Virtual quarry traffic for the movement of rail ballast is one traffic flow that employs Freightliner Class 70s. Heamies Farm, just north of Norton Bridge, is the location of this photograph of No. 70 003 with a train of MOA bogie box wagons. This photograph was taken prior to the Norton bridge diversion works undertaken in recent years.
Following on from the success of the OO gauge model released in 2011, A Class 70 in N gauge from Graham Farish was a given. Model lives up to its larger brother and is an excellent representation of the full size locomotives. The long, narrow but chunky body with its various details and grilles is beautifully captured. The model has presence, even in N gauge thanks to subtle representation of door and grille detail. Many parts of the body are separately tooled enabling the complex shape of the locomotive to be captured. The narrow body also means a completely new chassis design with a small but powerful motor driving all six axles. The model looks competent and attractive, ready for hauling intermodal, cement, aggregate and coal trains.
The cabs and narrow body shell are separate mouldings clipped together to create the complex body shell. The various panel lines, grilles and hatches are well tooled without any detail appearing overdone.
Enhanced with flush glazing, separately applied hand rails and other small details, the ugly appearance of the Class 70 is nicely modelled and well represented in both scales!
Whilst some observers believe that some cleaner design work could have been applied to the cab design; the locomotive’s no nonsense appearance is unmistakable, both on the full size locomotives and on the N gauge model.
The central section of the Class 70 body shell is composed of modules which have distinctive panel lines, all of which are nicely represented.
All of the axles are fitted with metal wheels, are equipped for all-wheel current collection and are fully powered. The motor is mounted between the chassis frames with a flywheel and rive shafts linking the bogie gear towers to the motor. The model runs with a smooth action, no hesitation at the low speed end and a satisfying but not unrealistic top speed. Total weight is 80g, not bad for a narrow body locomotive. Running tests saw it haul 12 bogie wagons with ease, so haulage capability is not a concern.
Whilst there is little doubt that the Class 70 breaks some new ground in locomotive design, it shares many similarities with the BR designed narrow bodied Class 58 locomotive and little of that design’s style.
The cooling fan and radiator assembly is represented with a separate body moulding and neat etched metal fan grilles. There are fans located under the grilles.
The body is easily removed, there being two clips, one under each cab front, showing a neat chassis and circuit board. Full LED lighting is fitted to the model including illumination of the top marker lights and tail lights. Power is conducted from the circuit board, which is mounted on the chassis, to the body mounted lighting circuits through five well designed sprung contacts, avoiding the need for wires linking the body and chassis which makes removal for decoder fitting and maintenance easier. A switch on the underside of the chassis enables the modeller to control the tail lights. A 6-pin DCC interface socket is a part of the internal circuit board with sufficient room for the Bachmann plug and play NEM-651 6-pin decoder.
The Graham Farish Class 70 is a further demonstration of how N gauge has progressed in the last few years. The challenge of a narrow body shell, the need for adequate ballast for haulage capacity and a finely tuned mechanisms has been more than met. Add a complex body shell tooling with numerous details, grilles, panels, seam lines between body components and various panel catches to the mix and the project was as complex as any that Graham Farish has attempted. Whilst Graham Farish continues to use conventional wiper pick-ups for current collection, an increasingly out-dated method, it is applied to all twelve wheels. I would like to see this method updated with something more contemporary in the future as the fine wiper pick-ups are prone to wear and dirt accumulation. Nonetheless, heavy freight fans will be delighted with this model and its good haulage capacity coupled to smooth performance will keep layout operators happy.