😮 BARGAIN Heljan BR NBL 10800 Locomotives

Posted by Jack Morgan on

HEL-1080 BR black
HEL-1081 BR Black
HEL-1082 BR Black
HEL-1083 BR Green

Bring home this unique piece of British Rail history for a an incredible bargain price, only while stocks last. The BR Prototype NBL 10800 was the first BR mixed-traffic diesel-electric locomotive when it was delivered in 1950, due to being originally ordered by the LMS prior to nationalisation.

Heljan have recreated much of the history of this iconic experimental loco, with four variations available in BR black and BR green liveries. These are all now available at up to 43% off their original RRP, so don't miss your chance to bring one into your collection for a brilliant price.

In Stock Now

Product Features

Highly detailed model with separately fitted parts including handrails, ladders, exhausts, pipework, lamp irons, etched grilles and much more

Intricate livery application & printing

Five pole motor with twin flywheels, all-wheel pickup and drive

DCC & Sound capable - 21-pin socket with pre-fitted 15x11mm speaker

Independent directional & cab lighting

NEM tension lock couplings

Formations Guide

BR 10800 in BR Black

SR London to Brighton Passenger Service - 1954

10800 + 6 SR Maunsell coaches (BTK + TK + BTK BCK + TK + BTK)

Pair with Hornby coaches in BR crimson & cream

Glasgow Central Test Train - 1950

10800 + 4 LMS Period III coaches (BT + CO + TO + BT)

Pair with Hornby coaches in BR crimson

Birmingham to Norwich Passenger Service - 1955

10800 + 7 LMS Period IIIs / Porthole Stock / BR Mk1s (BSO + TSO + TSO + TSO + SO + TSO + BSO)

Pair with Hornby & Bachmann coaches in BR crimson & cream

Rugby Station Pilot 1957

10800 + 3 x 6-wheel milk tanks + LMS Period III Brake

Pair with Dapol Milk Tankers and Hornby Brake Coach

Bletchley to Oxford Freight Service - 1951

10800 + BR 20t Brake + 3 x 16t Opens + 2 x ex-LMS 12t Vans + Warflat + 12t van + 1-plank open + 7-plank open + Toad Brake Van

Pair with various wagons from Bachmann, Dapol, Hornby and Oxford Rail

Watch our Video

Learn more about the history of this unique locomotive, see our handy formation guides and get a deep dive into the model itself!

Video Review

Take a closer look at this model running in Jenny Kirk's review!

Prototype Information


Images courtesy of Rick2E (1 / 2), Public Domain (3), N Sprinks/ Colour-Rail.com (4)

The British Rail NBL 10800 locomotive holds a unique place in the history of British railway engineering as one of the early post-war diesel-electric locomotives. Built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) in 1950, it was a pioneer in the transition from steam to diesel traction within British Railways (BR).

The NBL 10800 was designed by George Ivatt, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) prior to the nationalization of the railways. Ivatt's vision was to create a versatile, efficient locomotive that could operate on both passenger and freight services. However, the locomotive did not come into service until nationalisation had occurred.

The locomotive was intended to be a replacement for steam locomotives on secondary and branch lines and had the equivalent power of a 3MT tank engine. The single cab layout offered the driver a restrictive view of the railway ahead, however it was no worse than existing steam locomotives of the time.

Its design incorporated elements meant to facilitate ease of maintenance and operation. The cab layout was influenced by ergonomic principles, and the locomotive's systems were intended to be more accessible for repairs compared to steam engines. However, the 10800’s relatively low power output limited its operational range and utility.

10800 entered service in 1950, initially allocated to the Eastern Region of British Railways. Its early performance was closely monitored as BR evaluated its potential as a blueprint for future diesel-electric locomotives.

Despite its innovative design, 10800 faced several operational challenges. The locomotive was plagued by reliability issues, particularly with its electrical systems and engine. The complexity of its maintenance requirements also proved problematic for depots accustomed to steam locomotives. Consequently, 10800 spent significant time out of service for repairs, which hampered its effectiveness as a prototype for wider adoption.

During it's brief stint on the Southern region, crews would nickname the locomotive 'The Wonder Engine' as they would literally 'wonder if it would go today'.

Throughout the 1950s, 10800 was transferred between various regions and depots, including a stint on the Southern Region. Each transfer aimed to find suitable operational conditions where the locomotive could perform effectively and provide valuable data for BR's dieselisation program.

10800 was bought by Brush Traction in 1961 and rebuilt for experiments in AC power transmission, being renamed 'Hawk'. It was used until 1968 after which it became obsolete and it was finally scrapped around 1976.

Despite its mixed service record, the NBL 10800 played a crucial role in the evolution of British diesel traction. Its operation provided invaluable lessons that influenced the design and deployment of subsequent diesel locomotives. The 10800’s experiences highlighted the need for more robust and simpler designs, leading to the development of the Class 15 and Class 16.

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