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Bachmann Class 57XX BR Pannier

Model number: 32-211. Black, Early BR emblem.

Review, DCC decoder & Kadee installation by Doug Teggin

 

 

The Prototype
The Great Western Railway (GWR) 5700 Class is a class of 0-6-0 pannier tank steam locomotive, built between 1929 and 1950. 863 were built, making them the 2nd most produced British class of steam locomotive.

The GWR had favoured Pannier Tank locomotives since 1911 when they had started rebuilding locomotives built between 1870 and 1905 into this style. By 1929 these older locomotives were in need of replacement.

The first 5700s had round spectacles in the cab front but those built after 1933 had rectangular windows and a slightly different profile virtually identical to the style introduced with the GWR 5400 Class in 1931. Whilst they can be viewed as a simple update of the GWR 2721 Class, the Collett improvements were worthwhile and the class became as synonymous with the GWR as Castles and Kings, lasting until the end of steam on the Western Region of British Railways.

Source Wikipedia. Photo: By David Wainwright

 

The Bachmann model
I was looking for a transition period steam shunter to use in my yards. We all seem to have too many mainline large locos and not enough smaller tank engines and shunters. I like detail and I aim for quality. I don't want a train set 0-4-0 or a 0-6-0 that will have bad handling qualities on the layout. So many of these little engines tend to be cheap and nasty. So I was very happy when I found this Bachman Class 57XX BR Pannier. Click on the images below for larger versions.

A great model with plenty of detail. Good value for money and relatively easy to get hold of in shops and on eBay. Will it run smoothly and slowly? Will it haul a couple of wagons and coaches around the yard?
The loco model is substantial. A metal chassis and metal weight inside the plastic body located in the water tanks on either side of the boiler. The details that surrounds the model moves it out of the train set category: Hand rails all around the loco, filler lids on the water tanks, great cab detail, tool boxes on the rails and brake rods that add visual detail to the 0-6-0 wheel set.
 

DCC decoder installation
Opening up the loco is quite simple. Two screws on either end of the chassis on the centre line. The body is a little tight, but it comes off without any damage to any parts. Looking inside the loco, we see a PCB that holds the capacitor and a couple of chokes. No NEM DCC socket, but it doesn't look like a problem to hardwire a decoder.

Initially I thought that a Lenz 1014 decoder would do the job. I had to cut off the two metal posts that the screws for the PCB screwed into. A Dremel with a cutting disk made short work of that job. I wired it in, but I found that the slow running of the decoder and loco was not slow enough. For a shunter, you want good slow motion so I found a spare Lenz Gold. The Lenz Gold has this thick socket for the wires so it was a bit too thick for the space available. So out with the Dremel again and a little more cutting.
Some double sided tape insulates the decoder from the chassis and secures it in place. The width of the decoder is just right. A Hornby decoder, a Bachmann decoder or any smaller decoder would probably fit without cutting. I wirded the decoder and tested the setup on the programming track. All fine.
The service sheet does recommend that the loco be run in for a period. So I set the loco onto the rolling road that is hooked up to the DCC layout. I have found a great grease that I use on my fly fishing reels. It is red so it shows up well where it is spread. The Quantum Hot Sauce grease makes a big difference to the running and smoothness of the gearbox. Here, on the bottom right, we see the loco in motion with the grease doing it's thing. It is not going like mad, but the photo was taken with a 4 second exposure.
 

Kadee coupler installation
As I'm installing Kadees everywhere these days, I may as well add them to this loco too. The NEM pockets fit onto the loco when the body is back on as they cover the body mounting screws. I added a couple of #19 Kadee couplers. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of droop of the Kadee in the NEM pocket so it looked like this on the bottom left.

I cut a couple of pieces of plasticard from a 0.5mm sheet. 8mm x 3.5mm. These were slipped into the NEM pocket under the Kadee effectively raising it up and eliminating any slop in the fit. Now the height is just about right. See on the bottom right how it measures up to the Kadee height gauge.
After a couple of hours of running in, running it on the rolling road forwards and backwards, this loco is now moving very smoothly indeed. It hauls well and negotiates my points without problem. It did stop on a large radius bend and I wonder if the copper pickups are tight enough. I'll bend them a bit more just to be sure.

This loco will be a permanent feature of my main yard. Perhaps I'll have to find it a partner to keep it company. It may have to be another Class 57XX as what else is there available that works so well?

 

- August 2007

 

Other links:
Wikipedia -
0-6-0PT, GWR 5700 Class
The Great Western Archive - 5700 tank class introduction
GWR Modeling - A Beginner's Guide to Pannier Tanks

 

 

All text, photos & graphics, unless otherwise indicated 2007 Doug Teggin - All rights reserved.

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