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GoingUnderground

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    I'm still in a hole. Should I stop digging?
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    Need you ask? London Underground, the GC Woodhead Route with its EM1s and EM2s, and Swiss Railways, particularly the RhB. Oh and skiing, but at my age it gets harder to lose the weight each year to get into my ski pants. Ideal railway, well apart from the Underground, it must be the Gornergratbahn - where else can you ski and go train spotting at the same time.

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  1. It was but only with a maroon body, as R252. It was in 1959 that Triang sold it in the RP.C Passenger Set and RP.D Goods Set. They didn't call them starter sets, preferring to call them the Primary Series. The green steeple cab, R.254, with the same operating pantograph as used on the Double-ended Transcontinental electric loco R.257, the EM2 R.351, and the Sydney Suburban EMU R450 & R.452, was never sold in a set, and was the only OHLE Tri-ang loco that wasn't, at some point in its life, included in a set.
  2. There were diesel shunters in Black, and Red, the R.253 Dock Shunter, and the same model, but with the Transcontinental logo and without buffers was made in Yellow, the R.353 Switcher. The red and yellow ones were used in sets. They used the 4 wheel motor bogie from the Transcontinental Bo-Bo diesel switcher and double ended Bo-Bo diesel and electric locos. Triang even made a small clip on snowplough for it.
  3. Many AC motors will work on DC, and are sometimes referred to as Universal motors for that very reason. They will work on DC, but only in one direction as reversing the polarity also reverses the magnetic polarity in the field coils so the motor still turns in the same direction no matter what polarity is applied. This also happens when running on AC as the polarity is continually reversing. To change direction you need to change the polarity of either the commutator feed or the field coil feed, but not both. I don't know about modern Maerklin locos, but British Trix locos used AC up to mid 1950s and they incorporated a field coil polarity switching relay.
  4. Ron, they don't know about WiFi controllers from European makers but do have greater awareness of things outside the USA? Bit of a contradiction.
  5. We'll have to agree to disagree then. Because, to my aged eyes, Roco-made Hornby track is not the same as 6 because of the differences in the track base, which makes it look toy-like to me, unlike Margate made '69-75 System 6. Hornby track is "7" to me, and always will be, but it is the longest lasting Rovex track sytem, remaining virtually unchanged since its introduction in 1976. Incidentally, I have next to me examples of Standard, Series 3, Super 4, System 6, Hornby-Roco, Hornby-China, Hornby Dublo 2 rail, Bachmann (with its two clip-fit slots, Sarah) Peco Code 100 Streamline, Trix Twin Bakelite and also Trix Twin fibre-base 3 rail track. Which looks best to me? Probably the Peco Streamline because I'm used to seeing it, and the System 6, because the ends of the track sections/pieces cannot be seen, followed by the Super 4 and the HD 2 rail for the same reason. I don't like the Roco/Hornby/Bachmann track because of the toy-like look of the twinned end sleepers. The worst? Undoubtedly, the Trix Twin Bakelite, but that was a 1935 design. The sleeper spacing and size on the HD and Super 4 track are very similar, even though the HD is Code 100 rail. The Bachmann Chinese made track of 5 years ago bears a very remarkable simarity to the Hornby Austrian made track that's at least 20 years older, including the mould impressions on the underside, but that's probably down to the constraints of injection moulding.
  6. Pat talks about a new track plan book being released in 1976, saying "As if to wipe the slate clean, a new track plan book was released that year..." which comes about as close as you can get to saying that System 6 was dead. Yes, he does say that the Roco "...tooled-up track to Hornby's specifications using slide-in cores to provide the clip-fit grooves." But he doesn't say that Hornby we happy with the result. In fact he says the opposite "....The Company (Hornby) were also unhappy that the Roco track did not have a positive system for locking pieces together, a characteristic of all track made at Margate." Note he says "also" implying that they weren't happy with other features, presumably the way that Clip-fit had been implemented as that was in his previous sentence. He also says that the buying-in of Roco-made track was only supposed to be a temporary measure whilst they sorted out their manufacturing problems. Reading between the lines, it's clear to me that Hornby had a fait-accompli on their hands, either they accepted the Roco-designed track for all its faults and deviations from their spec, or spent a lot of money to fix the problems with point manufacture, which someone referred to earlier in this thread, and disappointed their customers in the meantime. They went with Roco-made track, and dropped the System 6 logo because it wasn't System 6 any more, as anyone buying the new track and putting it next to System 6 could very clearly see.
  7. The USA seems, generally, to be getting less and less interested in what goes on outside its borders and much more inward looking over the last 5 - 10 years. Our hobby and DCC is no exception. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of DCC users in the USA think that the NMRA invented DCC and don't know of the key role that Herr Lenz played in its development.
