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The Henschel-Wegmann Train Set by Trix

Trix Model 21245 - Review by Neil Wood

The Henschel Wegmann Zug between Berlijn and Dresden

 

Axle layout: 2'C2' h2 (61 002 2'C3' h3)
In service: 1935-1939
Diameter driving wheels: 230 cm
Diameter carrying wheels: 110 cm/110 cm
Length: 18,475 m (61 002 18,825 m)
Top speed: 175 km/h
Power: 1450 pk/hp
Boiler pressure: 20 bar
Weight: 129,1 t (61 002 146,3 t)

Epoch II was an interesting time in German railways.  Many innovative and unusual designs appeared in an era of experimentation.  In response to competition from the Diesel SVT or Flying Hamburger, the locomotive industry developed the Henschel-Wegmann-Zug. This train consisted of four coaches built by Wegmann and a streamlined steam engine built by Henschel.

The locomotive and coaches were a unique design built specifically for this train. The locomotive had no tender with the coal being stored in the rear of the locomotive.  The coaches were a special light weight build.  This together with the 230cm drive wheels enabled the train to achieve consistent high speed.  The locomotive type BR61 was built in 1935 and was capable of pulling 130 tons at a speed of 175 km/h or 108.7 mph.

Two locomotives of this type were built BR 61 001 and BR 61 002.  Due to the onset of World War II only BR 61 001 actually entered service.  The second locomotive, BR 61 002 was not identical, having a three axle bogie at the rear, three cylinders and a smoke deflector.

On 13 June 1936 the train entered service between Berlin and Dresden.  The 109 mile journey was completed in 100 minutes.  The service stopped when World War 2 started.  After the war the train was still used up until 1952 when it was retired after an accident.

Locomotive BR 61 001

Trix 21245 “Henschel Wegmann” Train set

Released Feb 2006 Price €589 or ₤410

Model specifications: Length: 1.22m; Era: Epoch II; Locomotive number BR 61 001; Livery: DRG Violet and Cream; Features: NEM close couplers, Digital sound decoder with automatic system detection for DCC or Trix systems, die cast metal frame, directional headlights; Finish: Pristine; Motor: High efficiency propulsion with bell armature

The Trix model was the Trix Profi Club annual HO model for 2005.  For those who don’t know, each year a special one time series model is made exclusively for club members.  This is a limited run not generally available in the shops which has to be ordered in April for December but not actually delivered until February.  While the idea is that these are collector’s items only available to club members, these can actually be ordered from some dealers without providing evidence of club membership or bought on Ebay.

The model comes with a two year warranty, limited edition certificate and has an assembly diagram as well as multi-lingual operating instructions.  The box cover is understated with a technical drawing on a grey background.  The model is safely encased in thick polystyrene. However, once you have taken the covering lid off you are pleasantly surprised with a well finished model in beautiful violet and cream colouring.  First impressions are good.  The loco and coaches are highly detailed.  The decals are clear and well printed.  There is close streamlining on both the loco and the coaches as per the prototype. 

The loco is a two piece cast metal body and is reasonably heavy.  The running gear is articulated to enable the loco to negotiate tight curves.

Additionally there is side play on the coach trucks due to low side skirting for the same reason. The coaches are all different with a baggage car, 1st, 2nd and 3rd with an observation area.  They can be retro fitted with a lighting kit however the one specified by Trix is out of production!

One disappointment is that the loco cab windows cannot be seen through.  They seem to be glass placed upon painted metal.  Additionally there was no provision for a smoke detector, which is almost standard on most German locos.

Once out of the box and on the track the loco runs well and has not derailed once.  I can go off and leave it running for an hour or so in the confidence that whenever I look in on it will still be running around without any derailment.  It runs smoothly even at low speed, and quietly when the sound is turned off. 

There are traction tyres on two drive wheels but they do not seem to be particularly effective as they are very thin and the loco has struggled due to wheel slip on very steep slopes even though it is only pulling four coaches.

There are seven sound functions including shovelling coal, air compressor and steam being let off amongst others.  There are also two light functions; the headlights and the headlight for oncoming trains.  There is a further function which switches off the braking and acceleration delay.

The sound is a decent volume unlike some decoders which can be barely audible once you have two or three trains going.  The locomotive running sound is a little unusual but let’s face it, it’s an unusual locomotive.  The whistle stays on as long as you have the function button depressed which is an improvement on previous decoders where you could not determine the length of the whistle.  The sound is also well synchronised with the locomotive movement so the brakes squeal when the loco is coming to a halt.  Ideally all sound decoders are supposed to do this but not all do in practise.

The train runs equally well in either direction, however as the chassis is symmetrical there is no reason why it shouldn’t.  The loco was originally supposed to have had a high efficiency Sine motor however this was altered just before release to a motor with a bell shaped armature due to “software incompatibility and associated issues”.

The loco is well built and robust.  It gives the impression it could be dropped from a great height without the slightest impact on its performance.  This contrasts with current Hornby production which although also highly detailed are easily damaged when handled.  This is a model intended to be handled, used and is built to last.  I have no doubt it will do.

This is a fantastic model and is a great addition to any layout especially to those modelling German Epoch II.  The Loco and coaches are well made and highly detailed and run smoothly and well. The idea of a train pack is also appealing, especially if you’re like me and tend to prioritise buying locos and forget about getting the coaches to go with them.  It is a collector’s item as it is a limited run and will not be available again.  However they may appear occasionally on Ebay.

There was never any doubt about this being a quality model.  It certainly is. The only real question is, is it worth the price?  I am glad I bought and I would not part with it but I think only the potential buyer can decide for themselves whether it is worth the hefty price tag.

Neil Wood - April 2006

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