Steve Johnson Modelmaker
Metropolitan-Vickers C201 Class
Part of the 1955 order for 94 Metropolitan Vickers locomotives consisted of 34 C Class locomotives. The C Class locomotives retained a family resemblance with the larger A Class. However, these locomotives, a lot shorter, lighter and less powerful, were intended for light work on the many branch lines that existed at the time. The 61.5 ton C Class were Bo-Bo locomotives fitted with the Crossley EST Vee 8 two stroke diesel engine of only 550bhp with conventional electric transmission. Unfortunately, deliveries commenced in 1957, at about the same time as CIÉ commenced it's wholesale closure of much of the Republic's rail system. By 1963, most of the lines these locomotives were intended to work had been closed, leaving little for them to do. The Crossley engine in this type proved just as unreliable as the ones in the larger A Class and their power output was sadly insufficient. Two locomotives, C233 and C234 were re-engined with the Maybach MD650 980bhp diesel engine in 1966 and 1965 respectively in an effort to improve reliability and available power. The C Class were finally re-engined with the General Motors 8-B645E two stroke diesel engine of 1,100bhp from 1971.
Concerned with the aging AEC/Park Royal railcars running the Dublin suburban services, CIÉ came up with plan to improve services by modifying both the railcars and the C Class locomotives to form Push-Pull units.The railcars had their engines removed and were reformed into 4 car sets for push pull service (see railcars for more details). The C Class performed well for many years on the suburban services, but increasing traffic meant some other solution was needed. This came to fruition in 1984 with the opening of the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) electric services. Again the C Class found themselves with little to do. They were eventually withdrawn between 1985 and 1986. Six locomotives were purchased by NIR an their 104 (MV) Class. Two have been preserved by the ITG.
Two models of the C Class have been produced over the years. A one piece cast resin body was produced by Q Kits many years ago with MTK producing an etched brass/white metal kit (IRL6) more recently. Neither of these are now available, so another solution was needed. The similarity between the A and C Class is the key here. It enables us to use the Q Kits white metal A Class as a base for the C Class. The cab fronts are identical, the main difference is the bodyside and roof detail, for a start, the C Class is some ten feet shorter. Careful examination of the general arrangement drawings (GAD) for both locomotives reveal what has to be done. Looking at the bodysides, the radiator has to be shortened, two sets of air intake vents have to be removed and a little extra removed from the overall length including the section with the grille. The drawing below shows which sections have to be removed with the careful use of a razor saw.
When the sections have all been altered, it is simply a case of reassembling them. I re-enforced the butt joints with some plasticard at the rear. The front can be tidied up with the use of some filler such as Milliput and sanded flush.
The roof also has to be altered and shortened. The radiator fan grille is of a smaller diameter than that on the A Class and the cowling also stands a little proud. I used some 12mm diameter brass tube some 10mm long and secured it within the existing aperture, making sure it stood about 1mm proud. The gaps being made good with some filler with the original A Class grille being cut down to fit. There are also two additional vents on the C Class roof. These were fabricated from some thick plasticard strips with the top edges being filed to the curved profile. The drawing below shows what has to be done. Various other small detailing can now be carried out. Handrails can be fitted, made from 0.33mm wire. The original Frost Guard may be trimmed to the new shape. The C Class have small extensions to the buffer beam top to act as steps. These can be made from 0.010" plasticard and secured in place.
Now one has to decide on the power unit. The C Class have a short wheelbase bogie of only 8ft. 0in. So, I originally fitted the locomotive with my own homemade twin motor bogies. The were not too successful and were replaced with a Branchlines MB35 unit, which is actually an 8ft 9in wheelbase, some 3mm too long. The bogie sideframes could have been a problem, but fortunately I had bought one of the original resin Q Kits many years ago, so I used these, which are also too long and line up quite well with the motor bogie! When conversion to P4 takes place, this error will be corrected.
I painted the locomotive in the 1963 Golden Brown/Black/White livery as an original Crossley engined unit. The Golden Brown paint came from MIR. The numbers are Letraset with the CIÉ orange roundal transfer coming from Mabex. My own version of flush glazing was used with Craftsman etched brass windscreen wipers. Cab interior is obviously not provided so I made my own from sections of plasticard and cut down carriage seats. The Handbrake column is a white metal casting from Craftsman sold as a steam engine tender brake column part number 54. The token catchers are from MIR. At some time in the future, the C Class will be re-gauged to 21mm P4. I am hoping that a re-wheel will suffice.
Silver Fox Models produce both a resin body kit and completed ready to run models in a variety of liveries.