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QUOTE (Alex Hempel @ 11 Feb 2021, 10:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've already posted about this acquisition, but last night I finally managed to get it set up. It's stretching its legs on my interim layout now.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/4mNrXnht304?rel=0

I was a bit apprehensive, since I had heard of models from this production run to have a propensity for running noise (gearboxes, I think). But to my relief, my trains runs smoothly and quietly.

That runs very nicely ndeed, Alex. Very smooth.
 

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The parcels that I've had form Germany since the new year, started off in Germany with DHL but were delivered in the UK by Parcel Force. There still seems to be quite a lot of confusion around the new arrangements and the additional charges following Brexit.
 

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Simon Boulton, Thanks for that info. I have no idea where you live in UK, But The Royalmail/ parcelforce could be that the collection of VAT to HMRC because DHL/ Deutsche post will probably not be able to do it. IMHO. Can you tell me what fees you paid and was the VAT content 20% or was it more. Thank You
Babs
 

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A quick shakedown run for my latest second-hand purchase, a Piko Expert HectorRail class 241 (BR 185 type). This one was sold with a couple of minor faults listed: a buffer missing and something about one of the ladders. I have reshaped a Heljan OO spare buffer to closely match the existing ones, and could not find anything else wrong with the model. It came with an ESU LokPilot 4 already fitted, so I think I got a nice bargain.

IMG20210305212330 by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr
 

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QUOTE (Babz @ 12 Feb 2021, 14:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Simon Boulton, Thanks for that info. I have no idea where you live in UK, But The Royalmail/ parcelforce could be that the collection of VAT to HMRC because DHL/ Deutsche post will probably not be able to do it. IMHO. Can you tell me what fees you paid and was the VAT content 20% or was it more. Thank You
Babs

In conversation with my local dealer he tells me that his consignments are now only delivered after he has paid VAT up front. Formerly, within the EU no Vat was due until the items were sold on to a customer. What this effectively means is that it now costs 20% more for a continental model shop to have stock on their shelves. I have a feeling that there may be some adjustment possible via the quarterly VAT accounting but I'm no expert so don't take my word for it.

This is a blow to me as a customer as there will be less on the shelves for me to browse or to discover on trade stands at exhibitions. This problem is going to affect all goods imported directly by traders from the EU. I am not sure if large scale importers will have some sort of workaround but already I am seeing supply problems with kit associated with my other interests. How much this dearth of goods is the result of Covid and how much is Brexit inspired has yet to be determined but this article in Tuesday's Guardian, UK - Germany - UK trade slump indicates a 29% fall in exports to the UK and 56% fall in exports from the UK to Germany. With a third of small UK businesses stating that they have decided to cease trading with the EU until the Brexit border problems are ironed out; plus the fact that many EU companies have stopped selling online to the UK, we, as modellers may have a problem.

I would welcome a comment from a more knowledgeable person than me, say, Richard of DCC Concepts, in the hope that he will say that I am talking nonsense.

Best regards ................ Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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QUOTE (SRman @ 6 Mar 2021, 09:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A quick shakedown run for my latest second-hand purchase, a Piko Expert HectorRail class 241 (BR 185 type). This one was sold with a couple of minor faults listed: a buffer missing and something about one of the ladders. I have reshaped a Heljan OO spare buffer to closely match the existing ones, and could not find anything else wrong with the model. It came with an ESU LokPilot 4 already fitted, so I think I got a nice bargain.

IMG20210305212330 by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


I do like the livery on that one. Nice acquisition.
 

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QUOTE (Alex Hempel @ 12 Mar 2021, 08:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I do like the livery on that one. Nice acquisition.

Thanks Alex. I rather like the livery too, and it is useful in that it can be seen in multiple countries and also on hire to other operators at times, so can be used on freight or various liveried passenger stock. I was watching a YouTube clip the other day with a HectorRail liveried loco hauling Flixtrain green and orange coaches to Sylt and back. I was after such a locomotive for quite a while, but didn't want to pay full price as my European interest has to remain mostly the lower budget part of my modelling. Mind you, having just retired and become an age pensioner, I may have to make all of my future modelling lower budget soon!
 

