The British O gauge tinplate revival began in 1993 when Ron Budd suggested to Andries Grabowsky to making a reproduction of the Hornby 4-4-4 tank loco in electric. In 1995 when the initial 4-4-4 was ready to go into production, Andries Grabowsky asked Allen Levy to take care of the marketing, sales and distribution. A company now called "ACE Trains" was founded by Allen and Charlotte Levy. Production under Andries Grabowksy was initially based in Taiwan, then Thailand and then later Bangkok. ACE Trains founding shareholders were and still are Allen and Charlotte Levy. The company was originally named Allchem Trains Ltd, Allen, Charlotte and Emily latterly abbreviated to ACE Trains Ltd.
The first locomotive in the ACE Trains project was the E/1 based on the original Hornby clockwork 4-4-4 with over 1,000 models being manufactured between 1996 and 1997 in a variety of colourful liveries. As British Railway Modelling magazine reported in February, 2006: "It may come as a surprise to learn that over the ensuing years ACE Trains not only produced many more locomotives (including an A4 and A3), but have also produced well over 20,000 coaches – not bad for revivalist tinplate".
The A4 Pacific, the A3 Pacific and Castle Class were cast bodied locomotives and took O gauge revivalist tinplate to new heights not dreamt of by the early toy train pioneers of the 20th Century. Semi proto-typical production now sits in the mainstream with an increasing following for British style locomotives and trains not only in the UK but around the world. Not so much a niche market anymore but a growing market segment for the global model railway fraternity.
In 2008 ACE Trains ended their relationship with the Bangkok manufacturing operation. All subsequent locomotives have been manufactured in either China or the Czech Republic.
The Class 57XX 0-6-0 Pannier series of tank locomotive is the Great Western through and through. It provided the railway’s main shunting capacity and was seen all over the GWR network. Despite its size it remained a very iconic locomotive and was one of the most evocative sights on the GWR and later BR Western Region. They were so numerous and reliable that they lasted right up to the very last days of steam. The vast majority of the 863 locomotives built between 1929 and 1950 came from the Swindon works and represented the second most-produced class of steam locomotive to be built in these islands.
batches of the 57XX Class were almost identical replicas of earlier
rebuilt Pannier locomotives but significantly improved by Collett and
his GWR team. Given the eventual numbers of the 57XX Class locomotives
were spread across several series of numbers; some 25 per cent of them
were later built by private builders and outside contractors. Whilst
the Class 57XX was synonymous with earlier GWR and BR Western Region
settings it now represents a key part of the modern heritage railway
revival with some 16 locomotives including 6 ex-London Transport to
be found on lines around the country.
If you've an existing ACE Castle locomotive then you'll have four named train and destination code number boards combining GWR and BR eras including 'Cornish Riviera Express (130)', GWR's flagship service that was established as long ago as 1904, 'The Bristolian (473)', the high-speed West Country service introduced in 1935 to mark GWR's centenary, 'Torbay Express (146)', a pre WW1 service and 'The Red Dragon (720)', a BR Paddington to Camarthen service launched in 1950. The new ACE Castle will come with an additional new board 'The Cheltenham Flyer', the holder in 1923 of the fastest non-stop British Isles service.
As ever at Shamrock Trains we endeavour to provide a degree of extra value especially for those new to our wonderful hobby. There were four other GWR named train services that were regularly hauled by the Castle: the unique 'Ports-To-Ports Express' – a service that that linked Barry with Newcastle that went back to 1906 with a blend of mixed LNER and GWR mainline and non-corridor coach stock, The 'Cambrian Coast Express', a service dating from 1921 over the former Cambrian Railways metals that in the early years often saw a mixture of GWR, LNWR and Cambrian Railway coaching stock and in 1929 the GWR's first and only Pullman service the 'Torbay Pullman Limited'.
Interestingly, from the outset Castles were not exempt from non-passenger traffic duties since the GWR ran many regular fast freight services. It was not uncommon to find Castles pulling specialist named newspaper and parcels trains such as 'The Newspaper Express' and large freight trains with official timetable names like 'The Leek', The Flying Pig', 'The Pasty', The 'Rasher' etc so your Castle will be equally at home pulling a set of freight wagons, tankers and vans – what could be better?
In more recent times, there was a plethora of new BR Western Region named express services with specialist destination code boards including:
'The Inter City' 1950 service from Paddington to Wolverhampton, 'The Merchant Venturer (911)', a second crack express train service established in 1951 from Paddington to Bristol, the cross-country 1952 'Cornishman' service from Wolverhampton to Penzance, the fast 'Pembroke Coast Express (165)' boat train service set up in 1953 linking Pembroke Dock to Paddington, 'The South Wales Pullman (712)', new Paddington to Swansea Pullman service in 1955, 'Capitals United' linking the Principality in 1956 with a fast train to London and in 1957 the final three named train services - 'The Cathedrals Express', between Paddington, Worcester and Hereford, 'The Mayflower' running from Paddington to Plymouth and 'The Royal Duchy from Penzance to Paddington.
