18 April 2023
New OO gauge exclusives from the manufacturer promised alongside its first production run from the modified ex-Hattons Class 66 tooling.
Accurascale is to mark the 25th anniversary of the Class 66 locomotive with OO gauge models of the first (66001) and last (66779) locomotives delivered to Britain. Expected to be delivered in Q1 2024, with prices of £169.99 for DC/DCC ready and £259.99 DCC sound-fitted. Decorated samples are due with Accurascale in June. Joining its Accurascale Exclusives range, both locomotives will come with special presentation packaging and are only available direct via its website.
On April 18, 1998, at 08:53, the first of a brand new locomotive type, the Class 66, No. 66001, touched down on British soil for the first time. A first in a significant order of 250 machines for EWS, it began a revolution which would spread across the UK freight network, across a multitude of operators.
The Class 66 would continue in production for British operators for 18 years, with the final locomotive, 66779, arriving in 2016 to operate for GBRf.
Accurascale commented, "There were a few subtle differences between the first two and the rest of the production batch which have never been replicated before on a model. Firstly the lashing eyes to secure the locomotive to the ship were in a different position to later models. The horn grille was also mounted almost flush with the body. Visually 66001 looked more striking owing to its red grilles which were later changed to black."
Accurascale’s model will represent 66001 with the original red grilles.
Drawing the production line to a close after 18 years and many hundreds of locomotives was 66779. The locomotive was specially finished in British Railways lined green, and named Evening Star. The locomotive also carried commemorative bells above the cab windows and a plaque denoting its significance in the Class 66 story. Its appearance reflected that of BR class 9F 92220, Evening Star which famously brought the curtain down for steam production for British Railways.
In an unveiling ceremony at York on May 10, 2016, GBRf CEO, John Smith promised the locomotive to the National Railway Museum when it reaches the end of its expected service life. Still carrying its special BR lined green livery it can be seen working across the country on all manner of GBRf workings.
Accurascale added, "As this is a later Munchie built Class 66, [our] model will feature accurate detailing such as recess in cab fronts, different vents, large sandboxes and of course, the distinctive bell on the cab front as featured on the real 66779.
Both models will be part of Accurascale’s first batch of Class 66 locomotives, seeing new tooling variations grow from the already extensive tooling suite taken over from Hattons.