Enter the Greyback


Back in November I was lucky enough to find one of these rare DJH kits for the Caledonian 60 Class 4-6-0.

Six of these engines were built to the design of William Pickersgill in 1916-17 at St Rollox. Never the fastest or most free-steaming machines, they were nevertheless better than OS Nock’s hatchet job in a 1920 edition of The Engineer implied and could put in good work in the hands of a skilled crew. The last one didn’t go until 1953 which must say something. That said DL Smith recounts a couple of horror stories of their use on the Girvan – Stranraer section in his books. It was SouWest men that lumped  them with the handle ‘Greyback’, which is the Scots term for a woodlouse!

The kit itself is very much classic Banbury-era DJH with battleship plate frames and chunky whitemetal castings. I don’t yet have a drawing to hand but overall the basic proportions look ok. The chassis itself will be replaced with Gibson frames so that some kind of springing can be accommodated. Likewise a Caley Coaches subframe will be used beneath the tender and it’s possible new tender sideframes will need fabrication to replace the castings. I doubt with their their thickness they will accommodate EM wheelsets. The basic superstructure has so far gone together without much drama so far though the two boiler halves were slightly misalingned. Careful use of sanding sticks has helped here but I suspect I will remove the heavy boiler bands entirely and replace with tape or decal lining in due course.

No doubt there will be the usual snags and pitfalls associated with kits of this vintage but I’m looking forward to seeing her in full Caley blue before the year’s out!






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