the Castle class locomotives can be run with a variety of earlier ACE
coaching stock, they can also be run with Darstaed Paddington based
Pullmans which includes the GWR Torbay Pullman Limited, the South Wales
Pullman in BR era and also from the same period, from time to time,
the Waterloo based Cunarder. As the Castles were extremely versatile
locomotives, the BR version can also be used with Darstaed BR Maroon
First introduced in Swindon in 1898 and produced up until 1910, these useful intermediate locomotives were viewed as somewhat old fashioned with their initial curved then straight double frames. However, they were reliable and capable of express, stopping train or freight work and appeared across large tracts of the GWR network except for ‘yellow’ or uncoloured routes. Despite the arrival of GWR’s lighter range of locomotives such as the Manors, Granges and Halls, WW2 provided the Bulldogs with an extended life right up to and beyond railway nationalisation.
Bulldogs saw out their days on secondary or branch lines such as former Cambrian rails, the former Midland & South Western Junction Railway and the sheds of Worcester, Hereford, Newton Abbot and Reading. Interestingly, between 1927 and 1930 the Bulldogs were rather bizarrely stripped of their names; according to GWR this was done ‘to avoid confusion with train destinations’. No. 3377 originally named Penzance was the only Bulldog to be repainted in BR livery – the remainder being run after nationalisation in their earlier GWR format. By 1951 all the Bulldogs had been withdrawn from service.
The ACE locomotives come with five separate name and cab number plates, namely: Orion, Sir Lancelot, Falmouth, Bulldog and Tregonthan. Four livery options are available.
If you lived in the Capital or the Home Counties in the years up until the early 1960s, then the Gresley N2 0-6-2 tank locomotive probably appeared to be everywhere shunting empty express train stock out of the main terminals of King's Cross and Moorgate, hauling local suburban services, occasionally pulling depot bound freight and in later years as a frequent stand-in for failed diesel workings. One of the special features of this great little loco was the short, squat chimney and condensers necessary for working the underground Metropolitan line between King's Cross and Moorgate.
In the 1930s a batch of LNER N2s were allocated to Scotland and also west Yorkshire. A double heading of N2s could be often seen working the Bradford and Leeds section of the 'West Riding Limited' express train service to and from London. At the time of railway nationalisation in 1948 most of the 107 highly-reliable N2s were based in and around north London. Capture a snap shot of modern industrial history with this magnificent multi-talented side tank.
The ACE 0-6-2 tank locos are double-motored, are manufactured in Europe by ETS and come in a non-gloss satin finish. They also come produced with jewelled lamps (four clear and two red), 4 white disks with two separate destination boards (KINGS + and HERTFORD).
N2 0-6-2 tank locomotives
N2 type A, No: 2674, satin black, LNER lined, order
The Gresley N2 tank locomotive can be used with Darstaed LNER, Metropolitan Railway and BR Maroon non-corridor suburban coaching stock. As a freight loco there is a wide selection of appropriate rolling stock from ACE, Bassett-Lowke and Darstaed that allows you to capture the 1950s 'Hornby Dublo feel'.
The Southern Railway 'Schools' class – officially known as the Class V - was designed by Maunsell for express passenger services to cope with the severe bridge, tunnel and tight curve restrictions on the Tonbridge and Hastings line. The Schools design took their heritage from the larger Lord Nelson 4-6-0s and arguably became the most powerful locomotive in Britain to take 4-4-0 wheel base arrangement. With delivery commencing in 1930 they became the last series of steam locomotives in this country to use the 4-4-0 combination. Without doubt, all 40 of these light-weight but highly versatile locomotives – all named after English public schools – were seen extensively over Southern Railway metals.
In terms of livery styles a degree of 'artistic licence' has crept in with pink-coloured versions – echoing earlier US model train manufacturers – but the extensive range of options and names represents the scope of the Schools work. 'Harrow', part of the initial batch of deliveries, is also offered in Richard Maunsell's darker version of LSWR sage green, lined in black and white livery. A variety of the ACE Schools locomotives come in BR green which represents the wide range of duties these locomotives performed. Capture the imagination of early years' operations of the Thanet & Kentish Belle Pullmans with a combined ACE Schools' class locomotive and Darstaed all Pullman set.
Like the Bullied Spam Cans, the Schools are also the perfect accompaniment for the forthcoming Darstaed Night Ferry set. A range of Schools 4-4-0 locomotives - BR No: 30900 to 39 - added additional motive power on the busiest of Night Ferry services. Cross Channel nostalgia arrives bang on time with these unique combinations only from Shamrock Trains.
Locomotives come with fitted two front electric lamps and complete with six white disks. Chimneys will be ass appropriate either Bullied (le Maitre type) or the Maunsell original type. All Schools class locomotives come with smoke deflectors except Eton which mirrors the first batch of Schools which was produced without smoke deflectors. Deliveries first quarter 2010.
