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Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity 6-car set

eBay can be a thundering nuisance.

I didn't really want a Trix Class 124 InterCity DMU as it is dimensionally compromised, and Trix (and successors Lilliput and Dapol) only made the Driving Motor cars. Trix attempted to bridge the gap with their standard BR Mark 1s painted in DMU green (so two Motor Brake Corridor Seconds (MBSLs); Trailer First Buffet (TFLRB) and the Trailer Open Second (TSL).

This was unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. As well as being just plain wrong, the windows on the loco-hauled Mark 1 are larger than their DMU equivalents; Trix shipped the coaches with Commonwealth bogies; and the layout of the coaches varied significantly from the prototype vehicles. Yet despite these major faults, the original Trix intermediate vehicles are highly collectable!

However, a complete and accurate (but unfinished) 6-car set turned up on eBay, all fashioned from Dapol body shells. This is the only accurate rendering using Trix shells I have seen, and I put in a modest bid, not expecting to win it, but at least thinking I should make an effort.

And this is what I acquired for £88.

Trix/Dapol completed body shells for an accurate 6-car set in the Trix 3.8mm scale including driving motors, brake motors, buffet and second open.

Trix/Dapol completed body shells for an accurate 6-car set in the Trix 3.8mm scale for the TSO and brake motor.

The modeller responsible for this outstanding effort is David Bateman, who undertook this work whilst posted out in Iran.

Parts not supplied were:

1. glazing
2. corridor connections (working or otherwise)
3. some buffers
4. buck eye and screw couplings for the ends of the set
5. couplings for the intermediate vehicles
6. power bogies
7. replacement wheels for the non-powered bogies

The Trix/Dapol wheel flanges looked rather deep, and as I am not a fan of shiny wheels, a set of Gibson 4009 DMU wheels were purchased.

eBay is also a remarkable resource, and glazing for the Trix unit and the Trix PECO-style couplings were quickly sourced. David had used MJT retracted BR buffers for the some of the coaches, and a pack of these, together with MJT buck eye couplings was ordered from Dart Castings. I wanted flexible corridor connections, but the 4mm BR-type were too large, so a set of 4mm LMS ones have been used instead. It is not clear why the LMS ones seem markedly smaller that the BR type but crucially they fit the Trix body.

That just left the small problem of the power bogies. The Trix Class 124 features an odd - if not bizarre - mix of scales in the model. The buffer height, bogie wheel base and body width are all 4mm scale. But the body length and height are to 3.8mm scale. This means that any 4mm proprietary motor bogie can be used, but it is more of a challenge if a double power bogie configuration is required. BR had two vehicle lengths: 64 and 57 feet. The Class 123 and 124s were 64 foot long, whereas the majority of DMU types were 57 feet. The Trix vehicle helpfully scales out at around the 61 foot mark!

The double-power bogie chassis that are currently available are the Heljan Class 129 parcels unit and the Dapol Class 121/122 and both are 64 foot vehicles, so would need shortening to fit. However Replica Railways make a 57 foot unit which features two motors, and so can more readily cut in half and lengthened. This seemed to be the best way to proceed.

Model-wise, the prototype had integral bodies and therefore didn't require underframe trussing. But, as can seen on the photos above, the model employs standard Trix Mark 1 underframes for the Trailer First Buffet (TFLRB) and the Trailer Open Second (TSL), and I might opt to leave this as supplied. 

29 October 2019

The first job was to sort out the glazing. This consists of clear plastic sheet cut into strips with three small vertical bands printed on to represent the standard BR sliding quarter light windows. This are glossy on the printed side and more subdued on the reverse. I decided to mount these with the printed side on the inside (so the reverse of what was intended) as they should really be green, and certainly not glossy white. I also had an idea for converting these to 'green' bars, and thought having the acetate on the outside might facilitate this process in due course. The sheets for the Driving Motor Open Composites (DMC) fit without modification, but need extensive cutting to fit the other cars. Technically, only the DMCs had the BR logo, but its a nice feature on the other coaches, so I won't be removing them. Note also that the MJT 'working' corridor bellows have been fitted to one end of each coach. The white glazed toilet windows have been created with white insulation tape applied to the inner surface.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC and  MBSL bodyshells after installation of glazing.  

