Cre­ate Ty­ne­side EMUS

Ken New­ton cre­ates an NER elec­tric unit from old Hornby Mk 1s.

Model Rail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

My na­tive Ty­ne­side had, from 1904 un­til 1967, a 600V DC third-rail sub­ur­ban net­work, much of which now forms part of the Tyne & Wear Metro sys­tem, al­beit now en­er­gised to 1,500V DC via over­head lines. Bachmann’s ex­cel­lent ‘2-EPB’ EMU (and Class 419 ‘MLV’) al­lows the prospec­tive Ty­ne­side elec­tric modeller to recre­ate the South Shields branch be­tween 1955 and 1963, when these new units re­placed the vin­tage North Eastern Rail­way stock. For the North­ern Coast loop and River­side branch, it’s a dif­fer­ent mat­ter. These lines had, from 1937, a fleet of four dif­fer­ent types of Metro-cam­mell ar­tic­u­lated EMUS. I fan­cied mod­el­ling the north­ern loop of the Ty­ne­side sys­tem by build­ing three twin-car units. A pair of Type B Metro-cam­mell 1937/8 ar­tic­u­lated twin coach units (E29114E/E29314E and E29126E/ E29326E) would be com­ple­mented by a Type A unit (E29105E/E29305E). There are no suit­able kits avail­able so I had to source some­thing suit­able. Hornby’s older range of BR Mk 1s seemed the most vi­able op­tion, so I bought seven of them sec­ond-hand. A set of scale draw­ings was pro­duced, based on pro­to­type in­for­ma­tion and pho­to­graphs, which helped in the cre­ation of tem­plates to ease the cut­ting and shap­ing of win­dow and door aper­tures. Hornby’s X6575 self-con­tained mo­tor bo­gie, from the ‘2-BIL’/‘2-HAL’ EMUS, pro­vided the per­fect trac­tion op­tion, be­ing avail­able sep­a­rately for around £30, com­plete with bo­gie frames and power col­lec­tor shoe. I de­cided to mo­torise the Type B EMUS only, as the mo­tor bo­gie could be hid­den in­side the lug­gage area. The Type A unit is un­pow­ered, but it does fea­ture power collection to work the light­ing cir­cuitry, and it can be cou­pled to a pow­ered twin set to form a four-car unit. I think that my ar­tic­u­lated twin set EMUS, although not 100% ex­act in de­tail and scale, com­ple­ment the Bachmann ‘2-EPB’ and ‘MLV’ nicely and help to recre­ate the Ty­ne­side of my youth. My mod­els will cer­tainly re­main in ser­vice un­til a more ac­cu­rate kit or, per­haps, a ready-to-run model is pro­duced.


1 I found that Hornby’s older Mk 1 coaches (that date back to Tri-ang days) of­fered a suit­able base for the Metro-cam­mell EMU ve­hi­cles. A batch of seven coaches was pur­chased sec­ond-hand and dis­man­tled.

2 A thick plas­tic tem­plate was cre­ated as a guide for cut­ting the win­dow and door aper­tures in the outer ends of each ve­hi­cle, as well as the lo­ca­tions for the four head code lamps.

3 The coach ends had the moulded de­tail filed away be­fore the tem­plate was used to mark out the lo­ca­tions for each aper­ture. Af­ter drilling and cut­ting away the waste, I used files to take care of the fi­nal shap­ing.

4 Hornby’s X6575 power bo­gie is a smoothrun­ning, self-con­tained unit and comes com­plete with side frames, col­lec­tor shoe mould­ings and a top-mount­ing clip.

5 The Mk 1 chas­sis were short­ened to 228mm in length. This gives a scale 57ft, which is 1ft 3in over­sized, but al­lows for the ex­ist­ing bo­gie mount­ing holes to be re­tained.

6 The sec­tion of the car­riage un­der­frame that was cut out to house the mo­tor bo­gie was re­fit­ted, us­ing scraps of plas­tic as mount­ing brack­ets. The Hornby bo­gie sim­ply clips into the ex­ist­ing mount­ing hole.

7 The Hornby Mk 1 bo­gies were mod­i­fied, with Bachmann DMU cou­plings in­stalled. The trail­ing bo­gies were adapted to elec­tri­cal collection us­ing cop­per-clad strip and brass wire.

