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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
I forgot to add that I too am rather wanting to get my hands on this model. But then again, with two Stratford design tank locos released
within a year in OO, and three tender locos of Stratford ancestry in OO RTR over the last five years, we have already used up our ration
of Swedey miracles for this decade, possibly?
 

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69612 arrived today. I only had time for a quick run up and down after checking the back-to-backs, which seem all correct. She runs extremely smoothly
and quietly, no trouble with pointwork. A nice compact little engine, a must-have for an ex-GE lines layout Only problem I see is the overlong couplings.
Toying with the idea of using some spare Vitrains ones, much shorter as they don't use an NEM socket, but the wedge to fit into the chassis is too small.
Maybe some padding with plasticard would do the trick.
At any rate, I am quite content to leave my order for a second one in place, but hope it doesn't take as long (ordered April 2017).
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
QUOTE (Ray Sadler @ 16 Oct 2019, 15:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>69612 arrived today. I only had time for a quick run up and down after checking the back-to-backs, which seem all correct. She runs
extremely smoothly and quietly, no trouble with pointwork. A nice compact little engine, a must-have for an ex-GE lines layout ...
Welcome news, both that it is available and your example runs as it should. After some of the difficulties owners of the radial tank and
dean goods have had, this mechanism does appear to be goodun. I have one of the LNER liveried Belpaire models, modded to represent
one of the last Belpaire boiler class members on the BR(ER) GN section. Yes people, these are not Great Eastern section exclusively.
All of you with Ivatt, Gresley and Peppercorn design wide firebox classes can have one of these too!

And very handsome they are, as with so many of Stratford's designs, and further improved with a round top boiler as on this release. It
only gets better as they run and pull really well, I think I droned on about this before,,,

QUOTE ... Only problem I see is the overlong couplings...
Yes, this is an aspect where perhaps lack of experience in the design section of Oxford Rail shows? Being of the brutal persuasion, I just
crop the pockets to achieve length reduction, and perform matching truncation of the coupler tails, (in my case Kadee no17 because this
is a passenger loco on my operation) and use a spot of cyano to tack the coupler in place if the cutting hasn't distorted the parts enough
to make a secure tight fit. (I did say 'brutal'!) At the rear the shortness of the no 17 puts it about right. I may take a half millimetre off.

QUOTE ... Toying with the idea of using some spare Vitrains ones, much shorter as they don't use an NEM socket, but the wedge to fit into the
chassis is too small. Maybe some padding with plasticard would do the trick...
I believe 'the wedge' is actually specified as an NEM coupler mounting. (Never tried this for myself but have seen claims that cutting the
wedge shape fitting directly into couplers can be used, and see no reason why it should not be tried.) But your packing proposal is well
worth a try.
 

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QUOTE (34C @ 16 Oct 2019, 16:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I believe 'the wedge' is actually specified as an NEM coupler mounting.
The Vi Trains coupling is a NEM 363 type which is for models with limited space and consequently their are a number of British OO models that would have been better using it than the seemingly UK standard use of the NEM 362
http://www.doubleogauge.com/standards/couplings.htm has some specification set out.
 

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The Vitrains idea has worked fine for the front; for the rear it'll be cut and superglue as suggested. Oh for the huge range of Kadees - different heights, lengths,
mountings - and all matching up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
QUOTE (butler-henderson @ 16 Oct 2019, 18:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Vi Trains coupling is a NEM 363 type which is for models with limited space and consequently there are a number of British OO
models that would have been better using it than the seemingly UK standard use of the NEM 362...
I think Vitrains have been the only RTR manufacturer to offer the tension lock with the NEM 363 fitting, and we are unlikely to see any
further production as they didn't operate directly in the UK but via Hobbyco, which business seems to have walked away from UK model
railway product. (Didn't see a formal announcement or anything, supplies of the two Hobbyco/Vitrains locos 'just dried up'. Presumably
the retailers once stocking the product will have been informed 'no more' or words to that effect.)

I feel it is halfway to a miracle that Bachmann's initial deployment of the NEM 362 coupler pocket, significantly out of position compared
to the standard, was not blindly copied by those that came after; or we would have generally out of position deployment among all
manufacturers! Hornby at least started and continued on the right path as far as I know - I haven't sampled all their product! - while
Heljan haven't been exactly consistent in positioning, somewhat surprising in a manufacturer firmly originating in European HO land.

