Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweeping Up Before A Royal Visit

In the last post I mentioned that I already owned one OO gauge LNER locomotive and one LMS locomotive. You've already seen the LNER locomotive, Flying Scotsman, but I thought I'd show you the LMS locomotive. There are two reasons for showing you this model next; it's one of the few models, other than Flying Scotsman, that I know is actually mine, and it's the only one that required replacement parts to get running again.

When I asked my Dad to lift the trains out of their loft I wasn't sure if he would simply hand everything off to me but I did ask if he could at least find Flying Scotsman and the Duchess. Strangely I could have sworn that the model was of the Duchess of Hamilton, but it turned out that it's actually the Duchess of Abercorn (this just shows how long since I last had them running that I can't remember their names). This model has been well used for two reasons. Firstly it was the only model I had with working head lamps -- there is a bulb in the front and the light is carried to the lamps through clear plastic, and secondly as I also own a working mail train in LMS livery (it collects and delivers mail bags and will I'm sure be the subject of a future post).

The Duchesses (officially known as Coronation Class locomotives) were the most powerful passenger steam locomotives ever built for the UK rail network; according to Wikipedia The Duchess of Abercorn holds the record at 3333hp. Interestingly they were more powerful than the diesel locomotives that replaced them when steam was removed from the rail network in 1968. Unfortunately, even after lubrication and a little grease, my model of Duchess of Abercorn could hardly move herself along the track, and couldn't pull a single coach.

The Hornby model (number R305) is unfortunately one of a number of tender driven locomotives I own. For some reason they never seem to be as reliable as those with the engine mounted inside the boiler. As the head lamps were lighting up I knew power was being collected but she stubbornly refused to move properly. After comparing the motor to another tender drive locomotive I noticed that the copper disk was actually black. It turns out that the carbon brushes had worn almost completely down, and while the springs which hold them in place were ensuring an electrical connection the build of carbon on the motor was such that not enough power was available to drive the motor. Fortunately this was relatively easy to fix. I ordered replacement brushes (from the New Moddellers) at a total cost of £2.50 and cleaned the motor using a little bit of nail polish remover on a cotton wool bud. I don't think she is running as well as she used to (once I'd cleaned the motor disk I could see that it is badly scratched and probably needs replacing) but she can now pull a rake of coaches around the track without too many problems.

If you want to know more about the Duchesses then I can recommend reading The Duchesses by Andrew Roden.


  1. My first read this morning and I've learned something already: a rake of coaches. I never knew that. I remembered the Coronation and a few other classes though so I've just had a wander through Wiki - always a dangerous thing to start.

  2. Mark there ought to be enough metal left on the commutator to skim it. You need to find a model engineer with a small lathe...possibly an amateur clockmaker would help you out. Check the bearings are okay first though.