Tag Archives: Motor

Repairing a Bachmann 03 Diesel Shunter


This British Rail Green diesel shunter belongs to my dad. He bought it from the Bachmann discount stand at Warley 2012. The motor seems to stall from time to time and I suggested I would have a look at it. Now 12 months have almost past, I think it is best I take a look.

I remember that the coupling rod appeared to be slightly bent on one of the rear cranks, so I suspected it could be an issue relating to the coupling rods jarring. After a quick run on the rolling road I whipped the body off.

The trickiest thing to do is to slide up the NEM couplings without breaking off the backing. The body screws are located beneath them. I have some special screw drivers designed to work with hexagonal bolts, which are very useful for removing coupling rods from RTR locos. Unfortunately, the pin that fixes in the crank at the back of the model isn’t hexagonal and won’t unscrew. Instead I removed the crank along with the coupling rod and used my ‘hold and fold’ tool to flatten the coupling rod back out. Stalling still seemed to be an issue, so I added a very thin washer beneath the crank to see if that would reduce the play in this area. In addition, I stretched out the pick-ups to increase contact with the wheels. As a final step I swapped around the front and rear axles and screwed the coupling rods back on.

I then set the shunter off at full speed on the rolling road, to see if this would remove any burrs that might be causing issues.

There have been no signs of stalling since. It was quite simple to create the stalling effect before the modifications, so maybe, just maybe I have sorted it out.

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.


Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt2)


We now return to the development of my Golden Arrow resin and white metal kit of the pioneering Bulleid Leader (click here for part 1).

Leader’s bogies are gigantic, just massive. Leader looks like the monster truck of UK locomotives. These bogies are cast in white metal and have a very nice finish. They are also nice and weighty. While reading how to install the recommended DS10 motor I mis-interpreted the instructions and installed a separate DS10 motor into each bogie. In hindsight this wasn’t such a bad idea, as leader is now a real brute on the rails.

I followed the wheeling convention of some of Heljan’s diesels and put bearings around the front and rear axles on each bogie and left the middle wheel floating. This helps prevent the massive wheels from causing derailments.


I installed two Lenz silver decoders (one on each bogie) and programmed each to the same ID. Trial runs showed strong running qualities, but I did need to shave away some of the higher sections of the bogies to allow Leader to get around the tight corners on Brewery Pit. Having duel motors and picking up current from both bogies means that when Leader de-rails it has a propensity to continue to drive on with the derailed bogie, so one needs to be careful.

Leader often ran with all it’s vents and doors open, so I cut through the resin cast and opened up all the doors and vents. I also made some vent flaps out of plasticard. I then added hand rails and door knobs. Please note that most people fit the the vertical cab rails on the front of Leader in the wrong position. Most models have them mounted on the very front of the cab, but the prototype has them fitted to the sides and they bend around to the front. In my opinion this makes a big difference to the look of the loco. These hand rails were made from guitar string.

I also added lamp irons and a whistle. The flush glazing was hand cut from thick transparent plastic.

I then painted Leader with the softest silver-grey shade I could find. I used a Halfords car spray and I was very pleased with the results. I felt like I had sprayed the paint on a bit thick in places, so I decided to fix the paint with a satin gloss coat – fatal mistake!

The paint never fully dried and always retained a slight tackiness. I keep my models in a metal box surrounded by foam and I was concerned that the foam might mark the paint so I wrapped Leader with a thin bit of plastic wrapping. I then discovered that the paint was still slowly moving and the paint had formed moulding lines with the patterning of the plastic wrapping. I quickly sprung into action and scrubbed away the tacky areas of paint. My model of one of my favourite engines was sullied.

So at this stage these pictures are all I have of Leader in it’s (almost) final stage. A real shame.

The story continues…


The Master and the Slave (pt2)


Change of plan…

I have just tested the Class 13’s ability to manoeuvre around short radius curves and over point work (which it manages wonderfully). I think this is mostly due to the large buffers I have used (preventing buffer lock). However, the master unit (with the motor) sounds like it is straining to pull the rather weighty slave unit. It would be a shame if the engine cannot pull a long train in the future because of my decision to remove one of the motors, so I have just reinstalled the motor into the slave unit.


My layout is DCC so this will mean a further modification to the front of the slave unit chassis (to accept a second decoder). For engines with two motors I use two decoders programmed to the same address. This takes the strain off an individual decoder and also allows each motor to be fine tuned separately.


The pick-ups on the Bachmann class 08 are a tad primitive. They are set up on the top surface of each wheel. When the model is brand new this is not too much of a problem. Unfortunately, as time cracks on, the pick-ups collect all the dust and dirt from the wheels until they no longer carry any volts to the motor. They can be cleaned up, but you need to take the wheels out.

As I was already deconstructing the 08s I decided to cut away all the pick-ups and install a new arrangement based on methods I have seen used on RMweb. I superglued two pieces of copper-cladding to the chassis plate and soldered together some new pick-ups from fine copper strip.

So far I am very pleased with this modification. Once I have wired the loco to pick up off all 12 wheels, it will become a very difficult loco to stall.