When I was on my family holiday to my hometown in Yorkshire I made an effort to visit the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. After taking a trip behind S160 5280 (that can be found here) I visited the railway store at Haworth station and this is where I first came across the BigJigs Heritage range. I bought the L&YR Class 25 ‘Ironclad’ 957 toy train straight away because I liked the idea of my sons first train being a Yorkshire livered locomotive bought in Yorkshire.
Class: Class 25
957 – 12044 – Haworth – Awaiting overhaul – Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
In terms of overall appearance compared to the real life locomotive this toy train is near perfect. The wooden version features all the correct shapes that is on the real life locomotive and is the most accurate BigJigs model I have reviewed so far. The locomotive has all the correct lines and the cab especially has been designed to mimic preserved 957. The models wheel arrangement on the tender and locomotive are both correct and even appear to be the right scale relative to the model.
In terms of capturing the details of 957, Bigjigs does well again, which is partly down to the fact that real life locomotive is very clean with only handrails on the outside of the cladding which the model features. The numberplate on the cab is crisp, the livery is well applied, the numbers and windows on the cab stand out. The locomotive also features smokebox detailing and buffers on both the locomotive and the tender. The only real downside is the L&YR logos printing is slightly out of sync which is a real shame.
The first part of this review was looking at the model from a railway enthusiast’s view-point and a good percentage of people buying these trains will be granddads or dads (like myself) who are enthusiasts and want something a bit more special than the typical generic wooden trains you usually find on the market. The next part of this review is a bit tricky because as a 27-year-old man I felt I wasn’t the best judge when it came to play quality and durability. This meant I had to call in not only my 5 and 1-year-old kids, but also my 8 and 3-year-old nephews to test the locomotive.
Play factor: 5/5
In order to get a fair overall assessment of the play quality I gave the locomotive to my kids and nephews for a week and then asked what they thought. The biggest thing the kids picked up on compared to the other BigJigs trains I have reviewed was the fact that the front of the locomotive had a magnet which allowed for more flexible play compared to the other BigJig trains. Seeing L&YR class 25 locomotives double heading, shunting and running backwards was common place when the real life locomotives were in service, so its good that BigJigs have factored this into the model. A front magnet on the Black 5 and the Bulleid wouldn’t have been suitable as it was a lot less likely they would be seen double heading, shunting or running backwards and so makes those toys rather more prototypical.
With 957 also being tested by my 1 year old, the locomotives durability and quality would be tested to the extreme! After a week I had a look the locomotive to see if I could see any defects and the only thing I did notice was that a bit of paint had come off the edges on the locomotives coupling to the tender.
Final score: 4.75/5
When I first bought this model I knew it was going to do well because of the uncomplicated locomotive it is based on. BigJigs had a very simple/clean design to work with and they produced something which captures it perfectly. This model might be smaller compared to the bigger Black 5 and Bulleid but it makes up for it in character and is a very welcome addition to my kids growing collection.
Rather annoyingly with the locomotive being near perfect I wasn’t able to come up with a father/daughter project as there was nothing to fix!