Saddle Tank engines have long been favourites among the Mamod customer base and this year sees the launch of a brand new model.
It is a poignant release for the company which waved goodbye to a long-standing engine at the end of 2014. The Diamond Jubilee Saddle Tank train was one of the first models that came with technology that allowed users to easily switch between gauges to suit their own set. As a limited edition model it struck a chord with collectors.
Launched to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne, the engine boasted a ruby red livery and was complete with carriages. The final Diamond Jubilee Saddle Tank left Mamod's Smethwick factory in the build-up to Christmas and brought an end to one of the most successful models produced by the company.
With the Diamond Jubilee Saddle Tank now finished, Mamod felt it was time to introduce a new engine. The long-awaited Telford train is expected to be released between late-February and early March but it is now embarking on introducing a new Saddle Tank and rekindle one of the nation's most loved styles of engine.
Mamod has been producing Saddle Tank engines since the early 1980s when it released the RS1 and RS2 in a 0 gauge. The decade saw the release of the RS3, SL1 kit and the limited edition SL6, they coincided with final days of the Malin family's ownership of the company before Terry's came on board.
The 2015 Saddle Tank
The 2015 edition of the Saddle Tank is slightly different from the traditional designs that have served Mamod in good stead over the years. Unlike its predecessors the class of 2015 sees a relocation of the oil reservoir seal. Previously this knob has been protruding out the side of the cab but now it sits inside the cab.
Adjustments such as this will continue as the blueprint for all future Saddle Tanks. The decision to go with this style of engine moving forward has been driven by the success of the Diamond Jubilee engine. Mamod explains that it wanted to create a more permanent feature after the demand for the limited edition version had exceeded its supply.
So what is different about the 2015 Saddle Tank? In Mamod's own words the train looks "different, unusual" but it is something which will appeal to a wider audience – something it has been looking to achieve in recent years.
The design process was not as complicated as for other engines, namely the Telford, as the chassis and boiler have a similar layout to the tried and tested Mark II Saddle Tank. Taking elements from previous versions, Mamod was able to create this new engine.
It was not without its problems, however and the company encountered difficulties producing the curved shape of the saddle tank cover. Engineers needed to create the covers by hand and manipulated the shape by a hand drill. The upside of this is that every single Mamod model has received the unique attention of a company engineer.