Review of the Heljan Class 14

The Heljan Class 14 as supplied

Commissioned by Hattons, the Heljan class 14 finally arrived at the begining of February 2010 and what a lovely model it is too!

Prototype Information

The British Rail Class 14 was a type of small diesel-hydraulic locomotive built in the mid-1960s. Twenty-six of these 0-6-0 locomotives were ordered in January 1963, to be built at British Railways Swindon Works. The anticipated work for this class was trip working movements between local yards and short-distance freight trains on the Western Region.
The good all-around visibility from the cab and dual controls also made them capable of being used for shunting duties.
The order was expanded from 26 to 56 in mid-1963, before work had started on the first order. They were numbered D9500-D9555.
Unfortunately, the work for which these locos were designed had more-or-less dried up as they were delivered and consequently, many of the class served only a few years on BR before sold to private industry where many served long lives. Many of the class have been preserved.

The class 14 has a cab offset from the centre with bonnets at each end, with a fixed 0-6-0 wheel configuration. The locomotives were powered by a Paxman 6-cylinder Ventura 6YJXL engine with a Napier turbocharger producing 650 bhp (485 kW), connected to a Voith L217U hydraulic transmission and Hunslet final drive. The axles were connected by coupling rods and driven by a jackshaft located under the cab, between the second and third axles. The plate frames were of 11⁄4 inch steel and deep buffer beams almost to rail level. One was of similar thickness to the frames, the other of 5 inch thick steel to act as ballast and to even out weight distribution.

The Model

Historically, Heljan have delivered their models suspended in foam, however, this model is a departure from this. The model is now held in a transparent plastic assembly like those used for Bachmann wagons and this is then held in foam as before. This results in a good level of protection against breakages.
There are two small packs in the box: one contains the brake rigging to be fitted by the user and the other contains NEM couplings.
The buffer beam at each end has a hole through which an NEM coupling can be fitted. I would have liked to have seen a 'blanking piece' supplied which fits flush to the buffer beams, covering the holes, for those who use alternative coupling systems.

On the subject of couplings, this model must be a first: it is the first model I have seen which comes supplied with screw link couplings fitted as standard which are actually capable of being used. Hornby were the first to supply such couplings on their class 50, however, they could not be used because they had no flexibility for sideways movement.
All pipework is pre-fitted to the buffer beams.
As supplied, there is very little to do to the model except to fit the brake blocks. These are supplied on a sprew and should be cut, filed and glued - the locating holes on the model don't actually 'tight fit' hold the parts - glue is required. The parts do fit together squarely. Once fitted, the brake pull rods can be clipped into place on the brake hangers. I would not recommend glueing these in place otherwise this will prevent removal of the axle keeper plate should the wheels ever need removal in the future for pickup cleaning.

Pickup is on all 6 wheels via strips on the backs of the wheels. Drive is via the centre wheel axle, not the jack shaft. The strips can be clearly seen and could do with darkening down. A little paint can fix this:

One thing that is really noticeable is the amount of sideways movement on the axles. With the exception of limited movement on the centre axle, there really isn't any justification for any sideways movement on this model: it is quite capable of negotiating sharp curves by virtue of its short wheel base. For 00 gauge modellers, this sideways movement probably should be limited with washers. P4 modellers wil need a lot more washers!

The jack shaft has the same sideways movement as the axles and does clear the brake hangers.

Fitting a DCC Decoder

There is a small slot under the PCB to fit a decoder - not a lot of space. I fitted a TCS MC2 decoder:


This model runs very smoothly even at slow speed. It's top end speed is somewhat more than the 40mph capability of the protototype, however, DCC users will be able to adjust this with speed curve CV settings or top voltage CV settings.


There really isn't much modification required to this model except filling in the buffer beam NEM hole and a little weathering.


This is a superb model and would be a suitable addition to most 1960's period WR layouts.

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Graham Plowman (Created 23/02/2010), Modified 7/10/2021 4:27:32 PM +11:00)

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