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Bachmann class 6P "Jubilee" 4-6-0 45611 "Hong Kong"
Review by David Blythman

Train Sky Vehicle Wheel Rolling stock

From the Mark A. Hoofe collection.
ex-London, Midland and Scottish Railway Jubilee Class number 45641
Sandwich at Chinley on 14 August 1954. Source:

The Prototype

The genesis of the LMS "Jubilee" in the early 1930s lay in the company's efforts to improve the now desperately inadequate performance of the majority of its mainline steam locomotives. The recently introduced "Royal Scots" had made marked improvements on premier express services but good as the "Scots" were, they had a low route availability due to their heavy weight. This prevented them from operating on a large proportion of the LMS network which included important routes such as the former Midland line from St. Pancras.

At about the same time that the "Scots" were being built, the design office at Crewe were trying to do something about the poor performance of the former LNWR "Claughtons". Despite fitting new boilers and Caprotti valve gear to upgrade the class to "5X", it wasn't enough.

In 1930 two of Claughtons (5901, 5971) were modified along the lines of the "Scots" becoming 5501 and 5500 respectively. The result was a slightly smaller locomotive which bore such a close resemblance to the "Scots" that they became known as "Baby Scots". This was not so much of a rebuild as a completely new locomotive. A further forty "Claughtons" were rebuilt and classified as "5XP" and by 1934 were carrying the numbers 5502 5541.

A further fifteen "5XP" locomotives were added to the building programme of 1932. Ten were built as "Baby Scots" and were numbered 5542 5551. The other five were built with the 3A taper boiler and numbered 5552 5556.

These last five locomotives did not look like anything that had ever appeared from the workshops of the LMS. They were pure Stanier in design and appearance, but they were the shape of things to come.

Barely had the first taper boiler locomotives entered service, than another 58 were ordered; 48 from Crewe and 10 from Derby. LMS records show this order identified the locomotives as "Improved Claughtons". They were duly delivered and went into service as 5607 - 5664.

The LMS "5XP" programme had now produced two locomotives of quite different appearance. The first units built had parallel boilers and the officially unacceptable nickname "Baby Scots". The later units built had taper boilers but apart from that, no name or description really stuck. In 1935, the name "Silver Jubilee" was given to a taper boiler locomotive. This name ultimately ended up on 5552 and the class became known as the "Jubilees". In 1937, the Claughton "Patriot" name was transferred to a "Baby Scot" and so the class became known as "Patriots".

A further three batches of Jubilees were built in 1934 - 1935 at North British Locomotive works, Crewe and Derby to bring the class total to 191. All 191 locomotives were named with four themes - territories in the empire, British admirals, naval battles and warships. 45700 ran unnamed for seven months in 1951 when its original name "Britannia" was transferred to the new BR Standard class 7 pacific number 70000. 45700 was eventually renamed "Amethyst".

The Tender

Jubilees were paired with a wide variety of tenders. As built, they tended to receive second hand tenders from other express locomotives but this initial pairing rarely lasted for long. During its lifetime, a Jubilee could expect to see a tender chosen from two types of Fowler 3,500 gallon 5.5 ton tenders; a Fowler 3,500 gallon 7 ton tender; a Stanier 3,500 gallon 7 ton tender; three Stanier 4,000 gallon 9 ton tenders.

Vital Statistics

Weight: Locomotive 79 tons 11 cwt (~79550kg)
Pressure: 225psi Superheated
Driving Wheels: 6' 9" (2.057m)
Cylinders: 3
Valve gear: Walschaerts
Tractive Effort: 26,610 lb.


The performance of the early locomotives was disappointing as they were poor steamers. The blame was placed on the low degree of superheat and the domeless boilers but the same boiler on the two cylinder "Class 5" did not have the same problems. Enlarged superheaters and domes made some improvement but the real problem lay with the draughting. The cure was to reduce the size of the blast orifice. Once this modification had been made the Jubilees became useful and reliable engines. However it was 1935 before this cure was found with the result that the Jubilees never managed to lose their reputation as poor steamers.

