Modified HD locos

This page focuses on HD locos which have been rebodied, repainted or converted from 2 rail to 3 rail.

So we start with a 2-6-4T chassis with a brass body on it as a Fowler tank locomotive. A simple body but it looks OK and runs well. This was the first such conversion and it opened my eyes to what could be achieved on the layout if you didn’t focus completely on just HD locos

Next came the Southern o-6-0T model of an SECR E1 class in BR black. This model was only made in 2 rail and this one has been converted to 3 rail. It is the only HD steam engine with a plastic body(not counting the starter set) and suffers for being rather light weight and unable to pull more than a couple of carriages

Then a repaint of a 2-6-4T in Brunswick Green as seen in preservation but never when in BR service. A really excellent repaint in full gloss.

A Silver King repainted into war time black as Peregrine with NE on the tender. This is in the fashion of the Wrenn version but should have no number on the smoke box door and Peregrine was built with a double chimney but it looks OK from a distance.

A genuine HD loco but a 2 rail body on a three rail chassis. The prototype worked on the Victoria to Tunbridge Wells service and I must have ridden behind it as far as East Croydon – so that was an incentive to run this particular loco.

Another version of the HD 0-6-0T famous for banking trains up from Folkestone harbour to the town station. A very steep climb with sometimes 3 up the front and one banking. Never of course ever seen in this colour which is a figment of someone’s imagination.

I just love the 2-6-4T engine so when this one came up it had to be added to the layout. A livery as strange as the one above but it looks fine except for the lining over the back of the boiler which would never have been contemplated

A Kit body with HD chassis of a Stanier 3 cylinder tank engine very similar to the 2 cylinder version which developed into the BR Standard 4MT. Used on the Fenchurch Street to Southend line for passenger service.

An out of focus picture of an 0-6-2T with a highly modified body the aim of which is to show daylight under the boiler as per the original. The HD body fills in the bit under the body to hide the motor. To achieve this effect the chassis is a pre-war horseshoe magnet type. Its in red primer and un- numbered. I must get round to painting it black sometime and afix some transfers and I think it might look OK. Bit of  clugger as the chassis and motor are very old.

The last one is Atherly Castle a re-named and re-numbered Bristol Castle. The upmarket 3 rail layouts have 2 Castle Class locos one is Bristol castle and the other is Ludlow Castle. If you have hundreds of pounds then this is what you have if you are a meany then you have Altherney Castle – it looks the same just a different motor.

There was an article in the latest edition of the HRCA Collectors magazine on how to convert a HD 8F into a Black5, it was long and detailed and required a great deal of work and skill. The finished article though was very nice ideed.

Thanks to ebay here is a similar conversion but using a Graham Farish Black 5 body. It has a 3 rail Castle chassis with 8F valve gear and an 8F tender with the three rail pick ups. I actually think that it looks slightly better than the conversion using an 8F body as the Farish one has a higher running board.

It runs as well as a inch and a half Castle would which is not amazing power but adequate for 3 or 4 coaches or 10 or so trucks. Better than an 8F which has poor pulling power. A very nice addition to the loco fleet.


11 thoughts on “Modified HD locos”

    1. Who is the chap you used and does he still offer this service as I have two 2-rail locos that I’d like to have converted.

  1. Most of the 2 to 3-rail conversions seem to be done on older model locos. Is it possible to carry out the same sort of conversion on more up-to-date locos such as those currently offered by Bachmann & Hornby?

  2. A modern Hornby 2BIL converted with a Marklin skate under the trailer car & power fed through to the power car via a plug & socket.I do have photos of all my conversions but i can`t post them on here.

  3. I thought you may be interested in this short movie of one of my Triang Electras running on 3 rail track picking up traction current from the OHLE.The trailing bogie is fitted with modern Hornby metal coach wheels fitted with wire wipers for extra return to the track

  4. This is a great site. I’m interested to know if anyone has experience dealing with the large flanges on some Trix locomotives. I’ve got a three rail Britannia and I find that it is fine on Dublo straights and curves, points are another story.

    1. Trix Twin locos are a bit difficult for HD runners for the following reasons.

      1) The early ones, prewar and up until the mid fifties were 14V AC which will run on HD 12 volt track but will not reverse unless you have the AC controller.

      2) All the AC locos had Trix “cheese cutter” wheels with very large flanges. When Trix introduced their 12 volt range they also had these wheels but over time they introduced locos that could also be had with “scale” wheels or “convertible” wheels as well. I think that the majority of their production was with their own wheels. Scale wheels will run perfectly on HD track with no problems at all. Convertible wheels were scale wheels with a plastic flange around them to turn them into cheesecutters. Removing this plastic flange gives you scale wheels. Cheesecutter wheels will not run over HD points or X crossings

      3) Trix locos and rolling stock are not OO scale. Note that HD is in fact OO scale running on HO gauge track just to confuse the issue. To add more confusion Trix is not HO scale but in between OO and HO and the inbetweeness changed over the years. The net result is that all Trix locos and rolling stock is smaller than HD not by a lot but it is noticeable if running them side by side.

      4) Trix 12V DC locos were 3 rail but different to HD 3 rail. In HD the centre rail is positive and both the outside rails are earth. For Trix the centre rail is earth and the two outer rails are positive. By adjusting the pickups on one loco to pick up from one outside rail and adjusting the pickups of the other loco to pick up from the other outside rail you could =run two trains on the same track. This is not a major problem and running 3 rail Trix on HD track is fine but you have to remember that the chassis of the engine is live not the earth as it is with HD.

      My Trix Brittania has the dublo type centre pick up (now positive rather than earth) and two wheels of the tender act as earths (which were the positive pickups). Runs well with perhaps a slight falter over a couple of points on my layout.

      I think that the Trix engines are very good and their MK1 carriages are a favourite of mine slightly narrower but they were made to nearly scale length rather that the HD ones which are very underscale length.

      For more details on their engine range with details of the type of wheel available go here and go to Trix Models.

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