Monday, January 27, 2014

Back dating the Trainorama NSWR 44 Class to 1965

As I model late 1965 I often have to modify rolling stock or locomotives to be correct for the period. An example of this is the Trainorama NSWR 44 Class diesel. I modified my first 44 several years ago and it has appeared occasionally in some of my blog posts. I recently decided that the time had come to modify two more 44s.

I have Rick Merchants small book Railway Album Number 4 which shows 4453 and 4434 on the Inter-Capital Daylight Express near Picton on 2 October 1965 so I have modelled these two along with 4462.

There aren't many changes to be made and they are easy to do. Firstly the double marker light boxes need to be removed, I accomplished this with a pair of sharp transistor nippers (side cutters) because they are ground flat on the back. The nippers left a small raised line which I carefully sliced away with a hobby knife chisel blade that I have ground down to about 2.5mm wide.

The next step was to drill two small marker light holes into the front corner of the 44, these are in line each side with the vertical straight edge at the rear of the buffer plate mounting. and fractionally above half way between the red lining and the bottom edge of the yellow whiskers. the marker lights have a circular metal surround but I haven't worked out how to do that yet. It is painted the same colour as the surrounding body work so it looks OK without it.

Once the marker light holes are drilled I used a small brush to paint some matching Indian Red that I blended from two versions that I had colour matched by Bunnings some time ago. If you want you could take the 44 class to Bunnings or some other paint shop and have them match some paint to the body on their computerised matching equipment. I had one litre of each matched but I had only 250ml matched one other time, talk nicely it could be cheaper.

After the marker lights are done the top step in the front 'cowcatcher' needs to be filled and a grab iron mounted with each side in the bottom corners of the filled step (see photos below).

Now, in the above photo of 4453 and 4434 it can be seen that they have different front horns than the Trainorama 44 however the rear horns are the same as the Trainorama 44. a close up study of 4453 shows that it appears to have an unusual two forward and one to the rear trumpet arrangement which incidentally is how the horns on the LIMA 44 class came. This three horn arrangement can be found on 400 class railmotors, 620/720 railcars and I believe 900 class DEB sets. I used a brass casting  for the 400 class that I had in my parts box. I am aware that some 44s had the same two each way horns carried by 48 and 45 classes but the photo above does not seem to show a second horn pointing rearward.

Studying the above photo again shows that 4434 has a five trumpet set of horns which was how the 44s came originally. I used a five chime brass horn casting for 4434 but not originally as I only noticed it when looking at the photo for 4453.

Here is 4453 not yet numbered showing the modifications, note the whitish number boards. I scrape away the numbers on the number boards including the black paint and then apply a whitish translucent wash of paint as I later apply numbers that I printed on clear decal paper with my laser printer, the numbers being clear to show the white underneath. The Trainorama 44 actually has two lights in the nose, one for the headlight and another below it for the painted out number boards. I replace the light globes with white LEDs (and appropriate resistors, usually 1K). I intend to do the marker lights with some white and red SMD LEDs one day (SMD - Surface Mount Device, tiny).

4434 appears above with the new five chime horns and is otherwise complete with NSW State Crest, marker lights and filled in step with grab iron. Unfortunately when I originally did 4434 I got the placement of the grab irons wrong they are just a fraction too high.

The third 44 class has been treated the same way with the markers and grab irons but I didn't take a photo as it has the twin horns as supplied by Trainorama, you have to have a win sometimes. This 44 is going to be 4462 which of course was involved in an accident resulting in two deaths several years later.

I chose the above three numbers as in late 1965 they all had the grab irons up the sides and across the nose so I didn't need to remove them and fill the holes.

Both 4434 and 4453 have been fitted with Soundtraxx Tsunami Alco 251 v12  decoders and so far the number boards on 4434 are able to be turned on an off separately to the headlight. 4453 will be lit the same and hopefully I can work out the markers given the limited function outputs of the Tsunamis.

Now, 4462 has been fitted with a QSI Titan decoder which has been updated with the Emulator software and the new ALCO 251 v12 sounds. This sounds very nice and even drops into low idle where the diesel will hunt, it also doesn't rev up when you move to notch one from idle which apparently is prototypical. The Tsunamis increase revs when you move from idle to notch one. I chose the nearest sounding horn that is available from the ones in the sound set. While not a recording of a NSW horn it is considered by some who know that it is quite adequate. Keep in mind that given the number of different horns carried by the class and the limited number of 44s still around having the correct sound for the type of horn modelled is somewhat academic.

