Redesigning the 60197 Engine

A few weeks back I picked up two of the 60197 Passenger Train discounted on Amazon. I’d been in two minds about this set for a while because I really don’t like the big, pre-moulded cockpits on sets like these. One argument is that it keeps the weight down, but the freight trains are all brick-built so I’m not sure why this should be any different. The other argument is of course cost, and with the freight trains running at £160-180 compared to £120 RRP for the passenger train, that makes a bit more sense.

Regardless, I figured I’d do something about it. I’ve always loved the design of the early 80s British Rail engines with the Intercity 125 being perhaps the most iconic of the lot. I’d seen a couple of LEGO versions of this engine, some of which looked pretty decent, but the shape of the front really doesn’t lend itself to bricks.

Nevertheless, I decided to use this as a starting point for my redesign. I knew I wouldn’t be able to accurately replicate it, but getting just a few of the most eye-catching elements in there would be enough. Plus it was a good excuse to drop the pantographs from the original 60197 and turn this into a diesel engine.

Once I was happy with the shape, I transplanted the battery box and shell from the original model onto my new one. After hooking that up and roughing out a design for the roof, it was ready for a proper powered-up track test.

Sitting in the station waiting for its first track test

I only have space in my layout for R40 curves so naturally some of the corners are quite tight, and there were a couple of pinch points where the cab overhang would scrape against the layout scenery. This led to a fair bit of rejigging although luckily nothing too drastic.

After a successful few laps round the layout it was back to the desk for some more design tweaks. The joins looked a bit haphazard in places so I took some time to neaten that up, and made some changes to the roof and running gear.

Side by side – my modified engine and the original 60197 version

As with all LEGO projects, it’s hard to ever draw a line and declare something finished, but I’m really happy with the results of this little experiment. I want to add lights to this model but it will require a bit of thought as there’s not a huge amount of space to play with.

I’ve also started work on a redesign of my favourite set from my childhood, the 4564 Freight Rail Runner, so watch out for a write up of that coming soon.

A few people have reached out to ask for instructions for this model, which I’m more than happy to provide but it takes a lot of time to put them together. If/when I get round to making them, I’ll post them on this blog for free.

EDIT: I’m reading this back over a year later and I’ve still not made instructions. Hang in there.