As I have an original Trix bodyshell, it is possible to compare the original plastic Trix glazing with that supplied by trixtrains-wba-online: the upper image is the original and the lower the replacement printed acetate. The replacement set are clearly intended to work with the blue/grey livery, and the body shell shown is intended a test method for developing an effective way of converting the white vertical glazing bars to green...

Trix Class 124 InterCity DMC showing original glazing.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC with replacement printed acetate glazing.

It seemed prudent to focus on the power unit early in the build process. Gareth at Replica provided detailed instructions on how to lengthen the chassis - in his worked case, it is the Lima GWR 'banana' diesel unit that has been converted.

The Trix underframe comes with neatly printed lettering, and first thoughts were to modify the original underframe, as per the Replica instructions. This involves cutting the die-cast inner frame (that supports the motors and gear towers) in half, and them mounting them on the original Trix underframe (with holes cut for the gear towers).

Although a 'success' in that it all went back together (and worked!), the ride height of the buffers was noticeably lower than previously. This was due to the thicker floor employed by Trix. The photo below shows the chassis dismantled again. The diecast unit is in the background. The modified Trix unit is in the centre of the image (an attempt to remove the undergear has failed, having been glued rather firmly in place). In the foreground is the Replica outer plastic frame, now cut so that it can be lengthened.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC chassis modified to take the Replica motorised chassis, and the Replica chassis reworked to replace it.

Moving on, a replacement Dapol undergear frame has now been glued in place on the extended Replica frame. Note how the frame has been cut back so that the four screw holes can be accessed.

Repica outer frame cut and mounted on the Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC underframe module.

For clarity, here is the underside of the diecast inner frame. This was supplied in a uniform black but the glue used in the first effort has lifted the paint. The residual glue was removed before the frame was re-united with the Replica plastic outer frame.

The Replica motorised die-cast chassis cut, ready to be assembled in the Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC chassis.

Bit of a leap forward here. The two Replica frames have been reunited, and the four securing screws reinserted. Just visible underneath are the two cab partitions that have been refitted. Finally, the Trix bogie frames have been glued to the Replica 'blanks'. To get a firm fit, shims of 10 thou plasticard were first glued to the Replica 'blanks' before the Trix frames were slid over the bogie and glued in place. The Trix bogie frames are handed, and passive provision has been made for fitting Trix PECO-style couplings by ensuring the horizontal cut-out in the bogie stretcher bar is facing outwards.

Underside of Replica chassis ready for trial fitting into the Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC.

The Replica instructions suggest that the chassis is fully dismantled before cutting, but this isn't strictly necessary. However, the circuit board is vulnerable, and for those tempted to remove it (or need to reattach wires that become detached) here is a guide to what the various tags do.

1.  right hand track pick-up (front bogie)
2.  common (+)
3.  function output B
4.  function output B
5.  common (+)
6.  right hand track pick-up (rear bogie)
7.  left hand track pick-up (front bogie)
8.  farside right and left hand motor feed (red and black wires)
9.  function output A
10. function output A
11.nearside right and left hand motor feed (red and black wires)
12.left hand track pick-up (front bogie)

Replica powered DMU chassis annotated circuit board

29 October 2019

I had previously bought an original Trix trailer to compare with my 4mm Sliver Fox unit. It was apparent that Dapol had made a number of significant changes to the original Trix model, and in particular to the bogies.

