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Eureka Models AD60 Class Garratt 4-8-4+4-8-4

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AD60 Class Garratt 4-8-4+4-8-4
Eureka Models
Review by Neil Wood

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Garratt Locomotives: A general history

The Garratt locomotive was first patented in 1907 by William Garratt. Overseas experience working on railways in Peru, Australia and Cuba had inspired him to create a method of mounting heavy artillery on rail bogies. In conjunction with Beyer - Peacock of Manchester he devised an articulated locomotive design which carries his name to this day. Overall more than 2000 Garratt locos of different types were built. This design benefited from the fact that the firebox and boiler were slung between the two engine units at either end. This removed the size constraints of conventional designs which normally locates them over the frames and running gear. This allowed greater flexibility and stability on uneven track and curves which is why these were so successful in developing countries where the quality of the track could be highly variable.

Because the Garratts were free from size constraints they could have higher diameter boilers and larger fireboxes thereby increasing steam production. The higher diameter could also allow a shorter boiler while maintaining the same steam output as a longer conventional design.

Water Sky Water resources Train Vehicle

[Class AD60 'Garratt' locomotive going across the Hawkesbury Bridge (NSW)]
Reproduction rights: State Records NSW

Another advantage of Garratt design was that it rode inside curves, with its boiler within the curve, in contrast to a conventional locomotive, whose boiler projected outside the curve. This was an excellent feature which allowed these powerful locomotives to operate on tighter curves. Contrast this to Big Boy which is a 4-8-8-4 and you can readily see the advantage.

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This same feature allowed the Garratts to go faster on curves as it minimizes the centrifugal force, pushing the loco outwards, which affects large locomotives and may cause them to overturn on curves.

There also disadvantages to the Garratt design and these are that the tractive weight reduces due to the use of water from the front tank and use of coal from the bunker at the rear. This allows slipping of the wheels. One solution was to haul a water tanker behind the Garratt in order to replenish the water tank and had the added advantage of extending the Garratts range. In normal operational conditions the quantity of coal and water required for sufficient traction was calculated prior to embarking on any journey.

A further disadvantage, is that one regulator controls both power units, so that if one power unit slipped, the steam to both units was reduced as the driver tried to control the slip.

Due to the central position of the cab relative to the entire unit one further safety issue arose, in that if the loco stalled in a tunnel there was no safe passage out of the tunnel past the hot cylinders. Normally a loco only has these at one end whereas the Garratt has them at both.

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The 4-8-4 + 4-8-4 AD60 was introduced by the New South Wales Government in 1952. Initially these had a tractive effort of 60,000lbs or 265 kN. These were surpassed as the most powerful Garratts bythe South African Railways GMA/M 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 Garratts of 1954, which produced a tractive effort of 60,700lbs or 270Kn. This status was retained in 1958 when thirty AD60's were modified and their tractive effort was increased to 63,016lbs. These were regarded as the most powerful locos in the southern hemisphere, and had dual controls fitted to eliminate the need for turning on large turntables.

The total weight of each locomotive was 265 tons and they had a length of 108 feet. Beyer Peacock built 42 in the AD60 class. These were the first Garratts to be to be provided with cast-steel engine frames and integrally cast cylinders. They were mainly intended for coal haulage in the Blue Mountains to the West of Sydney, although soon they were hauling heavy freight over most of the NSW rail system. In contrast to their huge weight, they had a light axle load, which made them suitable for wheat traffic, concentrates, and general traffic. The class began to decline in 1955 when dieselization occurred not long after they were assembled. However the AD60s remained in productive service in New South Wales until 1970. Four of these have been preserved in New South Wales and Canberra: 6029, 6039, 6040 and 6042.

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Photo by Ian Dunn

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Eureka model 6030

Price: Aus $845 (₤362.24) plus $25 (₤10)
Factory weathering Plus $99 (₤40)
Factory fitted sound €474 or ₤320 or $609 US
Released: October 2006
Model Specification:
Livery: NSWGR black with optional weathering;
Period:1952- 1970;
Features: Metal frame and plastic body; QSI decoder with sound generator which can be used with DCC or analogue DC control; The headlights, and operating sounds can be controlled digitally; Analogue DC version is DCC ready; Sprung buffers; Kadee style couplers; Directional headlights and rear lights;
Motor: dual motors in front tank and tender; NRMA profile wheels RP25; over 120 separately applied details.

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The loco is very well packaged using a combination of large padded box, as utilised by BLI and PCM, and the wrap around plastic shell that is used by Brawa, Trix and now Bachmann. This ensures that your loco will arrive intact and can be securely transported. Bearing in mind the fragility of the pipe work on this locomotive this is certainly appropriate. The model comes in a choice of ten running numbers or alternatively unnumbered, there is optional sound and factory weathering.

