Category Archives: German Federal Railroad (DB)

Streamlined Tank Locomotive BR 61 001: “Henschel-Wegmann”

The legacy of Marklin Z collecting is the historical heritage charted with unusual locomotives such as those we can no longer see in person. Germany’s BR 61 001 was one of two locomotives used for express train service for the Henschel-Wegmann trainset: Dresden-Berlin Route. Two versions of the BR 61 001 have been produced by Marklin for Z gauge: original prototype version (81436 trainset) and post-war version (88610).

photos: Marklin 81436 – Henschel-Wegmann BR 61 001 (DRG)

Built in 1935 the BR 61 001 (DRG) was a carefully designed locomotive for speed and efficiency, its lightweight and streamlining including coaches allowed increased speed, plus hauling just enough coal and water for one-way travel allowed further weight limits thus replenishing supplies in Berlin or Dresden was an efficiency standard implemented by its design.

photos: Marklin Z BR 61 001 (DRG) *originally released by Marklin as the “Henschel-Wegmann” trainset 81436 included 4 streamlined coaches with matching paint scheme not pictured.

Note: Marklin 81436 was the 2005 One Time Release for Insider Members.

Speed was everything in the mid 30’s with the BR 61 001 competing with the speed record set by the 1932 “Flying Hamburger” of 99mph seen here as Marklin 88870: 

 

The BR 61 001 was no slouch setting a record 109mph which would remain unbroken for the Dresden-Berlin route through the next century.

photos: Marklin 81436 – BR 61 001 (DRG) original prototype

Post War the BR 61 001 was repainted and lettered for the German Federal Railroad and allocated to Bw Hannover. Its use was limited to 6 months in the late 40’s followed by 1 year of service logging thousands of miles between November 1950 and November 1951 whereupon it suffered serious accident damage, a year later (1952) it was retired and finally scrapped in 1957.

photos: Marklin 88610 – BR 61 001 German Federal Railroad (DB) post-war version

Streamlining of early German steam locos was perfected with the class 61 incorporating the tank locomotive concept with bold body contouring which allowed fast express train service, it was state of the art in the mid 30’s whose life was cut short in the early 50’s. Another example of preserved railway history in Marklin Z.

photos: Marklin 88610

Note: fine detailing and large brass steam whistle

Will there be a BR 61 002 released in mini-club? The more powerful locomotive built in 1939 featured larger water tanks, smoke deflectors and 3 axle bogie, such a release would complete the historical record of this locomotive class.

Railex versus Z-Modellbau: Kof II showdown

Until Z-Modellbau took the challenge to manufacturer a Z Kof II with a Motor (!!!!) our choice was limited to mechanical rolling non-motorized Kof’s by Schmidt and Railex.

The Railex example here is cast brass (red paint scheme lettered for DB with open cab and black running boards) with fine detailing inside the cab, it was a very good example of a Kof II that Railex produced along with variations of this type.

Headlamps are non-working in both locomotives but Z-Modellbau rendered them white in perfect circles versus Railex which are hand-painted silver.

What to do with a non-working model train: use it of course! Before brushless motors manufacturers of Z gauge had certain limitations placed on their ambitions. Z gauge is already small in size so therefore modeling the smallest prototypes yield problem after problem including where to put a motor and gears. The solution with their larger steam locos and tenders was locating the drive mechanism within a passenger or freight car hence they were called “ghost cars” because they became hidden locomotives, but they allowed the locomotive to pull cars so to speak figuratively not literally. I collect Railex, they are beautiful and fun to behold. As for ghost cars I have never owned one, I understand they can be temperamental and many I see for sale are offered “not working”. Ghost cars can be built by industrious engineers with a clever creative side which describes most of us Z-scalers, if you choose the to take the challenge the rewards are big and stalled trains from 19th century Germany may come to life on your railway line.

Photo: no couplers on Railex, Z-Modellbau uses Marklin compatible couplers of their own design that unobtrusive in this small loco

Now the time is ripe for ambitious manufacturers to create smaller locos in Z that function, today brushless motors from Switzerland are available in a variety of small sizes so releasing new locos with this motor should be easy? Wrong. From idea to final market ready model is a design and manufacturing “Matterhorn” so to speak. Having the idea is the first step followed by researching the prototype’s blueprints, putting into scale, designing the parts and assembly. Every step is time consuming and difficult with a fair share of creative thinking, ingenuous problem solving and sheer expertise in tooling and production. The latter always flabbergasts me, how can anyone be gifted with such abilities that tiny tiny tiny details appear in such small locos at the same time concealing their build.

