Hornby Dublo BannerI am running a few original Hornby Dublo locomotives out of pure nostalgia and because they were built to last. There was plenty enough room to install a DCC decoder, although modifying those engines with the original vertical motor was not as straight-forward as for a more modern motor, this is how I did it.

After buying a couple of nearly-new engines off eBay, I realised that it could be a risky business. A modern engine may be described as “nearly new” but they are not as robust as the old Hornby Dublo engines and may not have been treated as well as they might have been. I learnt that it was necessary to study the pictures and read the descriptions very carefully.


42765 – Hughes-Stanier 5MT Crab by Bachmann, bought on a whim on eBay ... and a good example of the pitfalls of buying a “pre-owned” steam-outline engine from a private seller. I realised only later, when it was too late, that the front steps were missing. Vital parts were also missing from the rear coupling but I wasn’t bothered by that as I intended to replace it with a Simplex coupling. The prototype is being restored to working order on the East Lancs Railway in LMS Crimson Lake livery.   Crab

44454 Fowler 4F by Airfix, bought on eBay with its original box (dated 1975). The tender drive gives it the advantage of having a well detailed cab and daylight under the boiler. Airfix was most famous for its plastic kits but, from 1975 to 1981, they also made a line of ready-to-run OO gauge model railway stock. They were based on British prototypes and, at the time of introduction, they represented a significant improvement in prototype accuracy and detailing compared to any other British ready-to-run manufacturer. It is awaiting new couplings. The prototype was originally designed for medium freight work and represents the ultimate development of Midland Railway’s six coupled tender engines. One Midland-built 4F survives, 43924, the first locomotive to leave the Woodham Brothers scrap yard in Barry, South Wales.

  Fowler 4F

45532 Stanier 7P Patriot Illustrious by Mainline, bought on eBay with its original box. 52 of these express passenger steam locomotives were built for the LMS Railway. The first locomotive of the class was built in 1930 and the last in 1934. The class was based on the chassis of the Royal Scot combined with the boiler from Large Claughtons earning them the nickname Baby Scots. All were withdrawn between 1960 and 1965, none have survived to preservation.

A proposal to build a new LMS Patriot using the surviving drawings was published in the 13 July 2007 issue of Steam Railway magazine. This led to the formation of the LMS-Patriot Project, a registered charity, and the new locomotive is under construction at the Llangollen Railway. It will carry the number of the last built – LMS number 5551 or British Railways number 45551. After a public poll, the new Patriot locomotive will be named The Unknown Warrior.

  Stanier 7P Patriot

45690 Stanier 6P Jubliee Leander by Mainline, bought on eBay with damaged valve-gear.

The LMS Jubilee Class were designed for mainline passenger work, 191 locomotives were built between 1934 and 1936. They were built concurrently with the LMS Stanier Black Five and were originally known as the Red Staniers because of their crimson lake livery. Although built over only a three year period the class had many variations due to improvements being made as they were built. The major differences were in the boilers, the bogies, and the smokebox saddles, and they had eight different variations in their tenders. 45637 Windward Islands was scrapped in 1952 due to damage sustained in the Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash, the remaining locomotives were withdrawn between 1961 and 1967. Four have survived to preservation.

45691 Stanier 6P Jubliee Orion by Mainline, bought on eBay in its original box.
  Stanier 76P Jubliee

Stanier 76P Jubliee

46100 Fowler-Stanier 7P Royal Scot by Airfix, bought on eBay with its original box. Airfix introduced this model in 1978 but, after the Airfix range was incorporated into the Mainline range, the ex-Airfix model was dropped. The tender drive gives this model no advantage, since there is no natural daylight beneath the boiler.

The class was originally introduced in 1927 with large parallel boilers and the whole class was rebuilt between 1943 and 1955. The new “Rebuilt Scot” design was carried out under the auspices of William Stanier who was then engaged on war work, so was actually undertaken by George Ivatt and ES Cox. All were withdrawn between 1962 and 1965 but two have been preserved; (4)6100 Royal Scot and (4)6115 Scots Guardsman. No 6100 Royal Scot is now at Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk.

