Mamod is famed across the UK for its range of intricately designed steam models and has built up a large following ever since the first products were made available all those years ago.
Bringing a model to market is not a simple process and can sometimes take years to perfect. It can be a case of reviewing the design of the model, creating prototypes and assessing whether there is a gap in the market for a product of this ilk. Mamod has had many success stories but there are also times where models do not sell as first expected so it may be a case of returning to the drawing board to try a different approach.
One model that is proof of the careful preparation Mamod takes with every product it releases is the Telford Train. This long awaited model is expected to be launched over the coming months but it has taken years of hard work to even reach this point. Dubbed the “runaway train”, the Telford has gone through various tests, re-tests and re-designs to ensure that it is finally ready for release.
The concept for the Telford was first put forward in mid-2011 as a way for Mamod to boost its locomotive offering. Steam train models are big favourites within the modelling community and while Mamod currently offers products such as the MkII, Diamond Jubilee saddle Tank and the Brunel Vertical Engine but wanted to expand this portfolio. Pen was put to paper in April 2012 and work on the Telford could begin.
It was a significant move forward for Mamod and represented the first new model the company had designed and produced since the Saddle Tank was launched in 2010/11. The Telford took inspiration from some similar products that had gone before such as the Jubilee train which was restricted to a limited edition model. However, while there elements of previous models involved, the Telford was very much its “own engine”.
Mamod engineers believed that the Telford was cosmetically different to any other train that the company had produced in the past. It incorporated a raft of technical improvements with the introduction of a new burner, an upgraded larger piston cylinder and a new vertical lubricator complete with drain cock.
It took six months from pen to metal for the designs to be completed and a prototype to be put together. The Telford was ready for testing in October 2012 and initial assessments of the prototype were hailed as a success, but it was not without its challenges.
One of the first issues was the need to match the “O” rings to fit the size of the new cylinder. Engineers also worked hard at ensuring the clearance underneath the train was correct and tackling the issue of pinpointing the correct centre of gravity. As tests progressed it became clear that the locomotive may not be as marketable as first thought. It could not match the design requirements and meant while it was a powerful engine it could only run for a short time and became uncontrollable, gaining the reputation of the “runaway train”. Before returning to drawing board it was decided that an oscillator cylinder may be more appropriate than the slide valve.