The Trix bogie had a metal inner frame, with axle holes drilled through the block. These original bogies do not roll very well, made worse by the fitting of a stiff set of pick-ups on both the motored and un-motored cars. I did attempt to improve the running of these bogies by removing the pick-ups and replacing the wheels with a set of spare Ultrascale wheels. These had slightly thinner axles, but even with the new wheels, although running was improved, it remained sluggish by modern standards. The problem seems to be that the axle hole runs the full width of the inner frame block, so creating a greater surface area to retard the free turning of the axle.The bogie was fixed to the plastic frame by a spigot which was secured in the underframe by a screw.

The bogie to the left is the right way round, with the spigot that engages with the hole in the underframe uppermost. The right hand bogie shows the underside, and highlights the fact that there is no cut-out in the frame where the axle passes through the block. The wheels are Ultrascale. 

Original Trix Class 124 InterCity DMC die-cast inner bogie frames, top and bottom, and fitted with Ultrascale wheels.

In contrast, the Dapol bogie is all plastic, with an inner plastic frame clipping into the plastic outer frame. A separate plastic clip is then a push fit into the hole in the underframe to secure the bogie. The very good news is that this design is free running, and it is a matter of moments to unclip the outer frame, insert the new wheels and clip the frame back together.

The Dapol bogie also features a neat current pick-up which is effective, whilst allowing the wheels to easily rotate. However, these are not required, and were quickly removed (they are a single brass fitting which is a push-fit in a slot on the side of the inner frame).

This image shows the later Dapol all-plastic bogie, complete with its pick-ups.

Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC bogie with stamped brass pick-ups.

...and the underside

Underside of Dapol Class 124 InterCity bogie.

The right hand bogie has the original, shiny wheels with deeper flanges, whilst the left hand one has Alan Gibson wheels.

Pair of Dapol Class 124 InterCity bogies showing Alan Gibson wheels compared to the original Dapol wheels.

The underframes supplied featured holes of various for fixing the bogies, and it seemed that the Dapol clip were too short for easy engagement. It was possible to get greater length by shortening the sleeve through which the clip passes on the underside of the inner bogie frame. A piece of plasticard was then glued to the base plate so that lengthened clip easily passes through the hole in the underframe. 

Disassembled Dapol Class 124 InterCity bogie.

The motor bogies also came in for revision. The Trix bogie had a MW-style 5-pole open frame motor perched on top of the front bogie (and mounted in the cab for all to see) whereas Dapol produced a neater design featuring a 'ringfield' motor in the style of a Lima diesel or a Hornby tender drive.

Whilst looking at the variances between the Trix and Dapol models, it should be noted that the bogie support varies between the two.

The first image shows the Trix bogie mounting, which is just a hole in the underframe. The metal psigot from the die-cast chassis frame then fits through the hole and is secured by a screw and washer.

Original bogie mounting on a Trix Class 124 InterCity DMC chassis.

The second image shows the Dapol amendment, which looks similar - if not identical - to the Trix Mark 1 bogie mounting arrangement.

Amended bogie mounting on Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC chassis.

 There is another variation between the Trix and Dapol models that caught me out. Both my original Trix trailer and the set of Dapol bogies supplied from the original builder all came without couplings, and superficially, the slot in both types of bogie looked similar. I therefore ordered a set of the Trix PECO-type couplings. Imagine my consternation when these didn't fit the stock of bogies (the coupling seemed too low and had a great deal of movement up and down within the slot at the bogie end). A raid of the coupling box soon provided a plug-in tension lock coupling that was a perfect fit and locked into the socket. Back to eBay and a second order for the correct type of coupling!

29 October 2019

Accurately locating and securing the Replica chassis in the Trix body shell was a major concern. The Trix model employs a lug which engages in a hole in the cab front (why they did this in such an obvious and visible location is another mystery that detracts from an otherwise neat model). I decided to replicate this but was concerned that the lug had to be securely fitted to the Replica chassis. A section was cut from the plastic Replica outer frame, the cab section glued and screwed into position, and then additional pieces of plasticard built-up to make a solid unit. Although the cutting is less than optimal, it fits neatly within the bodyshell.

Replica powered die-cast chassis end modified to fit Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC body.

