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Hornby R2435 & R4228
The Northumbrian Train Pack & Coach Pack
Review & DCC Decoder installation -
Text & photos by Doug Teggin

Train Vehicle Rolling stock Track Electricity

Prototype Info: The LNER's Express Pacific designs were probably the most famous of the LNER locomotives.

By the 1930s, the railways were beginning to see increased competition from road and air travel. It was clear that services between the major cities had to be faster, more reliable, and more comfortable.

Sir Nigel Gresley, designer of the A4, traveled on the Fliegende Hamburger and was impressed by the need for streamlining. He calculated that a streamlined and modified A3 design would be able to haul trains of eight or nine carriages at similar speeds.

A series of trials were carried out, to confirm that a modified A3 design would be sufficient. During these, A1 Flying Scotsman broke 100mph. With these trials under his belt, the LNER Board gave Gresley the go-ahead to create the "Silver Jubilee" streamlined trains.

The wedge-shaped streamlining on the A4 was inspired by a Bugatti rail-car which Gresley had observed in France. The design was refined with the help of Prof. Dalby and the wind tunnel facilities at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) at Teddington.

The LNER publicity machine had a field day with the new streamlined shape. Experimental data showed that a 40% reduction in horsepower was required when powering from 60mph to 150mph. The high speed of 150mph was used to simulate a headwind. This saving ranged from 41hp at 60mph to 639hp at 150mph.

A demonstration run from Kings Cross to Grantham on 27th September 1935 touched 112.5mph. The first service was on the 1st October 1935, hauled by No. 2509 Silver Link.

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60003 "Andrew K McCosh", York.
Photo: Geoff's monorail photo collection

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60003 "Andrew K McCosh" at Kings Cross in 1961.
Photo: Les Pitcher Phantasrail Galleries

A further three locomotives were built for the Silver Jubilee service to Newcastle. This service was a great success cutting the travel time between Kings Cross and Newcastle down to an amazing 4 hours.

A peak average speed of 125mph was recorded on dynamometer tests - so breaking the world record for steam traction held by the German State Railways (124.5mph) and the British record set by the LMS (114mph). On July 3rd 1938, the locomotive Mallard set a new speed record of 125mph for steam traction on the East Coast Main Line at milepost 90¼.

Over 60 years later, Mallard's record of 125mph still stands.

By the late 1950s, steam was being replaced by diesel power. Although the Deltics proved worthy successors of the A4s on East Coast Mainline express services, other diesel classes were generally very poor and often failed. Hence, the A4s were kept in service until the mid-1960s. The first A4s were scrapped at the end of 1962. These were from Kings Cross and had been directly replaced by the Deltics. The last BR A4 service was on 14th September 1966 between Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Info specific to 60003: The roots of the 'Northumbrian' service go back to the Second World War years, and maybe even further back than that, but the service was officially inaugerated in 1949. Operating out of Newcastle, the express service travelled down to London Kings Cross taking approximately five hours. The name was eventually dropped in 1964 only to be revived again for two years in 1988.

Date Built: 12/8/37;
LNER No.: 4494;
1946 No.: 3;
BR No.: 60003;
Disposal Date: 1963;
Original Name: Osprey;
Second Name: 'Andrew K McCosh' after the Chairman of the Locomotive Committee.

Prototype Technical Detail:

Cylinders (x3):18.5x26in.
Piston Valves:9in. diameter
Boiler:Max. Diameter:6ft 5in
Diagram No.:107
Heating Surface:Total:3325.2 sq.ft.
Firebox:231.2 sq.ft.
Superheater:748.9 sq.ft.
Tubes:1281.4 sq.ft. (121x 2.25in)
Flues:1063.7 sq.ft. (43x 5.25in)
Grate Area:41.25 sq.ft.
Wheels:Leading:3ft 2in
Coupled:6ft 8in
Trailing:3ft 8in
Tender:4ft 2in
Tractive Effort: 35,455lb (@ 85% boiler pressure)
Total Wheelbase:60ft 10.625in
Engine Weight:102 tons 19cwt (full)
Max. Axle Load:22 tons