  8. The design was different in lacking the half sleeper and clip-fit, so it wasn't System 6. To my mind that wasn't just retooling, it was, arguably, a change comparable to the change from Standard to Series 3 - same rail profile, same track geometry but different in certain key areas. The decision to go to Roco was provoked by a problem being experienced at Margate in making System 6 points. That started a dialogue with Roco which ended in dropping the System 6 design and buying in what was in essence a Roco-designed product, probably not because it was better but because it was cheaper. Turntables sell in far fewer numbers so will not be replaced so fast. The Super 4 version R.408 could be used with System 6, so it stayed on after 1969 as R 408U. It was replaced with the "toy" one. R 410 in 1976, which just happens to coincide with the replacement of System 6 with Roco-made track. So, I don't believe it can be used to prove that Roco didn't do all the track. True, the inlet/outlet track might have been designed for System 6, but as they're removable then changing to pieces that were to the Roco design, even if made at Margate, wouldn't have been a big cost or production problem.
  9. That explanation answers my reservations about Margate spending money they didn't need to. It was the introduction of System 6, that also took me away from my layout and the hobby in the early '70s. I'd been through the Series 3 to Super 4 change, and didn't want to go through another one. I can't remember if I fully appreciated at the time that every loco and piece of rolling stock that I had would need to be re-wheeled to run on System 6 to stop the wheel flanges bumping along on the sleepers or the locos getting stuck on the point check rails or frogs. It is entirely understandable why Rovex didn't make a "song and dance" about replacing System 6 with Roco-made Hornby named track, and slipped it in "under the radar". The geometry hadn't changed, the effective loss of clip-fit mattered less as the catenary system had been discontinued, and they joined together without a converter track. The last thing that they wanted was to reinforce the impression that they kept changing the track every few years. The changes were made for good commercial reasons, but that doesn't stop the perception of repeated change. The dates below refer to the period when the track was introduced to its replacement by the next generation. Obviously there was some overlap as production of the outgoing track continued for a year or so after the introduction of the new track. The exception was the change from System 6 to Roco-made track as the latter substituted for the former. Rovex original: 1950 - 1951 Universal/Standard: 1952 - 1957 Series 3: 1958 - 1961 Super 4: 1962 - 1969 System 6: 1970 - 1975 Hornby (Roco-made / "7"): 1976 - 1995 Hornby (Chinese-made using duplicate tooling (Hammond: Rovex 3, page 401): 1996 - date There are exceptions to these dates outside the UK, where the superseded track was sometimes retained for longer, presumably to use up local stocks and to help ensure there was sufficient of the new track to meet UK demand.
  10. I'm grateful to Sarah for that summary, but would beg to differ on a couple of minor details. Firstly clip-fit slots were introduced on Standard track, not Series 3, otherwise how would the elevated track sidewalls, the single and double track level crossings, the loading gauge, and the catenary mast bases have been fitted to Standard Track. Triang only started drawing attention to it by putting the words "Clip Fit in bold text in the 1966 catalogue. The name "System 6" was prominently used with its own logo from its introduction in 1970 right up to and including 1975 in all the catalogues, and all the System 6 track has the half sleeper and full length clip-fit arrangement inherited from Super 4. The 1976 catalogue shows the 1/4 straight, and the double curves in 2nd and 3rd radius without the half sleeper, the Roco (supplied) track presumably. There is no prominent display of the name or logo "System 6" as there had been in all catalogues since its introduction. Instead there is a note on page 47 of the '76 catalogue saying: "Due to increased demand and to ensure ready availablility of Hornby track, it has been necessary to produce System 6 in a slightly different form. The new track is similar to pre-1976 production except that clip fit slots are now to be found only in specified locations on each piece of track, and not between almost every sleeper. However, Hornby would like to assure their many customers that both new and old types couple together perfectly well and that no problems should be encountered when combining the two on any layout." The 1977 catalogue prominently uses the name "Hornby Track system" on page 34. All track pieces, apart from the converter track, and possibly the isolating track which looks like neither type, are shown with the twinned-end (Roco-made style) sleepers not the Super 4/System 6 half sleeper arrangement. The only reference to System 6 is the converter track itself, which is shown with the half sleeper arrangement at both ends. This also applies to the 1978 catalogue. Thus, for me at any rate, the change from made-in-house to bought-in (Roco-made) track marks the end of true System 6 track, and the start of "Hornby track" both in name and in nature. And I think that there was a tacit acknowledgement of that fact by Rovex in stopping using the System 6 name and logo when the changeover began. The twinned-end sleeper was a retrograde step as the half sleeper arrangement made it almost impossible to see where the pieces of track joined, whereas the twinned-ends are much more prominent. Sarah knows much more about Rovex/Triang/Triang Hornby/Hornby in the 1970s than I, university and then work and leaving home took me away from my layout, but I would question whether the converter track was retooled again so the half sleeper arrangement was only at the Super 4 end. If System 6 and Hornby track connected together without problems as stated in the catalogue, would they really have gone to the expense of reworking the converter track to lose the half sleeper at the System 6 end, a period when money was tight? Or was it a very simple and cheap change to reverse whatever alteration they had made in 1970 to the 1965 Dublo 2 Rail to Super 4 version? Incidentally, one feature of Standard Track lives on virtually unchanged in today's track geometry, believe it or not. That is the radius of 2nd radius curves in both Standard and Series 3 track at 435mm or 17 1/8 inches in old money. Super 4 increased that very marginally to 438mm or 17 1/4 inches, but what's 3mm between friends! Back in the day, my double track layout used Super 4 1st radius curves and Series 3 2nd radius curves next to each other. Even though Super 4 curves were 22 1/2 degrees and Series 3 were 30 degrees, Series 3 also had 15 degree half curves, which combined with an ordinary curve gave 45 degrees, teh same as a Super 4 double curve. So provided I stuck to 45 or 90 degree bends there was no problem in mixing the two side by side, apart from the different appearance and spacing of the sleepers, which meant putting the mixed formations in the less visible parts of the layout.