One result of the change in superheating was a modification to the firebox internals. Instead of a vertical throat plate, the firebox was given a sloping throat plate. The visible result of this change is a longer firebox with six rather five washout plugs on the left hand side.

Detail differences

Two locomotives 5735 "Comet" and 5736 "Pheonix" were rebuilt in 1942 with 2A taper boilers replacing the 3A. This was a prelude to the rebuilding of the "Scots". 3735 and 3736 were reclassified 7P as a result. Both locomotives were fitted with smoke deflectors in the early 50s, the only members of the class to carry them.

Even for a class of 191 locomotives, the Jubilee class displays a remarkable range of detail diversity. Apart from the short firebox / long firebox, dome / domeless differences mentioned above, a myriad of other changes, boiler modifications, boiler swaps, tender swaps and others too numerous to list in a short review such as this, make the Jubilee a modeller's dream / nightmare depending on point of view. In this regard a book such as "The book of the Jubilee 4-6-0s" is a veritable treasure trove of information. If you are serious about your rivets (even the rivets vary a lot), this book is a "must".

Areas of operation

The Jubilees were designed for secondary express services throughout the LMS network and photographs show plenty of evidence that reached many parts of it. They are particularly associated with the Midland mainline out of St. Pancras and were frequently at the head of The Thames Clyde Express on the London - Leeds leg of the journey. They were often seen double heading a class 5 if the load warranted it and a 7P class locomotive was not available.

The Jubilees could work for eight successive days before shed examination or attention. They did 40,000 miles between piston and valve exams; 70,000 miles between wheel and axlebox attention and 150,000 miles or more before boiler repairs and general overhaul.


This is another detail minefield. The main liveries carried by the Jubilees during their working lives were:

  • LMS: Introduction to 1940. Crimson Lake with black and yellow lining. Lettering styles changed several times.
  • LMS: 1940 - 1946. Black with unlined yellow shading letters and numbers.
  • LMS: 1946 - 1948. Line black with maroon and straw lining.
  • BR: 1948 - 1949. Experimental livery on 5573 "Newfoundland" and 5594
  • BR: 1949 - withdrawal. Brunswick green with orange / black lining.


The Jubilees survived longer than many steam locomotives. The Ian Allen Locomotives and Locoshed book for 1959 lists 190 of the class still in service; 45647 "Windward Islands" had been destroyed in the catastrophic accident at Harrow & Wealdstone in 1952. The remainder were withdrawn between August 1961 and October 1967. Many had covered almost 1,500,000 by the time they were withdrawn.


Four members of the class escaped the cutter's torch though 45699 "Galatea" had already lost a driving wheel before being rescued from Barry. It is currently undergoing restoration at Carnforth. The other three are complete and in various states of repair. 45593 "Kolhapur" is awaiting overhaul at Barrow Hill Roundhouse; 45596 "Bahamas" is awaiting overhaul at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway; 5690 "Leander" is in full working order, has a mainline certificate and can be seen on the East Lancashire Railway. Bahamas is one of only four locomotives to be fitted with a double chimney (1961) and the only one to retain it. The chimney produced worthwhile improvements in power and coal consumption but did nothing for the looks of what is otherwise a fine looking engine.

The Model

Bachmann have announced three models of the short firebox version of the Jubilee:

  • 31-175 45611 "Hong Kong" BR green; early crest; pristine condition; Stanier riveted tender; DCC Ready
  • 31-185 5563 "Australia" LMS Red; pristine condition; Fowler tender; DCC
  • 31-176DC 45562 "Alberta" BR Green; late crest; pristine condition; Stanier
    flush tender; DCC on board.

This review is of 31-175 "Hong Kong" which comes with a riveted 4000 gallon Stanier tender.

Opening the box

The locomotive comes in the familiar Bachman one piece polystyrene box. The locomotive is protected by tissue paper. The details "goody bag" is in a small slot of its own. Removing the locomotive from the box was not too difficult, all that was required was a gentle push through the holes in the bottom to help ease it out of its confinement.

