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Project: Motorise N-Scale Oxford Tram/Buss

MOTORIZING A TRAM

The following projects details one method for motorising an N-Scale Tram using a “super small” motor chassis manufactured by Japanese company Yuzo Tsugawa Co., Ltd.

Oxford manufactures a decent range of diecast models, including N-Scale (2mm/ft) 4-wheel trams in 9mm gauge that is perfect for adaption to 2-rail operation.

Thanks to the easy-to-follow instructions, I currently have around 30 trams running on my layout (fully automated using some clever electronics and basic components)

Appreciation for this article goes to Gordon Bulmer, who is the author of the original project.

Required Components:

1. Model by Oxford (choose any one you like)

2. Motorised chassis – TGW TU-7T

Note1:  It is important to use the correct size chassis, otherwise the motor wont fit the Oxford diecast models, and you will end up in frustration!

Warning:
The chassis is rated to handle a maximum of 4.5 volts so an appropriate power supply is essential.

let’s get started!

1.

Turn the tram upside down, locate the two rivets (one under each platform), and drill off to release the plastic base plate.

Note: When the baseplate rivets are released the wheels and axles will fall out, at this stage all parts should be placed in a safe place for use later.

 

Baseplate Rivets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.
There are two next two rivets hold the platforms on to the lower deck; this has the two sets of plastic stairs attached, which are held at the top by a tiny rivet.

Note:  The platform glazing and hand rails will fall out and need to be saved for use when rebuilding the tram. The stairs remain attached to the lower deck

Platforms Rivets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.
There are two last rivets that hold the upper deck and this will need to be drilled off to remove it.

The stairs should be removed at this point, by cutting off the rivet heads and pulling the stairs out, and kept with the other parts.

The glazing and the seats should also be removed for safe storage and later use

Upper Deck Rivets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.
The platform casting should be cut where it narrows at the inner ends of the platforms.

The baseplate should be cut at the inner ends of the lifeguards.

Platform and Baseplate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.

The TU-7T chassis needs to be installed in the lower deck where it will be fixed in place by the supplied screw through an inverted U-shaped bracket into the top of the arrowed fixing tube.

Note: The distance between the truck sides is 10.7 mm and the chassis is 11.2 mm wide so the wheels should be filed down to about 10.7 mm and the truck sides gently eased out so that there is space between the wheels and truck sides.

Plaza Japan TU-7T Chassis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.
The photo shows all the modified parts including the brass U-shaped fixing bracket (top centre) ready for assembly.

To improve the appearance of the assembled tram, the white top and shiny end of the motor, the brass fixing bracket and the wheel faces should be painted matt black to make them less visible when the tram is running.

The lower deck floor needs have two holes drilled on the centreline, one 5/16 th’s inch diameter for the motor and the other 1/8 th inch diameter for the fixing tube.

Modified Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.
The chassis is fixed in place by the supplied screw and home made brass U-shaped bracket shown top centre in the photo above.

The Oxford tram is re-assembled by re-fitting the glazing and fixing all body parts together with impact adhesive and, when set, is ready for two-rail running.

Completed Tram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 8. Live Overhead Operation

Here’s how you can add live overhead wires

Typical open-top type trolley pole

 

 

 

 

The upper deck seats can be removed by pulling them out and, as there are no N gauge trolley poles available, the trolley pole will need be replaced with a home made open topped type pole, the same length as the original, made from brass or piano wire with a small wheel soldered on to the end

This is fitted into a brass tube glued into the hole, which may need to be enlarged, in the top deck roof, with a wire attached to go to the motor. A ready made alternative for some tram systems is an N gauge pantograph which can be fixed through the existing trolley pole hole in the roof.

It is a simple operation to convert from 2-rail to live overhead as it just requires a small change to the wiring of the motor. As this motor is sealed, it is necessary to detach one motor wire from the wheel pick-up and attach it, with an extension, to the trolley pole or pantograph and link both pick-ups together with a wire round the end of the chassis.

9.   Additional Options to consider:

  • If your tram runs in reverse when compared to the other trams on your layout then it may be necessary to exchange the platforms if you have provided a driver at the front or to turn the tram round to face the other way if there is no driver present.
  • Lights (Internal LED ligths are easy to add, and should only add a few minutes to the project)
  • Add DCC  (by installing a Z-scale decoder)
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