The locomotive is accompanied by a manual plus two additional sheets of instructions. The manual is not well held together and could do with a staple to hold it in place. It is glued together in the way that some note books and calendars are, the type designed so that you can rip pages off. The reason appears to be that the manual is a generic QSI decoder manual which has been sandwiched between Eureka Models covers. There are also a set of brass numbers to apply to the loco and the Quantum decoder wand to activate and deactivate the decoder. The two additional instruction sheets are specific to the Eureka AD60 and contain instructions for decoder installation, characteristics, settings and assembly of the three units.

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The locomotive is connected to its tenders by means of 8 pin plugs. This is a similar arrangement to that used on the Trix ICE3 and allows continuous co-ordinated electrical connection between the three units. The problem with this is that if you clip and unclip it often enough the clips loose their ability to hold the loco together. It is best not to do this any more than you absolutely have to.

To assemble the loco the best idea is to put the three units onto the track and then push them together until they click in place. Sounds easy when you put it like that, doesn't it? It isn't! The pipework on all three units is very fragile and even the slightest amount of force required to clip the loco to the tender and front tank is sufficient to break some of the pipework if you are not very careful. In the end it only took five minutes at most to do this but when you have a brand new loco which is a major purchase, as this will be for most people, you really do want to get it into action as soon as possible. My problem here was I was very impatient to get the loco up and running so it seemed like forever. This haste could lead to breakage, be warned. I was lucky not to snap of some of the brittle fine plastic pipework. It is difficult to get a firm grip on a part where there is not either fine pipework or running gear.

The manual does say that if you have purchased the DC version that you stand a good chance of breaking some of this pipework when installing a decoder. None the less it does give good instructions on how to dismantle the loco and install the decoder of your choice.

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Sound is good, the whistle being accurate; well accurate to how it sounds on a DVD! Not being old enough to have seen them in the flesh my familiarity with the sound of the AD60 is from DVDs. It does sound pretty good although, as with most digital sound, it is hard to get that deep rumbling bass sound with the small speakers needed to fit inside a loco of this size. I have heard this type of sound reproduced well in larger locos like the Big Boy and Y6b but they have the size to accommodate bigger speakers. The twin speakers are good and provide a reasonable volume of sound, not too loud as with some US outline models. The chuff does go in and out of synch as the different sets of valve gear on the prototype would have. This produces some interesting sounds as the chuffs faze in and out of synch.

Function are; f0 is lights, f2 is the horn, f3 coupler crash, f4 blower, f5 is supposed to be a dynamic break, this is not prototypical but is included in the event that you choose to use the loco in a consist with a diesel, f6 start up sounds when stationary and Doppler effect when mobile, f7 screech on rails, f8 mute, f9 heavy load (this keeps the loco at a steady speed while allowing you to alter the engine sounds with the controller to simulate labouring), f10 is a speed report. Several of the effects seem to do nothing namely f11 and f12 as there are no marker or cab lights. The manual says that function f1 is the bell (if it is an American prototype) and that if there is no bell then this function does nothing! Hmmm! Various other engine and coupling sounds are supplied but the manual doesn't completely match up with the functions I was getting. The headlight is bright and seems to be on constantly unless of course it is travelling backwards when the rear light will shine.

Pressing f9 twice triggers a system shut down while maintaining steam sounds. The loco will not move and no functions will work. I discovered this by accident while playing with the function buttons before I read the manual. I thought it was faulty until I read the manual later that evening. Pressing f6 twice returns it to normal mode. This, I also discovered by accident. Im not too big on functions that need pressed twice as there is a lot of scope for doing this in error, as I did, and finding out that you have accidentally activated a feature you didn't desire, such as a complete system shutdown.

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The QSI decoder in this is supposed to be a new improved one. It says in the manual that the loco is supposed to have inertia when it starts off, something which was sorely lacking in the old QSI decoders. While there is, now, a slight inertia, it is certainly not what you would expect from a LokPilot or Lenz Gold or the like. In regard to a gradual deceleration when coming to a stop, there is none. It just abruptly stops dead in its tracks. Sound wise it is an improvement on the old QSI decoder. Overall the sound isn't bad at all with the whistle being excellent. I have to say am using the whistle a hell of a lot, it really does sound great.

The weathering is not continuous from the locomotive to the tenders as can be seen below. It is a bit different from that seen on the prototype but is nevertheless good for a factory job.

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Motion is good although with the articulation and this many wheels you really do want have laid your track well. If you haven't this is one way of finding out. It goes without saying that this loco will need a reasonably wide curve to operate without problems. It may well do tighter curves but if you have a layout with small curves this is something you may wish to check first. It is stated as being able to run on an 18 inch radius curve.

