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Dapol Class 73 Electro Diesels

Broadside photographs of Dapol 4D-006-003 in BR Blue

(above) Continuing our livery sequence, Dapol have so far produced two BR Blue versions. 4D-006-003 pictured here and 4D-006-002, 73124, which is identical except for loco numbers and headcodes.

The models have eight wheel drive from a centrally mounted motor-flywheel.  As an electro-mechanical device a period of running in will be required but it is my long experience that some manufacturers’ models run much smoother out of the box than others.  Dapol is not one of these manufacturers.  All of the ten samples I have so far tested run merely acceptably, two only just, out of the box, but do all improve, even with only ten minute’s running in.  I have been told after an hour or so they run freely.  On DC the locos will coast for a short distance when power is removed, but not as much as on the free-est running locos I have.  Weight of a sample loco drawn at random was 425g.  I have not done a load test but a friend managed hauling eleven not particularly free-running bogie coaches on the level with his Dapol JA.  He did also comment he did not know if this was on electric or diesel power!  However, now to the only major negative criticism – the wheels are simply awful.  Whilst their flanges just escape being described as pizza cutters the wheels have very wide treads and a bereft of any conical section. This cannot help smooth running and the wide tread is known to cause a brief short circuit when running over Peco Insulfrog points. I regard this as Dapol’s ha’porth of tar moment.  When producing such a very good model why not use finer scale wheels?  Despite being an HO standard, NMRA RP25 profile would have been far better for both running and looks. On the positive side, when I checked the back-to-back measurement of the wheels of a loco drawn at random it was spot-on at 14.5mm.  At the time of writing Ultrascale have not committed to developing and producing replacement wheels for this model.  If enough modellers ask for them it will demonstrate support for such a product.  If Ultrascale do produce finer scale wheel packs I can see me spending another small fortune on replacement wheels for EDLs.  The (dummy) pickup shoes on the bogies align with a conductor rail fitted to the end of OO/HO scale track, which means if you convert the wheel gauge to EM or P4 the bogie sideframes will also need moving out so the pickups align with a conductor rail fixed to the end of scale length sleepers.

Broadside view of Dao 4D-006-001 in large logo blue

(above) Many think that the large logo blue livery particularly suited the boxy shape of a Class 73. Dapol's version is 4D-006-001.

On DC both cabs illuminate when power is applied, but the headcode panels only illuminate in the direction of travel.  On versions fitted with high intensity headlights the headlights panels only illuminate in the direction of travel.  On all versions seen so far, as supplied the headcodes are identical at each end.  It is possible to change the headcodes by removal of the body and cab interiors.  Replacement transparent panels are supplied with the model and are also said to be available to purchase as spare parts.  Unfortunately this welcome arrangement results in the headcode panels being about a millimetre behind the rear face of the flush glazed window, which somewhat spoils the otherwise realistic look of the cab fronts (see below).  The detailed cab interiors are crying out for a driver.

These models have sockets to take a standard 21 pin NMRA DCC decoder and for DCC sound there is room to fit a miniature loudspeaker.  However, some models have been wired incorrectly for DCC with the result that headlights work in the reverse to the intended direction, please see

(above) The Intercity Sector, or "Mainline" livery version is 4D-006-000. Note the headcode is not flush with the rear of the window.

Being pernickety (or thorough) a quick round up of minor criticisms.  I have noticed that on cab fronts of early incarnations some sort of small horizontal plaque (or legend) above the control jumper cable’s exit is not represented on the models.  A long-serving Southern Region Railwayman has pointed out that the default parking position for the windscreen wiper on the secondman’s side is to the headcode panel side, not as modelled towards the outer window pillar. The space between the cantrail and roof grilles is slightly too narrow.  The lifting lugs do not have holes in them, no doubt because this would have caused difficulty with the moulding process.  Also (below) on OLIV001 (late Gatwick Express version), from Olivia's Trains Intake, Sheffield, the use of double red blanks headcodes on both ends is plain daft. Also, the shade of the red stripe is incorrect - in this late livery it was a Claret shade. 

Here is a listing of models known to be produced or still to be produced.  Not all have yet been seen by me, hence fewer details.

Product no. loco no. livery (name) details    headcode (both ends)


OLIV001 73207 Gatwick Express late
(County of East Sussex)
hv headlight double red blanks
OLIV002 73205 GB Railfreight (Jeanette) hv headlight double white blanks
OLIV003 73141 First GBRf (Charlotte) hv headlight 12
FAV002 E6007 "Electric" Blue   2C
4D-006-000 73102 Intercity Executive
(Airtour Suisse)
4D-006-001 73105 Large Logo Blue   20
4D-006-002 73124 BR Blue   89
4D-006-003 73135 BR Blue   3C
4D-006-004 E6003 BR(S) Green   6K
4D-006-005 E6039 "Early" Blue   4H
Not Yet Inspected:        
DAGM100 73101 Pullman (The Royal Alex)    
DAGM101 73101 Pullman
(Brighton Evening Argus)
FAV001 E6047 BR blue, light grey roof (as was once preserved?)???    
OLIV004 73107 Fragonset (Spitfire)    
OLIV005 73212 Network Rail yellow    
OLIV006 73218 EWS    
4D-006-006 73138 Civil Engineers' "Dutch"    
4D-006-007 73206 GB Railfreight (Lisa)    

FAV = limited edition from Model Shop Faversham
DAGM = limited edition from The Engine Shed/Gaugemaster, Ford
OLIV = limited edition from Olivia's Trains (and certain other suppliers), Intake Sheffield
4D-006-nnn = Dapol standard production.

OLIV004/005/006 are recent (December 2015) announcements.

Three quarter view of OLIV002 in GB Railfreight Livery

(above) OLIV002 in GB Railfreight livery

To conclude, off the top of my head, the following liveries have yet to be exploited:

  • BR(S) Stock Green, no lower grey stripe (JA)
  • BR(S) Stock Green, no lower grey stripe, small yellow warning panel (JA)
  • Correct shade of “early blue” with and without grey stripe (JB)
  • NSE blue with/without yellow cab sides (Watercress Line & Bluebell JAs)
  • NSE revised
  • Merseyrail/Regional Railways yellow/grey (JA)
  • Gatwick Express (Intercity Swift)
  • Engineers’ all over grey
  • Engineers’ two tone grey
  • EPS two tone grey (with coupler adaptor)
  • Mainline blue
  • Railtrack blue/lime green
  • Stagecoach SWT (modified NSE)
  • South West Trains Desiro blue + “swoosh”
  • Gatwick Express red & white (Dave Berry)
  • Southern Railway white/green/ivory (before and after naming)
  • GB Railfreight Europorte
Broadside view of OLIV003 73141 in Firts GBRf livery

(avove) OLIV003. All togther now:
"I'm a JayBee girl, in a Barbie World, Life in plastic, It's fantastic....." (With apologies to Aqua!)