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QUOTE (SRman @ 12 Mar 2021, 08:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Mind you, having just retired and become an age pensioner, I may have to make all of my future modelling lower budget soon!


Mate, I'm more than 20 years away from retirement and I have to operate on a low budget
It's probably a good thing that I'm restricting my interests to mainly Era IV German (both sides though), and Queensland freight. There's so much other stuff that tickles my fancy but I just can't...
 

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QUOTE (SRman @ 5 Mar 2021, 23:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A quick shakedown run for my latest second-hand purchase, a Piko Expert HectorRail class 241 (BR 185 type). This one was sold with a couple of minor faults listed: a buffer missing and something about one of the ladders. I have reshaped a Heljan OO spare buffer to closely match the existing ones, and could not find anything else wrong with the model. It came with an ESU LokPilot 4 already fitted, so I think I got a nice bargain.

IMG20210305212330 by Jeffrey Lynn, on Flickr


I hope that you don't mind me adding a personal anecdote SRman. In 2007 I was employed on a year contract by Bombardier to promote maintenance and repair services, predominately for the TRAXX locomotives. At that time Hector Rail were starting up their through freight services between Norway and Germany, passing through Sweden and Denmark. The TRAXX 186 multisystem platform was perfect for this type of cross border activity but had to beat of competition from Siemens and their 189 family of locos. I had meetings held in the Bombardier facility in Goteborg with Norwegian and Swedish service managers to work out the best place for maintenance of the Hector Rail fleet. The limit of their proposed use was to be Maschen Yard, just south of Hamburg and so we put together a zig-zag diagram to identify where and when we could find a spare few hours for scheduled maintenance without any loss of capacity from the smallest possible fleet. Given that a modern electric loco can cost the best part of half a million euros per year to lease and maintain the prime task is to keep the loco moving as much as possible. The less kilometres the more it costs per kilometre to run.

Anyway, we put together the maintenance bid but lost out to a Swedish consortium who subcontracted to an independent maintenance company based in Kassel. Even though I was a customer of the Kassel based company when working for Crossrail, both before and after my time in Berlin, I never discussed the performance of Hector Rail with the Kassel based MD. Now I wished I had because professional pride makes me wonder if their offering was better than the one I stitched together or was it just a case of it being a cent or two cheaper per kilometre.

Hopefully this little anecdote will add something to your pleasure in owning this loco SRman. I suspect that Hector Rail may have ended up reaching further south than Maschen yard but I took my eye off Scandinavian freight movements when I returned to Crossrail and the Antwerp to Italy, Poland and Austrian corridors.

Best regards ............. Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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QUOTE (6991 @ 14 Mar 2021, 20:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Alex,
Using TT tracks for the Queensland freight?
6991

No, I have purchased regular 16.5mm versions of my QLD rolling stock. When I got into this hobby a few years back, I knew that I was going to run a fairly diverse mixture of rolling stock, and the potential pain of laying dual gauge track, or the added complexity of separate track gauges, did not really entice me. Not to mention the higher price point of either 12mm or dual-gauge track, and the lower availability.
 

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Thanks for the anecdote, John. It adds to the pleasure of owning and running the model. My concentration on European stock has been based on Denmark, Sweden, and Northern Germany, with a little foray into Switzerland (I know, I just can't help myself!!). I really loved my visit to Hamburg in 2018, and we had a partial view of the railway from the hotel there, but there was an annoying framework in the way of decent photography or videoing (the Ibis Hamburg City Hotel to the south of the station). Next time I'll definitely put aside some time for train photography.

Google Maps centred on Ibis Hotel - it's no good looking at the street view as it is too old and shows a vacant lot with cars parked in it!

Incidentally, apologies to Babs for my typo in an earleir post - Fat-Finger Syndrome meant I hit the 'S' and the 'A' keys simultaneously to get 'Babas' - that was not intended as any sort of dig or insult.
 

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Another couple of newbies arrived at Newton Broadway. Both models came from ModellBahn Lippe Shop, with the second one being on sale - I think I got a bargain here.

