NER electric shunters for 'OO' – en-route now

28 October 2022
Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield partner with Heljan to release OO gauge models of NER electric shunters.

Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield have today announced the release of NER electric shunting locomotive ‘ES1’ No. 1 as the next locomotive in the National Collection in Miniature Series, with exclusive variants to Rails of Sheffield, too.

The tooling has been designed and made by Heljan for the partners, with models being shipped its factory in China. Models are available to order for £220 plus postage and are available to pre-order today with a £30 deposit. All five versions are expected to be ready for delivery to customers in the coming weeks.

Five exclusive-edition locomotives are being produced as follows:

For Locomotion Models:

Locomotion Models Rails of Sheffield ES1 NER BR LNER locomotive

(1200) NER ‘ES1’ No.1 in North Eastern Railway Green as preserved as part of the National Collection. Currently on display at Locomotion, Shildon.


Locomotion Models Rails of Sheffield ES1 NER BR LNER locomotive

(1201) NER ‘ES1’ No.1 in North Eastern Railway Green as running 1908 - 1923 (Era 2).


For Rails of Sheffield:

Locomotion Models Rails of Sheffield ES1 NER BR LNER locomotive

(1202) NER ‘ES1’ No.1 in LNER Unlined Black (Era 3)


Locomotion Models Rails of Sheffield ES1 NER BR LNER locomotive

(1203) NER ‘ES1’ No. 26500 in BR Unlined Black Early Emblem (Era 4)


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Locomotion Models Rails of Sheffield ES1 NER BR LNER locomotive

(1203) NER ‘ES1’ No. 26500 in BR Lined Green Late Crest (Era 5)


Prototype Information

In the early 20th century, the North Eastern Railway (NER) played a pioneering role in the development of electric traction for railway vehicles. In 1903/04 it converted its busy North Tyneside commuter lines to third-rail electric operation, accelerating services and providing a clean, quiet and fast alternative to competing tram routes.

As part of the work, the short freight branch from Trafalgar Yard in Manors, just north of Newcastle Central, to Quayside Yard was also electrified. This steeply-graded (1-in-27) line dropped 130ft to the quayside in less than one mile and featured deep cuttings and a claustrophobic tunnel situated on a sharp curve.

Conditions for steam locomotive crews were extremely unpleasant with little or no ventilation in the tunnels to clear the acrid smoke from locomotives working flat out on the uphill trips. To work the line, the NER ordered two steeple-cab electric locomotives, built by Brush and fitted with four British Thomson-Houston (BTH) 160hp traction motors.

Designated ‘Electric Shunting Type 1’ or ‘ES1’, the two machines were given the NER numbers 1 and 2. Much of the line was electrified with a conductor rail due to limited clearances, but for safe operation in the yards at each end simple overhead catenary was installed with short changeover sections at each end of the branch. As a result, the ES1s were initially fitted with elaborate bow collectors mounted on the bonnet at one end, but in 1908 these were replaced by more conventional diamond pattern pantographs on the cab roof. Third-rail collector shoes were placed at the outer ends of the shoebeams on each bogie, although these were later moved to the middle of the shoebeams.

Trains were generally propelled down the branch and hauled back up the hill with the ES1s being limited to just 160T on the gradient. For 60 years, No. 1 and No. 2 – renumbered 6480/81 by the LNER in 1946 and 26500/501 by British Railways in May 1948 – plied their unglamorous trade out of the public eye. However in the early-1960s they had a brief moment in the spotlight when both were repainted into NER-style lined green with NER and BR crests on the cabsides.

By 1964, the widespread availability of diesel shunting locomotives had rendered electric operation and the ES1s obsolete and they were withdrawn in September of that year. Fortunately, 26500 was claimed for the National Collection and preserved as an example of early British non-steam traction. After many years at the National Railway Museum in York it currently resides closer to home at Locomotion in Shildon.

Model specifications

  • Low-profile central motor under the cab driving both bogies, as per Heljan's OO gauge locomotive arrangement
  • NEM couplers
  • LED headlight function (separate function on DCC)
  • Cab light function (separate function on DCC)
  • Sprung diamond pattern pantograph
  • Sprung buffers
  • Screw link couplings
  • DCC Ready chassis with Next18 interface
  • Fine etched metal details
  • Detailed cab interior
  • Separate bufferbeam pipework, collector shoes, hoses and handrails

To place an order or enquire further on the above models, visit the Locomotion Models or Rails of Sheffield websites.


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