46167 Fowler-Stanier 7P The Herefordshire Regiment by Airfix, bought on eBay with its original box. This model is from the Brackenbridge exhibition layout and has had its boiler relined, has a late crest, cab doors, and the valve gear has been weathered.
  Royal Scot 7P

Rebuilt Scot 7P

46232 – Stanier 7/8P Duchess of Montrose was included in my first Christmas Hornby Dublo 3-rail trainset but went in part-exchange for a load of 2-rail stuff a few years later. I bought this Duchess many years later in a wave of nostalgia and converted it to 2-rail running. This is the engine part way through its conversion to DCC. The prototype was withdrawn in December 1962.   Duchess of Montrose

46521 – Ivatt 2MT by Bachmann, bought on eBay. A total of 128 of this type were built between 1946 and 1953, mostly at Crewe. 46521 was built by British Railways at Swindon Works and allocated to the Western Region. All engines were initially turned out in lined black but some Swindon engines received lined green livery as they passed through works.

The class was withdrawn between 1961 and 1967 but 46521 has survived and starred in the TV sitcom Oh, Doctor Beeching! and the film The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, which were both filmed on the Severn Valley Railway. It is currently located at the Great Central Railway, Loughborough. It is awaiting replacement couplings.
  Ivatt 2MT 2-6-0

47458 Fowler Jinty 3F – Triang-Hornby have had this engine in their catalogue forever; this is the retooled 1978 Hornby model which is a big improvement over the original Triang model. It features such niceties as a detailed and unobstructed cab, a sprung rear axle and jointed coupling rods, and traction tyres on the centre wheels, but no daylight under the boiler. It is awaiting new couplings. I’ve had two of the older models for a long time and they’ve always been useful for testing and pottering about. The prototype represents the ultimate development of the Midland Railway’s six-coupled tank engines.   Jinty

47971 – Bayer Garratt by Heljan for Hattons. This is the variant for the early British Railways period with the BR Unicycling Lion on the cab sides. There are a couple of issues with the model; the lion should be facing forwards on this side of the loco, the pony truck brakes are fitted and will need to be removed. The lamps fitted are for the headcode that was correct at the time the locomotive was introduced but was superseded in the early 50s. This will require careful surgery to correct.   Garratt

48773 – Stanier 8F by Hornby Dublo. I became involved in the Stanier 8F Locomotive Society whilst still at university and this is my tribute to the society’s work in rescuing this locomotive and keeping it running. This is the engine part way through its conversion and before renumbering. The prototype carried a yellow diagonal on the cab sides from the mid-60s after the WCML electrification to indicate that it was not permitted to work under the wires. I shall quietly ignore that, since I consider it adds nothing to its appearance!   Stanier 8F

70024 – BR Standard 7MT Vulcan is an old Triang engine I’ve had for a long time, I think I bought it secondhand pretty much as soon as I could after steam was finally withdrawn from the main line by British Rail. I am renumbering it to remind me of my last scheduled steam-hauled run to York in December 1967, although I seem to remember the engine was painted all black (and pretty scruffy) by the end of its life. It has become strangely appropriate since I now have a strong interest in the last flying Vulcan aircraft based at Doncaster. It will benefit from a new set of wheels (the front bogie has already been re-wheeled) and other detailing work.   Britannia

80033 – BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4T by Hornby Dublo. This is the 2-rail model with the later “Ferret and Dartboard” totem, won unexpectedly on eBay after putting in a very low bid. The bodywork was in very good condition but it was very sluggish when tried out on the rolling road. The armature and magnet seemed to be OK but the driven axles were very stiff in their bearings ... the lubrication had dried up and turned to glue but a bit of TLC got it freed up. It has received a new neo-magnet and will benefit from more regular use.

