The Trix rebuilt BR05 003
Review by Neil Wood
In the 1930’s competition was fierce between new diesel and electric locomotives and steam locomotives. In order to compete on the fast express routes speed needed to be increased. This was done by adding streamlined casings and making larger engines. In 1935 Borsig built three streamlined engines of the class BR05. The first two were conventional locomotives however the third of the series was a cab-forward design. All the engines of the series were three cylinder locos and the second of the series BR05 002 set a world steam speed record of 200.4km/h in 1936 which lasted until the Mallard’s.
The DRG required a new class of locomotive which could travel long distances at speeds of 175km/h at 109mph. The Class 01 had taken conventional stem express design almost to the limit. New technology needed to be created to increase the available power. The result was three cylinders powered by increased boiler pressure driving wheels of 2.3 metres. The design was based on the American Hudson locomotives with a 4-6-4 arrangement. The concept of aerodynamics as used in aeroplanes was being transferred to cars and locomotives as a means of improved efficiency in this era and it was utilised on this locomotive. In 1935 Borsig launched the first two locomotives of the 05 class; BR05 001 and 002. These attained 200km/h / 125mph in test runs in 1936. The third of the series, Br 05 003, was to take innovation further in that it was a cab forward variant.
The cab was located at the front of the loco to increase visibility by being in front of the smoke and through increased stream lining efficiency. This created new problems though as it meant that standard coal firing could not occur. The solution was coal dust firing using a mechanical pneumatic method of passing the coal dust down the entire length of the loco’s boiler.
In 1937 testing of the BR05 003 began along with the inevitable difficulties such a design would create. Many factors including even the weather had a detrimental impact on the fuel supply over the 14 meter / 45 foot that the coal dust travelled. It was impossible to ensure the correct rate of fuel entering the fire box and continuous combustion. Consistently through the test runs, this locomotive verified that it was not capable of the expected operational performance. In 1944, the DRG called it a day: BR05 003 was converted to a conventional locomotive - with anthracite firing and with the streamlining removed. At this point in time the need for fast express trains was not there. The three locos of the class were acquired by the German Federal Railroad in 1950. Destreamlining of most locos occurred at around this time as efficiency was more important than record breaking speed.
The class 05 locomotives were modernised by equipping them with Witte smoke deflectors and inductive signalling equipment. Although they were equipped for speeds of 175 km/h /109 mph, in practice the usual maximum speed for all trains on the DB was just 130 km/h / 81 mph. The Class 05 loco’s maintained their prestige as the ultimate in long distance passenger haulage until 1957. Only the advent of the V200 and E 10 and the gradual electrification of the rail network brought this class to the end of their working life. Although they were retired in 1958, one survived for preservation, however not BR05 003. BR05 001 is still in the Nurnberg Transportation Museum and can be visited today. It is displayed with its original streamlining on one side with some of the streamlining removed on the other so that the guts of the locomotive can be seen. It is operational although recent excursions have utilised a shunter to move the loco.
model 22130 BR05 003
Features: Body die cast metal, Die cast locomotive and tender chassis;; Operating headlights; Directional backup light; Trix sound decoder preinstalled with following effects; Engine Sounds; Synchronized Chuff; Whistle (Whistle can be manually controlled by use of toggle on Ecos controller); Squealing brakes; Switching whistle; Air pump; blowing off steam, Coal being shovelled, Rocker grate; Glow from firebox; smoke generator can be added and controlled digitally.
As said in the history of the locomotive, the BR05 003 went through a major rebuild and the reviewed model looks as it did from 1950 on without streamlining. In many ways this was when the loco looked its best. The original cab forward streamlined version was not the most aesthetically pleasing loco ever produced. The loco comes in the now standard packaging of wrap around plastic with added side protection in a cardboard box. There is a two year warranty and accompanying instruction booklet in eight European languages. There is also an extra single sheet alerting you to the existence of an issue concerning the brake gear on the trailing bogie under the cab. Having examined the instruction sheet and the bogie several times I am still uncertain what the issue is. There does not seem to be any contact between the brake shoe and the wheel so I am no farther forward in guessing what the problem is. My best guess is that it is alerting you to the possibility that the brake shoe could be in contact with the wheel but in the absence of any words on the sheet this will have to remain a mystery. A small sachet of add on parts is included with some brake hoses and cylinder rod protectors. If you are running on a small radius (less than 500mm) you may elect not to attach the cylinder rod protectors. There is also a warning in the manual about going into a gradient immediately after a curve, it suggest allowing a foot or so for transition between the two. The locomotive can be controlled with DCC, Selectrix or Trix systems. As with most German model locos the loco and tender are permanently close coupled. The minimum radius of operation is advised as being 360mm 14-3/16’’
This model represents the first DC current steam locomotive offering with the new Softdrive motor and because of this I was very keen to see how it travels. First thing though was to get it on the tracks. It comes out of the box fairly easily. The loco is pretty heavy and is a fair size relative to a standard loco. Visually it is very nice and has the level of detail you would expect from Trix. For comparative purposes I have shown it next to a streamlined BR05 and a BR01. It is third from the bottom.
