Sunday, 1 February 2015

Last Week, It Rained Alcos

Ok, the title is a bit of an exaggeration but with the arrival of two Alcos (the 48 and the 45) in one week, it seemed certainly seemed like it.

First to come was the overdue Trainorama 48 class. It is about six years since the locomotive was ordered, so it has been a long wait. A glitch in their database meant that I had to wait a little longer before my order was dispatched. This was cleared up just before the Australia Day long weekend and the model arrived last Wednesday. Because I had chased them about the delay, I knew when it was dispatched and was awaiting its arrival.

The 45 class was totally different. I was aware that the models had arrived in Australia but had no idea when I should expect my particular order. Consequently, on last Friday, the arrival of a note from Australia Post telling me that I had a parcel waiting came as a surprise.

Thus in the space of three days, my Alco fleet has increased by 50%.

Interestingly, my reaction to the arrival of both locomotives was a bit 'ho hum'. Both were put on the work bench until other priorities were addressed, and time allowed me to unbox and place each on the layout. I suppose, I had waited so long for the orders, the 48 in particular, another few hours wouldn't make too much difference. From the comments on other blogs and chat rooms, it seems my reaction was not unique.

Both models look great and others have provided interesting photos so I won't duplicate their effort. For example, Bob at  South Coast Rail has some great photos of each locomotive. (

To date, I have done some limited test running using DC. When I get time, I'll run both locomotive on a test track for a while before fitting decoders and weathering. What I did notice was that when running on DC, the 45 class was considerably faster than the 48 so double-heading will be interesting. I understand that this can be addressed with the fine tuning of each locomotive once the DCC chip has been fitted. However, it's not something I have tackled before, so another learning experience coming up!


  1. Phil

    In real life a 45cl took off much faster than a 48cl, also when working as multiple units, the main liners had to lead a branch line engine when full loads were hauled, reason being the 48cl was set at Max amp/load meter rating at 8mph compared to the main liner at 12-14mph. Which in simple terms meant the main liner would be well into a red zone at that low speed, & could only operate at that speed for around 2 minutes before the throttle was decreased.

    Primary exceptions were when the branch line & main line engines worked on light loadings generally found on express services, or empty trains.

  2. Col,

    Thanks for that information. I'll take note of it when arranging multiple unit operations. It seems that two separate manufacturers inadvertently got the speed relationship between the two locomotives about right because the 45 class does take off much faster than the 48 when running on DC.

    I understand that the 44 and 45 class were very similar mechanically, so is it reasonable to assume that the 44 has similar speed and acceleration characteristics to the 45 class.

    cheers Phil

    1. Phil

      There are several scenario's in the operating aspects of diesels not just steam. The Mk1 44cl for example had a different governor that meant for faster acceleration & transition changes than the Mk2's, owing to them being more responsive to the throttle than the Mk2's.

      The 45cl while in a sense more similar to the Mk2 44's was very much a loco that had better low drag power against the 44's.

      The other aspect with the ALco main liners is the power was double in HP as well as cylinders & naturally would move off faster than the 48's.

      For model operations in the end its what the individual wants to do, but if one was to try to be closer to the prototype, on say full loaded trains, all 48cl or other branch liners would sit at the 8-10mph, while the main liners at 12-14mph, a combo of branch liner & main liner would run at the main liners speed, & generally the 48 in the shaft.

    2. Col,

      Many thanks for the clarification.