12th December. This is the text of an update which will appear in Newsletter 1/21:
“As we write this in mid December we are still awaiting the first shipment of Production Hunslets to be released from the Factory. You may recall the last update posted on the website, and in the Journal 6/20 Newsletter, highlighted the assembly difficulties the Factory were having, especially with the wheel sets. Unfortunately this continues to be a problem which is made worse by COVID restrictions and loss of skilled staff to larger companies due to the Pandemic. Whilst our Factory is not the only one affected, it continues to be frustrating for us all.
“Our latest communication with the Factory has got into the details of the problems on assembly of the Hunslets and our Designer is now working with the Engineers at the Factory to address the wheel set issues and is hopeful of a speedy resolution to the consistent problems they are having, so that the assembly process will be improved to ensure that more models off of the production line meet the Quality Control requirements we have. Whilst this does mean some positive news on the production side, it does not get us closer to the first shipment date at the moment. Rest assured we will work closely with the Factory to bring the Hunslets to our shores as soon as possible but for now all we can ask of you is your continued patience.”
11th December. Further to the text below, and the item on page 6 of the latest (6/20) Newsletter, we regret that we are still waiting for positive news about delivery and that, therefore, there seems to be no chance of pre-order despatches commencing before the New Year at the earliest.
(First posted 21-Sep-2020)
We had been expecting delivery of the Hunslets very soon but the latest communication we’ve received from the Factory has unfortunately changed this. Two things have conspired to cause this final delay, the first is that the assembly of the production Hunslets is proving to be more challenging than the Factory first thought due to the additional Quality Control processes required, to ensure the previously advised wheel set issues are resolved, and also the complexity of the models themselves. Second is that COVID restrictions and associated resourcing issues from the Pandemic are slowing up the production cycle. (This last point is also affecting deliveries of other models from other manufacturers.)
So with this development, the Factory have committed to a new schedule that means the Hunslets will now be shipped in 3 batches (with specific liveries in each batch) starting with the first scheduled for late October (NB latest info seems to indicate a further delay). Each batch will be airfreighted to the UK so should arrive relatively quickly after despatch from the Factory. As you will recall our intention had been to get one batch delivered from the Factory and ALL pre-orders shipped out by our volunteers as soon as possible before any models would be made available for sale to the membership. This process has to change now due to the 3 batches being delivered with different liveries in each. (We did ask for all pre-orders to be sent first but this was not possible due the detail differences on each model that are required to setup the production lines and effectively lengthening the time to produce).
The Revised Process.
1. Members who have pre-ordered one model only: balance requests for the full value of your order (inc p&p) will be sent out after we have confirmation that the batch containing your required livery is on its way/has arrived. Your model will be despatched to you as soon as possible after receipt of your payment.
2. Members who have pre-ordered two models: balance requests for the full value of your order (inc p&p) will be sent out after we have confirmation that the batch containing either or both of your required liveries is on its way/has arrived. If in fact your models arrive in separate deliveries, your first model will be despatched as soon as possible after receipt of your payment, and your second model a.s.a.p. thereafter, at no extra charge.
3. Members who have ordered three or more models: balance requests for the full value of your order (inc. p&p) will be sent out after we have confirmation that the batch containing the first of your required liveries is on its way/has arrived. If, as is likely, your models arrive in separate deliveries, the first item(s) received will be despatched as soon as possible after receipt of your payment, and the balance of your order as soon as the final liveried model is received thereafter, at no extra charge. If you decide at any stage that you would like the balance of your order in a second and a third package, an extra £4 p&p will be requested, to help to offset additional costs incurred.
The above process will ensure that pre-orders will be despatched, either in whole or in part, as soon as reasonably possible after each shipment arrives. The liveries from each shipment will then go on General sale to all members once the pre-orders relating to that shipment have been dealt with. This is the best way we could find to ensure that those members who have pre-ordered more than one model at least get something to be going on with, if not everything that they have pre-ordered, as soon as possible, rather than waiting for everything to arrive.
Overall whilst disappointed with this final bump in the road, our end goal remains unchanged – to deliver the best possible model to our members with game changing features, excellent performance and all at a very, very competitive price.
(Any further queries regarding pre-orders, which are not answered in the above text, should be directed to the Membership Secretary, who is overseeing the pre-order distribution process. To the best of our knowledge at the moment, the first delivery will include the three NCB liveries, the British Steel livery and the ‘Big John’ livery. When we know which liveries will be included in the later deliveries, we will post the information on this website).