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The Tri-ang class 3 standard tank locomotive, R59

British Rail standard classes

After WW II British Railways had inherited a multitude of different locomotive types. Therefore, in 1951, an attempt was made to Create a range of Standard steam locomotives that could run anywhere on the network. However by 1955 it had been decided that steam would be phased out resulting in a short life of between seven and seventeen years for most of the standards.

The prototype.

The standard class 3, 2-6-2 design was built at the ex GWR works in Swindon. Consequently, Forty-seven were built between 1952 and 1955. The designer was Robert Riddles. It was a hybrid design using LMS and GWR parts. Additionally there was a 2-6-0 tender version of the class 3.

The model.

The Tri-ang class 3 standard tank locomotive first appeared in 1956. The livery was BR black with the early crest. The wheels were solid , however it had brass buffers and safety valves. The body moulding was quite crude with “soft” detail. Compared to the real thing the pony truck wheels are under scale.

The first version of the class 3 2-6-2 tank from 1956, Note the early coupling and paint loss on the brass buffers.

Consequently, By 1961 it had gained see through wheels and a green lined livery. The model continued in various guises until 1972. The featured image is the original 1960 version with sold wheels, compare it to the image below. Finally, it is common to have decal damage as that is where the model is usually held when lifting.

Five versions of the Tri-ang 2 – 6 – 2 were produced between 1956 and 1972. The later model has nickel tyres but maintained the same running number. The 1960 green version with solid wheels was only produced in that year. However, the 1972 version is the least common variant.

The 1961 see through wheels version

The centre wheels had no flange and the motor used a brass gear. Both pony trucks pivot at the ends unlike modern designs. Finally, the one I have is a sweet runner, even after 60 years! Will the current crop of models still be running in 2081?

Scan from British Model Trains 3rd edition.

Film and media

Film of the standard class 3 is fairly rare as none were preserved. However, the standard class 3’s used the boiler from GWR Prairie tanks and they look very similar. The differences being a smaller tank and no Walschaerts valve gear.