Wednesday, 11 May 2011

5303, a frail favourite...

I think we all have locomotives that we are very fond of, but which, for various reasons, don't quite 'measure up' when it comes to running smoothly and reliably. My best example is this model of 5303...
A model of a NSWGR Standard Goods locomotive, 5303 is the only kit-built locomotive I have ever got around to finishing (my main focus is rolling stock, operation and the overall 'look' of the railway). I am quite happy to use modified and weathered r-t-r locomotives (brass, back when I 'got serious' in the 1980s and plastic r-t-r now). However, I have acquired a couple of kits along the way, but this loco, which started as an FSM whitemetal kit that I originally purchased in the 1970s, is the only one that had actually entered service on Lambing Flat. I originally constructed it in 1992/93 and it ran (sort of) till around 1995, when it finally gave up the ghost and refused to move (its last faltering steps were accidentally captured on video by Bruce Norton, who was visiting at the time!) While it looks quite nice (I had added quite a lot of extra detail, and altered it to represent one of the 'drumhead' smokebox locomotives with 'standard' boilers, as most of them appeared in the 1940s, during the transition between the original tapered boilers and the more familiar 'built up' smokeboxes of the 1950s/60s), it never ran satisfactorily, thanks to its rather 'agricultural' design of chassis and rather indifferent assembly of same by yours truly! (I've never been brilliant at mechanical things!)

It's another if my models that have languished in the showcase for the last 15 years or so, as my couple of attempts to get it running again have been abject failures. I would rather like to get it operational again, as it is the only 53 class I have completed (I missed out on the Classic brass 53, I haven't yet built my '40th Birthday' DJH 53 and the long promised Traino 53 appears to be a few years away still!) and the 53 class were the mainstay of the Blaney-Demondrille line from which Lambing Flat takes its inspiration. So, taking a leaf from the 'real railways' book when a recalcitrant locomotive proved impossible to repair locally, it has been sent away to 'workshops' for specialist repairs (Geoff's 'Hollywood Hospital'!) The current turn-around is quoted as around two months, so I will just have to wait! (I've already waited 15 years; I think I can wait a little longer!)

In the meantime, I'll just have to admire the photos I took of her before despatch and dream of once more seeing and hearing the clank of a 53 class trundling along on Lambing Flat!


  1. Funnily enough, I have a 5303 too and it's one of my favourites. Mine is a Berg's brass model and it too is currently not running. It's in pieces on the workbench after a failed attempt to fit a DCC chip. It did move for a few inches before the chip became a once only smoke (and flame!) generator.
    Obviously a short there somewhere but buggered if I can track it down, just glad it wasn't an expensive sound chip!
    Might have to send mine away to 'workshops' too, I'll be needing a Standard Goods when Byron Creek is operational again.

  2. James,
    Reminds me of one of my favourite deisels, a Footplate 43 class, the K&M mechs are noisey and with the pickups only on one side of the bogies, the wheels seem to need cleaning quite regularly. On the plus side is the pulling power, especialy up the 1 in 40 of Tumulla Bank.

    A nice looking model you have ther by the way, love the weathering.