Model Information:

The Northumbrian Train Pack (R2435)

BR 4-6-2 Class A4 'Andrew K McCosh'

BR (ex-LNER) Corridor 1st Class Coach

BR (ex-LNER) Corridor 3rd Class Coach

BR (ex-LNER) Corridor 1st/3rd Class Brake Coach

The Northumbrian Coach Pack (R4228)

BR (ex-LNER) Buffet Coach

BR (ex-LNER) Corridor 3rd Class Coach

BR (ex-LNER) Corridor 1st/3rd Class Brake Coach

Locomotive specification:

Length: 291mm;
Running number:60003 'Andrew K McCosh';
Livery: Dark green;
Period: 1952;
Features: Sprung buffers, cab and tender detail, semi fixed rear bogie, DCC ready, NEM couplings;
Finish: Pristine;
Motor: Five pole skew wound loco drive;
Purpose: Express passenger.

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info to follow...

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info to follow...

Train Vehicle Rolling stock Window Track

DCC Decoder Installation

(I've copied this over from the R2338 A4 'Charles H Newton' review as it is exactly the same)

Follow the supplied instructions to take the loco apart. The process is quite fiddly as some of the push rod mechanics have to be dismantled. Use bubble wrap or a soft surface to support the loco whilst it's upside down. You don't have to force anything - if you do it right, it comes apart easily.

I installed a Arnold Digital 81201 decoder into the Loco. As there are no extra functions required by the locomotive a simple, but robust decoder is fine. The 81201 can handle 1.5 amp. The A4 model draws 0.15 amp when rolling by itself; 0.25 amp when held stationary at the buffers, but with wheels freely sliding on the track; and 1.3 amp with the motor stalled (don't try this unless your decoder can handle the current. The locomotive (with tender) can pull 1.68 kg (6 x 150g coaches + 6 x 130g coaches).

The installation was simplicity itself as the 8-pin NEM-plug just popped into the NEM 652 (NMRA Medium) socket that is supplied, protected by a blanking plug. Make sure the orange wire is aligned with the hole #1 indicated on the socket.

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Note: The TV interference suppression capacitor has to be removed for DCC use. A capacitor is only needed for conventional operations to prevent radio interference. With DCC operation a capacitor corrupts the data format and the error free data transfer is disturbed. A snip with a small cutter does the job. Make sure the ends are insulated if exposed.

In this pack, Hornby supplied some insulating material for the decoder. If you don't have this, insulate the decoder from the chassis with double sided tape (sponge variety). The DCC chip sits comfortably on the front block. There is plenty of space within the boiler enclosure for even for the biggest chips. Double-sided tape keeps the decoder secure on the front block. Tape everything in place with black electrical tape and close up the body.

I suppose if you could get a narrow speaker, you could even fit a sound chip in there. Otherwise the tender has plenty of space for a speaker and sound decoder. The tender is opened by removing the NEM coupler, unscrewing the screw beneath it and un-clipping the front of the tender body from the chassis.

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DCC CV Settings for the A4 Locomotive
(The loco number)
CV22Minimum Speed
(V Min at step 1)
CV34Acceleration delay
CV44Brake Delay (0-15)
CV5200Max speed (V High)
CV680Acceleration Curve
(V Mid)
CV9216PWM frequency (69Hz)
CV292Decoder Configuration
CV490Decoder specific values
CV5020Decoder regulation
The rest of the CV's are left untouched (factory default).

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Screenshot

Slope Font Electric blue Circle Symmetry

Note: This locomotive does not have lights.

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Programming done and the locomotive runs very smoothly. The max speed is set slightly higher than my other locomotivesas the A4 was the fastest of them all. Under DCC control, it moves off on the first speed step, without any jitter or hesitation. If you're used to older models that clatter down the track, you'll be surprised at the quietness of this model. It is so quiet that it needs a sound decoder. I'm sure I'll add one soon.

- April 2005

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All text, photos & graphics ©2005 Doug Teggin - All rights reserved.
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