With the Railex Kof which is cast with add-on parts in cast brass the model is beautiful with a securing plate screwed to the undercarriage that simply holds the wheel-sets on: simple and beautifully designed. This example does not have couplers thus making it a stand alone model train.

Photo: Railex Koff hauling livestock boxcar both lettered for DB

The Z-Modellbau Kof II for NSB has an enclosed cab with glazed windows and their own unique design for a Marklin compatible coupler. A 10 volt coreless motor runs the show including gearing that allow smooth acceleration and deceleration but without working headlamps. Headlamps are beautifully modeled as if lit. Locomotive is weighted and balanced due to its metal nature throughout so pulling power is very good.

Photo: Railex Kof II is true to prototypical scale giving the boxcars the impression of great size

Small locomotives serve very important functions including shunting and branchline while others not covered here serve MOW (Maintenance of Way) service, they (speeders) are still smaller than the kofs  with one purpose: track inspection.

Siding: seen here are the two livestock boxcars comprising the Marklin 2 car freight set: 86602. For the first time this car type features interior detailing in the form of gates, it also includes laser cut build kit for loading ramp and movable fence sections.

Marklin 88893: BR 10 with experimental paint scheme

The rarest of the BR 10’s in ‘Z’ is the 88893, it was only available from the mini-club Center upon release. This One Time Series from 2004 features the experimental paint scheme proposed by Krauss-Maffei, they also proposed a unique angled smoke deflector with large proportions. This was another paint scheme that was not adapted for the new DB BR 10 instead black was the chosen color. The 88893 was released in an attractive wood box, it features a 5 pole motor.

Siding: one of Marklin’s Era III DB coach sets will complement this loco and look great to boot!

Rewiring Marklin 8871 and 88711: ICE trains go fast!

Marklin’s 1990’s releases of the TEE 8873 and ICE trains 8871 and 88711 suffer from a design flaw: poor electrical connections caused by the couplers and a train set wired in parallel. Similar to those old Christmas lights when one bulb went they all did, these Marklin train sets suffered a similar fate that was corrected with the further releases of the TEE variations. The ICE train sets changed in another way instead of having two powered units as did the 8871 and 88711 the 88712 and 88714 included one powered unit located in the middle of the train this being a coach.

A simple solution to to correct the poor performance of the three TEE and ICE trains is to bypass two diodes located on each circuit board of the powered units. There are four diodes located on each circuit board, two affect the lights (LED’s) and two are near the motor. Bypassing the diodes near the motor with a soldered wire is all that is needed to allow the locomotive to move forward and reverse thus allowing each powered unit to work without the former wiring constraints.

Note: no need to bypass the diodes on any other TEE train version released after 8873.

Note: 30 gauge wire is recommended for wiring circuit board, tinning the ends of wires is recommended before making the soldered connections.

The early ICE trains use an interesting light bulb with a red and a clear bulb soldered to a circuit board similar to the traditional mini-club bulb. The red bulb is hooded to direct the light better, but unlike the LED’s the light is rather dim unless the loco is cranking! Note: very fragile bulb and no longer available, but if you are good at soldering you can make your own.

The couplers as mentioned are faulty for electrical connectivity, but work great when both powered units are rewired: coach lights no longer flicker. The couplers for the two ICE trains are susceptible to damage due to the untethered ends of the copper strips, great care should be taken to prevent bending. A good recommendation is to stock up on parts as they become available on Ebay. The original couplers for the 8873 are infinitely more resilient than the couplers used on the first two ICE trains.

Note: save old loco light bulbs that don’t work, new ones can be easily made by using the original circuit board for soldering news bulbs to them, generic bulbs are available at train shops in the correct size.

Siding: the 5 pole motor replacement for the 8871 + 88711 is 211907 which is one of the more expensive motors for upgrade, and you will need two. I have not made the upgrade to 5 pole with my sets, the original 3 pole motors work exceptionally well at low speed and throughout the range, but the 5 pole motors would be much quieter.

