Create Tyneside EMUS
Ken Newton creates an NER electric unit from old Hornby Mk 1s.
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.
STEP BY STEP
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.