  11. Standard track was made between 60 and 70 years ago, and was intended as a toy train track, not as true to scale. It's appearance was a significant improvement over the HD metal 3 rail and Trix Twin bakelite and tinplate "3 rail", both of which had a similar raised base. Given its age, and the far greater importance attached nowadays to a more realistic and true to scale appearance it's not surprising that today's Kato track looks better. Going a bit off-topic, but still with track in mind, Trix were the first to do away with the raised base, followed rapidly by Triang with Series 3, both in the late 1950s. HD followed with their 2 rail system, and Triang responded with Super 4, which was a vast improvement over Series 3. Trix went over fully to 2 rail track by dropping the centre rail, and the word "Twin" from their brand name. Unlike HD, you could always use Trix 3 rail for 2 rail as the running rails were insulated from each other, and the centre rail was the common return to each of the running rails. That's why it was called Twin - 2 trains under independent control on one track. Trix 3 rail track also worked with HD 3 rail locos, but you lost the ability to control a second train independently because of the uninsulated Dublo wheelsets. Trix Twin locos, would also run on true 2 rail track, I have several of their EM1/Class 76 locos that I run on Super 4. You just reconfigure the pickup shoes to collect from the running rails. For a time their wheel flanges were too wide to run through points on Triang or HD track. They truly deserved the epithet of "Steamroller wheels". Fortunately Trix changed to finer wheelsets with a removesble coarse scale collar - remove the collar and the locos run happily on Super 4 and code 100 track.
  12. Absolutely right. System 6 was a code 100 version of Super 4. Pat Hammond gives the story of the change to Roco track in part 3 of his story of Rovex. My own view is that the change of name from System 6 to Hornby track would have coincided with the change to the Roco supplied track as it lacked the clip-fit feature and split sleeper that System 6 inherited from Super 4. What was interesting was the change in the "handedness" of the rail joiner/fishplate. My guess is that it was done so as to use the same R476 converter track that was used to connect HD 2 rail track to Super 4. A converter track was necessary, so why not use the same one as before to save money. What happened to "5"? To me it's obvious - Marketing. "System 6" rolls off the tongue sp much better than "Series 5" or "System 5".
  13. It shouldn't matter if they have the stock on hand or not. The computer program that accepts the orders won't know what's physically in tbe warehouse. It will hsve a piece of data, a number for the quantity on hand. For pre-orders thst exact same number will represent their allocation as notified to them by the msnufacturer. When the system accepts payment, or the pre-order it will automatically reduce the quantity figure by the quantity just sold. There is no excuse for taking orders in excess of the allocation and not telling customers they are on back order before they place their order, not with today's computer systems.
  14. What you're looking at in the picture is my laptop bottom right, running a VNC Client which gives me total remote control of my ECoS 2. The ECoS which has firmware 4.x.x was in another room. The other screen in the image is our 26" TV. The laptop, which runs Windows 10, was projecting its screen to the TV. CabControl doesn't have this remote control/screen cloning capability, so you can't display an ECoS screen-like view from it on a tablet, laptop or smartphone. Incidentally, the loco icons, a Bachmann 57xx pannier in LT livery, and an Olivia's Heljan Class 76, are ones I created and uploaded to my ECoS myself. CabControl does not let you upload custom loco icons like these to the ICU. You are limited to the ones built in to the firmware. As the CabControl is aimed at N. America and Australia, I imagine that it will have plenty of N. American locos, but very few UK locos. The battery can be replaced, but I know of only one MC2 owner who has done that with one sourcef independently of ESU. They also replaced the internal antenna at the same time.They said that the replacement battery lasted longer than the ex-works one and the new antenna gave a more reliable WiFi connection.
  15. You've totally missed the point. The different box takes me, and I'm sure many, many, others of my generation, back to our first Triang Railways train set and the joy and pleasure that intro to our marvellous hobby has given us over the last 50+ years. It is so good to see the "right" name again on Margate products, even if it was only one train pack made in China, and is likely to be the only one this century.
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