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Are You One Spare Short of a Packet?

Or Does It Just Feel That Way!

No matter what is said by the manufactures who service our hobby, models today are expensive and getting worse. They are also getting more complicated to dismantle  should, God forbid, they suffer a “non-existent” fault (so we are told)  like a split gear train or other problem.


At TINGS I suffered failure of a Class 170 Midland Mainline unit due to split gears (so I thought, due to the symptoms), for which I attempted to get a diagram which showed how they were put together and what reference numbers the parts required had. After consulting the internet and finally contacting the manufacturer I discovered that no such thing exists  and spares seem to be somewhat limited.  I finally managed to dismantle the powered car by trial and error and heart in mouth, as I usually manage to break something because I push, pull or lever something injudiciously. I found that the drive was a plastic frame which held a tower of gears which transmitted movement by a train of gears to both wheels. The power pick-up was by two contacts which had three projections to the wheels, only two in use, and these were bonded to sides of the gear towers by melting pips there-on. It was also seen that stub axles for the gear train were also under the fixed contacts. It seemed like a sealed unit, but it is not, the contacts may be levered up by placing a thin blade between the plastic frame and the contact and levering gently upward. Do not remove the remains of the pip. Replacing is a matter of returning the new contacts over the pips and touching a minute blob of superglue to the top of the pip to replace the original melted plastic.


Best Practice: Contact BR Lines  (01287-633036) and speak to Bob. If he can’t tell you how to do it and supply the bits required or even fix it himself, bin it or break it up for spares, ‘cause it is a lost cause.


I also had a 5-car Super Voyager overheat, thank God we smelled it before anything major happened; I think! It presently resides on the out-patients shelf awaiting investigation.


My class 153xxx single unit stopped in a cloud of smoke, after a short period of running requiring full throttle in getting to move at all. As for fixing it, the same thinking appears to be in evidence as that for the class 170xxx, no information/exploded view or how to get the body off to examine the motor etc. I presume that one pulls the sides apart and it pops off. However, despite many tries so far nothing has occurred

and if I assault it any harder I have little doubt that a new body will be required. Enquires on the net have produced nothing useful and my general opinion that the net is as much use as chocolate teapot shows no signs of being challenged.


I have a grey liveried 47xxx which refused to run at all and after a complete strip-down still refused to run properly despite the motor itself running OK when power was applied to its contacts. I sought BR Lines help and he could not supply all the spares I required, he had bought a batch of (complete) bogies some time ago and supplied me with a pair of replacement ones at a very reasonable price and it now runs OK. Oh yes, thanks for your help Dave; it is greatly appreciated. 


I am pleased to say that a certain firm in Wales has now seemingly begun to put some documentation which may be of use, all we need now is for them to supply a comprehensive range of spares so that we my put that information to use. Failing that , you can go to DCC who will solve all your problems at twice the normal fee, unless of course “they can’t get the spares you know”!


A certain firm in Leicestershire is beginning to put on-line a PDF version of instructions for its models but if you have anything other than a fairly recent model I am afraid your out of luck and there are no plans to back-date the available instructions. May-be they will have a change of heart eventually?




I eventually removed the body by using pieces of thin plastic either side of the

chassis and pulling gently upward. Below right is what the chassis should look like, sort of, “nude”. Below right is what makes up the chassis once everything is unscrewed and unclipped, but please don’t ask for reference numbers, I haven’t a clue; but at least you know more than I did when I started.


I am still hoping to be able to buy or create a centre car for this model, but I am rather at a loss as to what I can use as a donor carriage and I doubt that these days I have suffice skills remaining to scratch build a suitable model to do justice to the model I bought. However, Electra do seem to offer a set of overlays which could simplify matters. I think more measuring, looking and thinking are in order.


I hope some of this has been helpful, if others suffer similar problems.