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Rivarossi Shunting Tractor Series 208
Model Ref.: HR2038
Review by Doug Teggin

Shunting tractor FS 0319 series 208 Grigio Delta livery. Ep.III

The Breuer shunting tractor was introduced in Italy but built and used in countries as diverse as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland and Denmark. Used in yards where space was limited but individual vehicles needed to be moved, petrol and diesel versions produced 10 to 80 horsepower and could move loads of 80 to 500 tons depending on the variant.

Nicknamed 'sogliole' ('Sole' as in the fish, perhaps because of it's flatness).

Built at the Antonio Badoni Lecco factory under licence from the German factory Breuer. Built between 1931 and 1952, the units were used up until 1984.

Designed to be used in marshalling yards and warehouses. They were also used by the Army and Navy. Used in North Africa during WWII by the Italian Royal Army where they were known as 'Sardine Cans'.

Powered by Fiat engines, they were fitted with either petrol or diesel engines. Fiat 366 (83kw), Fiat 355 (55kw), Fiat 326 (51kw). A chain drive linked the motor to a 4-speed gearbox.

The units had small wheels 500 to 600 in diameter and this resulted in a 30 to 40 km/h maximum speed.

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The Rivarossi model

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Model Features

  • 5-pole micro-motor
  • Metal Chassis
  • NEM 651 connector for 6-pin DCC decoder
  • Directional lighting

Model production limited to 900 units of each type. See below for other types in the range.

The Rivarossi boxing is attractive, the models is nicely displayed through plastic windows in the front and on the top. The model is secured to a cardboard base with a thumb-screw that holds the model by the chassis.

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The standard couplers fitted to the model will work with most Continental rolling stock. There is a scale loop-coupler supplied if you prefer a more prototypical look.

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Underneath the model, you can see the metal chassis, tiny wheels and gears. To remove the body, the two outboard screws are removed - on the top and bottom of this photo below.

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Here below, I have the body off. Easy to do, but if you have thick fingers (like me) take your time. I used the sharp tip of my standard Philips screwdriver - you don't need a special jeweller's screwdriver.

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The DCC decoder -if you wish to install one - will have to be small (less than 10 mm wide).

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The blanking plug contains the diodes to enable directional lighting under DC and a couple of capacitors. This is what we called for a few years back. It gets rid of the unwanted electronics in one step when you add the DCC decoder. Well done Hornby International.

The adaptor for a DCC decoder (below) is supplied with the model. This allows you to use a decoder with a 6-pin NEM 651 interface.

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Perhaps the most suitable decoder to use is the ESU LokPilot micro V3.0 as it fits inside perfectly. Measuring 13.5mm x 9.0mm x 3.5 mm. It has enough power and it has back EMF giving very smooth control. For lighting, its two function outputs can handle 140 mAs each, be dimmed separately for brightness, and allocated to functions, such as dimmer, firebox flicker, Gyra-and Mars light, strobe-and double strobe, flash-and alternate flash (or ditch lights).

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Here below, the decoder is plugged into the adaptor and it is ready to go. Space is not a problem and the fine control suited this type of loco tractor.

The blue wire is a common return that is not needed in this case. It is used for example with a smoke generator as the common return thus preventing the asymmetric track signal from interfering with the power to the generator which be the case if the chassis was used as a return.

So snip off the exposed end of the blue wire and tuck it in. Close up the model.

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So how does it run?

I tested it on my DCC layout without a decoder at address '0' so it buzzed a little as expected. Often DC locos at address '0' are not that smooth. This one however was smooth and easy to control. It pulled a few wagons and did it's job without fuss. The short 31mm long model can manage my points, but didn't manage to get up to my turntable - there is a minimum loco length of about 10cm to get over some isolated parts.

The lights are bright and white. They were always-on, but under DC and proper DCC control they will be directional.

Now wouldn't DCC controlled uncoupling just be great for a little model like this?

Check out this short video (Embedded here, the video is already in HD, you don't have to press the HD button):

Rivarossi Shunting Tractors in the same range:

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Shunting tractor FS 208.049 series 208 green livery

Shunting tractor. FS 208.049 green livery. Working front lights. Design with round buffers and modified exhaust.

Release: 1st quarter '09
ref: HR2080
Breuer Traktor. shunting tractor. OBB

Shunting tractor type Breuer of the Österreichischen Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), both axles driven, die-cast body, working headlights.

Release: 3rd quarter '09

ref: HR2125
Double unit shunting tractor FS series 208

Double unit shunting tractor FS series 210. Working front lights. Roof equipment as shown in the example.

Release: 1st quarter '09
ref: HR2072
Breuer Traktor.
shunting tractor. WLE

Shunting tractor type Breuer of the Westfälischen Landeseisenbahn (WLE), both axles driven, die-cast body, working headlights.

Release: 3rd quarter '09
ref: HR2145

Information on the other models (above) and review sample supplied by who are the UK distributors of Hornby International products.

- April 2009
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