Dapol tilt towards Virgin 'Pendolino'
Jarrod Cotter reports on Dapol's announcement of a OO gauge 'Pendolino' model at Warley.
At the 1999 Warley National Model Railway Exhibition came the news that Graham Farish were to produce a range of rolling stock wearing the red and grey house colours of Virgin Trains. At Warley 2000, on Saturday, November 4, came similar exciting news once again concerning Virgin - this time announcing that Dapol are to produce Virgin's flagship train for the 21st Century, the 'Pendolino'.
The news is a result of six months of negotiations between the two companies and George Smith, Dapol's Director of Corporate Affairs, stated that the OO gauge model is due to be released at Warley 2001. It will initially be available in a presentation four-car set comprising motorised driving car, non-motorised driving car, first class coach and second class coach. Following in 2002 will come a range of individual add-on coaches which will enable the modeller to construct any variations up to the normal rake configuraion of nine vehicles. Furthermore the model will be sprung to simulate the tilting mechanism of the prototype. Whilst the 'Pendolino' features high gloss paintwork similar to the Virgin 'Voyagers', it is too early to yet state exactly what the paint finish of the models will be like.
Dapol's model is off to an encouragingly good start, as Virgin have already placed an order for 2,000 sets which will be used as promotional tools in travel agent's windows. This substantial early order has helped the Llangollen-based manufacturer to go ahead with the project, in which it will be investing a significant sum of money. This situation also creates a double win scenario, as the Dapol 'Pendolino' will benefit both model railways and the real railway.
As with the Farish range Virgin are not charging licence fees for Dapol to produce this item, as they fully support manufacturers producing models of their stock. Apart from the motors, the 'Pendolino' models will be entirely manufactured in Llangollen - and amazingly will effectively be produced by Dapol alongside the manufacture of the real trains. It was also stated that Dapol's normal production schedule should not be affected to any great degree, as the company have built in a contingency plan leading up to this news and the commencement of the necessary work.
Virgin Trains' Press Officer Dennis Lovett represented the company at the press conference and the agreement was signed in front of the model railway press on the day. Dapol wished to formally thank Virgin for their assistance with this project which will doubtlessly be welcomed by modellers of the contemporary scene as the tilting 'Pendolino' will soon become a familiar sight on our network.