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Dapol Trains

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History

Dapol OO gauge British Rail Class 73 locomotive Dapol Ltd is a Welsh model railway manufacturer based in Chirk, Wales. For many years Dapol sold 'OO' scale model trains, producing lots of wagons, coaches and locomotives with great success. They then turned their attention to N scale. Eventually an 'O' scale range was developed consisting of wagons that featured extremely high detail including sprung buffers, 3-link couplings, die-cast chassis and free running wheels. They also featured highly detailed bodies with opening side doors on the open wagons. Dapol wagons were also available as weathered variations. Dapol also produced high quality 'O' scale locomotives which were available in both DC and DCC-Sound versions.

Dapol OO D8B-HR WD Austerity J94 0-6-0ST in BR Black from the David Boyle era 1984 - 1997 Dapol was originally founded in 1983 by David and Pauline Boyle who had identified an opportunity for a fresh new company to operate in the mainstream 'OO' Model Railway market. Dapol's name is a play on its founders David and Pauline Boyle's names. He originally owned a model concern called Highfield Birds & Models. In 1981 he first tried to buy the Airfix and Mainline ranges. The Dapol brand name was first used in a Railway Modeller advertisement in September 1983. The first Dapol wagons in 'OO' were announced to become available on 20 November 1983. As well as manufacturing from a site in Winsford, models were produced in Hong Kong and the Far East. This arrangement survived well for 32 years with Dapol justifiably proud of their UK manufacturing facility as well as itsí long term and strategic relationships with its Far East partners. In 1984 Dapol introduced its 'OO' L&YR Pug, the Austerity 0-6-0ST and the GWR Hawksworth County. At this time the operation was headquartered in Navigation Road, Northwich.

Dapol 'OO' David Boyle era 1984 - 1997 Royal Scot Class 4-6-0 #6127 Old Contemptibles in LMS Maroon Livery Dapol 'OO' David Boyle era 1984 - 1997 Class 2P 4-4-0 #45 in Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway Dark Blue Livery

Dapol 'OO' gauge D-101 LB&SCR Stepney 0-6-0 Terrier Class 55 Tank Locomotive In 1985 Dapol purchased the Mainline tooling and molds from Pallitoy. The sale included many of the Airfix and Kitmaster originated 'OO' Railway kits and the rights to use the Kitmaster brand. These tools, which were well over 50 years old, are still manufactured by Dapol and form the basis of the Kitmaster/Dapol range of 'OO' kits and railway accessories. These kits were extremely popular and were sold around the world.

Dapol 'OO' gauge David Boyle era 1984 - 1997 D96-SD Class 14xx 0-4-2T 1438 in early BR Black The Dapol Model Railways catalog for 1988 was 32 pages. Dapol released its 'OO' scale LB&SCR Terrier locomotive in 1988. The company continued to grow rapidly, adding more and more products. By 1989 the catalog had grown to 56 pages. In February 1989 Dapol acquired the former Trix/British Liliput range from Ernest Rosza. The Dapol 1989 catalogue also showed that the Model-Land building range had been bought. In 1993 Dapol purchased the Wrenn product line.

Dapol 'OO' gauge Airfix Wild West Adventure Trap Door Coach In 1994 Dapol acquired a new site and moved to a new facility in Llangollen, Denbighshire. Shortly after, a huge fire destroyed the old Winsford factory in Cheshire, and large quantities of products and historical Wrenn material were destroyed. The new site incorporated a new railway and the Doctor Who Experience exhibition, supported by the BBC. Under licence, Dapol also produced Dr. Who figurines and action toys including Daleks, Cybermen and the many incarnations of the 'Doctor' himself. The Llangollen site operated successfully for a number of years, however, the UK 'OO' gauge market was becoming increasingly competitive and a decision was made to withdraw from the UK 'OO' locomotive market. Much of this tooling was sold to Hornby in 1996. As a testament to the quality of the Dapol tooling many of these items continued to be manufactured by Hornby.

Dapol 'OO' gauge Coaching Stock
Dapol 'OO' David Boyle era 1984 - 1997 GWR B set coach Dapol 'OO' David Boyle era 1984 - 1997 LMS 57' Brake Third Class Coach in LMS Maroon

Dapol N gauge Mk3 DVT (Driving Van Trailer) Control Car in Network Rail livery In 1998 the company came under the control of a new board of directors headed by George Smith. In 2001 Dapol sold the little-exploited Wrenn product line and trading name to three Wrenn collectors. The changing market and a decision by the BBC to withdraw its support from the Dr. Who franchise in 2002 led Dapol to re-evaluate the UK model railway market. It was at this time and with cooperation from the N gauge Society that Dapol decided to enter the rather underwhelming UK N gauge market with its 14xx tank engine. The 14xx model was received extremely favorably by UK N gauge modellers. This and the models that followed led to a vast improvement in the standards and quality that was expected by hobbyists in this diminutive scale.

