive

14 October 2023
This release marks a return to O gauge by Accurascale, who had previously released the BR 24.5 Ton HUO Hopper wagon four years ago.

Accurascale has announced that the Ruston And Hornsby 88DS diesel mechanical shunter will be its first O gauge locomotive. 

The announcement was made at the 2023 “Great Electric Train Show” (GETS) at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, with a fully tooled sample on display on the Accurascale stand. 

A model the team at Accurascale had begun work on in the days before the pandemic, the Ruston 88DS has been an exciting project for Accurascale as they look to further develop their range in O gauge. Following extensive surveys of prototype subjects, plus extensive archive research and development, tooling was initiated following plotting out of the various detail differences to cover the major variants. This process began earlier this year and the first tooling sample was received in late September.

A total of eight locomotives will make up the initial production run for Accurascale, featuring a variety of liveries. Tooling is already complete and testing of the prototype samples is well underway. Accurascale will continue this testing process and then progress to decoration stage, before signing off for production. 

Delivery is currently planned for early 2025. Both DC/DCC Ready and DCC Factory Sound fitted variants will be offered, with the latter making use of an ESU loksound 5 decoder and Accurascale’s own bespoke recordings of a real 80DS. 

Prices will be £229.95 for the DC/DCC ready locomotive and £319.99 for the DCC sound-fitted loco. Future Accurascale O gauge locomotives will depend on the success of this locomotive as the team assesses the market. 

Modellers can pre-order via Accurascale’s network of local stockists, or direct for no money down via the Accurascale website.


• Die-cast metal chassis, body frame and footplate, with plastic cab and engine panels. Target weight of 475g

• Scale length of 143.8mm over buffers, 54.85mm wide and height over cab of 70mm

• Wheelbase of 40.54mm, for all vehicles, allowing operation over a minimum radius of 1020mm (2nd radius set-track)

• Choice of metal 3-link, or screw couplings for prototypical coupling

• Brake blocks fitted and aligned with wheel centres for 0 Gauge, ensuring that they do not rub on wheel rims

• Single style of 21mm solid wheel, correctly profiled both on the inside and outside and chemically blackened, set in blackened brass bearings or contact strips and conforming to Accurascale standards of 29.2mm back-to-back, on 4.763mm diameter axles

• Fully detailed die-cast underframe with all cylinders, linkages and piping applied separately

• Eroded metal, plastic and wire detail parts, including (but not limited to) handrails, door handles, lamp brackets, brake gear, brake discs, draw gear, vents, louvres, radiator grilles and builders’ plates

• Prism-free flush glazing

• Easily removable cab roof, to allow access to cab interior for customer detailing

• Sprung metal buffers, and draw hooks

Content continues after advertisements

• Authentic livery, markings and numbers, achieved by use of part painting and pad printing

 • Centrally mounted, best quality 5-pole skew-wound motor, with flywheel, driving both axles

• All-wheel pickup

• Helical gearbox for maximum performance and slow-speed running

• Gearing arranged so the locomotive can achieve a scale maximum top speed of 15.4 mph (24.78kmh), with a load of 1.1kg

• DCC ready with PowerPack capacitor for uninterrupted power, or similar stay-alive arrangement

• Designed around PluX22 ESU Decoders with easy access to decoder via removable bonnet

• Switchable shunting lights

• Full cab interior lighting, set at correct colour temperature

• Permanently fitted speakers

About the prototype

Ruston & Hornsby Ltd, of Lincoln, was formed as the result of the merger between Ruston, Proctor & Co. Ltd and Richard Hornsby & Sons Ltd on September 11, 1918, and their first narrow gauge diesel locomotive left the works on September 1, 1931. In the summer of 1932, production was moved to the larger Boultham Works, where the firm were eventually to become Britain’s largest builder of diesel locomotives, with over 6,500 being built by the time production ceased in 1969.

Almost as soon as the firm’s 44/48HP 0-4-0 locomotives were making an appearance, an upgraded, more powerful 0-4-0 was on the drawing board. Although many of the features of the 44/48HP were retained for the new 80/88HP, such as the chain drive and running gear, a new type of transmission was fitted, along with Westinghouse airbrakes. The new power unit, Ruston’s own 4VPB, delivered 80BHP at 1000rpm and was later supplanted by Ruston’s improved 4VPH that delivered 88BHP, but it required compressed air to be injected into the cylinders to be able to start. While running, an air reservoir was kept charged via the braking system, but after standing idle for a period the reservoir depleted and a secondary source was required to recharge the reservoir. This was achieved by fitting a small, secondary 1½HP ‘donkey’ engine, giving rise to a distinctive raised cover on the right-hand side of the engine compartment, that differed in size and placement depending on the make of engine used.

Two basic weight options were offered for the 80/88HP, 17 tons and 20 tons; the difference being achieved by attaching weights to the outside frames, as well as to the front and rear buffer beams. In 1941, Ruston’s locomotive classifications were changed, with the 80/88HP becoming 88DS (with the narrow gauge versions being assigned the DSM and DSN suffix, and the broader gauges assigned DSW). Outward appearance changes to the ‘standard’ locomotives were mainly confined to the cab area, with examples from mid-1947 replacing the open cab with a fully enclosed cab that featured several ad-hoc styles of windows and fittings, depending on the customers’ requirements.

As a shunter, the 88DS was never going to be a greyhound in terms of speed, the four-speed gearbox delivering a maximum speed of just under 15½ mph, but it could deliver some impressive haulage figures, being capable of shifting a 510-ton train from a standing start on the level, down to a 56-ton load on a 1:20 incline. With the widespread delivery of the type, to all areas of industry and use, it is difficult to give an idea of a typical train, but photos showing consists of eight covered vans, or mixed open/van consists of a similar number are common.

The first 88 to leave Ruston’s works was 192325 on June 27, 1938, bound for Tunnel Cement at Grays in Essex and the subsequent orders were spread across the country; from Kent and Dorset in the South, through the Home Counties, East Anglia and the Midlands, to the North of England and into the far reaches of Scotland. Customers tended to be those whose industries were reliant on internal railway systems, s,o the 88DS were in common use in various Gas Works, Paper Mills, Manufacturing Works, Refineries, Chemical Works, Quarries, Steelworks, Power Stations and Collieries.

The War Department/Ministry of Supply was a large customer for the type, with the 88DS being employed in Ordnance and Maintenance duties, often being flameproofed or provided with spark arrestors as a minimum. British Rail also took a number of 88DS into service, notably working at Reading and in the North-East from York and Hartlepool to Newcastle.

Ruston also widely exported a large number of 88DS types: to Ireland, France, Holland, Portugal, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, India, Burma, Ceylon, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Rhodesia, South Africa and even Mauritius and Alderney!

The final 88DS, 518494, left Boultham Works on November 29, 1967, ending a production run of 271 locomotives, but a significant number have survived into preservation, albeit in varying states of completeness or operation.


No comments