Creating Perfect Playrooms

Top 5 Must Have Locomotives

March 14th, 2014 | Posted by Sam Ireland in Bigjigs Rail

As you all know, we are absolutely MAD about wooden railway – especially our Heritage Locomotives (we have a whole section dedicated to them on our website!)

So we thought it was about time that we shared with your the top 5 must have Heritage Locomotives from Bigjigs Rail. This is no easy feat with over 17 to choose from including the iconic Flying Scotsman, the Black Engine and the RH&DR Typhoon! So, without further or do, here are our top 5:

1. Flying Scotsman


The 4472 Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) by Sir Nigel Gresley in Doncaster.

It was employed as a long distance express train, and ran the 10am London to Edinburgh – after which it was named. The Flying Scotsman was notable for having set two world records for steam traction; becoming the first steam locomotive to be officially authenticated at reaching 100mph on the 30th November 1934; and then setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles on 8th August 1989.

The Flying Scotsman was retired from service in 1963 after covering over 2 million miles and is now at rest in he National Railway Museum, York. The locomotive toured extensively in the United States and Australia and has been described as the world’s most famous steam locomotive.


2. Mallard


The 4468 Mallard was built in Doncaster, England in 1938 – and is the record holder of the world speed record for steam locomotives.

The A4 class were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to power high-speed streamlined trains. The wind-tunnel-tested, aerodynamic body and high power allowed the class to reach speeds of over 100 mph. The Mallard came to fame when it recorded 125.88 mph on the 3rd July 1938 on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line. It broke the German 002’s 1936 record of 124.mph.

The Mallard covered almost one and a half million miles before it was retired in 1963. It was restored in the 1980’s but has not operated since and now since in the Great Hall at the National Rail Museum, York.


3. Stephenson’s Rocket


The Stepehenson’s Rocket was an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement, and was built in 1829 in Newcastle.

The Rocket was built for, and won for the Rainhill Trials that were held by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829 to choose the best design to power the railway. Though the Rocket was not the first steam locomotive, it was the first to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day. It is the most famous example of an evolving design and became a template for most steam engines in the following 150 years.

In 1862 the Rocket was donated to the Science Museum where it still exists.


4. Duchess of Hamilton


The 6229 Duchess of Hamilton was built in 1938 in Crewe as the tenth member of its class complete with gold speed cheat stripes. The locomotive had somewhat of an identity crisis after swapping identies with the 6220 Coronation and was sent to North America to appear at both the New York World’s Fair and the Second World War. It wasn’t until September 1958 that she was painted her maroon colours, previously being both black and blue.

The Duchess of Hamilton was saved from the scrap yard but Sir Billy Butlin who wanted to place these locomotives as children’s playground exhibits at his holiday camps – and was added to the Minehead holiday camp in 1964. The National Railway Museum loaned it from Butlins in a twenty year loan deal where they began to restore and preserve it, and shortly after 1987 they purchased it.

The Duchess of Hamilton is now displayed in the National Railway Museum, currently on display next to the 1933 Chrysler Airflow.


5. Tornado


60163 Tornado is a mainline steam locomotive that was built in Darlington. Completed in 2008, Tornado was the first such locomotive built in the UK since Evening Star was built in 1960.

The locomotive’s namesake is the Panavia Tornado, a combat aircraft flown by the RAF. Construction of the Tornado began in 1994 and was financed through fundraising initiatives including public donations and sponsorship, and cost around £3 million. The construction of the locomotive was completed in 2008, and full certification was achieved in January 2009 and is capable of reaching speeds up to 100mph.


These 5 trains are our top 5 locomotive must haves – and represent the golden age of rail! Bring to life your wooden railway set with these incredibly life like wooden replicas available at our online shop from £8.99.

All of the locomotives from our Heritage Collection are made from high quality, responsibly sourced materials that are compatible with our wooden train track and other major wooden railway brands. THe magnetic coupling system ensures compatibility with all other engines and carriages, allowing you to add to the locomotives and trains. All of these wonderful locomotives come in packaging that includes information about the evolution and working life of the engine, upon which the replica is based.

Which one must you have?

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