This range of attractive ACE semi prototypical locomotive and tender will prove a valuable additional to mixed freight and passenger duties. They can be run with an increasing array of coaches and rolling stock offered by ACE, Darstaed and Hornby Bassett-Lowke. Black locomotive versions are priced at £325.00 whilst coloured gloss lined locomotives are available at £350.00 each (+P&P).
The Southern Railway West Country and Battle of Britain class locomotive were known as Light Pacifics or Spam Cans and utilised the then latest welding (as opposed to riveting) and manufacturing technology available in war torn Britain making them lighter, more versatile and less expensive to run in the austere years following hostilities. Appearing for the first time at the end of WW2 some 110 Spam Cans were eventually built between 1945 and 1950.
They were considered ideal for secondary routes which their heavier Merchant Navy Class cousins were not able to traverse. They were initially restricted to routes across the south west of England where they acquired their individual class names but were later found right across the Southern Railway (and later BR) network. Battle of Britain class names were used to commemorate exploits and individuals that saw the country through the ravages of war. Initially designed as a lighter locomotive for extensive mixed traffic duties, their larger fire box enabled them to operate a wide combination of duties including full express, semi-fast passenger, mixed freight and freight only services. The full capabilities of the class were not always fully appreciated and utilised. Sixty members of this class were later rebuilt without their innovative streamlined casings to become some of the most efficient steam locomotives ever built. Some 20 locomotives managed to avoid their fate at the hands of torch cutter and survive into heritage railway line operation.
Shamrock Trains is therefore pleased to promote two very special ACE Bullied light Pacific locomotives. Unrebuilt Battle of Britain Class 'Manston' (based at Swanage Railway) is produced in both Southern Railway and British Railway liveries whilst unrebuilt West Country Class 'Swanage' is furnished exclusively in later British Rail colours. Both of these locomotives have a unique relationship with Swanage Railway having pulled mainline and holiday services from Waterloo to the resort of Swanage in the late 1940s and 1950s. So recreate the south coast of England when the Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage branch line was in its heyday.
Available in British Railways lined gloss green and Southern Railway lined glossed Malachite green, these stalwarts of the western section of southern rails will gracefully provide express passenger services to your layouts. These splendid ACE models include the following specifications:
Additional 'Golden Arrow' and 'Devon Belle' regalia and destination boards are also available for all versions as separate kit sets at £30.00 each. Delivery scheduled for Spring 2010.
Golden Arrow loco headboard x 1, Loco flags 1 set, Loco arrows x 2, coach boards x 12 order.
Devon Belle loco headboard x 1, Loco side boards x 1 pair, coach boards x 16 order.
complete your ACE 4-6-2 Spam Can locomotive order with a set of matching
five car Darstaed tinplate steam-hauled Pullman sets. Shamrock Trains
is the only company able to bring you this unique combination of locomotive
and Pullman coach sets. There are five sets designed to run with your
Bullied locomotive in both Southern Railway and British Railway eras
including The Golden Arrow, The Devon Belle, Bournemouth Belle, Cunarder
and Thanet/Kentish Belle
And for the perfect match, partner your ACE E/9 4-6-2 Bullied Locomotives with Darstaed's forthcoming Night Ferry coaching stock. Light Pacific 4-6-2s were used to double head the very heaviest of Night Ferry sleeping car loads to the continent. Customise your very own Light Pacific to haul The Night Ferry; taken from a variety of sources over the years a number of 4-6-2 Spam Can locomotives saw Night Ferry service following introduction. Southern Railway Light Pacifics 21C156 and 21C157 were resident locomotives with the Night Ferry in 1947. Other class motive power included:
Set 1 comprising LNWR grey, LNER Bauxite and ACE blue order
Set 2 comprising BR XP bauxite, SR Meat cream and Banana brown order
Set 3 CR blue, GWR dark grey and SR brown order
Set 4 GC light grey, LMS dark brown and ED dark green order
Set 5 Insulated Meat white x three vans order
ACE Trains have introduced a new line of private owner vans that recreate the earlier nostalgic litho-printed tinplate models of 1930s Bassett-Lowke and Hornby O Gauge. They come in sets of three vans with an improved new wheel bearing system and standard drop link couplings. Please note the price for the private owner van sets is £110.00 (+P&P).
Set 6 comprising Cadbury's Chocolates, Crawford's Biscuits and Fyffes Bananas SOLD OUT
Set 7 comprising Carr's Biscuits, Palethorpes Royal Cambridge Sausages and Coleman's Mustard SOLD OUT
Set 8 comprising LNWR Gunpowder van, Jacob & Co.'s Biscuits and The True-Form Boot Co. order
Set 9 comprising Seccotine, NE Gunpowder van and Huntley & Palmer Biscuits order
Set 10 comprising BR horse box, ACE Trains advertising van and Cadbury’s Chocolate (new colour) order
Set 11 comprising two Coleman's Mustard Traffic and Carr’s Biscuits order
Set 12 comprising NE horse box, The True-Form Boot Co and Palethorpes order
Set 13 comprising three Southern Railway refrigerator vans order