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BR Class 47 Diesel D1500, two-tone green with half yellow ends and 4-digit head code.
Bachmann Branchline 32-800 (00 Scale)
Review and DCC conversion by Simon Brown

Train Window Vehicle Rolling stock Toy



A Brief history of the Class 47

In the early 1960s, the British Transport Commission's aim was to completely replace steam locomotives with diesel by 1968. The requirement was for a large number of locomotives rated at least 2,500bhp with an axle weight no higher than 19 tons. With this in mind, at least two prototype locomotives were produced:

  • D0260 "Lion" manufactured by AEI and BRC&W, fitted with a Sulzer engine.
  • D0280 "Falcon" manufactured by Brush, fitted with a Maybach engine.

Due to the great demand for a large number of new locomotives, manufacturing apparently began before the prototypes could be thoroughly evaluated.

In it's day, the Class 47 was a very common sight in Britain, 512 locomotives were built between 1962 and 1968 at Brush Loughborough and Crewe works. They were fitted with the Sulzer 12LDA28 2,750bhp double straight-six engine.
Data source: Wikipedia

Initially, these locomotives could reach a top speed of 75mph and a tractive effort of 55000lb, later variants had a top speed of 95mph and a tractive effort of 62000lb.
Data source: Bachmann

Sub-classes:

  • Class 47/0: Fitted with steam heating.
  • Class 47/2: Converted Class 47/0 after some had been fitted
    with multiple working equipment.
  • Class 47/3: No train heating , mainly used for freight work.
  • Class 47/4: Fitted with electric train heating (ETH).
  • Class 47/6: 47046 used as test bed for Class 56 fitted with
    Ruston 3,250bhp engine, renumbered to 47601.
  • Class 47/7: Converted Class 47/4 fitted with TCM push-pull
    equipment and long range fuel tanks.
  • Class 47/8: Converted Class 47/4 fitted with extra fuel tanks.
  • Class 47/9: 47601 used as test bed for Class 58 fitted with
    Ruston 3.300bhp engine renumbered to 47901.

Although the Class 47 has been superseded for many years, a considerable number are still in regular use today. In total, 33 withdrawn locomotives have been rebuilt with EMD engines and designated Class 57.
Source: Wikipedia


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47145 'Myrddin Emrys' at Alton Station on 13th June 2006.
Photo courtesy of James Mayl ©.
www.ukrailpics.com



Model information
Livery: BR two-tone green with half-yellow ends.
Running number: D1500.

Six-axle drive, five pole motor, NEM couplings, DCC ready with 21-pin decoder connector, pristine finish.

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The model has an excellent finish, and looks resplendent in this subtle green livery, running around the layout. The large round sprung buffers have a convincing "used" look about them. There is no shortage of pulling power due to the excellent motor and 520g total weight.

Two free running, red roof fans are visible from the top behind circular mesh grills. Both cab nearside windows have been detailed in the half-open position (it's fortunate that it never rains on our layouts!) The cab doors are non-opening. A seated driver is provided at one end which is a nice touch. A tension lock NEM coupling is fitted at the rear of the loco, an optional front coupling is provided in the detail pack. I now prefer to see just three chain links here, a feature seen on most new models. The printed body detailing, e.g. overhead warning stickers, is first rate. Directional lights are fitted, with a switch underneath to turn off the rear lights if desired.

Optional hoses, brake pipes etc, and a spare three chain link are also included with the detail pack.

Prototypical working would be during the 1962 -1966 period, British Railways late crest.

Train Land vehicle Vehicle Toy Motor vehicle

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Toy Train Bumper Gas Office equipment

Location of end screws (2)

Toy Vehicle Motor vehicle Machine Automotive lighting

Location of side screws (4)

The construction of this model is well designed and robust, typical of a solid modern diesel. The loco body is secured to the chassis using six screws, one on each side of the bogies, and one by each buffer beam. Careful thought has been given at the design stage regarding access to the screws, as they are very easy to locate and remove (see photographs). This is a welcome improvement when compared with some recent models.

Once the screws have been removed, the body has to be eased away from the chassis by gently flexing the areas under the cab doors, to release the four sets of plastic moulded pips (see photograph).

The body is removed to reveal the 21-pin connector, main PCB, lighting installation and the loudspeaker recess used for model variants equipped with sound. The blanking PCB can now be carefully pulled upwards and off the bank of 21 pins, I don't know why, but I was expecting to see a 21-pin socket! (see connector pin-outs in diagram below).

I fitted my favourite TCS T1 2-function decoder, which although isn't amongst the smallest on the market, easily fitted in the Class 47, as it has bags of space for the sound option. I secured it in the loudspeaker recess using four small sticky pads. Reassembly again requires the body under the doors to be flexed out slightly to go past the "pips" and locate correctly. Take care not to over-tighten the six screws.


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Moulded "pips" under cab doors

Passive circuit component Circuit component Hardware programmer Electrical wiring Electronic component

21 pin connector

Circuit component Hardware programmer Passive circuit component Electrical wiring Computer hardware

Fitted decoder

Circuit component Gadget Input device Electronic component Electric blue

DC Blanking PCB

22 21 20 19 181716 15 14 1312
Index
1234567891011
View looking down on the 21 Pin Connector
Pin 11 is not fitted and is signified "Index".

PinFunctionColour
7Rev. LightYellow
8Fwd. Light White
16CommonBlue
18Motor -Grey
19Motor +Orange
21Left Power Black
22Right Power Red

The above pin-outs diagram may be useful, I have highlighted the relevant pins that are used with a standard 8-pin, 2-function decoder.

The best plan is to fit a 21-pin decoder if possible, as their availability is constantly improving. Should you wish to convert an existing 8-pin decoder, I would strongly recommend using the 8-pin to 21-pin adaptor available from dealers, Bachmann ref. 36-559. I wasn't aware of this adaptor when I ordered the loco. I had a spare 8-pin decoder to hand, so to get my model running, I removed the 21-pin socket from the DC Blanking PCB (not for the faint hearted!), and soldered the relevant connections to this. I then replaced the socket on the pins. In retrospect however, I would advise that this PCB is kept intact, as it may be needed if the model is returned for service.

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Train Vehicle Rolling stock Motor vehicle Automotive lighting


The lighting effect is very realistic, particularly with regard to the illuminated head code. If the lights are considered too bright for your personal taste, use the 50% brightness reduction options for forward and reverse in CV settings (CV49:12, CV50:28).

Train Window Vehicle Rolling stock Toy

Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting Grille Bumper Hood



Conclusion

Comparing this model with my Bachmann Class 66, I find the running characteristics to be very similar, i.e. quiet, smooth and solid. It is easy to tell that they are both from the same stable.

The body detail is excellent with that "feel good" quality, and bogie detail is fine, and the lighting effect is very pleasing.

It's available for around £56 which I think is excellent value for a model of this quality, and due to the Class 47's being so numerous in their day, I would thoroughly recommend this Bachmann model as a "must have" for anyone modelling the 1960s diesel era.

Date of review - August 2007


The photograph of 47145 'Myrddin Emrys' is reproduced with the kind permission of www.ukrailpics.com ©James Mayl.

All text, model photographs & graphics ©2007 Simon Brown - All rights reserved.
 
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