Detail parts

The add on parts consist of locomotive brake rigging; tender brake rigging; front footsteps; front vacuum pipe; drain cocks; cab doors; cab fall plate; additional cab glazing; a shorter tender draw bar; tender vacuum pipe. All in all, a lot of extra bits as can be seen in the photo below:

Wood Rectangle Font Parallel Fence

What does it look like?

With so many details to play with, I decided to fit them straight away to see the effect. I also fitted the short tender drawbar as none of the curves on my layout are less than 24" radius. The front coupler is already fitted, so I removed it for the photographs. Here is a pair of side on shots, left and right.

Train Wheel Vehicle Mode of transport Rolling stock

Train Vehicle Rolling stock Railway Wheel

Two things strike you about these photos; the first is that the doors neatly fill the gap between the cab and the tender. The second is that the lining is rather bright. When you start to look closer you can see that the left side of the firebox has five washout plugs and that the firebox ends just before the centre line of the centre drivers. This confirms that this is a short firebox locomotive.

This next photo shows why I like steam locomotives with outside valve gear.

Train Wheel Vehicle Motor vehicle Rolling stock

This is a 1:1 clip from a larger shot. The long bar beneath the footplate is connected to the crosshead and oscillates back and forth in time with the motion of the piston. The benefit of a metal running plate can also be seen in this photo; it is straight and true. The price to be paid for having metal rather than plastic is that it is more difficult to attach detail parts, so the gubbins that is to be found on the running plate is less well detailed than that found on some other models. I used UHU to attach the front footsteps (but more on that later). The sanding pipes are metal so they should stand up to a lot more wear and tear than the plastic variety.

The interior of the cab is the most detailed I have seen on a Bachmann model. It is also the first time that Bachmann have included a sliding roof hatch.

Motor vehicle Gas Wood Machine Auto part

The dials don't have any markings but the copper coloured pipes and red regulator handle show up well. The one disappointment about the cab is that the extra glazing provided for the rear pair of cab windows do not have a side screen. I did not manage to work out how to fit the tender fall plate. Gluing the doors in place is going to be necessary as they are not really a "snap fit".

The tender back plate is a nice piece of work.

Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle Wheel Automotive lighting

Of particular note is the opening on the left for fire irons. This has been modelled as a complete compartment and stretches right back into the coal space. Removing the coal load shows how this more clearly.

Train Motor vehicle Rolling stock Mode of transport Rolling

This top view also shows the detail on the rear deck of the tender by the tank filler. This includes two lifting hooks. The only disappointing aspect of the tender is that the plates on the rear of the tender have only been printed on and it shows. Separate parts as found on some other models would have been a nice touch.

Here is a detailed image of the smoke box and front end detail:

Train Camera lens Camera accessory Reflex camera Cameras & optics

The builder's plate clearly shows that this locomotive was built at Crewe. The shed code is 16A - Nottingham - which was home to "Hong Kong" throughout the fifties. The image also includes a lot of the variable detail which makes a Jubilee a dream or nightmare. Finding out whether or not Bachmann have got it right is left as an exercise for the reader.

The Bachmann Jubilee is probably the first British outline OO model since the Triang Hornby M7 to feature an opening smoke box door. It's just a shame that they didn't put anything inside for us to see when it is opened. Maybe someone will make an aftermarket add in?

Train Motor vehicle Automotive tire Camera accessory Steam engine

That completes the tour around the locomotive. Here is the full three quarter view from which some of the clips were taken:

Train Wheel Vehicle Rolling stock Nature

How does it run?

For many people this is the most important attribute of the model - does it run well?

Bachmann recommend that the motor is run for 30 minutes a time in both forwards and reverse at a moderate speed to "bed in" the motor and gear box using DC.


Bachmann state that you need a minimum of radius 2 curves to run this model. If you fit the front steps and drain cocks, it is considerably larger, in fact it was larger than I had expected. I discovered this the hard way when the front bogie repeatedly derailed on a curve which was nominally 30". On close examination, I saw that the front foot step was pushing the bogie off the rails. I had located the footstep by placing the nobble on the top of the step into the indent on the underside of the footplate (see red arrows below). This was obviously not providing enough room, so I have filed off the nobble and moved the step further out and forwards to the position marked in green in the photo below. There appears to be a very small indention nearer the buffer beam, but I don't think this is the intended position, hence the ?. Once I had relocated the foot steps, I had no further problems.