A similar profiled 'floor' to match the Trix body was also glued to the 'cab' piece at the rear end of the car. Remember if doing this conversion, the fuel tank on the underframe is towards the front, and the battery box towards the rear.

Repica chassis modified to fit Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC body.

This rear platform needs to rest against a stop glued to the rear bulkhead. The measurement for this was calculated, and then marked on a piece of insulation tape which was then stuck to the bulkhead to allow the 'stop' to be accurately located.

Chassis rest fitted inside Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC body at the corridor end to carry the Replica die-cast motorised chassis.

The next step with the underframe is to glue the angle strip to the top of the diecast chassis halves to create a rigid unit. This was a challenge, given the assembled nature of the chassis. Packing pieces were inserted under the underframe until it was level.

Replica die-cast chassis re-assembled for Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC conversion.

30 October 2019

The powered chassis was put to one side to allow the glue to fully harden, before adding the buffer beams and the brass angle to stabilise the two halves of the cut die-cast chassis.

Attention has therefore moved to bolting together the trailer cars.

In the Trix scheme of things each body was secured to the chassis using two 1.25 inch screws. 12 are notionally needed for the six-car set, and I had four. A trawl of eBay revealed a seller with the original Trix screw at a handsome £1.50 each: £18 seemed a lot so another solution was needed. Checking out various Websites revealed that 6 BA 1 inch screws are quite common, but not 1.25 inch.

I was also having a problem using the original screws, as it was very difficult to accurately locate them in the roof aperture (I don't remember having this problem with the original Trix Mark 1s that I had back in the 60s).

The solution adopted was to buy three 12 inch 6BA threaded rods, knowing that I could get 9 x 1.25 inch rods out of each full rod, or a cost per item one third of the original item.

Here is a shot showing the inside of the roof, with the two apertures for the screws.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity buffet (TFLRB) bodyshell showing socket for retaining screw.

The first full length rod is screwed into the roof aperture, and then the second, as shown below. I used a pair of mole grips to ensure the rod was firmly screwed in.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity buffet (TFLRB) bodyshell showing socket with 6BA threaded rod inserted to form retaining screw.

The interior was supplied ready-made, and a very neat buffet counter had been grafted on to an original Trix set of compartments.

Interior for Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity buffet (TFLRB) bodyshell.

A hole was drilled through the buffet counter to accomodate the screw, and then the seating slid down the threaded rods and into place within the body.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity buffet (TFLRB) bodyshell assembled with 6BA threaded rod inserted to form retaining screw.

The chassis is now also fed down the rods, and clicked into place. A 6BA nut is screwed down each thread until it can be gently tightened against the underside of the chassis. The Dremel now comes into play and the surplus rod is cut off, ready to be used on the next vehicle. Note that the trussing is still in place.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity buffet (TFLRB) assembled with 6BA threaded rod cut off and nut added to secure body. 

31 October 2019

Attention now turned back to the Replica powered chassis. The Replica instructions provided for the Lima GWR car suggested stripping the chassis completely before doctoring it. Looking at the relatively small of cutting required, it opted to do it with the drive trains and electrics in situ. This worked - except two wires did inadvertently get cut. This appeared to be a simple job of soldering the ends together again (ensuring that the solder joints were suitable insulated).

Put back on the bench track on DC (with the blanking plate inserted) it didn't work. Using the Motorist's 12 volt testing screw driver established that the power was present and correct up to one of the motor connections on the circuit board. I think was probably a dry joint or a joint that had suffered when the block was being cut, but attempts to solder it failed, and one the non-DCC blocks on the circuit board started smoking - never a good sign. I therefore replaced the circuit board with a Gaugemaster DCC socket. The wires need lengthening, and shot shows the new wiring and DCC socket installed.

Replica chassis for Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity with original circuit board replaced with a Gaugemaster DCC socket.

