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Adding a motor to a die cast tram


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A sign that winter is approaching is when I make the switch to modelling on my tramway. This happened yesterday.

There is a dearth of ready to run trams of British prototypes. However there are plenty of die cast models and a spectacular supply of white metal kits. This makes tramway modelling a significantly different hobby from OO railways. So far I have motorised a couple of Leeds Horsefield trams and as is my habit, I've added a DCC chip and working lights.


I've now moved onto my next challenge, motorising a bogie tram. I have a Leeds Feltham tram and a Bachmann PCC which has a suitable motor drive to transfer into the Feltham. I spent most of yesterday working on this project. The first job was to disassemble both units and work out what will go where.


A lot of cuts with the razor saw were required to create a new chassis out of the two of them, trying to keep as much of the Feltham as possible. The big challenge was the shorter wheelbase required for the Feltham required cutting a 14mm section out of the Bachmann chassis. Careful use of a set square resulted in a perfect job! A little fettling of the chassis was needed to ease off the squeezing by the body that resulted in one of the bogies not swinging smoothly on its bearing. Adding a DCC chip was simple. I've yet to consider how I will fit the lights, it doesn't look overly complex.


Unfortunately, it won't be possible to hide the motor, but I will attempt to keep the wires out of sight.

Running, was poor to begin with. Even with pick-ups on all wheels electrical contact was troublesome. I spent an hour tweaking the contacts to little affect. A little Rail Zip Cleaner was applied to each wheel and things improved a lot. I think there is an issue with the DCC chip I have installed. I may switch it out for another brand.

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Late evening Chris, I know someone that did what you are trying to do with success, he used  a Beetle powered bogie, here is a link to an Australian site, I am sure you can get them in the UK, I am sure that you can install a DCC decorator as well .

I am planning to model a tram circuit for my layout once the trains are up and running next year


Tony from cloudy and hot down  under

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On 26/11/2018 at 11:10, roddy said:

I'm sure that you know this chap. He does motorised bogies, so probably has one where you won't see the motor in the finished article. I have no connection other than being a satisfied customer.     http://www.kwtrams.co.uk

I"ve come across KW Trams a few times, he's a nice chap. One of his kits and motors is up next on the workbench schedule.

Edited by chris
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