However if you are into playing with sound files the Titan allows two User Sounds to be downloaded into the decoder with the QSI Q2 Upgrade program and the QSI programmer. Both of these User Sounds can contain a start file, a loop file and an end file so a correct horn could be done from a good recording given that it can be a bit tricky to get the looping file right without an audible click when it loops. That is, the start and end as it loops need to be seamless and must also blend with the start and end sound files.

Here is a quick video showing some of the Titan Emulator ALCO 251 v12 sounds. I was waiting for the 44 to drop into the low idle when the fan went off but by the time I got to the camera it stopped and it dropped into the low idle. I set the sound of the fan to the rear speaker below the fan on the 44 class where the sound should come from.  The Titan can be set to send various sounds to either of two speakers or any where in between them. Note that the 44 class does not have any momentum applied.

I don't know about anyone else, but I like it!


Colin Hussey said...


A comment on the horns, for your period.

When the Mk 2 44's arrived they had a set of 4 trumpets on #1 end 2 facing forward, & 2 back, they also had the 2 horns on #2 end.

The horns were of the same types as used on the 45, 48 & 49, later the 2 rear facing ones on #1 end were removed. Thus the common 2 facing each direction was to be in voque.

At the same time, the Mk1's were progressively fitted with the same arrangement as the Mk 2 types.

Of interest for earlier period modellers is that from what I can ascertain from photo's 4440 - 49 were not fitted with the 5 chime air horns on delivery, when they received the 5 chimers is unknown to me but certainly later photo's show those engines with the 5 chimes.

Congrats on the nice job you have done. My retro to 1956 requires reassembly.

Ray P said...


Thanks for the extra info about the horns. I have just had a close look at the photo of 4462 on page 28 of Rick Merchants Railway Album 4 to see if there were just the two horns or four but there are only two in the photo dated 1-3-1966. That's probably as close as I will get to late 1965 so I will go with just the two horns.


Colin Hussey said...


If you have a photo & date you cannot go past that to get the right items & mods done.

What type of speakers are in the 44cl? Reason I ask & its the age old problem of trying to get sounds into small speakers, but for me, the sounds are too sharp, or hollow sounding rather than the deep sound of the 44cl.

The hunting sound is quite good although its more what you would get on the Mk1 44's along with the 40 & 43cl which had electro magnetic governors in them, which was a primary reason for the hunting. They got worse as the motor got more worn between overhauls, except for the actual sound, it is realistic.

The Mk2's were more stable as they had a better type of governor, of the Woodward type.

The Mk1 48cl also had the electro magnetic governor but was not as bad as the mainliners with hunting, those from the Mk2's on all had the Woodward type as did the 45cl.


Ray P said...


The speakers are nothing special, the one in the rear is the one supplied in the 44 with an enclosure from the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown that was designed to fit in the 44. The front speaker is a MRC 18mm speaker that comes with its own enclosure attached. Both speakers and enclosures were just what I had to hand. I will eventually look at something better if I can find a suitable high bass that will fit.

It isn't likely that we will ever get the deep notes given the size of the speakers we have to work with, not a perfect world unfortunately.


Hopey said...

I like the sound but, like Ray I drove them, it sounds a bit tinny to me, perhaps it was the accoustics of the room, but I think about 10 to 15 % more bass sound would be right. The only time you would experience the sound as it is on the video would be in the ngine room, usually during prep time ( 15 minutes) . Geoff Hope, Loco Inspector RET , AFULE President Albury 1979-82, Central ETR 1987-89. Etc etc.

Ray P said...


We will never get the full bass sound of any locomotive with the current speaker technology, you have to listen to the sounds and decide if it sounds like a 44 or not. It was recorded from a US loco of course. Even sound recorded from an original 44 and downloaded into say an ESU Loksound 4 wouldn't have the depth of bass with the speakers available. I believe that if a sound decoder is hooked up to an external amplifier sound system with large speakers as in a stereo or 5.1 theatre system then the full sound is actually available.

The other problem is that Youtube 'crunches' the sound a bit so that can add to the tinny effect not counting of course the quality of the microphone in my video camera.

Also it was Colin who drove for NSWR not me.