You can see that loosing the streamlined casing did little to shorten its length but it is still significantly bigger than Pacific’s such as the BR01 which is the one directly above it. In a frontal shot you can see the width of the boiler is significantly larged than that of the BR01 to its left.
Having established that the model looks the part, the next thing was to read in its decoder settings and get it running. The command station reads the decoder as being by Trix Modelleisenbahn rather than ESU who previously supplied their decoders. This is the same decoder as on some of last year’s offerings like the BR01. I would imagine there is still some degree of involvement between the two, however there are noticeable differences in the sound of LokSound decoders and these new Trix sound decoders. The sound on this loco is very good with some minor room for improvement. The sound is loud and full. It has a nice beefy chuff, which is very appropriate for this loco. Synchronisation is spot on and this stays spot on when the speed increases and decreases. The blowing off steam sound is good and reasonably loud unlike some other decoders where it is barely noticeable. There are two whistle sounds, a long one which you can determine the length of and a short one which is a short blast. The short one is good but the middle part of the long one sounds a little synthesized. It finishes and starts well but the middle bit has that cyclic sound to it that gives the game away. It is nowhere near as bad as some US locos which sound like they had sounds knocked up on a synthesizer but it is not perfect. The brake squeal is good and really conveys the sound of a couple of hundred tons of steel scraping along steel rails.
Directional lighting is nice. I’m not sure about the firebox glow though. This is the same feature on the BR01 and consists of a piece of red transparent plastic or glass with a bulb behind it. If looked at directly it looks like a red piece of plastic or glass with a bulb behind it which clashes with the great work done on the rest of the loco. If the intention is that it is not meant to be viewed directly because of the close coupling of the loco and tender than all well and good as all that is intended to be seen is a glow, which to be fair is how it is described in the manual. It’s just when you peer into the cab and look right at it, it could be better.
Now onto the motor, the motion is silent, obviously with the digital sound turned off. It has a good steady speed at slow and fast settings. I have had it running round the track for sometime now and there is no noise at all. The loco has great pulling power but in prototypical terms the F-Zug it pulled only had three coaches. This Trix “Merkur” three coach set 23420 was made available last year by Trix and is seen below with the loco. So although it can pull a hell of a lot more, on my layout it will generally only pull these three coaches. There have been some reported issues concerning the motors ability to function under analogue DC however the manual seems to infer that it should function perfectly well under analogue DC. I have not tested it on an analogue layout as I do not have the facilities to run analogue locos but it would be expected that it would be clearly stated if it could not function on analogue DC.
The wheels are the standard wide flanges that Trix models have. These may be dropped in future in line with Trix change of direction towards fine detail. There is also the provision for a smoke generator. The one recommended is the Maerklin one, the manual does not mention the Seuthe one or mention its compatibility. Once installed the smoke generator can be turned on and off digitally. The size of the loco can be seen in the picture below, note that it is a fair bit higher than the following coaches.
This is a One-time series intended only for members of the Trix Profi Club however there will be a huge spate of these on E-Bay and some for sale at model stores so if you want one it is entirely possible to get one. There is also a Maerklin AC current version available under item 39050 should you prefer three rail. You are sent a certificate with your name on it independently by Trix.
There was a Lilliput version of this model but it was minus the sound and had a plastic body. The motor, while adequate, was not as good as this new Softdrive C-sine motor. Other than that it presented a cheaper option. Detail wise there was not a lot in it so if you can live without sound it was an option worth considering. I do have to say though I think the running sounds on this are very good. Decent volume and clarity combined with good synchronisation make this a pleasure to listen to. Overall it is a very nice model, one with a great degree of presence. It has nice detail, very good sounds and one of the best motors on the market at the moment. If you’re modelling Epoch III this is one worth getting. The sound alone will make a magnificent impression on your layout.
Neil Wood - January 2008
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 20th May 2013 - 02:06|