The loco comes with figures preinstalled in the cab and also has brass running numbers to be separately applied should you wish.

The model has no traction tyres which will be popular with many.

The loco has two motors or to be more accurate, the front water tank and the rear tender have motors. I can see why there has been discussion on the weight and pulling power. The front water tank is not very big and would not allow much space at all for any additional lead weighting. It is possible though. Regardless of how powerful your motor is, it is only effective when that power is transmitted to the track. I tried the AD60 with twelve BLI N&W coal wagons and there were no problems. Having said all that, this only matters if you actually intend to pull very long trains, not everyone who purchases this model will have that requirement. However if you do have the need for long trains then there are a couple of web articles that have some good ideas for doing this.

The loco doesn't have working marker lights although if you are a Swiss watch maker who is up for a challenge you could add this yourself. There is a website below that will show you how should you choose to accept this mission.

AD60 Marker Lights Method One

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One of the main questions asked about this loco will be the price. It is very high. However this is definitely not because Eureka models are making a killing out of this, there are several factors which drive up the price. These are, in no particular order; that it is a unique model where the moulds can only be used for this model and for no other variation; it is an Australian, specifically NSW, model and therefore appeals to a far smaller market than a UK or US loco would; it is a Garratt and this reduces the potential market even further as it is unconventional; it is hardly the easiest model in the world to make and production of a unique complicated model would have been substantially more than that of a conventional pacific or the like.

This is certainly a niche product but for those who appreciate models of this type it is a must buy. It is the only ready to run Garratt model available in HO gauge and to add to that it is well made, well detailed, well designed and has sound and factory weathering. There is unlikely to be a ready to run model produced of any other Garratt in the near future, so for the Garratt locomotive fan currently and for the foreseeable future it is the best on offer and the best you are likely to get. Make no mistake though, this is a quality model and is of a similar standard to those of the American company Broadway Limited.

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A recent survey on Model Rail Forum showed that out of over a thousand members eligible to vote a grand total of 30 said they would buy a Garratt model if it was to be made. This unfortunately means that none of the ready to run manufacturers will be likely to be making one soon.

In terms of comparison, this is it. There are no other ready to run Garratt models. If you want an AD60 your options are to make a brass kit made by DJH or the Australian AR kits or buy this. For any other Garratt, DJH offer two further South African models the GMA/M and the GCA.

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All in all this is an excellent locomotive. It must have been a major feat to plan, design and build such a unique (in model terms) model from scratch. The finished item is very good and comes with decent sound and acceptable weathering. It should have a broader appeal beyond NSW or indeed Australia for those who are interested in this type of loco. Garratts have a popular attraction to many rail enthusiasts and this is their best chance yet to run one on their own layout. The model certainly captures the bulk and looks of the original well. I have to say this has instantly become my favourite item and has been run almost every day since I got it. Well impressed.

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The following are the CV settings which it came with other than CV 1 and 17/18. Some of these seem odd, I will do some playing around with these to see if I can get the inertia settings to improve.

12 digit
4Braking time7
5Top speed0
6Middle speed25
Configuration register

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Further reading

The 60 Class
Ken Groves, Harry Wright, Michael Morahn

NSW Rail Transport Museum
ISBN 0 909862 33 8

Garratt Locomotives of the World
A. E. Durrant
David & Charles Geelong
ISBN 0-7153-7641-1

Australia's Garratt
Robert Butrims
Steam Preservation Society
ISBN 0 9598 8322 0 3
AD-60 Garratts built

7473-7497/1952st/New South Wales Gov.Rly/AD604-8-4+4-8-46001-6025Australia
7528-7544/1952st/New South Wales Gov.Rly/AD604-8-4+4-8-46026-6042Australia
7545-7549/1952st/New South Wales Gov.Rly/AD604-8-4+4-8-46043-6047Australia-delivered in
pieces as spares

Surviving Garratts in Australia

NumberWorks NumberOriginal Owner Current Location
G42BP 6268/1926Victorian Government
PBPS, Belgrave
2BP 6935/1939Australian Portland CementPBPS, Menzies Creek Museum
1009BP 7349/1950Queensland Government
NG129BP 7430/1951South African RailwaysPBPS, Belgrave
6029BP 7531/1952New South Wales Government
ARHS, Canberra
6039BP 7541/1952New South Wales Government
6040BP 7542/1952New South Wales Government
RTM, Thirlmere
6042BP 7544/1952*New South Wales Government
402FB 2975/1953South Australian RailwaysZig Zag Rly
409FB 2982/1953South Australian RailwaysNational Railway Museum -
Port Adelaide
G33Newport 1945Australian Portland CementARHS, North Williamstown
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