What next for Queensland modellers?
A little essay, with thoughts welcome.
We now have the following models available RTR (plastic mass produced):
Wuiske QLX louvre vans & variants
Southern Rail VAK coal hoppers & variants
Southern Rail VGK wheat hoppers & variants
Wuiske QSC, QSCW and QLCP Tautliner vans (3 colour schemes)
Southern Rail 2300 class in QR bronco, QRN Eagle & QRN ‘Meadow Lea’ colours.
Southern Rail 2000 class railmotors
The SRM 2300 class provides them with a chassis suitable for a myriad of other classes, obviously enabling them to make versions of the 1550, 2400 2450 and 2470 classes that were converted to 2300’s. It is also the same chassis for the 2100 series locomotives, most of which began confined to coal workings initially, but most ended up on the main lines. The Clyde-GM GL22 & GL26 types combined add up to a total of over 200 locomotives. Clearly SRM could be busy for some time, if they wanted to be, producing versions of these locos. For each class, there are/were variations in terms of DOO conversion, air conditioning and fitting of ‘Maxi-cabs’, as well as the change from QR blue to bronco colours. So out of those 209 locos, each has been in at least two and often three different incarnations. So which should be produced? Clearly they can’t do them all.
This may depend greatly on the existing market demand, but it would seem obvious that those versions that were the most travelled would be the ideal models, therefore the 1550 class and following 2400 series should fit the bill. If there is further demand then perhaps some of the 2100 series could be produced.
Given that we are talking about a fresh new baby-faced market here, what other locos might be produced?
A number of factors will have to be considered by the small group of producers here. Obviously the first one is broad appeal -has the type travelled outside of QLD? Only a certain few have, but there are some interesting possibilities, although again we are talking about breaking into a new market.
2800 class (50 built) - quite a good looking option for producers since some of these locomotives have recently been converted to standard gauge and are now operating in NSW. Of course one was converted some time ago (2819), and operated as a banker in the Adelaide Hills, plus other wanderings around the interstate network for some while. 2819 is now in WA, back on cape gauge and would match SRM’s DFZ class. Obviously the fact that it is a large class and has travelled over most of the QR network, also makes it a good prospect.
1460 class (42) - a well-travelled and large class, of which several have ended up in Tasmania, via NZ. Some of these locos were converted to DQ class and three remained in almost original condition, with few modifications other than paint. Only the DQ class remain, all quite different looking than how they started. The large number in the class plus the chassis commonality with the following 1502 class ensures that this is a good possibility for the QR producers, rather than the locos later careers.
1502 (29) - along with their long history of service the 29 members of the 1502 class are also a good possible model because of the 423 conversions which may be quite popular, although some big tooling differences exist between even amongst the 423 class. At least a couple are also in WA as the AD class, painted in ARG yellow & maroon, another prototype to match the DFZ. Some are still in Tasmania too, again as DQ class. There are also four still in NZ.
4000 class (at least 165 built or under construction!) - Whilst only appealing to modern image modellers, the 4000 class and it’s derivatives, the 41, ACN, 83 & PN classes are extremely numerous. Several have, or are being shipped to WA (ACN).
2350/70 class (16) - Ran in QLD from the early 70’s until 1987 when sold to Tasrail. Some have since been sold to WA where they are still running. A handful still survive in Tasmania. The problem with this class is that they were largely confined to coal train running, so may not have broad appeal for QR modellers. The interstate market may be only mildly interested too -only WA modern image fans would be interested in those versions, and Tasmania’s market is also (obviously) very small.
1300 class (45) - These are similar to the 2350 class in that many were confined to coal workings. However none have travelled anywhere other than Tasmania, except those that were rebuilt as MKA class, of which most of them are now also back in Tasmania.
None of the other QR diesel locos have travelled interstate in any form. However this of course does not mean that they won’t be a suitable model in a market where there are 4.5 million people.
1720 class (56 built) - surely a suitable model with many still running around today. Their versatility and range of use means that any QR modeller must want at least a couple for their collection. The less numerous 1700 class (only 12 built) could be plonked on to the same chassis.
1620 class (34) - not for nothing was Queensland Scale Models planning to produce this loco in brass. The longest lived EE type in Queensland, again with a range that means that many might want one or two.
DH class (73) - another type with a broad range across QLD, although with little appeal for modern image modellers. Unfortunately other than size & some basic dimensions, there are almost no similarities between this type and the related Walkers built diesel hydraulics, namely the NSWGR 73 class and the Emu Bay Railway 11 & 10 classes.
3900 class electric (30) - for about ten years these locos dominated Brisbane – Rockhampton traffic before increasing coal traffic meant they were needed elsewhere. All other electric loco types have remained captive to heavy coal traffic, with diesels sadly running under the wires on the mainline since, with the sole exception of passenger trains.
1270 class (30) - wide range but all withdrawn in late 80’s.
Most other classes that ran in QLD were either small in number or ran over only a small part of the network, or both. A few of them may still be worthwhile candidates for an RTR model, but probably not before the above loco types.
2600 class (13 built) - all now in South Africa. Is anyone modelling Hon3.5 over there?
1450 class (10) - none survived beyond 1990
1400 class (13) - body is very similar to VR T class (series 1), but many differences below running plate. Also didn’t survive past 1990.
1600 class (18 ) - wide range & many survived past 1990, but all gone by 1995.
1250 class (17) - the 3rd QR diesel class fully withdrawn, in 1987.
1200 class (10) - wide ranging, withdrawn by 1987.
1170 class (12) - used on light lines only. Withdrawn by 1990.
1150 class (13) - the first QR diesel class, all gone by 1987.
Other electric locos
The market for QR electric locos is obviously smaller than the overall QR market. They are also not so uncommon, of course, but are confined to coal traffic. The market being in its infancy, any of these electric locos would seem to be a high risk proposition for a producer. However if the coal hoppers from SRM are popular, perhaps not such a risk after all? So who knows.
Not being an expert on QR wagons I can’t even begin to guess what is either a suitable or a likely model. One suspects that the current two producers of QR RTR might well plan on creating some variations for modellers, therefore some open wagons, container and cattle wagons might well be a good plan. I'm also given to understand that although their brass model projects have been cancelled, Queensland Scale Models are planning to produce some rollingstock (their website even has a link, as yet unconnected, to a page for these planned models).
Incidentally SDS has previously announced a range of QR RACE containers, and may well be interested in producing some wagons.
Where from here?
If you are interested in more, I strongly recommend that you email all of the above-mentioned companies (Wuiske, Southern Rail, SDS & QSM) and tell them what you want. It might even be worth an email to Auscision, who claimed in an update a little while ago that they were 'slowly getting around to all Australian states'. Whether this has significance or not, I'm not sure, but I do know one thing; if you don't ask, you're very unlikely to get!