Tag Archives: DCC

Rolling Stock – J70 0-6-0 Tram Engine

In this series of articles I will introduce the locomotives that I operate on Brewery Pit.


The Prototype
One of the main engines that see’s regular use is my J70 steam tram. The J70s were introduced to replace the ageing Y6s, and were famous for running on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway in Cambridgshire. J70s and Y6s look very similar from the outside, but are quite different underneath the tram body. The fundamental difference is that J70s have six wheels (0-6-0), while the Y6s have four wheels (0-4-0). The side skirts are also formed in a slightly different way, with the J70s including moulded foot steps (Y6s have ladder-like steps) and a curved lower section to the skirt.

The model
My model is made from a Silver Fox resin kit that was bought for my birthday in September 2006. I opened up the side windows using a knife and added hand rails. I decided that I wanted my steam tram to include a boiler, and I just happened to have a Dapol plastic pug kit lying around (many railway modellers do, for some reason). I cut up the boiler and mounted it onto a piece of plasticard and added some hand wheels to either end. The boiler isn’t accurate as it has a saddle water tank, but I didn’t really care at the time (and still don’t).




I wanted to represent an engine running between 1948 and 1950, so I purchased as many books as possible and looked at the photos of the various steam trams and settled on No. 68217, which was one of the last steam trams to run on the line.

I weathered the boiler using weather powders and sealed it with a matt varnish.


The tram was painted with a now discontinued shade of brown from Tamiya’s acrylic range (I think it was Tamiya, I can find out if anyone really needs to know).

The final weathering job shown in the pictures is not accurate to how the model now looks, as it was repainted to better fit in with my Y6 later on.

You cannot obtain a 0-6-0 chassis which would fit such a small loco, so there is little choice but to install and 0-4-0 power bogie. I was a little excited at the time I bought the kit and urgently insisted a black beetle motor bogie be sent out to me ASAP. Unfortunately, the wheelbase (distance between each wheel) of the bogie was quite wide, now I know that this is a skirted loco and little of the wheels is seen, but when it is seen it looked weird.

The motor bogie was converted to DCC control and was a poor runner and it was eventually replaced with better black beetle bogie with spoked wheels (a nice touch), a shorter wheelbase and 27:1 gearing (meaning it can travel much slower than my previous 15:1 version).

My J70 is currently waiting to have a DCC ‘stay-alive’ capacitor to be installed, but more on that some other time.


The Master and the Slave (pt3)

Today I ignored the dark and wet weather outside and focussed on making sure my Class 13 would be a strong runner on digital control.


As discussed in part 2, I will be installing two DCC decoders (one in each unit) and setting them to the same address.

IMG_5558LRI first modified the chassis casting of the slave and master units. Cutting away the lugs that formerly supported a small circuit board (now surplus to requirements).  This modification allows just enough space for a Bachmann 3-function decoder. Granted it is not quite enough space, thus a lot of the decoders soft outer shell needs cutting away to help it fit in the gap.

IMG_5573LRI then soldered the decoders into position and covered joins with shrink tube. This was my first time using shrink tube and I feel much more confident that my wires will not break apart as I move the loco and motors around.

Having built another model with a similar pick-up, motor and decoder arrangement I was keen to avoid a certain pitfall: If both motors and decoders pick-up from the same wheel sets, it is difficult to make separate adjustments to the decoders (without disconnecting the pick-ups).

IMG_5560LRTo avoid this problem, I wanted to build the Class 13 with some kind of pick-up connector, which would allow me to separate the pick-up’s for each unit (when needed). While wondering if I had such a connector I noticed the surplus circuit board from the Bachmann 08 includes just the thing!

I super glued the little plastic connector beneath the master unit chassis and wired the two pick-up sets together. The pick-ups are disguised as two hoses that are present on the prototypes buffer beams. All tension between the two units is focussed on the spring-loaded screw link coupling, thus these wires are loose, but kept in place by the 08s outer chassis.



The Class 13 is now one of my best runners. The slow speeds I can get out of the two motors are quite impressive.

Next on the agenda is some filling and sanding.