Heljan A/S is a Danish model railway company based in Søndersø. Originally specialising in decorations and accessories for model railways, it has now also developed a substantial range of rolling stock. It has diversified into modelling the British scene, and since 2002 have released several OO gauge diesel locomotives, and several O gauge models. British Outline now forms the biggest part of the Heljan business and UK operations are run from Denmark through an agent. In line with other model train companies and to keep costs to a minimum models are manufactured in China.
Niels Christian Nannestad, Founder|
Jan Nannestad, Managing director
|Products||HO, 00 and O gauge Locomotives, Rolling Stock, Buildings and Accessories|
Heljan's current UK OO gauge diesel loco range consists of British Rail Class 14s, 15s, 16s, 17s, 26s, 27s, 28s, 33s, 35s, 47s, 52s, 53 "Falcon", 57s, 58s, D0260 "Lion" and HS4000 "Kestrel". The British Rail Class 86s are currently the only AC Electric outline models in the range. They have won praise for locomotive models in a wide variety of liveries. Several different models of the British Railways Waggon und Maschinenbau built Railbuses were released in February 2012. They also produce OO gauge British Rail Dogfish ballast wagons and Cargowaggon bogie freight vehicles.
Their UK O gauge range currently consists of British Rail Class 20s, 26s, 33s, 35s, 37s, 47s, and a Class 55 "Deltic". The O gauge range also includes British Railways Mark 1 carriages in a number of liveries. O gauge models are typically supplied un-numbered and with separate detailing parts, allowing the purchaser to finish the model to their own preference. Many of the O gauge diesel locomotive models have experienced reliability problems due to final drive gear failures.
In the UK, a number of limited edition locomotives have been commissioned by model retailers. Heljan models of the British Rail Class 14 and Class 28 "Co-Bo" diesel locomotives as well as the LMS 2-6-0+0-6-2 Beyer Garratt with twin motor design and working coal pusher are available through Hattons of Liverpool. Several different models of the iconic LNER EM1 and EM2 DC Electric locomotives constructed for use on the Woodhead Route are currently being produced for Olivia's Trains of Sheffield (terminus of the Woodhead line). A Midland Pullman is also planned. Several standard Heljan models have been produced in special, limited edition, liveries for particular retailers or UK railway modelling magazines. The standard Falcon, Kestrel and Lion models are all high volume limited editions.
Highly acclaimed, working Turntable, Traverser and Container crane models are available in H0 scale and are also suitable for 00 operation. A number of plastic building kits are also produced in HO/OO, along with working street lighting.
In O Gauge a British Rail Class 31 and Class 52 "Western" are planned but production is dependent on enough customers placing advanced orders for them. It is hoped that these will mirror the huge success of the "Deltic" when it was released in 2011. Heljan recently admitted that they had been considering the possibilities of producing a Class 14 "Teddy Bear" in O gauge but this was not thought to be viable due to lack of customer interest, it has been rumored that a Class 17 was also ruled out on the same grounds.
Many of the o gauge models developed a reputation for poor reliability, due to final drive gear failures. These problems have persisted with replacement parts difficult to source. See O Gauge Guild Survey for more details.