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These units were used between Euston to Watford, and Broad Street to Richmond. Consisting of 3 cars they were very much at home in North London, so a 4mm scale version is being constructed for Hornsey Broadway to run along the 3rd rail route. Along with as much information as I can find, this is one of the many images that have helped with the project.

For some time now I have been looking at the options available for building a 3-car class 501 EMU. Having recently acquired 2 bodyshells for the Bachmann 2-EPB model, this has made the decision easier, and they can be adapted to fit on a standard 57ft mark 1 underframe. This view shows the 2 bodyshells stripped of their fittings and glazing, alongside a powered vehicle which will provide the traction once the underframe is shortened.

The centre car is the easiest conversion - chopping off the driving cab to shorten the body to 9 compartments, ready for a blank end to be fitted.

The 2 driving vehicles have sections cut from the middle of the body, using the compartment doors as cutting guides. In effect, 1/3rd of one compartment, and 2/3rds of the adjacent compartment have been removed, and the body spliced back together. The separate roof sections have also been shortened, with the surgery taking place further along and away from the bodyside cuts.

With the major body alterations completed, attention can now turn to detailing the cab fronts, and fitting the window bars to the compartment doors, which was a prominent feature of these units.

With the use of a simple jig, the 138 window bars are shown being cut from 0.33mm nickel-silver wire (for the 46 doors).

Three bars are fitted to the door window and held in place with some blu-tac, whilst another jig is made to help locate the bars - made from plasticard with razor sawed slots.

With the jig holding the bars in place, a small amount of super glue is run around the ends of the bars where they make contact with the door edge..... wait a while and release the jig. I find that bottle tops are good disposable containers for super glue, conveniently propped up (with another blob of blu-tac underneath to pool the liquid and stop it sliding around the bench), and a cocktail stick or piece of fine wire to apply the glue - only another 40 doors to do!

Doors finished on one side, with the ends of the bars painted rail blue to hide any super glue residue and to strengthen the bond. At this stage various 57ft chassis were looked at for the DTBS (nearest) and the TS (centre). Although the Bachmann BG is good for the job it, would require extensive modifications for the body interface, and need door steps fabricating for the full length of the coach. The centre vehicle is sitting on a Bachmann suburban compartment coach chassis, and this seems the favourite choice as the body sits well and the steps are already in place.

Underside of shortened die-cast chassis with EM gauge trailing bogie fitted.

The conversion to EM gauge is fairly straightforward. Cutting off and removing the pressed brass pinpoint bearings (indicated by upper arrows), allows a standard length axle to be fitted and a short piece of brass wire can be soldered to the existing pickup assembly (still utilising the Bachmann PCB contact method). The powered bogie parts are dismantled, and the nylon gear drilled out 1.98mm (using 2mm drill) so it's a good tight fit on the replacement axle. Romford Jackson 14mm wheelsets are used as standard, with the pinpoints cut off to length and chamfered so they fit nicely into the bogie frame (indicated by lower arrows).

Showing the wire pick-ups in gentle contact with the solid brass wheels on the trailing bogie. The powered bogie pick-ups are retained, and bent carefully upwards so they clear the axle centre boss and make good contact with the back of the wheel. A new set of 00 gauge Romford Jackson wheels can be seen centre, showing what they look like when out of the box, and ready for re-gauging and fitting to other vehicles.

Going back to the bodies - roof detail is added in the shape of some MJT white-metal vents, vehicle numbers applied, and the inner and outer ends fitted with jumper cables, receptacles and other detail. The single jumper on the front of the unit is a Hornby class 50 MU fitting, with all the other parts being made up from bits of plastic and small diameter wire.

The 3 bodies are just about complete now, with glazing and destination blind still to fit. They are seen here perched on their respective chassis - nearest is DMBS on shortened Bachmann die-cast powered chassis, and the TS and DTBS on suburban 57ft underframes with fittings removed.

Trying to identify the components underneath the TS and DTBS has been the most difficult part of the project, as most photographs show the unit in its full 3 car formation, with the underframe usually being in dark shadow. This sketch gives a rough idea of the location of boxes and V hangers, etc, but is subject to change as and when further information comes to light.

Viewed through the fence at the Electric Railway Museum near Coventry is sole surving DMBS shown as ex-Merseyside departmental de-icing unit, buffered up to the only DTBS (believed to have previously been used as a staff carying vehicle).

Highlighting the underframe detail which is pretty much original equipment.

Showing jumper sockets on the inner end of DMBS.

A view of the DTBS underframe.

Cab end of DTBS.

A restricted view looking down the other side of the pair.