Installing A Decoder To A Bachmann Class 419 EMU

A train which fits perfectly on the Inglenook South shunting puzzle is the single carriage Bachmann class 419 electric multiple unit. The chassis is DCC ready and I wanted to install a decoder for digital train operation, this is how I did it.


Firstly, I turned the carriage upside down using the plastic tray as a cradle. Then, using the instruction manual as a guide, I removed the four corner screws under the chassis, an example of one of the screws is circled in red below.


The next part is the most difficult, separating the chassis from the body as the detailed chassis components are so delicate and prone to break if you are not careful. Its at this point I learnt a new card trick, inserting old railway tickets down the side of the carriage body then using gravity to ease the chassis away.


When the carriage body is removed, this is what you will find, a PCB board with a 21 pin ‘blanking plate’ for analogue DC operation.


I used a pair of tweezers to lift the blanking plate away from the PCB board, being careful not to lift at an angle or otherwise the risk is damage to the 21 pins.


Then finally I pushed the 21 pin DCC decoder over the 21 pins and tested the chassis on DCC before reinstating the carriage body on the chassis.


Unit 9004 berthed in Inglenook South Sidings.



Platform Tractor Unit

The majority of key locations and hubs on the rail network, feature platform tractor units. These humble workhorses are used for tasks such as providing a water supply, moving luggage, waste, cleaning, catering equipment and much more. The real Gatwick Airport used to have a platform tractor unit, the main purpose being the movement of rail air luggage, some photos of which can be found on websites such as Flickr.

Some ready made platform tractor units have recently been released by Bachmann under catalogue number 44-539, but it was really Hornby that manufactured something similar many decades ago, in fact it appears to still be included in the current range with station buildings such as the Booking Hall Kit.

I managed to pick up a couple of platform tractor units in an odds and ends box at the local model shop for a couple of quid and began the task of upgrading them to a more detailed standard. Could I refurbish an old model and bring it up to standard instead of paying five times as much for a ready made version?


Some of the trailer components were broken so these were stuck back together using an impact adhesive.


The models appear to be unpainted in a green plastic colour so the models were given a coat of primer. After the primer was dry, the model was brought up to date with a coat of yellow paint.


A container was constructed for one of the trailer modules, this was made from scratch using off cuts of styrene sheet.


The container is complete and awaiting a coat of primer.


The container load was given a coat of grey primer and then afterwards, sprayed with a coat of metallic silver.


The nearly finished model with a yellow tractor and trailer unit with a metallic silver container, all that is required to finish the model is the application of some weathering and some logos.



Layout Construction – Signalling

The part of Gatwick Airport which is being modelled will feature three signals.

The first signal, T254, was located at the London end of platform 1. This was a controlled signal that had four aspects with a position 4 junction indicator and a position light signal associated with the main aspect.


The second signal, T252 was located at the London end of platform 2. This controlled signal had four aspects with a position four junction indicator unusually located to the right of the signal head. The third signal, T250 was located on the same gantry as signal T252 at the London end of platform 3. This controlled signal had four aspects with a route indicator located to the left of the signal head.


I purchased three, four aspect signals from a company called CR signals which most closely represent the real signals used in the 1990s, the dispatch service was excellent as they arrived the very next day in the post.


Signals T254, T252 and T250 are positioned in place on the layout, this is the view from what would be platform 3 at the real location. The position light signal associated with the main aspect signal T254 has unfortunately come apart but will be stuck back on.