I finally managed to get hold of a Danish Vectron, from the Piko Expert range. EB 3201 ran absolutely superbly straight out of the box when tested on DC, sufficiently so for me to add a decoder straight away. The actual interface is intended or PLuX 16, but I only had PLuX 22 decoders available here, which should work perfectly well, so popped in an ESU LokPilot v5 and away it went,. I did my usual tweaks for acceleration and deceleration, and I think I will have to alter the top speed a bit as it races away very freely to a high speed - much higher than I need for my layout.

The second loco is a Trix one, with sound, in BLS 'Die Alpinisten' livery. This is my first Trix/Maerklin locomotive, and it is quite impressive with its metal body and full roof detail with four pantographs, plus the colourful livery application. I found it initially to be very loud, so went to turn the volume down a bit - it is also the only Trix Selectrix decoder in my collection - so found the setting in the manual which turned out to be the same as ESU's sound volume CV, CV 63. However, when I tried changing the volume on the fly Programming on Main, the loco died completely. After much fiddling on the programming track, I got it going again with reduced volume as well. I think there may be something to learn about using the Selectrix decoder on an NCE DCC system.





I have another Vectron on the way at present, in Flixtrain livery, together with several matching coaches. I'll post pics when they get here. This time it is a Roco locomotive, but the coaches are to be from Roco, LS Trains and Acme. Hopefully they'll all match up properly.
 

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Further to that last post, my FlixTrain Vectron and various coaches and coach packs have arrived. I now have four Vectrons from three manufacturers, and those FlixTrain coaches are from four different manufacturers. Showing different angles from the previous shots are the Piko DSB example and the Trix BLS version, followed by the Roco FlixTrain locomotive with its coaches from Roco (x2), Acme (x2), LS Models (x2), and Piko (one off). The Piko one is a little lighter and brighter in colour, and also sits lower than the rest.







 

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QUOTE (SRman @ 26 Apr 2021, 02:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>... four Vectrons ...
Someone get on the blower to Dr Who, the Vectrons are quietly invading an as yet unidentified corner of Southeastern England! (They can overrun the rest of the world and anywhere North of Cambridge or West of Oxford, and no call to Dr Who is indicated. Only the centre of the world is to be defended.)

Have you gone over the exteriors to compare the three manufacturer's renderings? Always interesting to see how each team has performed.
 

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QUOTE (34C @ 26 Apr 2021, 22:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Someone get on the blower to Dr Who, the Vectrons are quietly invading an as yet unidentified corner of Southeastern England! (They can overrun the rest of the world and anywhere North of Cambridge or West of Oxford, and no call to Dr Who is indicated. Only the centre of the world is to be defended.)

Have you gone over the exteriors to compare the three manufacturer's renderings? Always interesting to see how each team has performed.



As a long-time Doctor Who fan (since 1963!), I can doubly appreciate the sentiment!

I have only gone over the appearance of the coaches cursorily at present, but there are some nice touches that I have observed. The LS Models couchette cars in particular have detail differences between the two coaches, including the modifications on one for wheelchair access. They also have instructions for getting the bodies off to fold the beds down to form seat backs for daytime use. The Acme ones have different coloured roofs to add variety too, and the lighter colour matches that of the Piko roof.

I have unclipped the bogies on the Piko car, and added experimental plastic washers made from 40 thou plastic sheet. That has raised the ride height just a smidgen too much, so I think 30 thou may be the way to go for a more permanent fix.

The wheels seemd slightly stiff on one pair (can't remember whether it was the Acme or the LS pair), but a drop of oil helped there.

I will return the setting to the centre of the Universe ... I mean, the south of England ... very soon, probably going back to the 1960s again.
 

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Here are the individual coaches from the FlixTrain set.

1. Piko. I have raised the ride height with plastic 'washers' slipped over the bogie pivots. This means the bogies are not clipped in properly, but it runs fine and matches the other coaches now.



2. LS Models couchette coaches. The second photo shows the accessible end of the coach partly obscured by the hut.





3. Acme coaches.





4. Roco coaches.



 
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