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BR 4-6-2 Britannia Class 7MT 'William Wordsworth'

Hornby Railways R2563


British Railways' standard class 7, otherwise known as the Britannia Class is a class of 4-6-2 steam locomotive designed for express passenger work, one of British Railways' standard classes of the 1950s. Designed by Robert A. Riddles CBE, 55 examples were built and 2 survive.

Variations: 70035-70039 were built with roller bearings on the leading and trailing coupled axles only and plain bearings elsewhere. 70040-70049 were built with plain bearings throughout. Over their service life the roller bearings used in remaining cases showed no advantage in reliability or cost.

Preservation: Two Britannias have survived, the original 70000 Britannia and 70013 Oliver Cromwell.

British Railways Class 7MT, no. 70013 'Oliver Cromwell' at York Railfest on 3rd June 2004 prior to the start of its restoration to working order. Image by Phil Scott.

[Above text and photos source: Wikipedia]

[Above photo source: Hornby]

No. 70030 'William Wordsworth' was delivered into traffic in November 1952. Originally allocated to Hollyhead, the locomotive finished its days at Carlisle Upperby and was withdrawn from traffic in 1966.

The Hornby Railways model R2563. Released: October 2006. Price: 79.50.

Model Specification (from Hornby): Length: 287mm; Running No. 70030 'William Wordsworth'; Livery: BR green; Period Late 1950s/ Early 1960s; Finish: Pristine; Detail: Extensive, DCC ready.

Suitable Rolling Stock: R4260A, R4261A, R4262A, R4263B, R4264B.

Click on the photos of the model for a larger view.



This is always a fun experience. You have mixed feelings: anticipation, excitement, slight worry about potential broken bits and nervousness about getting it all out in one piece as we know that our stub-fingers are not designed to handle these fine models.


First thing that you notice is that the tissue paper has been replaced by a plastic film - that turns out to be some sort of latex - perhaps static free, but quite interesting.

Second thing that you see is a bag of coal. It is real coal, great idea. It needs crushing a little bit more to get it down to scale, but this will be a good project for detailing the loco in a short while.

The third thing that I noticed was a bogy wheel wedged above the cab roof... not a good sign.

With all this packaging: foam, latex and plastic wedges, the loco was still moving around in the tray... what else was damaged?


I found a cab door off and the bogy wheel previously mentioned. Also a strange piece of metal wire, but I also found the rear of the cab buckled in. This is what had squeezed out the cab door. I would say that the parcel had received a bit of a shock in transport.

Luckily the deformed cab was able to be bent back to shape. I glued the cab door in place and I replaced the wheel. There was a section of white piping loose and a bit of black plastic came loose in my hands, but I couldn't find out where it had come from. Nothing looked missing - perhaps it was some bit of left over sprue.

I have in the past added the detail kit and installed the decoder only to find that there have been problems, so this time I checked the loco on address "0" of my DCC setup.

See video here (972 KB)

It worked fine. The rough sound of the motor oscillating is quite normal. I proceeded to install the decoder (see below) and when that was done and tested, I added the detail kit that was supplied with the loco.



The loco is the top of the current range of Hornby models - funny How I've said that a few times in the last few years... It really is though. Very well built with fantastic detail. It runs smoothly and looks great from any angle.

There are some issues though. 'William Wordsworth' is not a preserved loco and it is finished in a pristine finish, but I'm not sure if in real life it would have ever looked so 'flash'. The white piping around the cab is quite bright. Apparently it was asbestos clad copper piping so even new, it would never have been white and it would have got dirty pretty quickly. Another job to do...

The bogy is the most weird bogy I've seen, it doesn't look as though it will work on the track, and it adds a degree of difficulty to put the loco o the rails. It flops about all over the place I've seen many a Hornby Pacific, but this is the strangest.

The pony truck at the rear have smooth un-flanged wheels. It honestly doesn't look too bad and it will help the loco go around the bends of some tight home layouts, but no replacement wheel-set was supplied. Even though my bends are quite gentle, I don't replace my ponies as I'd rather they ran well than jam up in tricky spots.

The tender has all wheel pickup and is electrically connected to the loco with two wires that plug in using a small plug and socket under the front of the tender (below left). This is a much better arrangement than the copper pins and plates on the tender hook of previous models. I had issues with those setups - well done Hornby for going down this route. You just have to make sure that the wires don't drag onto the track (see photo below right). Look at the photo at the top of the page (here) to see how the wires should be arranged.


The tender has a bar with two holes to connect to the loco as Bachmann have done to allow close coupling and an eased setting for going around the bends. As you can see from the photos below, the close coupling setting (below left) is not very practical and would probably not work on most layouts. Use that in the display cabinet and use the loose setting (below right) for the track.


Detailing is exceptional and is above what we have seen so far from British manufacturers. With the detail kit added, the loco really looks good. There is no way you can use the front NEM socket with all those pipes and coupling hooks. I had one small standard coupler supplied in the accessory bag. I wonder if the rear one on the loco was missing of if they only now supply one.

The cab detail and the tender detail is great. Quite a few colours are used to decorate the controls and dials and water level gauges are well done. The tampo printing on the tender is very fine indeed.


