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Author Topic: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?  (Read 308 times)

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Offline TalyllynJon

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GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« on: January 04, 2019, 05:59:33 PM »
I'm sure somebody has probably addressed this in the past - so apologies if, as a newbie on this forum, I'm covering old ground!

I'm slowly collecting stock for my planned layout, based on a real location in mid Wales. I'm trying to stick to a strict policy of only buying locomotive classes which actually ran on the Mid Wales Railway, Hereford, Hay & Brecon Railway or the Brecon & Merthyr Railway during the Big Four era. The GWR 2251s were fairly regularly used on the B&MR from the early 1940s onwards (possibly earlier - if anyone has any more detailed info I'd love to know?). So I've got one on my shopping list - but should I go for Peco or Union Mills?

The Peco engines seem to have been well regarded, apart from having the 'wrong' tender. They also seem to have been quite pricey - were they DCC fitted?

I haven't seen the Union Mills 2251, but I know Union Mills have many loyal fans. I've got a Dean Goods and I'm quite pleased with it. It won't win any awards for super-detailing, but it is a solid bit of kit and it looks right - the proportions look right and the livery is good. Most criticism of Union Mills engines seems to focus on the simple casting, but I think their main weakness is often the basic livery, but in this case unlined green is right and I think the glossy finish looks better than the dull, matte finish on some other manufacturers' models.

So, which should I go for? neither model is in production, so it will be a case of what I can pick up secondhand. The Peco engines seem to be more numerous, but the Union Mills engines are more recent so may be more likely to be in better condition. Anybody got any recommendations?

Thanks

Jon

Offline Dr Al

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 06:48:37 PM »
Peco was DCC fitted with Lenz decoder, with 5 pole Mashima motor, and much more detailed with separate handrails, fine injection moulded detail. Peco has the less common tender.

UM is DC, 3 pole tender drive motor (less good slow speed running), cast in solid metal, so much less detailed, but very heavy with unbeatable pulling power. UM has the much more common tender.

The Peco drive is better engineered with proper brass bearings and a high quality motor, as well as DCC. The UM is simpler but I suspect will wear more quickly than the Peco.

It really depends what you want from the model as to which is best - the Peco is much better detailed, does actually have a better motor, but the UM will out-pull it. Both can be upgraded - the Peco can have additional tyred wheels fitted to upgrade pulling power, and the UM can be fitted with a Mashima motor, identical to that in the Peco loco, which will transform its slow speed running. More extensive upgrading can be detailing by stripping off the UM cast handrails, and fitting separates in brass, as well as other detail, but this is getting to be a larger task.

HTH,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” – Dr. Carl Sagan

Offline Bob G

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 06:51:07 PM »
Jon

I've just been through the same exercise.
The Peco body is much better detailed than the UM one, and I believe captures the look of the boiler better than the UM.
Colletts ran with various tenders including the huge ROD tender so if you can live with that, go for the Peco one. The DCC chip is included but it runs fine on DC.
The prices of Peco have dropped a lot recently. I paid £105 for a near mint BR one a few months ago and that is top dollar. They can be bought from £82 - £100. They are £125 in Ramsey's guide.  That range puts them into UM price territory, except the UM ones will probably end up being bid a lot higher for no apparent reason other than they are UM. I've got nothing against UM models, I own four, and I have just lined out City of Truro using @Snowwolflair 's transfers and it looks a treat. But they lack the detail of the Peco version, and some are slightly overscale in height.

This is a good website to look at the different tenders on Colletts, and then you can judge whether you can live with the Peco one (or even splice a UM 3500 gal tender onto a Peco loco). https://www.rail-online.co.uk/p384975830

HTH
Bob

Offline Train Waiting

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2019, 07:52:05 PM »
Hello Jon

I agree with Alan and Bob.  Both posts are very helpful.

I have examples, bought new, of both the Peco and Union Mills locomotives on my railway.

The Peco ones are little jewels.  Every now and then I take one out, run it for a while and wish Peco had made other locomotives.  The locomotives are quite light and you have to watch for the driving wheels binding.  I saw this happening a lot on a British 'N' gauge layout (since removed) at Pecorama.  It has not been a big problem for me.  It's a while since these locomotives were available new.  I understand that Peter's Spares now holds the stock of parts for them, so it is probably safe to assume that no more will be made.

As for the Union Mills locomotives; they see a lot of service.  As a very recent introduction (2017), I think it is reasonable to assume that they will be available new again in due course.  They are real workhorses and look well together with the 'Dean Goods'.  The locomotives are heavy and I have not had a problem with the driving wheels binding on these or any other Union Mills locomotives.

I am aware that, up to now, this post looks like I have brought my own piece of fence on which to sit!  But you asked for a recommendation, so I'll try to give one.  It depends on your railway.  If you are intending a photo-realistic model railway, then the Peco locomotive is probably the one with which you will be happiest.  But, if it is more of an operational layout (like mine), then the Union Mills locomotive might suit best.

Glad to discuss further and to provide photographs if you wish.

Best wishes.

John
'Why does the Disney Castle work so well?  Because it borrows from reality without ever slipping into it.'

(Acknowledgement: John Goodall Esq, Architectural Editor, 'Country Life'.)


The Table-Top Railway is a train set trying and failing to be a model railway.

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Offline TalyllynJon

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2019, 10:33:08 PM »
Thanks guys - really appreciate all your advice. The Peco engine is clearly a thing of beauty - but I'm likely to have at least 3 other Union Mills engines, so one of their 2251s wouldn't stand out. So it may come down to the tender. Thanks for the link Bob - there's a nice shot of 2221 with a small tender on the B&MR in the 1940s (plus plenty of other 2251s post-nationalisation). I started reading about GWR tenders but that is a whole world of complexity - sounds like they could have a whole range of different tenders and often swapped them around on a regular basis! I think my best bet will be that age old bit of advice - find a photo of the engine you want to model at the time you want to model it and base your model on that.
Thanks
Jon

Offline honk843

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 11:18:17 PM »
I know how good UM are on repairs if it goes wrong but what are Peco like if you confront them with one that needs a part?

Offline Dr Al

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 11:20:16 PM »
I know how good UM are on repairs if it goes wrong but what are Peco like if you confront them with one that needs a part?

Peters spares have a lot for this loco, but be aware that the motor is now out of production. I've not seen one die yet, but if it does you'll need to find one on the open market - fortunately it's a standard Mashima unit (the 1015).

Cheers,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” – Dr. Carl Sagan

Offline Doc Pye

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 11:58:37 PM »
Hi all, A great article and one that I found interesting reading. I am also considering trying a Union Mills loco. I have the Peco one in the stash, along with loads of Farish and one Ixion Manor. So my question is, has anyone done a step-by-step and/or photo display of doing the UM loco up to fit in with the others, like the very well detailed Peco Collett??? If so, can someone please point me in the right direction.

Lastly, I know the UM and Peco are both out of production, with the Peco apparently never coming back in, but what is the likelihood of UM doing another production run for the GWR livery of the Deans Goods??? Does anyone have inside knowledge???

Offline Doc Pye

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #8 on: Today at 12:23:08 AM »
PS How does one get a hold of Colin at Union Mills? Does he have an email?

Online Bealman

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Re: GWR 2251 - Peco vs Union Mills?
« Reply #9 on: Today at 05:14:49 AM »
Question was how to contact him?  :hmmm:
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