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Hornby SR Q1
Tim Davies
Hornby R2343, SR Q1 “C8”. 5 pole skew wound motor, loco drive. DCC ready. Made in China. All (12) wheel pickup. I fitted a TCS UK DCC decoder from new. About £75 to £85.
This is a most unusual looking loco and Hornby has captured it perfectly. Only Southern’s CME, Bulleid, could have dared to build such a design. Printing is perfect. Note that this model also comes with different numbers, each with its own product ID code. BR liveried versions have the later fitted oil pump, driven from the front wheels.
This is a super detailed model, and items like lamp irons are easily broken. There are fine parts like sliding panels and folding doors on the tender that can come off. The steps on loco and tender are especially fragile. It has sprung buffers and good cab detail. For maintenance use a Peco service cradle or the like. For more info on the detailing see the reference below.
Starting and slow running (down to 1cm/sec) are perfect, as there is electrical pickup on every wheel. Insulfrog points are absolutely no problem, nor is not-so-clean track. Top speed is about right (60 mph with 7 coaches), depending on operating voltage. Running light or with a load, the motor is silent, all you hear are wheels on track. No derailment problems. I have hauled 7 free running coaches up our test grade, so it should haul about 13 on the level, or more appropriately, an equivalent load of wagons.
Careful oiling at 100 hours or six months. Check/adjust the electrical connection on the hook between tender and loco. Clean the wheels and the pickup contact areas on the backs of the wheels. Use clip leads to the tender wheels to run the driving wheels while cleaning them. Use finger power to rotate the tender wheels. A service cradle is almost essential for this, with loco and tender safely held upside down. Service Sheet: http://www.hornby.com/_assets/files/ss-268e-q1-300(1).pdf
Installing the TCS (no wires) UK decoder is easy. The screw holding the body is in the chimney.  Before buying a decoder, check that it will fit. Buying the DCC ready version allows you to choose your own decoder. For Kadees, the tender NEM pocket is sloppy and too low - it also drops under load and uncoupling occurs. This will be easier to fix than on my N15.
Overall ranking
This review is partly based on comparison with seven other current Hornby DCC loco drive models I have tested, which include LNER A1 and J83, and Southern N15, Schools x 2 and T9 x 2.  On an absolute scale I would give a 9/10, partly due to the coupling problem.  If it were lost, I would definitely buy again, so my final Railway Review score is 10/10. Good one Hornby!
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