Tire Automotive tire Automotive lighting Bumper Wheel

In the photos above, the footstep are in the "nobbled" (nobbling?) position.

My layout is a mixture of Peco streamline code 100 and code 75 with electrofrog points, slips and crossings. Apart from the front steps, there were no other running problems.

Electrical connections

Like most other Bachmann steam models, 45611 has electrical pickups on all six driving wheels. There are no pickups on the tender wheels, so it is important to keep the wheels and track clean as this pickup arrangement leaves little lee way for missed connections.

Low speed

Low speed performance is very good provided the decoder is getting power from the track. On my rolling road, the motor would turn without at pause at speed step 5 of 128. This is slower than the prototype would move.


On level track, the Jubilee could start the test train of six Hornby Gresleys at speed step 7 and maintain progress at that setting. It was easily able to increase speed to respectable rate due in part to the large 6' 9" driving wheels.

On a 1:50 gradient on a 36" radius curve there was a little wheel slip once the sixth Gresley was on the slope but the model was able to continue. It was not able to restart the train while on the gradient.

This performance is in line with other express passenger models I own, though the Jubilee is lighter than some of them.


An 8 pin NEM socket is located on a short platform just in front of the motor. Details on decoder fitting are included at the end of the review.

Summary of operating characteristics

  • Recommended radius 2 or larger
  • Current pick up from all six driving wheels
  • Loco / tender connection using long or short drawbars
  • DCC 8 pin socket in boiler
  • No load current consumption (measured DC); Forwards / Reverse 100mA.
  • Stall current ~ 0.5amps.
  • No load current consumption (DCC as indicated by ECoS Booster current meter) Forwards / Reverse 100mA at full speed.

Other features

  • Weight:370 grammes
  • Couplings: NEM 362 coupler mount front and rear.

Third party add ons

Brassmasters have announced that they plan a super detailing kit for the Jubilee. The anticipated availability is Q1 2008.

Alternative wheels can be had from Markits

Many modellers will want to fit a smoke unit. Like many modern steam models, the smoke box and boiler are completely sealed which means major surgery will be required. See the decoder fitting sections for a photo of the body underside.

Kadee couplings

With NEM pockets front and rear, conversion to Kadee couplers is simply a case of choosing from the Kadee NEM range, probably a 17 or 18 depending on the minimum radius of your curves.


With the announcement of Hornby's first sound fitted steam locomotive model on January 1st 2008, there must be a great desire in the Bachmann camp to add "first steam sound loco" to their "first diesel sound loco" achievement. As this was written before the British Toy Fair, we do not yet know Bachmann's plans for 2008. However as this photo of the Stanier tender chassis shows, preparations are already in progress:

Gas Electronic device Automotive exterior Machine Auto part

From left to right we can see the following:

  • A fixing lug and self tapper hole for mounting a PCB assembly. A similar
    arrangement is already used in the Ivatt class 2MT for supporting the DCC
  • A rectangular grid of holes which is about the right size for a 40x20mm speaker.
  • A slot flanked by two holes which is very similar to that used on the Ivatt for mounting the twin socket assembly which carries power to and from the locomotive.

The speaker shown in the photo is a DCC Supplies bass reflex speaker. These are quite a bit larger than 40 x 20 mm but it gives an idea of how a speaker might fit. If this tender is to be fitted with a speaker of this size, the coal bunker will have to be modified as there just isn't the space for both.


This is another fine model from Bachmann. I have mixed feelings about the metal running plate but for normal viewing distances I would trade the extra stiffness it gives for reduced detailed parts above it. I like the sliding cab roof hatch. Some will consider the opening smoke box door a gimmick, and with the "Mother Hubbard" interior, they have a point. It would have been nice to see an impression of the smoke box innards.

The decoder installation is straightforward provided you choose one which is narrow enough to fit into the boiler. The weakest point of the model is the over bright lining.

It will be interesting to see if Bachmann produce models with other detail variants. The most obvious being a long firebox version. With 191 members in the class, Jubilees were a frequent sight on many parts of the network. No layout should have just one. I look forward to seeing other members of the class being produced in the future.