Of the 130 built, 15 have survived into preservation. However, both 80033 and 80054 fell to the cutter’s torch.

80054 – BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4T by Hornby Dublo. This is the 3-rail model with the earlier “Unicycling Lion” totem, bought on a whim on eBay and converted to 2-rail. This was in good running order, probably as good as the day it left the factory. It has a new lease of life with its neo-magnet and I’m sure it will run forever.

I was intrigued to see that the valve gear eccentrics on this model are different from those on 80033 above. I believe that 80033 is set up correctly, so 80054 may inadvertently have been reassembled incorrectly during its conversion to 2-rail.

Flying Scotsman4472 – Greasly A3 Flying Scotsman by Hornby. Hornby produced double tender models in “Limited Editions” at various times based on the 1981 model. I found this locomotive and first tender as one lot on eBay and the second water tender as a separate lot. When the prototype ran with two tenders during the 1960s, it carried the LNER crest emblazoned on the cab sides instead of the number.

The prototype became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at 100 mph in 1934, thus earning a place in the record books. It ended service with British Railways in January 1963 and became the first locomotive to be sold into preservation. It was bought by Alan Pegler who had it restored at Darlington Works as closely as possible to its LNER condition. As watering facilities for steam locomotives were fast disappearing, Alan purchased a second corridor tender in September 1966 and adapted it to carry an additional 6000 gallons of water. It worked a number of railtours, including a 40th Anniversary non-stop London to Edinburgh run on 1st May 1968, which I captured on camera. It will therefore be a perfectly legitimate visitor to my main line.

By special invitation – Thomas the Tank Engine. I found him on eBay together with Annie and Clarabel and decided that a bit of whimsey would not go amiss. He will not be allowed out on the main line and will work up and down the branch line on special occasions. Annie and Clarabel will try to look after him to make sure he doesn’t get up to too much mischief.

This will not be stretching the imagination too far. British Railways did run a number of locomotive exchanges in the late 1950s when they were developing their new standard classes. Thomas & Friends visited England in 1957 as documented by The Rev W Awdry in The Eight Famous Engines.

Also by special invitation – Toby the Tram Engine. Like Thomas, I found him on eBay together with Henrietta. He also will not be allowed out on the main line and will work up and down the branch line.

Thomas & Friends are the Bachmann models sold primarily in North America. The models are truer to the drawings in the original books and to the TV series voiced by Ringo Star, and the locos have moving eyes.
  Thomas with Annie and Clarabel

Toby with Henrietta


Deltic Crepello   I have had this Hornby Dublo locomotive from new when my father took advantage of the concessionary part-exchange scheme Meccano Ltd offered to encourage people to convert to their new 2-rail system. I remember that I was not particularly impressed to receive Crepello in exchange for the Duchess I’d had previously! The Deltics served duty on the East Coast Main Line out of Kings Cross throughout their life so I’m exercising modelling license by allowing Crepello the occasional visit up the Midland main line. I cut out the head-code box so it could be illuminated, and the tail lights work too when not attached to a train. This was more of a challenge to convert for DCC but I received some helpful advice from the Yahoo! Hornby Dublo group.

Brush Type 4

Brush Type 4
  I worked a six-week summer clerical job at Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd (now simply Brush Traction) at Loughborough in 1967 at the time they were building the Type 4s. I remember seeing them being built on the production line in the factory and then parked all over the works site awaiting delivery. They looked very smart in their immaculate two-tone green paintwork with white and orange detailing to the pipe-work.

These are both Lima models which were produced in the original livery. The top one I bought new when it was first introduced, the bottom one I bought much later on eBay. It has been repainted and renumbered and fitted with the smaller Bachmann couplings.

They are awaiting replacement couplings and the original loco will receive a proper paint job on the buffers and the roof. I may also pick out some of the pipework if I can find a good photograph with the necessary detail.

