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Bachmann Robinson Class 04
 

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class O4 initially consisted of the 131 ex-Great Central Railway (GCR) Class 8K 2-8-0 steam locomotives acquired on grouping in 1923. The engines were designed by John G. Robinson and built at the GCR locomotive works at Gorton, Manchester. Robinson developed the Class 04, from the GCR 0-8-0 Q4, adding a front pony truck to support the extra weight of the larger cylinders and valve gear. A superheated boiler that was used on the C4 Atlantics was used on the Class 04 and run at a working pressure of 180psi.

O4 History post 1923
The O4s were added to when the LNER purchased 273 ex-Railway Operating Division ROD 2-8-0s to the same design between 1923 and 1927. Meanwhile, the 19 GCR Class 8M (LNER Class O5) were rebuilt as O4 standard during the 1920s and 1930s. 92 O4 locomotives were requisitioned by the War Department during World War II and shipped during late 1941 for operation in the Middle East.

The O4 class were used to haul heavy freight trains throughout the LNER system. 329 engines remained in operation at 1 January 1948.

British Railways
The surviving 329 Class O4 locomotives passed to British Railways (BR) on 1 January 1948. They were then widely operated on freight trains throughout the Eastern and North Eastern regions of BR. The locomotives were given BR numbers in the range 63570-63920 but this range included 58 locomotives which had been rebuilt as Class O1. Withdrawal of O4 engines by BR commenced in 1959 and the last was taken out of service in the Doncaster area in April 1966.

Preservation
An O4/1, GCR No. 102, BR No. 63601, is part of the extensive National Collection, and is preserved on the preserved Great Central Railway at Loughborough, Leicestershire. A further three 04s were exported and survive in preservation in New South Wales, Australia.

Source: Wikipedia

In BR days GCR 04 No.63846 (ROD 2044) fresh from Gorton Works approaches Manchester Victoria with an Ardwick to Ordsall Lane goods. KENNETH FIELD The pioneer GCR 04 No.5966 in LNER days as it passes through Nottingham Victoria with a wartime up goods on 23rd March, 1940. JOHN P WILSON/RAIL ARCH Ex ROD No.2003, 1 of only 6 Gorton RODs, leaves Richmond Vale Junction, New South Wales, Australia with a train of coal empties. ARTHUR REYNELL

More information can be found on the GCR Rolling Stock Trust website.

An interesting article about the Robinson '04' 2-8-0 is included in the Reality Check section of the July 2010 Hornby Magazine.

LNER 2-8-0 Class O4 (previously GCR Class 8K) no. 63601 at Doncaster Works open day on 27th July 2003.
This locomotive is preserved on the Great Central Railway. Photo: Our Phellap, source: Wikipedia

 

Bachmann model: Robinson Class 04

The model was announced at the 2009 range launch in February 2009. The first pre-production images of the Bachmann Branchline 04 locomotive model were shown in September 2009 (above). Development continued on schedule and the release of the model 16 months after announcement was within the timeframe originally given.

3 models are available:

31-001 Robinson Class 04 2-8-0
63601 BR Black Late Crest
31-002 Robinson Class 04 2-8-0
63635 BR Black Early Emblem
31-003 Robinson Class 04 2-8-0
3693 LNER Black

My model, the BR Black Late Crest, arrived just over a week after I ordered it and that was about a week after it came out. Overall it had has a good reception. You can pick the model up ad a good price if you shop around. Good running characteristics and haulage has been reported by other owners.

You will notice that the DCC connector is located in the tender as per recent models. Great for a sound decoder upgrade. The tender is permanently connected to the locomotive with 4 wires. Pickups are on the 4 sets of driving wheels of the loco. It would be great to have pickups on the tender wheels too like the Liliput models (Made in the same factory), but I suppose to keep costs down we accept a few compromises in quality. I'll add pickups to the tender sometime in the future if the loco is used quite a bit on the layout.

Notice that the brake rodding comes fitted on the loco and tender and comes with some nice details.

DCC Decoder installation

Here I am installing a Bachmann 21-Pin DCC decoder with back EMF and 3-function outputs (36-554).

The Bachmann 36-554 decoder is designed for use with the 21-pin connectors fitted to many of the most recent models this three function decoder offers several advanced features including configurable back EMF high-frequency pulse width motor speed control. A shunting speed function control is provided, allowing finer control for slow speed operations.

Decoder measures 24mm long, 15mm wide with socket at one end. The decoder is reasonably priced at around 10 in most shops.

Initial programming and tests were problematic. The locomotive and decoder just didn't respond. Movement was jerky. As with the Bachmann BR G2a Class "Super D" 0-8-0, running was awful at first. I remembered what had to be done to the "Super D" to cure the problem: Remove the capacitors.

So I opened up the body of this Class 04 and snipped off the 3 capacitors that were soldered to the motor.

As expected, the running as perfect after that. I just wish that these interference suppression capacitors could be attached to the DCC blanking plate so when a DCC decoder is added, the caps can go too without having to do surgery on the model itself.

A Kadee coupler replaces the stock mini tension-lock coupler and as you see from the photo below, I've added a Bachmann driver to the cab. The cab and front of the tender is nicely detailed. A hose is added to the back of the tender and a link couple and hook are added to the front buffer beam. Steam outlet pipes are added to the underside of the pistons.

The footplate on the tender actually folds down. If the model was on display, I suppose you would have it all the way down. Here, below, it is most of the way down, but just high enough to prevent banging into anything when going around the bends.

So, a great looking model - probably crying out to be weathered a bit as it was a workhorse of a loco and probably wouldn't have remained for long in such a pristine condition. It is a substantial model having a metal frame under the boiler and metal chassis. Ballast weight is included under the coal load in the tender. The 2-8-0 configuration works well on my layout and the loco doesn't catch or short on any of the points. I would just prefer a longer pickup area to cover a point with temperamental blade conductivity.

I've run the model in on the rolling road in both directions and it is ready to hit the mainline. It pulls a rake of wagons quite comfortably.

Here above, it is running on the mainline. Smooth and steady.

I would be very keen to get another of these models and use them together to haul goods trains around the layout. They would make excellent models to weather and to detail. I have a sound decoder on order for the Class 04 and I'll update the associated thread with a video when that comes and is installed.

 

Doug Teggin

July 2010

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