Dapol N gauge 38XX Class #3819 GWR Green Dapol N gauge Great Western Railway Pannier Tank

Dapol N gauge A3 Pacific Flying Scotsman in BR Green In 2003 Dapol moved to a new purpose-built manufacturing site in Chirk and expanded and doubled its operations there over the next 12 years. Over this period Dapol became a driving force in many key developments and innovated and moved the UK N gauge to be competitive in terms of features and detail to its US and European counterparts. Dapol for example, was the first to offer in the UK directional and interior lights, DCC compatibility, and NEM pockets and magnetic auto couplers on all locomotives. The growing range of Dapol N gauge includes locomotives, coaches and wagons. Dapol is the main competitor of Graham Farish in the British 'ready-to-run' market. LED lighting strips for coaching stock is yellow for 'older' coaches, to represent incandescent illumination, and white for more modern coaches and EMUs to represent fluorescent fittings.

Dapol N gauge Coaching Stock
Dapol N gauge Collett composite coach W7014 in BR crimson and cream Dapol N gauge Mk3 buffet coach #40426 in Grand Central livery Dapol N gauge Autocoach in British Rail crimson & cream

Dapol N gauge British Rail Blue Class 22 Locomotive In 2004 Dapol was awarded the 'UK Small Business of the Year' award and in 2007 Dapol was awarded the Model Rail Magazine 'N-gauge Manufacturer of the Year' award. In 2010, following the retirement of previous Managing Director George Smith, Dapol welcomed a new managing director, Joel Bright, a director for the previous eight years and uncle of then owner, Craig Boyle.

Dapol 'OO' gauge Class GWR BR 'Flying Banana' Streamlined Railcar In 2011 Dapol announced its first new 'OO' gauge locomotive in 12 years with its Class 22 diesel, but it was not released until after a Sentinel Shunter, commissioned by Model Rail Magazine, was released in July 2011, and a Beattie well tank commissioned by Kernow Model Shop in September 2011. The class 22 was ultimately released in November 2011 closely followed by a Hattons commissioned LMS 10000 diesel model. The class 22 was followed in 2013 with the much praised Class 52 Western. Dapol also produced a British Rail Class 390 model - the 390001 Virgin Pioneer.

Dapol 'OO' gauge Freight Wagons
Dapol 'OO' gauge Allerdale Coal Company Ltd, Workington Limited Edition Wagon Dapol 'OO' gauge Devonshire Dairy Company English Eggs Box Van Dapol 'OO' gauge GW goods wagon Dapol 'OO' gauge Rectangular Tank Wagon Dapol 'OO' gauge W. H. Wakefield of Milnthorpe Gunpowder Van Limited Edition Wagon

Dapol 'OO' gauge GWR Class 10000 'County of Stafford' 4-6-0 Locomotive Dapol's 'OO' line includes ready-to-run locomotives, wagons and kits. Kits are molded in grey plastic (polystyrene) and the range features buildings, road vehicles, wagons and locomotives. Some of the kits use the molds that were originally acquired in 1993 from the Airfix company, some of which in turn originated with Kitmaster prior to being bought by Airfix in 1962. Others have come from the Lines Brothers Model-Land range. In addition to standard versions of wagons, in the modern era Dapol also offered a collection of wagons with NEM couplings, finer wheels, and detailing. Wagons came in 4, 5 and 7-plank versions, which have appeared not only in company liveries, but also in private owner liveries.

Dapol 'O' gauge 57XX 0-6-0PT Pannier Tank locomotive in Great Western Livery For the first time Dapol released a 7 plank ready to run wagon in 'O' gauge in 2011. A new development team was established in 2013 and Dapol now had expertise across all areas of model production, from toolmaking and decoration to electronics and engineering. Under the guidance of the new team, Dapol was starting to see major new developments come on line. Significantly, the launch of Dapolís first ever 'O' gauge locomotive in 2015, the Terrier which at its attractive price point, stunning livery and feature list was targeted at revolutionizing Dapol 'O' gauge Class 08 shunter BR green locomotive the RTR 'O' gauge market. Dapol estimated that this was the largest selling RTR 'O' gauge model in the UK. Following on from this success, significant model developments in 'O', 'OO' and N were planned including the Black Label Range which was targeted to lead the market in terms of quality and built-in features.

Dapolís Ultimate goal was to produce quality models in 3 gauges and to promote the enjoyment and participation of the model railroading hobby. Dapol continues to innovate and bring about new developments to delight and captivate their customers and to be successful and profitable whilst playing a responsible role within their local community in the United Kingdom.

Dapol 'O' gauge Class 3F Jinty 0-6-0T in S&DJR livery Dapol 'O' gauge Class A1X Terrier 0-6-0 in Southern Livery

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