Siding: removing the tight fitting shells from 8871 and 88711 is more easily accomplished with synthetic guitar picks of .70 mm thickness or thinner.

Marklin 88892: BR 10 Experimental Paint Scheme

A special cast gold BR 10 was released as the 3rd of this loco class in 1997 as item number 88891, in 3 years the 4th BR 10 would be released as 88892. The Era III 88892 was a One Time Series for the MHI Program in an experimental paint scheme, various designs were floated before indecision landed on the black paint scheme represented as 8889. The attractive blue with white pinstripe would have been a stunner in the late 1950’s representing a new loco with “forward progress” suggested by the innovative design, but this and other paint schemes were shelved when a consensus of opinion could not be reached. Model originally delivered in an attractive wood box.

Siding: all BR 10’s are Era III, it was a short lived locomotive type with just two prototypes, Marklin released 5 models of this loco but only one was based on the prototype, the others included a special Marklin cast gold model and 3 experimental paint schemes that were proposals only.

Marklin 8889: BR 10 Steam Locomotive

Following the release of the 8888 for the MHI program a second BR 10 (8889) with the same operating number was delivered in the same year: 1994. But unlike the one time release of the 8888 the 8889 would remain in production for 14 years ending its run in 2008. During the long tenure of the 8889 in the mini-club line-up a significant upgrade occurred with all Z locos, in 1999 the 5 pole motor was introduced which has since become standard equipment in all ‘Z’ locos. For collectors of Z here is an example with two variations: one with original 3 pole motor and another with 5 pole motor. Color scheme for 8889 is black with white pinstripe lettered for DB with operating number 10 001.

Siding: for collectors buying BR 10’s today it will be rare to find one directly from a Marklin dealer in new condition, the secondary market is the more viable place to find these locos. Buying tip: be sure the loco includes cap that hides screw on top of shell, this is a very hard part to replace and downgrades the value and appearance.

Marklin 8888: BR 10 Steam Locomotive

The first BR 10 loco was released in 1994 as a One Time Series for the MHI Program: product number 8888. Sporting a very attractive paint scheme the 8888 was delivered in blue and gray with bright red wheel spokes and matching tender trucks. A heavy cast metal shell with operating number 10 001 for the DB. Design and styling seems to scream Era III in the age of streamlining as a emblem of progress and modern aesthetics. The model produced by Marklin is a very good runner with plenty of weight to maximize the pulling potential of 4-5 coaches easily.

photos: 8888

VT 11.5 TEE Railcar: Improving Performance

Improving performance can be a bit of a misnomer when the talk circles around modifying a Marklin Z loco or other article in the mini-club line-up. Upgrading 3 pole motors to 5 pole motors is a significant boost to performance, but other improvements may deserve further research and discussion with other railroaders and their experiences.

One improvement I have heard about for many years is actually one I heartily suggest, Glenn and Sandy Stiska of Florida rewired several sets for me in the late 1990’s with this same repair. The modification I am talking about is the addition of two wires to each powered end unit of the VT 11.5 (8873) and the 2 ICE trains including the special release “Amtrak.” For many years this modification has been used with multi-train sets with more than one powered unit. Wired in parallel these early sets were poor runners because they relied on something close to perfection, if the electrical chain was broken between head loco, coaches and end unit the train would not go.

The 8873 used an early conductive coupling which connected the coaches to the powered end units that has since been redesigned: all railcars now use a new flat conductive coupling versus the early spring copper one.

photo: 8873 powered end unit with first generation coupler on left and 88731 Max Liebermann with next generation coupler on right

The original wiring included a pair of diodes for each circuit board which dropped the voltage to each powered car and only allowed each powered unit to go in one direction a contributing factor for stalling the train and/or flickering coach lights if power was interrupted which it readily did. The solution is to bypass the diodes by soldering a wire around each diode thus making it possible for each powered end unit to go in both directions.

A fine point soldering iron is recommended for the repair and just enough wire because too much would interfere with installing the shell.

Try this repair if you have a set of this type that does not run well, the results will blow you away!

Six versions have thus far been released with the last being the “Blue Star Train” with its very striking paint scheme.

