By Michael Belham
I recently purchased an Accucraft Baguley Drewery diesel locomotive for use on my 16mm scale layout. I am basing my layout on Llanuwchllyn station, home of the Bala Lake Railway. As such my locomotives will be used in a “preserved” railway setting.
The closest actual locomotive to the model appears to be No.10 on the Vale of Rheidol Railway.
The model is well built and comes with track pickups as standard, but lacks added details. All of the detail enhancements come from Swift Sixteen.
Why DCC control?
I have seen that most layouts are garden based, and that may be the reason I see a lot of battery powered electric locos, or radio controlled battery locos.
The LGB system is designed for use outdoors and uses its own version of digital control similar to DCC, and as I have used DCC before for smaller scales I decided to take the plunge.
The main space I have for my layout is inside my business premises so I am constructing a modular base board that can travel.
The advantages of DCC control of the locomotives as I see them are:
- Cleaner for use indoors
- Cheaper than live steam
- No batteries to charge
- Digital synchronised sound and smoke
- Directional lighting
- Multiple locomotives can share the layout under individual control
- The locos can be set up to obey signals if the operator is busy
What modifications have I made?
Installation of the DCC controller and smoke generator
- Adjust the loco gauge to your choice, in my case 32mm
- Make sure it runs OK on DC
- Remove the loco body
- I found the best place for controller was in the top of the engine bay
- The speakers sit in front of the moulded radiator grill.
- The smoke generator is sited up against the cab bulkhead.
- The sound file has been configured by Coastal DCC so that the plumes of diesel smoke are produced realistically
- To provide the feed from the pickups to the control board you use the original pickup wiring
- The control board has replacement connections to the motor
- By releasing the top moulding of the cab (4 screws inside) you release the moulded exhaust cover which can then be drilled, I inserted a 6mm brass tube which is connected to the smoke generator inside the engine bay. The top can be painted black to hide it.
The wiper blades you can see in the photographs have been added as extra detail to match those fitted to locomotive No.10 on the Vale of Rheidol Railway.
Air brake pipes
In preservation these engines are required to work with air braked coaching stock as well as unfitted goods waggons. The pipes on the prototype come out of the engine bay and down to the couplings, whereas the pipes I sourced are buffer beam mounted.
I have found the loco lights from Houston Gate Locomotive Works convert very well to electronic illumination. They are already hollow inside which helps as they take a 3mm bi-colour LED, White and Red.
If you prise out the clear jewelled lens, remove the metallic backing and re-attach with a small amount of super glue they make excellent lenses.
The DCC controller has separate connections for front and rear facing lights, and using and auxiliary output and a relay you can choose to have the red lights showing when moving light engine or white only when hauling a train.
Swift Sixteen produce a set of diesel control handles and a seated driving figure.
I used these together with photos of the cab from No. 10 to produce a representation of what the cab looks like, again with lighting control by DCC.