Long time readers may not be surprised to discover something out of left field has joined the stable of locomotives - and shortly will be joined by some stock and, inevitably will need a layout to run on - as this seems to happen from time to time (a LNER liveried B1 being a recent example...). Today the divergence came from even further afield than normal.
I was browsing eBay (as you do - never know what you might find there) and came across a NSW Class 48. Now being Australian, any RTR Australian N Scale stuff is of interest and this was no exception as I have long harboured a dream to build a "typical" Australian layout and sit back and watch the trains go by. My family used to drive to Melbourne (taking the train was done once but it was too long and possibly too expensive - this was the 1980s so I don't know why the hire car was always the option) and one of the highlights was racing the Intercapital Daylight Express, usually around Wagga Wagga or Junee. Indeed other highlights of the trip would be the trip into Spencer Street Station to have a look at the Southern Aurora and Spirit of Progress trains either getting ready to depart for Sydney or arriving from there.
So there has been a little list for a while now of locos which I would like to have and the 48 Class has been on it. Further investigation revealed that the model in question was produced by Gopher Models - owned and operated by one Phil Badger. Now UK readers will be familiar with this name as he is one of the triumvirate running Ixion - those of the GWR Manor. Phil's pedigree as an Australian modeller is first class and I had been speaking to him earlier in the year and he had mentioned he was getting some 48s produced in China and obviously these were now available.
Contact with the seller on eBay confirmed that I had the option of whatever number I wanted, along with livery. The 48 is a long lived class and had 165 members which appeared in 7 liveries at least while operating in NSW. The South Australian Railways also purchased some identical locos from Alco - their 830 class - so there were lots around and still are according to what I found via Google.
I got mine with a TCS Z2 chip already fitted and have been playing with it this evening. Running is silky smooth - particularly after I cleaned the track!!! The lights are a bit bright for the casing so I will have to work out how to dim them and the loco on the whole is a bit too ex-works for what I remember the class being like in Brisbane and in the Riverina of NSW. A quick going over with the steel rule v the published dimensions of the class reveals no hassles although I had a moment when I started until I remembered to change the 148 to 160 in the spreadsheet I use for such things!
Now to work out what wagons I should be getting to put behind it...