Of those manufacturers that have come along since I know practically nothing. I'll know a little more when any of Accurascale, Cavalex,
Dapol, Hattons, etc. release something of interest; it's only Oxford Rail among the newcomers that I have had a look at, good job on the
wagons, not so good on the N7. Still a little way to go up the learning curve...

As for the tension lock coupler, it simply isn't standardised. The miniature versions may look compatible, but having tested rigorously
(there's 'conformance' and all that goes with it in my background) I found that the Bachmann and Hornby versions could not be made
to function with acceptable reliability, when used in combination. So a decision was made to go with the Bachmann pattern, as these
were on the overwhelming majority of RTR wagons I was purchasing, (and I exchange with a friend who principally purchases Hornby,
an economical path for both of us in each maintaining a one coupler design fleet).

I have not attempted to repeat the test for further maker's coupler versions simply because I have too few samples, perhaps others
have some information on how compatible they are in service?
 

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QUOTE (Ray Sadler @ 3 Sep 2019, 20:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Oxford Rail need to tighten up control of their plant if they are to have any credibility on the rtr scene.

Really? Still far better than Bachmann (and not that I particularly have a problem with any of them; it comes when it comes)
 

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Dapol are reigning champions. Ten years since announcement of a class 21, and still nada. Had they not leapt in, I feel sure we would
have had a Heljan version by now. I hope the Dapol model - when it arrives - performs as well as my Heljan BoBo quartet (15, 16, 23,
26/0).

But at least we now have an N7 in late fifties condition ready to go to the rescue of the (yet again) failed class 21. (They were unreliable
in reality when put to work on KX suburban services.) With four of the classes on KX suburban services at the steam to diesel transition
unreliable, there are endless excuses to send out the old faithful N2s and N7s to keep the service moving. It's wonderful with DCC, I can
have a failed class 105 train, rescued by a now failed L1, rescued by a now failed class 21, rescued by a now failed class 23, with an N2
or N7 up front dragging the lot onto Hatfield platform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Good treatment of the tyres, lightly anodised, and the traction is very good. Neat appearance altogether, just some small mods to make
before a renumber and then application of a little in service grubbiness. Really pleasing to have a utility loco of this sort so well rendered.

That settles what box gets the 'x' when the awards voting comes around.
 

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*** Not anodised.. anodising is non-conductive. Oxidised I think.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Thanks Richard.
QUOTE (34C @ 19 Oct 2019, 22:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... just some small mods to make before a renumber...
Or possibly not. I have now read there's a picture of 69612 at Kings Cross in the mid 50s, and 'that'll do' for one of my impressionistic
leanings. For those who don't know about the N7's, apart from Hatfield's allocation which in the BR period very definitely had the shed
code 34C in evidence, Stratford appear to have operated on the principle of 'All your N7 is mine'. No matter where they were notionally
allocated around the GE section, Stratford's 30A shed plate would be found on them. With over 100 of a class of 134 actually allocated
to Stratford before withdrawals commenced, this presumably made sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
My example has completed its DC test running, during which the capacitor on the blanking plug let go, leading to some decently realistic
smoke trailing behind for a few seconds. I had noted that the motor characteristic was rather 'peaky' and once decoder fitted I had to
use CV6 at 125 and CV5 at 160 to get 30mph at step 14 and 60mph at step 28. (It was good for a scale 100mph on nominal 12V DC.
Just a little on the speedy side for the prototype...) Whatever, now lovely and smooth, glides around beautifully.

Agreeably easy to hardwire with vacant track power terminals on the rear of the board, and motor connections accessible at the front
of the board. Neat arrangement. Rather more room to play with in the bunker with no decoder blanking plug or decoder plug. The pick
up wipers really needed adjustment on this one, unlike my earlier example. Found it was all neatly lubricated on axles and gear train as
a result. It managed to completely unscrew a centre crankpin bolt during test running. The crankpins are so long there was no risk of
the side rod disengaging. A little dab of lacquer now applied, and will monitor. Altogether a workmanlike job.
 

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I have quite recently completed the intensive running test to find any potential infant mortality on the latest acquisition, the 'bulled up' late crest version, 69670. Very pleased with it, 'perfect' smooth and quiet operation straight out of the box, best yet of my three purchases. (A little gear whine at full tilt which would be much faster than what the real thing achieved, but up to scale for 60mph (which is what the decoder is now set for) all you hear are the wheels on the rails. I really hope that this marks Oxford's 'coming of age' in mechanisms, after the various troubles reported on the Radial tank and Dean goods. Keep up the standard on the N7, and I feel most purchasers will be pleased.