Fitting a decoder

Fitting a decoder to the Jubilee is a simple process. You will notice from the photographs that I did this before fitting any detail parts. First remove the body by removing two screws, one at the front and two at the back. You will need a small cross head screwdriver to do this. Access to the front screw is through a hole in the bogie, a little awkward but eminently doable.

Product Motor vehicle Automotive tire Auto part Vehicle
Camera Camera lens Reflex camera Motor vehicle Digital camera

The rear screw also secures the tender drawbar. If you plan to use the shorter one, this is a good time to make the substitution. Note: the screws are not the same, one of them has a countersunk head; don't mix them up while they are on the work bench.

Once the two screws have been removed, you can ease the body away from the chassis. I usually start by gripping the cylinders and pulling gently. At first I thought that there must be some other fixing as the body was reluctant to come away. It turns out that the motor is a tight fit in the narrow boiler and firebox of the Jubilee.

Now you have two assemblies, the chassis

Wheel Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Engineering

and the body

Laptop accessory Fixture Bumper Composite material Electronics accessory

There are several points of note here:

  • All the moving parts are on the chassis. Apart from the fixing screws, there is nothing else to undo or disconnect.
  • The front underside of the boiler extends back from the smoke box as far as the centre line of the first wheel splasher. This also happens to be the centre of gravity of the body.
  • A thin weight has been attached to the floor of the forward boiler space. If you plan to use this space for a decoder, be sure it is fully insulated!
  • Those considering adding a steam generator had better start planning surgery now!

I have standardised on using Zimo MX63R decoders. They are not the smallest in the Zimo range but offer the range of features that I want. They are a slim fit and come already wrapped in an insulated coating so I had no fears about feeding one into the boiler space. All I had to do was remove the decoder socket blanking plug and fit the decoder plug in its place. The socket PCB has the numbers 1 and 8 marked on it if you have the eyesight to read them. I had to scramble around looking for a decoder manual to find out which wire is on pin 1 as I can never remember. Having found it, I hope that saying Orange is One will impress it on my memory.

Circuit component Hardware programmer Electrical wiring Electronic component Electronic engineering

I did not remove the capacitors from either the motor or the DCC socket PCB. Leaving them in does not appear to affect performance but your mileage may vary. Any sign of problems associated with capacitors and they're coming out.

Before replacing the body, I always place the chassis and newly connected decoder on the programming track to see if I can read CV 1. It should return a value of 3. Next I read CV 7 which on the Zimo returns the firmware version and CV8 which is the manufacturer ID 145 for Zimo. I do a quick check to see if the loco will drive forwards and backwards at address 3 before reprogramming it for 128 step, long address mode. I try to keep addresses close to the loco number by dropping the second digit, so Hong Kong's address was set to 4611. As I have a DCC system which allows me to name my locomotives, "Hong Kong" is all I have to remember.

Once I am satisfied that the decoder installation is working, all that remains is to feed the decoder into the front boiler void, loop the excess cable carefully over the top of the DCC socket and drop the chassis back onto the body. The great thing about having screws at both ends is that you don't have to locate an unseen lug into a difficult to locate slot. The chassis drops on and having fitted the tender draw bar of your choice, you refit the two screws. You might find it helps to have a magnetised screw driver to help lower the front screw through the bogie.


The book of the Jubliee 4-6-0s. A British Railways Illustrated Special. Edited Chris Hawkins. Irwell Press. ISBN 1 903266 27 0

Gresley and Stanier - A Centenary Tribute. John Bellwood and David Jenkinson. HMSO ISBN 0 11 290253 7

British Railways Locomotives & Locoshed Book 1959. Published by Ian Allen. ISBN 0 7110 0726 8

Websites A site dedicated to Jubilees. The Bahamas Locomotive Society website Birmingham Railway Museum webpage for Kolhapur The East Lancashire Railway home page. Leander is privately owned. The gentlemen credited with collating Jubilee life histories from their record cards into tabular form and purveyors of fine etched brass LMS locomotive kits.

- January 2007
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