Swiss Federal Railways class Be 6/8III & Ce 6/8III
Trix model 22584 & 22340
Review by Neil Wood
Digital photo: Reinhard Reiss
The Swiss crocodile is a
design classic which has proved popular over decades with rail enthusiasts.
Its characteristic shape makes it readily identifiable. Its resilience and
pulling power over steep gradients is legendary.
Photo: A. Senn
The locomotives of
the classes Be 6/8 III and Ce 6/8III were designed as heavy powerful
locomotives capable of dealing with steep grades and tight curves on
the Gotthard Route. They were initially built in 1926 as class Ce
6/8III and some still run today, eighty years later, as tourist and
enthusiast specials. Their distinct appearance earned them the name
crocodile which has since been extended to other similar
locomotives. The original version Ce 6/8III had four motors which
produced 1,810 kw of power through a jackshaft and drive rod system and
had a maximum speed of 65km/h (41mph). In 1953 the motors were rebuilt
making them capable of 75 km/h (47mph), the designation was then
changed to Be 6/8III and the paint scheme changed from brown to green.
The locomotives were articulated in order to enable turning on the
tight curves that the mountain pass tracks have. The locos are still
iconic to rail fans the world over.
Trix model 22584 & 22340 Price: 339 or
₤229 or $468 US
Released: Ce 6/8III Sep 2007, Be 6/8III 2004
Model Specification: Length: 230 mm / 9-1/16;
Be 6/8III, SBB green Ce 6/8III, SBB Brown; Period: 1926- 1980s;
Features: Metal frame and body; NEM Pockets for couplers; Eight pin
socket for DCC decoder; Prototypical Swiss headlight / marker light changeover; Current can be collected via pantograph; Motor: 5 pole motor; 3 axles powered, 2 traction tyres; several separately applied details. Warranty 2 years
There are two
available versions of the crocodile by Trix. The brown version is a
special one time series to celebrate the 125th anniversary
of the Gotthard pass which is due for release in September. The green
version has been around for a few years. The models are more or less
identical other than the paint scheme.
The model looks
good. Colouring is accurate. The body is metal and is cast in three
pieces to allow articulation of the loco. The photo below shows the
degree to which the body can articulate.
The catenary and
roof of the Trix Croc are a work of art. This photo of the roof shows the
detail which has gone into this model and I really think its stunning.
The upper bodywork
is nicely finished with crisp name plates and writing. The grilles are
good as are the windows. The chassis and blocks surrounding the
running gear look plastic but are actually painted metal. This is
unfortunate as it does give the appearance of cheapness when it is in
fact not. The construction is robust and built to last. This is a
model I would expect to still be running in twenty or thirty tears if
The yellow railings
on the front of the loco are too thick as can be seen by comparing the
photos of the model and the prototype. Similarly the width of steps is
a bit too wide. While we are getting picky there is a red light above
the central headlight which is painted on rather than functional. I
would not have expected shortcuts such as these from Trix.
I have found that
the two unmotorised trailing wheels on this model do not move fluidly,
both of them at either end seem to be stick slightly. I have applied
oil to them to get the wheel to move more freely although this does not
seem to have loosened them up much. This may free up over time. It
does not restrict movement at all but does make a very slight squeaky
Power pick up is
excellent as all powered wheels pick up power. There is an option to
pick up power via a catenary too. This can be selected by means of a
switch underneath the loco.
If you look through
the flush glazed cabin some of the internal wiring is visible. I
ideally would have preferred to see a driver figure instead.
Decoder installation is
incredibly easy. One screw below the loco removes the central part of the
body. The two snout parts of the Croc can then be prised off to allow
The motor is quite
clearly not a C sinus motor and appears somewhat dated compared with
the current offerings from Trix. It is however powerful and completely
functional as is the prototype.
I have installed a
Lenz Gold decoder into this loco, and the results are good. It has a
nice slow movement which is something you really need from this type of
loco. Most of the basic settings are adequate. I have just updated
the addresses 2 and 4 digit. ESU do a sound decoder which authentic
sound off the shelf so this can be retro fitted. There is a reasonable
amount of space under the twin Croc snouts for speakers to go in.
is readily apparent that this is quite an old model. Probably as a
result it being a very popular and much requested model it entered the
catalogue some time ago and has not been updated subsequently in any
substantial way. There are several modifications which it really could
do with. When this was first released it was probably a classic model
but as the years have gone by standards have gone up and this is
starting to get left behind. Fine railings are pretty much standard on
most new models now and would not take much effort to replace. The ones
on this model are pretty thick and look well out of place in comparison
with the fine detailing on the roof. Like wise with lights on
Continental models, these are pretty much standard and painted on
lights would not be acceptable now. I find it odd that they have some
parts of it spot on and have let go on others.
In regards to
comparisons with similar models, I have heard several good reports
about the Roco model. However I have not been able to access one to
compare it with this Trix one. It is not currently produced and would
have to be bought second hand.
Overall it is a very
good model but is starting to become quite dated and some aspects
require an overhaul as a matter of urgency. Some aspects are excellent
such as the roof and exterior of the central cabin. These are let down
by the lack of fine detail such as railings. As regards whether it is
value for money, well I wouldnt pay the full price for it but it is
worth the price that I paid for it which is two thirds of the full
price. It might be worth hanging on to see if a new one is released.
- August 2007