With the wiring now reworked and tested, it was time to add the K&S brass angle. For the avoidance of doubt, the specification was #9882 W: 1/4" (6.35mm), H: 1/4" (6.35mm), T: 1/64" (0.39mm), L: 12" (305mm).

The image below shows the first piece in place, and the second behind awaiting for the cut outs to be completed. Not the greatest piece of metalworking, but note how two cut outs have been created to allow for the rubber padding that surrounds each motor.

Replica chassis for Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity showing brass angle bracing members being cut and trial fitted.

With the two brass angles now firmly Araldited in place, it was possible to offer the power chassis up inside the body. The Replica chassis is designed to sit so that the die-cast chassis is below the window line in a 4mm scale coach, and therfore a floor with seat backs and partitions can be added.

It is at this point you can see the problem with the Trix 3.8mm scaling, as the brass angle can be seen just above the window line. There is no way this can be lowered, and the only option is to paint the brass angle black.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity with Replica chassis showing brass angle bracing just visible through the windows.

Although the body is secured at the front, it was felt desirable to fit a bolt and nut to secure the body to the chassis. A 6BA nut was soldered to piece of tin can, which was then Araldited to the underside of the roof, above the hole in the centre of the underframe module.

Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity DMC showing new body securing socket fashioned from a tin can and 6BA nut.

And a first look at the full set. The couplings are still awaited, having ordered the wrong type. The headcode boxes are glazed but not yet populated. These will be '1M76' and '1N96': '1' described the train type, in this case 'Express'. The second character denoted the destination region: 'M' for Midland and 'N' for North Eastern'.

The complete Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity set featuring accurate portrayals of the DMC x 2; MBSL x 2; TSL and TFLRB. All fashioned from original Dapol bodies and Trix/Dapol underframes by David Bateman and fitted with a Replica 57' die-cast chassis.

Headcodes for Trix/Dapol Class 124 InterCity unit.

And finally, here is how it was described on eBay:

RARE CHANCE TO MAKE YOUR OWN BR CLASS 124 TRANS PENNINE 6 - CAR DMU

I’m having a loft clear out and have come across this project that I must have abandoned more than 10 years ago when I changed to 0 Gauge. A lot of work has already been done by me, but needs some more to finish off. It is mainly based on DAPOL parts, which were left over when they reintroduced the H0 LILIPUT/TRIX Twin 2 car unit (driving and trailer car).

I’ve tried to show everything in the photos, so please study carefully. Briefly, the following is included :-

2 x Driving Motor Open Composites (DMC’s). These are standard Dapol bodies on their under frames. One coach is already fitted with Dapol bogies and 2 Dapol bogies are included for the second. No side glazing and no interiors yet, but have included some different coach seating units that could be cannibalised.

2 x Motor Brake Corridor Seconds (MBSL’s), These have been made using spare Dapol driving motor body shells and modified to suit. Have Dapol under frames and fitted with corridor partitions and seating units. 2 Dapol bogies for each coach included. No blazing fitted.

1 x Trailer Open Second (TSL). Again, this has been made using spare Dapol motor body shells, modified to suit. This has a TTR Mk1 coach under frame and is fitted with seating units from the same source. 2 Dapol bogies are included for fitting. No glazing fitted.

1 x Trailer First Buffet (TFLRB). Again, this has been made using spare body shells, modified to suit. This has a TTR Mk1 coach under frame and is fitted with seating. 2 Dapol bogies are included for fitting. No glazing fitted.

As well as all the necessary Dapol bogies mentioned above for each coach, I’m also including 4 seating units from another source to enable seats for the motor cars to be adapted. There are also some small plastic exhaust pipes/silencers for fitting under the under frames of the power cars. There is also a set of drawings for each of the 6 Class 124 coaches as a guide.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO POWER BOGIES INCLUDED. I did think that I did have some of the correct (and new) Dapol power bogies somewhere, but have not been able to find these anywhere. So, a suitable power bogies will have to be sourced by the Buyer

Will be well packed for posting. Happy bidding.

2 November 2019