Locomotive Roster: BLS Class 485; Fleischmann 738601

This locomotive is one of my latest additions, in fact, it was a Christmas gift from my wife, and I believe she chose very well! This has been a very powerful little engine and is able to handle up to 32 of my cargo rolling stock cars without breaking a sweat (to include climbing a 2% grade!).

I am starting to notice a 'swiss' theme to my layout with the addition of this locomotive! Well, I have to admit, both my Class 450 Zurich S-Bahn locomotive set and the BLS locomotive and cars have some of the most impressive and dynamic color schemes of almost any railway in the world. The bright green on this locomotive is quite striking and complements the smooth contours of the locomotive nicely.

The paint and detail on this locomotive is fantastic and I truly believe that we must be in some sort of 'golden age' given the quality of N Scale locomotives these days.

My one comment on this locomotive is that installing the decoder in this engine was a bit of a trial. The NEM 651 standard socket and plug for 'plug and play' installation of decoders is genius, but this would not be model railroading if it was too easy!

This locomotive presents a challenge as you absolutely need to get a decoder with the wire harness. After initially taking off the shell and attempting to install a 'standard' 6-pin decoder, I found that once the decoder is installed it sits too high and you can't get the shell back on. Well, that won't do. I ended up ordering an ESU 52680 LokPilot micro with 6 pin plug and cable. I've used this decoder on my Thalys as well and for the price and quality, they are really quite nice.

This decoder was the solution, and as you can see from the photos, I show the side where the socket is for the 6-pins to be installed (and you'll notice the line where a decoder would stick up if you don't have a wire harness) and I also show the other side of the locomotive where Fleischmann (apparently) conveniently provided a space just large enough for a small decoder underneath an electrical bracket/contact (that can easily be slid out of the way to place the decoder in the recess). Hopefully the photos will help to show others how to do this as it was not clear from the instructions that this was how it should work.

A really nice locomotive from Fleischmann.

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