8 To act as bo­gie pivot points, scrap plas­tic kit sprues were filed to a round pro­file and drilled to al­low ca­bles to pass through. The plas­tic shaft was then tapped to take a mount­ing nut and washer.

9 The cen­tre ar­tic­u­lated bo­gie was sourced from a Bachmann Thomp­son coach, mod­i­fied with scrap plas­tic sheet and rod to form a pair of dow­els, shaped to en­able a loose fit into the chas­sis’ bo­gie mount­ing holes.

10 Us­ing my sketch plans, the coach sides were marked out and cut to re­flect the new win­dow lay­out. Ad­di­tional ver­ti­cal win­dow pil­lars were formed from Ever­green 1mm by 2mm and 1mm by 4mm styrene strip.

11 More tem­plates were cre­ated to as­sist with the cut­ting of pas­sen­ger and guard’s com­part­ment doors. Tem­plates help to achieve more con­sis­tent re­sults when mul­ti­ple iden­ti­cal parts are re­quired.

12 The new doors were cut from 1mm thick styrene sheet, us­ing the tem­plates as a guide. The fi­nal shap­ing was ef­fected with nee­dle files. Ever­green 1mm by 2mm styrene strip formed the cen­tral glaz­ing bar of the pas­sen­ger door.

13 Thicker sheet plas­tic is used to form the in­ner car­riage ends, with ex­tra lay­ers added be­hind the cen­tral gang­way door aper­tures. Fix with Plas­tic Weld ce­ment and leave overnight be­fore tidy­ing up the cor­ner joints.

14 To repli­cate the top win­dows, a sim­ple jig was im­pro­vised from brass and plas­tic – on a ply­wood base – to al­low 1mm by 1mm plas­tic strip to be bonded quickly and ac­cu­rately.

15 Us­ing the jig en­sures that the win­dows will have uni­form size, shape and spac­ing. Af­ter cut­ting the hor­i­zon­tal bar to the ex­act size of each win­dow open­ing, they were glued into po­si­tion.

16 Plas­tic Weld poly ce­ment was used to join the plas­tic body sec­tions to­gether, cre­at­ing a sturdy con­struc­tion. The same ad­he­sive also al­lowed the coach sides to be bonded se­curely to the chas­sis.

17 The moulded vents were re­moved from the roofs be­fore holes were drilled for the whitemetal LNER tor­pedo vents (from 247 De­vel­op­ments), which were se­cured with cyano glue.

18 Seat­ing was made out of sec­tions of the Hornby Mk 1 in­te­rior mould­ings, with ex­tra par­ti­tions made out of plas­tic card. The in­te­ri­ors were then painted in ap­pro­pri­ate colours.

19 Af­ter a thor­ough test run to iron out any me­chan­i­cal or elec­tri­cal is­sues, the bodyshells and roofs were primed and painted. Rail­match BR Mul­ti­ple Unit Green (later ver­sion) was ap­plied via an aerosol can.

20 Clear plas­tic glaz­ing was in­stalled be­fore HMRS Press­fix trans­fers were ap­plied, us­ing mask­ing tape as a guide. Note the wires from the in­ner end that trans­mit power from the trail­ing bo­gie to the mo­tor and light­ing cir­cuit.

21 12V yel­low and red LEDS rep­re­sent the head and tail lamps. The diodes were in­stalled in op­po­site po­lar­i­ties, so that the ap­pro­pri­ate head and tail lights il­lu­mi­nate, ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tion in which the train is run­ning.

22 Des­ti­na­tion blinds were printed us­ing 8pt Arial (Nar­row) type­face. The sheet was cov­ered in wide Sel­lotape be­fore the in­di­vid­ual des­ti­na­tions were cut out and fixed to the out­side of the cab ends.

Ken’s lay­out fea­tures EMUS for both the North and South Ty­ne­side sub­ur­ban lines, cour­tesy of Bachmann (for the lat­ter route) and some se­ri­ously mod­i­fied Hornby Mk 1s (for the former line).

Mak­ing use of cheap sec­ond-hand Hornby coach­ing stock, Ken has cre­ated a fleet of unique EMUS. The Metro-cam­mell Ty­ne­side EMUS were the last ar­tic­u­lated ve­hi­cles to work in the UK un­til the in­tro­duc­tion of Eurostar’s Class 373 units.

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