I wouldn't want to put this loco back in the box in a hurry. I'll do some surgery in the tray to make sure that the details are not damaged. I'll tape the bogy in place and I'll add a bit of soft padding allowing the loco to sit better.

But anyway, its going to get a bit dusty first as I don't plan on taking it off the layout for a while.

What a great model. Fantastic looking engine that runs very well. Lets just hope that it can do some heavy work on the main line.


DCC Decoder Installation

The choice of decoder is the Lenz Gold-JST Silent-Back EMF DCC Decoder (Article Nr. 10433).

The decoder can handle a continuous current draw of 1.0 Amp with a peak current for short periods of 1,8 A. Some of the main features are:

  • Super smooth and silent high frequency back-EMF motor control.
  • Supports the industry proposed enhancements to the NMRA DCC
  • Bidirectional data communication RPs
  • USP with optional power module for operation on dirty track
  • Asymmetrical DCC support including directional stopping
  • Adjustable precision stopping control
  • Low speed gear for switching operations
  • Motor and function outputs protected
  • Four function outputs rated at 200mA each with advanced function mapping
  • Directional or independent lighting with dimming and special effects.
  • Support for Advanced Consist Control and Extended Addressing
  • Support for programming on the mainline (operations mode programming)

Follow the instruction supplied with the loco to remove the body. Don't forget to disconnect the speedo (below left). I did this before I added the detail pack and I used a Peco loco holder to work on the model when upside down.


Above right, you see the Lenz Gold decoder. I removed the capacitor and taped up the wires running through the ferrite so that there would be no shorts as the harness was pushed around. The decoder plugs in easy enough.

Now for the fun. I started this process with removing the loco from the box at around 2 pm. I finished the whole thing - with detail pack on at around 6pm. The first reason for the long job is that the valve gear have two horrid lubricators that attach to the chassis and come up through the footplate. The China glue is pretty weak and plastic stuck to metal doesn't hold very well. This causes the whole thing to spring apart just as you're trying to do a delicate manoeuvre... Secondly and more importantly, the decoder is a little chunky and the space in the body is limited. I had a few trials before I got it right Where you think it would logically go, it doesn't and where you think it would stick it ends up going in...

First try (above right) in the smoke box, didn't fit. The decoder is too wide. Second try (below left) at the back of the motor, blocks somewhere. I don't know where, I don't have a micro endoscope, but it blocked. Third try (below right) on top of the motor worked. The space in the body is wider there and there is enough space above the motor to fit the decoder.
The metal under the decoder needs to be taped to prevent short circuits. Use black tape to secure everything and to tidy up the wires.

The instructions that come with the loco say for DCC installation: "DCC Ready - contact your specialist dealer for advice" ... well he'll charge an arm and a leg for doing this if you send it in. Learn from my trials, either use a smaller decoder or stick it above the motor.


Testing the installation

Place the locomotive on the programming track (without its body on) and read the loco address (CV1). If you have installed the decoder correctly, you should now be able to read the address (3= factory default for the Lenz Gold). If you are not able to do so, it is possible that you have made a mistake when connecting the cables. Do not subject the loco to full running track power until you obtain the correct "03" address read-out. If there is a problem, recheck your cables and connections.

Set the long address to whatever you want. In this case it's 7003. You can then continue to program on the programming track or do the rest of the settings on the main if your system can handle PoM.

See video after DCC decoder installation here (1.2MB)


DCC CV Settings for 'William Wordsworth' Locomotive using the Lenz Gold-JST decoder
Adr 7003 Long loco address
CV1 3 Default Address
CV2 1 Minimum Speed (V Min at step 1)
CV3 4 Acceleration delay (0-15)
CV4 4 Brake Delay (0-15)
CV5 200 Max speed (V high)
CV6 80 Acceleration Curve (V Mid)
CV17 219 Long address Hi bit
CV18 91 Long address Lo bit
CV29 38 Decoder Configuration

The rest of the CV's are left untouched (factory default).



A very good model.

I had read that there were some damaged examples around and this is an issue that Hornby needs to address if it is going to produce more detailed models in the future.

Hornby also need to give better instructions about installing a decoder. I don't see why they cant test a few standard decoders and then give a few guidelines to the guys who wish to install a decoder themselves. Not everyone is going to send their locos in to get a decoder installed.

This leads to the issue of DCC ready and DCC onboard. I would buy DCC onboard locos so as to prevent all this wasted time, bust fiddly bits and frustration... but only if the decoder was a good one. I am not interested in a bottom of the range decoder in a model like this. I have a selection of decoders and I will put an older one or one with fewer functions in one of my kid's Thomas locos, but I am getting used to the nice features of the Lenz Gold and I wouldn't expect anything less in a model such as this. I do not want to have to remove a low-end decoder so that I can fit a better one myself.


I'll add some more info to this review over the next few days. I'll test it's pulling power and see about getting that coal loaded plus a few little vieos of the loco. Please check the posts linked to the button below for these supplements to the review.

Pulling test video here.

- October 2006

Many thanks to OnTracks for supplying the model.


All text, photos & graphics 2006 Doug Teggin - All rights reserved.

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