Siding: removing the shell of the 8873 is accomplished by removing coupler if it is present and carefully inserting a small screwdriver in the coupler box, if the shell does not easily pop up it maybe stuck to chassis due to hardened oil which will require finessing to unseat it from the chassis, removing the shell from all other VT 11.5’s will require lifting the front of the shell and wriggling it around the permanent coupler. Caution: do not pull on a permanent coupler, it is not removable unless circuit board is removed first.

 

 

Repainting Marklin 8135 for the SJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!: Part 1

photo: FR 46.130.31 – RC-2 locomotive for SJ

Marklin has paid little attention to Scandinavian Railroads in z gauge. There have been releases such as the 4 MY locos (brilliant series!!!!) and a few interesting freight cars, but never has there been attention paid to Sweden, this country’s railroads are left up to the never ending achievements of Harald Freudenreich at FR.

photo: FR 46.816.01 – Kis 950 sliding roof car for steel slab transport on SJ

Marklin has covered the SJ railway in HO only while FR has devoted much of their time in recent memory to SJ and other Scandinavian railroads. FR offers some Swiss, German and Austrian items currently, but Harald’s devoted fans come to him for Scandinavian trains.

photo: FR 46.132.01 – Ra 987 Express Locomotive of the SJ

Some of the most interesting railroads in the World are located in some of the most interesting natural wonders in the World. Light, geography, and climate combine to create the beautiful Scandinavian landscape, but for trains it is challenging, cargo has to be protected from a rather brutal climate with some box cars lined with heavy insulation to protect from permafrost and autos transported in closed boxes. More on this topic at a later date.

photo: FR 47.812.00 – insulated box car for the NSB

The topic today is a project I have been interested in starting for awhile now, it is the repaint of Marklin 8135 coaches for the SJ Railway. Although FR has paid much attention to freight rolling stock, they have not released coaches for the SJ as of this date with one exception. An announcement was made earlier in the year that coach sets are coming to market later this year, but in the meantime I am making my own custom set using dry stencils provided by FR a couple of years ago. The exception was a proposed project of many years that was finally released last year, it was a Marklin coach modified for SJ. The prototype was based on German built coaches used in ferry service in Sweden.  In order to model the prototype FR repainted and stenciled the coach after cutting the shell to remove a window thus shortening the coach. I own this coach and the craftsmanship is flawless.

photo: FR 46.299.00 – type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class coach for ferry service to Germany. The top coach is the modified Marklin for SJ by FR, and the bottom coach is the original standard coach by Marklin.

Why refinish the 8135 coaches and not another set of coaches? Good question! Set 8135 was released in 1991 and included coaches built in Germany that were also used on the SJ. The historical perspective was provided by FR who also provided the stencil kit for relettering the coaches and a paint chip for the correct shade of reddish brown used by SJ. Painting and other details will be discussed in Part 2 and 3 respectively.

photo: deluxe box train set “Dompfeil” of the DB

The first installment of this project is disassembly of the coaches. It is okay to be a little nervous disassembling Marklin coaches, but all things Marklin are built to take apart, each part is snapped or clipped together without glue. Repainting projects in Marklin Z are not necessarily recommended by this railroader, they potentially will diminish the collectible value, but in my case I own two 8135 sets which I like very much, turning the second set into SJ coaches is a bit necessary since I collect SJ locos built for express service.

On with the project! First step is identifying the set for repaint, in this case the historical background was already researched by FR. The set for repaint is Marklin 8135 released with a BR 03 express loco in a deep blue paint scheme. The set was released in 1991 with three 2nd class coaches and one DRG dining car. This was a deluxe boxed set presented in a high gloss illustrated carton. The running performance of this loco is superb, and it looks great to boot!

photo: 8135 locomotive and tender – BR 03

photo: 3 coaches disassembled with their respective parts including shell, trucks, weight, roof, and window glazing.

Step 2 includes the removal of the roof which is easily accomplished by very carefully pulling it off, the roof is clipped on and starting from one end seems to be the way to do this successfully.

Step 3 involves the removal of each car’s pair of trucks, carefully swivel each truck to the side for leverage and using a small screwdriver gently pry the truck off by moving back and forth around the pivot point, it will snap off. Note: torquing as seen in the photo is necessary for removal of trucks, but please use care.

