NBL Class 16 from Heljan

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Bigmet
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NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:17 am

Yet another of BR's 'less than sparkling' pilot scheme designs is now available. Only looked at photos, but Heljan have done a cracking job by all accounts. These do have a rather short service life, half a dozen years, thanks to the general direness of the prototype; bad enough to get themselves withdrawn before all the steam locos went! (Wait for complaints that they haven't been produced in BR blue!)The models should run nicely though, if the Heljan class 15's performance is any guide.

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GeoFF03
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby GeoFF03 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:49 pm

Only recently obtained one of these. I've not had a Heljan model till now, and while the detail is impressive I'm not so impressed with its performance. It seems very slow when compared to my Bachmann diesels, and steam locos come to that. The only locos slower would be my Bachmann 03 & 08 shunters. I've shot a video to illustrate what I mean, running the c16 and my Bachman c20 at the same speed setting on my HM2000 analogue controller.

http://youtu.be/v6skK3AD_5Q

Here's a couple of photos of mine:

Image

Image

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:12 pm

They were genuinely slow machines, 60mph max I believe - and that's when they were working. I imagine the 16 is geared much like the 15, which I have, plods along nicely with its wagons at 20 - 30 mph which was about as fast as I ever saw these going. The class 20 was a much better loco, quick enough to keep time on outer suburban runs in summer when no carriage heating was required.

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SRman
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby SRman » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:13 am

Yeah - wot 'e sed!

The class 15s and 16s only had top speeds of 60 mph and were often used on transfer freights around London, so maximum speed required for realistic operation on such trains would be around 35 mph.

Using DCC, I tend to wind the top speeds down a bit on most locomotives. If you wish to double-head the 16 and the 20, just remember you will need two locomotive crews as they had different multiple working codes (red circle for the 16, blue star for the 20)!! :evil: ;)

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:16 pm

My example of this class made one of its rare appearances on the layout yesterday (not often rostered on jobs that took it over 20 miles from Stratford, too risky!) and attracted comment from my old mucker Peter who was down from the wilds of N York Moors. He never saw one in reality, as they were very limited in numbers (10) and location (rarely straying outside London) and service life (all withdrawn before steam was competely withdrawn!) but liked the quirkiness. It does look like the external treatment of this loco was handed to someone who had previouly only designed ventilated steel cabinets.

For such a limited prototype it is ironic that this model is an easy contender for consideration on Heljan's best ever OO model list, alongside the likes of the Hymek and Baby Deltic. Gets the character really well, very neat applied detail, excellent finish and a very good runner in the usual style of centre motor locos. The cab interior is a little 'plain Jane' is the principal shortcoming, the big side windows making this rather evident; but an easy modelling job to remedy, when I get that famous 'Round Tuit'.

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D605Eagle
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby D605Eagle » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:17 pm

It always tickled me that a loco with so many lovers could suffer from overheating! Oddly the engines in these locos were never subjected to the modifications that were done to the class 15s to make them reliable, mainly cast iron cylinder heads and different pistons with a harder piston ring material. Talking to a Paxman engineer from the era the biggest issue with these engines in locos was BR insistence on using their own brand of highly corrosive antifreeze instead of what Paxman recommended. The gap between the cylinder wall and liner is very small so it was always imperative that the coolant was clean and the interior of the engine was free from detritus. I guess BR scored a home goal with that.

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:34 am

It's those bonnet side louvres which this model really scores on for character, certainly in terms of first impressions. And there's more, especially the hand grabs instead of conventional handrails, very neatly done. And such a sweet runner with excellent traction too: the model is everything in performance the prototype wasn't!

I should think the reason the class 16 didn't get the engine mods was that the electrical fit was also poor, the pipework leaked chronically, and they had an 'exclusive to NBL' MU system; all of which must have put a big question mark over their future. (The only other NBL type for a brief time based near enough to be potentially MUed with, was similarly dismal.) There are plenty of Stratford footplate crew tales of 'finding a way to fail' one of these locos before going off shed, to avoid all the trouble of a u/s loco on the road well away from 'home' and a fitter to sort out the trouble.

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SRman
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby SRman » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:57 pm

Bigmet: the red circle electro-magnetic control system wasn't quite exclusive to NBL; the first 20 Brush Type 2 locomotives (later class 30/31) also had the red circle MU code, so could have worked in multiple with the class 16s.

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D605Eagle
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby D605Eagle » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:42 pm

And Metrovic CoBos (class 28) ;) Out of a total 88 locos with red circle, 2 have survived. D5500 (if it worked) could multiple with D5705 (if it worked LOL)

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:17 am

Interesting, but still very few compatible, and the other NBL class went to its intended Scottish allocation pretty swiftly while the Metrovicks were owned by another region which exiled them to Barrow as quickly as was decently possible. For traction managers under pressure (as always) fiddling around to make compatible pairings for small classes wasn't ever going to top the priority list. Large numbers of locos offering 'any with any' compatability is what they would want.

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D605Eagle
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby D605Eagle » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:14 am

What I never understood, at the time of the modernisation plan, why didn't BR insist on a single standard coupling for all new diesel locos? Things as they were got so mixed up it was ridiculous. D600-4 and D6300-5 couldn't multiple with anything else other than thereselves, D800-3 couldn't multiple at all, although all class 25s were blue star if you doubled headed a 25/1 with a 25/3, the 25/3 would only produce about 33% of max power! It was utter crackers.

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:34 am

It has to be appreciated that the people at BR specifying the requirement were inexperienced in the traction to replace steam. (Most of them were probably still thinking in terms of crew on the footplate of each loco. As evidence, the insistence on gangways between diesels.)

The pilot scheme intent was quite sound as an experience builder, let multiple manufacturers bid to supply small trial batches, and learn from the trials experience before committing to large orders to supply a fleet of designs that had proven successful in the trial phase. Then the political pressure to replace steam kicked in, and there was nothing for it but immediately build quantities of what seemed most likely to work. At least the NBl type 1 and EE and Metrovick type 2s got filtered out at that stage...

The funniest episode had to be the second generation, where the type 4 from Brush came out effectively as a production unit, before the type 4 prototype offerings (Brush Falcon, BRCW Lion EE DP2) had hit the rails for testing.

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Fri May 25, 2018 2:24 pm

Had a minor problem with my Heljan class 16 yesterday evening. For reasons we needn't go into it has operated until now with Kadee one end and using the rather nice fitted screwlink the other end. But last night I bethought myself to get around to fitting what are standard for goods work on the layout, Bachmann miniature tension locks ( what with this class being solely a goods loco in intent, and definitely not getting any work with coaches, even ECS, as serving in my scenario).

The Kadees had fitted easily and correctly without adjustment in the coupler pockets. The Bachmann MTL's simply wouldn't go in at all, too thick in the vertical dimension to enter the pocket. A few strokes of a file on the coupler tails fixed that, but this is not something I have ever previously needed to do. A quick check verified in tolerance positioning, so all well there. It was getting late when I discovered this, so this evening it will be out with micrometer and calipers to assess where the deviation from NEM standard may be...

Bigmet
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Re: NBL Class 16 from Heljan

Postby Bigmet » Fri May 25, 2018 10:46 pm

No doubt about it, the aperture in the coupler pocket is well off NEM standard. Barely 1.50mm, when the spec minimum is 1.70mm, width was tight too: on one of the pockets 3.10 mm, spec minimum, 3.04 on the other so below spec. Worn moulding tool I think...


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