Despite the Class 71 being introduced as long ago as 1959/60 and with the virtue of being a very interesting locomotive in its own right, it has taken a crowd funding effort with DJ Models to see one appear as a ready to run OO gauge model. The sample kindly supplied by DJ Models is finished in the interim livery of BR green with full yellow ends, a livery which seems to be becoming better represented in model form as enthusiasts come to recognise that the transition between BR green and BR rail blue eras is indeed an interesting one to represent on a layout.Class 71 were unique electric locomotives built to operate on the BR Southern Region third rail network, primarily the South Eastern Division (or Eastern Section depending on your point of view) where they operated a wide range of trains from freight to prestigious cross-channel traffic passenger trains such as boat trains and the ‘Golden Arrow’.That pantograph is no mistake on the part of the designers. Conductor rail was not laid in many yards or berthing sidings due to the danger it posed to ground staff. Trolley wires were hung from sometimes quite basic poles or sophisticated gantries such as those at Folkestone East sidings to allow a Class 71 to collect current when running off the third rail. Whilst Class 73s were equipped with an auxiliary diesel engine for running off the third rail and to deal with the problem of gaping in the conductor rail when running at slow speed over complex track work; Class 71s used a ‘booster generator’ instead of an auxiliary diesel engine to avoid gaping.There two sides of a Class 71 feature different equipment. The photo above shows the grilles located on one side of the model – nicely cut in detail and accurately represented. Class 71s only had one traction motor blower with air drawn in through the body side grilles. and ducted to the four EE532 traction motorsThe opposite side of the DJ Models Class 71 model with its large window.
Bogies are rich in detail and the correct spoked wheels are fitted too. Pick-up shoe beams fitted to the bogies are add-on parts supplied with the model, as is a bogie to body bracket which should be left in the box when operating the model on a layout with sharp curves.
DJ Models has come up with a neat way of representing the head code blinds. The body is removed (clips only) and the desired head code blind inserted into the frame behind the middle window of both cabs. There is no need to take the cab fittings out with the chance of disturbing the lighting circuits.
It’s a smart model with good flush glazing and other good features including space for a 21-pin decoder and digital sound speaker. The body is simply clipped in place making removal easy to do.Some of the buffer beam detail is factory installed with the remainder left for the modeller to fit if the buffer beam valance fill-in moulding is fitted instead of the tension lock coupling. NEM coupler boxes are fitted as standard with close coupling cams which work well with the deep buffer beam valance.
That’s the DJ Models Class 71 in OO gauge – perfect for Southern Electric modellers. A yard scene with a trolley wire system instead of a conductor rail would make an interesting compact layout theme in which the DJ Models Class 71 would be very much at home. There lots of potential in such a layout which could include engineers stock or BR standard revenue wagons such as 12t vans and 13t general merchandise open wagons together with a continental van or two – there’s quite a few locations on the former Southern Region which would provide inspiration for such a layout. The fine running of the DJ Models Class 71 would make for some satisfying shunting operations – Class 71s do not have to be restricted to the main line. You could, of course, add a Hornby 2HAL to the mix if a bit of secondary line with conductor rail was to be added to the track plan. Or perhaps a Hornby 2BIL for a Central Section themed layout?
My thanks to Dave Jones of DJ Models for supplying the model which will be reviewed in detail in the Railway Magazine Guide to Railway Modelling.