Step 4 using a small pair of tweezers and starting at one end gently loosen the window glazing held in place with prongs in the base of the coach. Take note of the indents that line up with the roof clips for reassembly later.

Step 5 is removal of the weights. Using a small screwdriver remove the plastic heat points holding the weights down, weights will lift off easily from the posts in the bottom of shell.

This is one of those projects that allows a railroader to tinker with their hobby.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: this set contains parts that are snapped or clipped in place, but older coaches used glue to cement the window glazing, in the case of older coaches window glazing will more than likely pop out with gently wriggling. Reassembly of early windows is accomplished with 5 minute epoxy only, other glues use solvents that might melt plastic. NEVER use a soldering iron in and around enclosed plastic parts, micro soldering irons should only be used on heat points to attach shell to frame and coupler housings with caution!

German BR 10 Express Locomotive: 5 variations in Z!

A rather short lived and limited steam locomotive is none other than Germany’s BR 10 express locomotive of the DB, only 2 were made in 1957. They were seen as the replacement for the Class 01, but lack of locally sourced parts sidelined the elegant steam locomotive to the car shops thereby cementing a wrongly held belief that they were unreliable.

Nicknamed “Black Swans” because of their elegant appearance the BR 10’s were in service for just 11 years. Streamlining was practiced for many years in designs of steam locos, but the BR 10’s seemed to be a further refinement of this technology, instead of reducing wind resistance by sheathing a steam locomotive as was the tradition, the BR 10’s were shaped to direct the airflow in and around the locomotive while at the same time giving easy access to the running gear for daily maintenance. Cylinders could be accessed by hinged door in streamlining.

Two 4-6-2 BR 10’s were manufactured by Krupp with oil fired tenders that would replace traditional firing thereby reducing the fireman’s work by 30%.

The top speed of this locomotive class was nearly 100 miles/hour which was enough speed for express service and their time schedules, but their 22 ton axle weight limited their use to certain mainlines only.

The class 10 001 is a preserved locomotive at the railway museum Deustche Dampflokmuseum in Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg.

Marklin produced 5 variations of the BR 10 for Z including two in experimental colors and one 18 carat gold special version (88891). All locomotives with the exception of 88891 were given operating number BR 10 001.

In 1955 various color scheme proposals were submitted to highlight the new German Federal Railroad’s flagship locomotive, but it appears black with white pinstripe was the chosen color scheme.

8888 (photo) One Time Series 1994 for MHI program with blue and gray color scheme.

8889 (photo) BR 10 with black and white pinstripe was produced 1994-2008. Early examples will include the original 3 pole motors and later models have the new 5 pole. Operating number 10 001.

88891 (no photo) BR 10 commemorative model to celebrate “25 Jahre mini-club”. Loco and tender were produced in 25 carat gold. This One Time Series from 1997 included white gloves and a signed certificate.

88892 (photo) BR 10 produced in celebration of 10th anniversary of MHI program. Stunning experimental paint scheme in blue with pinstripe. Produced as a One Time Series in 2000. Originally available from MHI dealers only. Delivered in wood box.

88893 (photo) BR 10 in experimental paint scheme by Krauss-Maffei, they proposed this design August 4, 1955 and referenced the study as TLO 54801. The smoke deflectors were unique to this design, tear drop shape was to accentuate the forward thrust of the locomotive. The resolution meeting at the end of 1955 was unable to approve this design. Limited Release 2004 available at mini-club Center only. A stunning example of a locomotive that if produced would have broken new ground in steam locomotive design. Delivered in wood box.

Beyond color variations no differences appear in the four pictured locomotives with the exception of specialized smoke deflectors in the 88893. Under the hood late production 8889, 88892 and 88893 included the updated 5 pole motor.

Adding streamlined locomotives to a layout will portray the transitional period of the late 1950’s in Germany with all types of locos sharing the rails including traditional steam class 01’s, diesel and electric.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: this robust locomotive type is a strong runner with excellent pulling power due to its heavy weight. Even distribution of weight makes this an unlikely candidate to poop out in a turn-out at low speed. Derailments are equally unheard of with this fine mini-club locomotive.

Siding: Marklin 5 pole motor upgrade is possible for the 8888 and 8889 with part number E211911. Basic soldering techniques are required for this repair.