Externally it was a while before I noticed it had an opening cab roof vent, not present on the two earlier versions. I'll slop some matt black over most of the fancy work, none of that at Hatfield that I know of. All very neat and tidy externally overall, though there was an assembly fault, the rear of the cab not clipped in place in the main casting. This was actually an advantage as by undoing the securing screws at the front the whole plastic smokebox, boiler and cab assembly then lifted out without need to release the clip in lugs. This allowed the spurious condenser diverter valve tackle to be cleanly removed among other small adjustments, such as dirtying the pristine cab interior, which while it looks lovely in light cream isn't a thing I ever saw! It reassembled properly and has stayed together as it should, so I suspect the clip in lugs were not pushed fully home at assembly.

Some complain of the lack of a smokebox door numberplate, the number just printed on: but I actively like it as a DIY renumber on a plate is thus so very simple. Likewise the BR shed plate, important for me as Hatfield's allocation were plated 34C (unlike the N7s on the GE section where Stratford's 30A plate was near universal: wherever they might have been allocated, Stratford appears to have operated on the basis that 'all your N7 belong to us'). Perhaps this 'print on' number without the plate being represented on smokebox doors would be one for other manufacturers to generally follow: even for GWR/GW classes where the owner's preferred choice of etched plate could then be added without first having to remove a moulded on lump?
 

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Interesting - consulting my old Combined Volume I saw 69670 in service, but that must have been around Stratford, as I never ever spotted at King's Cross or on the ECML in my train-spotting days. When was it at Hatfield? Or are you modifying it to represent one that was at Hatfield?

Regards,
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
Quite so, the Oxford Rail model of 69670 was a loco never on the Hatfield allocation (and as such is plated 30A which was usual for those on the GE section) so will
- in time - assume the identity 69650, a loco in the same N7/5 class part number, with a 34C shed plate.

I am a very lazy modeller, impressionist if you will, so there will be no great haste in this. The important thing is another N7 , so that a roughly equal number of N2 and N7 are to be seen working out of Hatfield, which was typical through the BR period.
 

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Hi 34C,
Like John, I saw 69670 at some stage, underscored in my Summer 1958 Combined Volume - and although I did spot at KC from time to time (most vivid day was catching 60700 waiting to depart), most of my GE activity was between Liverpool Street and Stratford. It's great that Oxford Rail have nailed it. Absolutely looks the part for mine. Most of all, thanks for bringing back the memories......
6991
 

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QUOTE (Ray Sadler @ 21 Mar 2021, 20:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Wonder what has happened to the "bulled up" version? Delivery date drifts back and back.
The DCC ready version of 69670 with 'depot embellishments' has definitely been available for over a month. Had mine on order with KS Models (Stevenage) and it was delivered end January.

But I note that on the one major dealer's site that makes it really easy to look up what you are interested in, it isn't yet shown as available:
https://www.hattons.co.uk/466036/oxford_rai...tockdetail.aspx
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
QUOTE (John Webb @ 22 Mar 2021, 10:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If not drifting too far off topic, what was 69670 'bulled-up' for? ...
Short answer 'don't know'. But this was a GE practise, without a doubt.

Evidence. Now when this release was announced, it rang a faint little bell. Took a while before I chanced on the photograph in 'The Eastern before Beeching' by John Brodribb, pub. Ian Allan. Top of page 104, picture captioned '...69670... platform 1 Liverpool Street... July 1960... (we have to take the number on trust as a disc covers the smokebox numberplate to the effect that what is visible is 6---0, and the oblique view of the bunkerside number isn't clear in the halftone reproduction, though it will have been legible in the negative and a photographic print).

Whatever, the loco is 'bulled-up', white paint on the bufferheads, smokebox door ring, smokebox door locking dart boss, valve rod end covers; lining discernible on the Westinghouse pump. Predictably enough, if there was white paint on the chimney rim, it is now totally obscured by a soot deposit. Cannot tell if the number and shedplate had a red background, but they do appear slightly paler than the smokebox door and the numbers are clearly picked out in white.

Given the date, and the 25kV OHLE in place in the picture, might this have marked the imminent cessation of steam working on a particular GE section route?
 
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