Peak D132   The BR Sulzer Type 4 “Peak” diesel locomotives were the mainstay of passenger services on the Midland main line from their introduction in 1962. They remained the main source of power on the line up to 1982 when they were relegated to secondary services following introduction of HSTs on the route. They were all withdrawn by 1986.

I found this on eBay, both bogies are powered and I was told that these models were produced for a short period between the Mainline Railways single motor and the revamped Bachmann “super smooth”. However, on closer inspection, I suspect that it is two later Bachmann chassis cut and glued back-to-back with a single battery box and fuel tank hiding the joint. It has the bufferbeams mounted on the bogies as for the current Bachmann model.
It is awaiting replacement couplings.

Brush Type 2 D5531   The Brush Type 2 “A1A” diesel locomotives were built by Brush Traction from 1957-62 and worked on secondary passenger trains and goods trains throughout BR. This is the Airfix model which I bought on eBay for a very reasonable price. A curious feature of this model is that the centre wheels of the powered bogie are dummies, part of the bogie side frame moulding, slightly raised and having clipped flanges to clear the rails. They are well hidden by the bogie side frames, so it’s probably not worth worrying about. Of more concern, though, are the brightly polished trailing bogie wheels which will need blackening. The model picks up from all six of these wheels which are double insulated, meaning that installing a DCC decoder is very easy.
It is awaiting replacement couplings.

English Electric B0-B0   I did own the Hornby Dublo English Electric Type 1 D8000 which was their first plastic-bodied engine introduced in 1958. By today’s standards it has short-comings as a scale model so, when the Bachmann models became available, I bought one with the original head-code discs and one with the later four-character code boxes, and sold my old Hornby Dublo model on eBay. They were designed to work light mixed freight traffic, so had no train heating facilities. Their service on passenger trains was limited mainly to summer relief services to Skegness and other resorts on the east coast of England.
They are awaiting replacement couplings

  This little shunter is by Bachmann and is a bit of a blend of what are now known as classes 03 and 04. The British Rail Class 04 0-6-0 diesel-mechanical shunting locomotive was built between 1952 and 1962 and was the basis for the later Class 03 built in the British Railways Swindon and Doncaster workshops from 1957 to 1962. The original shunters were supplied by the Drewry Car Co although they had no manufacturing capability, Drewry sub-contracted the construction work to two builders both of whom built other locomotives under the same arrangement. Early locomotives were built by Vulcan Foundry and later examples were built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns. Like other shunters of this size, they were built for light duties where a larger locomotive was not needed, especially for shunting at locomotive and carriage depots and as station pilots.
It is awaiting replacement couplings.

Dublo Diesel Shunter   Hornby Dublo made this shunter in 3-rail and 2-rail versions and it was fitted with their ringfield motor. This particular model has fully flanged drivers and was, I believe, made under Wrenn’s ownership of the company. These locomotives were designed by British Railways and built at Derby, Crewe, Horwich, Doncaster and Darlington works. BR turned out the early examples painted black, later production was painted in the Brunswick Green livery as adopted by Hornby Dublo.

Kitmaster Diesel Shunter   An unmotorised Kitmaster model with a seized axle, so it may adorn a siding somewhere. I also picked up an unopened boxed kit which I may make up and perhaps motorise sometime. This is an example of the early black livery used for BR’s initial production.

Rolling Road   Testing and running engines in is important, especially when bedding-in a new or freshly lubricated mechanism or when setting up a new DCC decoder. There is only so much that can be done on track. I was lucky enough to find an original H&M Loco Tester (rolling road) on eBay which I have used to test-run each locomotive, and it also handles my multiple unit motor bogies. It has five movable rollers plus another 10 inches of fixed track for longer vehicles. Here I am checking one of my Hornby Dublo 2–6–4 tank engines – initial tests were disconcerting until I realised that the rollers were out of true, not the engine’s wheels!

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