Heljan reveals largest ever locomotive for ‘OO’

Heljan has unveiled plans to produce the London and North Eastern Railway’s unique Beyer-Garratt ‘U1’ 2-8-0 + 0-8-2T for ‘OO’.

Photo: National Railway Museum (LNER official portraits)

The prototype, numbered 2395, made its debut at the LNER’s centenary celebrations of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1925. It was notably used on banking duties for three decades at locations including Worsborough near Barnsley and the Lickey Incline near Birmingham. Renumbered 69999 in BR days, it was the largest and most powerful steam locomotive to ever work in Britain.

Heljan’s all-new ‘OO’ gauge model of the ‘U1’ has been researched with help from the National Railway Museum, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry’s Beyer Peacock Archive and the Gresley Society.


The specification is set to include a twin motor and flywheel drive, 21-pin Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder socket, working LED lamps, factory-fitted speakers, removable cab roof, separately fitted pipe and cable runs, sprung buffers, NEM coupler pockets and will be smoke unit compatible. It will be available in DCC ready and DCC sound-fitted forms.

Modifications made to the full size engine will be incorporated within the tooling suite to model detail variations to the smokebox, water tank breather pipes, coal bunker, handrails, cab and additional vacuum tanks, while coal or oil-fired options will also be produced.


Six different versions of the ‘U1’ are planned, to cover the entire career of the locomotive, including a special exclusive edition for Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield. This special edition will depict 2395 in Works grey, as it appeared at the LNER’s Stockton and Darlington Railway centenary cavalcade in 1925, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the line’s opening which is to be commemorated in 2025.


Standard 'OO' gauge releases include 2395 in as-built LNER lined black (Cat No. 3000/30003), 9999 in LNER (1946-48) unlined black (3002/30023), 69999 in British Railways black (3003/30033), 69999 (coal fired) in BR black with early crests (3004/30043) and 69999 (oil fired with headlight) in BR black with early crests (3005/30053).

Currently in tooling, working samples of the all-new ‘OO’ gauge ‘U1’ are expected in early 2024.

Prices are set £399 DCC ready and £520 DCC sound fitted. Release is expected in early 2025.

◘ Visit Heljan, Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield for more information.