Monday 1 April 2024

'Invicta' - a quick photo survey

It is always interesting when a 15" gauge locomotive emerges from a prolonged period of hibernation, and whilst not as exciting as some of the potential hidden delights that may exist, the unique Maxitrax 'Invicta' has recently arrived at the Sherwood Forest Railway for testing and a longer-term residency. She has been on display over the Easter weekend and was kindly rolled out of the shed by Bob Colley into better light for photography.

Built in the late 1980s for the original incarnation of the Markeaton Park railway in Derby, I saw her in the shed there in 1996 but for some reason did not take a photograph, despite other pictures being taken. Not long afterwards loco and two coaches moved to one of the Gullivers theme parks where it is not clear how much use was ever made of her over many years. 

Now nearing the end of a full restoration the paintwork is gleaming, so much so you can see my reflection in the shot below! 

The compact nature of the loco is ideally suited to the SFR and the existing rolling stock, suitable air braking equipment is fitted and we should see passenger use in due course when the railway opens it's extension and a two train service is run. I'm informed there have already been test runs along the new length of line out of the way of service trains.

There are still a few finishing touches to make, including cab front and rear windows and surrounds, and a cover for the air intake on the bonnet side. The cab is compact and emphasises how us modellers have issues getting driver figures to fit in O9 locomotive models, the seat is about a foot from the floor so your knees are going to be in the air, a posture rarely offered in model form...

Another important detail for modellers, the suspension and axle boxes. Just in case you are wondering, the wheelbase is 2ft and overall length just over 6ft. You would need a tiny chassis for an O9 model (it definitely won't fit a Kato 11-109!) but it would be a reasonable build on a SPUD or Underground Ernie chassis in 1/24th scale...

Many thanks to Bob and David Colley at the Sherwood Forest Railway - and a plug for the railway's new hot food selection on weekends and Nottinghamshire school holidays.


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