The Flying Hamburger is an iconic train, but the Kato model needed a little upgrade, check out the video!
The first high speed train
One could argue the Flying Hamburger between Berlin and Hamburg was one of the first high speed trains. This little DMU from the 1930s reached “only” 160kmh (99mph) with 77mph on average, but it already boasted the main features of a high speed train: streamlined, using priority tracks, and linking 2 large cities without stops. Fun fact: 80 years later, America’s so called “high speed” Acela Express only reaches 70mph on average.
These railcars have a fascinating history (actually, there are 2 versions with slightly different front ends, only one of them is really “the flying Hamburger”). They served dark purposes during WWII for marshal Göring. But they were used after the war by the US, both as a hospital train and also for the American ambassador in Bonn. In fact, one of them even made its way to the US. There is a great summary with superb pictures on this website (in French).
The Kato model 10704 is more than 10 years old, I got it for a good price on ebay (though there are rumors that Hobbytrain or Kato might bring a newer model out soon).
Inaugurating the Next18 interface
I have been using the ESU Loksound Micro V4.0 sound decoder a lot, but this time, after my presentation of the Next18 interface (article here), I decided to install an interface instead of directly soldering the decoder. I am using the Next18 interface adapter from Doehler & Haass (less than €7).
The installation was actually easier than planned. In fact, installing an interface feels much better: if I do a big mistake, I only loose the interface, and don’t damage the nearly €100 sound decoder.
I won’t detail the conversion process, but I made sure the Flying Hamburger got a real upgrade. Here are my conversion specs:
- Sound with ESU Loksound v4.0 with Next18 interface. Next18 interface on board for easy decoder changes
- 4x470uF SMD capacitors (1880uF) in total, for flicker free operations
- LED headlights (yellow/red) to replace the old style bulbs
- LED Interior lighting
I still need to improve the speaker output volume, but the train is now in service on my layout, with flying colors!