Wednesday 23 August 2023

On Track Models

ALGX Louvre Van 

My Thoughts on this new release

Hi Guy's

I recently treated myself to a pack of On Track Models ALGX Louvre Vans. I purchased pack ALGX-05 which is described as a Mid 70's-Mid 80's Pack. It contains 3 models Numbered ALGX35F, ALGX91G and ALGX131V at the cost of $240.00. The reason I chose this pack is that it contains a number from all 3 series of Vans. On Track Models states that there are only 2 series of these Vans, though from my research I have identified 3 variants. I will go into more detail as I go.


Norm Bray Photograph

First of all, ALGX35F. All I can say is that On Track Models have nailed this Model. I really cannot fault this model. I have fitted mine with Bogies that better match Norm's Photo above. I will use this photo to weather my model. This represents the first series of Vans numbering from 1-57. These had the Pressed ends. The brake equipment arrangement was completely reversed from the other series of these vans with an upside-down Rachet Brake Handle on what you could call the long end of the Van. The end with 3 sets of Louvred Panels. OTM's have also done a real nice job on the Roof, with 13 Riveted Panels which is correct for the first 57 vans.

In years past Trainorama produced this First version of Van but the Brake Handle was on the short end and there were only 8 welded roof panels modeled. In Relation to detail these OTM's ALGX's are light years ahead.
under side arrangement.

Trainorama model on top

Trainorama model Left- OTM's right. The end Louvre Detail is Excellent and Correct. 

The only criticism that I have is that I am not a fan of the bogies that come with the models. I like to have uniformity in my bogies. I interchange bogies and wheel sets all the time. There were two types provided with these vans. They have finer scale wheel sets on them, but they come with two different axle lengths which seems strange to me. 
The bogie on the right I haven't come across a matching prototype photo of one of these.

They are quite different when viewed at this angle.

As a result, I have chosen to change my bogies out. I have always used AR Kits Bogies and some SEM Bogies due to the conformity. But now I mostly look at the range from SDS Models as they have taken conformity to a new level with their range. The thickness of the bogies, Axle Length, Bolster height and brake detail is uniform across the range just like the basic old AR Kits Bogies. For this reason, I don't usually keep bogies from any of the other Manufacturers like Auscision or OTM's. 


My thoughts on this Van that is numbered in the second series of Van is that it is pretty good. All the equipment appears to be placed as it should be. Detail is excellent with all the latest refinements such as Wire Grabs and metal steps. Paintwork is good. Only issue with this model is that they have used the same roof as on the first version. In reality this Varient only has 8 Riveted roof panels. This is something that Trainorama got right with their model years ago. 

This is Trainorama's representation of the 2nd series Van with 8 welded roof panels instead of riveted panels.

Norm Bray Photograph
This photo shows clearly the 8 roof riveted roof panels.

Everything else appears to be in order with this model. Just the roof has 13 panels instead of 8.
The underside of ALGX91G. It has a brake arrangement placement very similar to the Victorian VBBX/VLCX family of Vans.


This Van is a numbered in what would be a 3rd Series of the LX/ALGX Van. OTM's have provided this model with the same detail as the second series of Van. In Reality these Vans are very different. I am not sure at what number the second series ends and the 3rd series start. From Photos that I have studied, the earliest 3rd series Van I have noted is 129. So at least 129 to 157 are 3rd series. If I was to guess I would say they made 50 of each, but I really don't know?
What is different?
The roof is the main difference. It has 11 roof panels like the VLCX. They also maybe welded on and not riveted, but I am not sure. I believe this because the roof has no over-hangs like the other series vans. These have a Brake Wheel on the end instead of a Rachet Handle. The Brake equipment is set out a little differently as well. 

Norm Bray Photograph of ALGX135

Please not the Brake Wheel and no Over-Hangs on the roof. It is hard to tell from this photo but there are only 11 roof panels. 

Norm Bray Photograph of ALGX135
This is the Brake arrangement as it came

This is after I rearranged the gear after a study of Photographs.

Brake wheel Detail.

I hope to tackle the roof soon on this one and 91G. It didn't take long to move around the brake gear and add the Brake Wheel to this one. The only detail that I probably will not attend to maybe the internal roof supports. On the inside it is all set out to support the 13 panels. I would assume that this would change with the 8 panel version and 11 panel version. that would be getting real fussy!

Not sure who took this photo, I have just taken a crop from it. LX139. You can see the position of the Air Tank in this photo. 

Comparison with an OTM's VLCX Van. Roof Profiles vary a little, but the ALGX profile looks pretty good when comparing to photos. Just on a side note, the VLCX pictured here is the earlier series with the timber floor. OTM's didn't include any of these in their latest run of their Victorian Vans. So I am glad that I have a few.

All three under-floor arrangements.

Norm Bray Photograph 2nd Series brake end.
It is coupled to a 3rd Series Van. Note the difference with no over-hang and no visible Rivets? 

As a summary
It is a nice model

The detail nicely matches up with OTM's Victorian Louvre Van Range. Interior detail with the opening doors is great. The underfloor detail is done well. The fussy Modelers out there would of like some more pipe work but there are always limiting factors such as cost. I would imagine that producing 3 different roofs would of blown out the cost. But if you want to do something extra to make these models stand out, there can be some modeling to be had.

As this is a Louvre Van that I have researched for my own benefit to detail up the Trainorama Model, I thought it would be a good idea to share my knowledge on this subject. These Vans were common up the North Coast Line in the 80's. The early 90's they were a little harder to find. I will not be continuing with the detailing of my Trainorama Models and these are a fine replacement and will work in well on my layout. 

David Porter Photo

Thanks Justin Moy

1 comment:

  1. Great write up Justin. Such a good eye for detail in the prototype and model. In regards to the mode bogies, the one on the right appears to represent a common 50T A3 Ride Control bogie which in NSW was the 2CL/XLA , but they also existed in SAR/AN with a lot of them being modified with 'Joey' pocket side bearers for high speed operations. The pedestal liners adjacent to the bearings look oversized. The bogie on the left is a National type as evident by the friction wedges in the side frame. SDS must have improved their wheels. I am still having issues with the treads slipping off the hubs on my cement NPRYs and VCX flats from SDS.