Heljan North Eastern ES1 for Rails of Sheffield/Locomotion Models

24 March 2023
The partnership of Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield brought the NER Electric Shunting Loco ‘ES1’ No.1 to market, joining the National Collection in Miniature Series. Andy York shares his thoughts.

Designed and made by Heljan, models of the North Eastern ES1 have arrived with customers. Two variants are retailed by Locomotion Models in North Eastern green – one as preserved, the other in 1908-'23 form. Meanwhile, Rails of Sheffield has three variants – LNER unlined black, BR early crest black as 26500 and lined BR apple green representing its final livery.

Here's what we like:

Heljan Rails of Sheffield ES1

Heljan’s model is an excellent recreation of the interesting prototype with high specification and good weight thanks to the die-cast bonnet sections.

Heljan Rails of Sheffield ES1

The bogie frame and underframe detail and chains are exquisite, with the prominent and unusual bonnet headlamps housing directional LEDs matched by cab lighting which, in the dark, reveals that the cab floor is slightly elevated to accommodate the centrally-positioned motor which drives both bogies.

Heljan Rails of Sheffield ES1

There’s plenty of power on hand, comfortably handling a dozen Mk. 1 coaches. Fierce scale gradients shouldn't be a problem and performance on test was very smooth and quiet.

Here's what we noticed:

Heljan Rails of Sheffield ES1

The livery application is very good, although the black on our LNER example seems quite thick and reduces the crispness of the rivet detail seen on the NE green example, which shows the locomotive as preserved.

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Heljan Rails of Sheffield ES1

The sprung diamond-shaped pantograph is clipped in a stowed position but can be unclipped and raised. Model OHLE may not be of sufficient rigidity to reduce the sprung height.

Heljan Rails of Sheffield ES1

Overall the model is an appealing portrayal of one of our earliest and charismatic electric locomotives which will appeal to collectors as I’m sure there’s not that many Trafalgar Branch modellers out there.

Want more? Read Andy York's full review with prototype history in the May 2023 issue of BRM, on-sale from April 20.


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