This note is about a small loco that fits well in with my other Swiss electric locomotives with rods – like the SBB Ae 3/6 II and the SBB Seetal crocodile De 6/6. Also this present locomotive was made at Schweizerischen Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik (SLM) in Winterthur in the nineteen-twenties. Nearly a hundred years ago. I didn’t plan for this loco, but the guy in a shop in Italy sensed my interests and caught me. The model was unused and second hand from 2011, that turned out to be a rather interesting eight year old buy. Thanks, Mari – who insisted to give it to me as a present!
This is a lovely and pretty locomotive that is also very well made. It is so modest that I even kind of like it. It runs nicely with the motor, cogwheels and flywheel telling that even getting out of bed is really hard work – without digital sound. This is partly because there are no rubber tyres that would dampen the sound. The lack of tyres is such that I am not able to take it for a ride with more than a two-axle car, and not in an elevation, as it then simply spins. It’s closer to a scale model than some of my other models and therefore perhaps too fragile, compared. You can see by the pictures here that I like it!
Basic info and sources
Original as BLS CFe 2/6 and later BLS Te 2/3
One of the two 1956 versions Te 2/3 (road number #31) is remaining and is owned by VHE (below). However, the original was built in 1925 with an extra close car, and named CFe 2/6 #784. The other was road number #32 (1956) and #785 (1925).
- German Wikipedia: Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Bahn (BLS)
- Verein Historische Eisenbahn Emmental (VHE): Rollmaterial. They run the locos every now and then. I’d like to go there once!
- Te 2/3 Nr. 31 (ehem. CFe 2/6 Nr. 784) – with most comprehensive description
- Märklinfan Club Italia: BLS Te 2/3 – with most comprehensive group of pictures
- Spotlog: BLS: Electric Loco Te 2/3 – with not much at all
- The colour: it was brown until 1963, then red for some years, then orange and when in the possession of the Association Historical Railway Emmental, again brown  #14 (Gurti96) and #15 (Lidokork)
- It was initially assigned to BLS rail service in Kandersteg BE and Goppenstein VS  #14 (Gurti96)
- There are some very nice colour pictures in  #15 (Lidokork)
- But the original is also described in the model’s pages:
The DC version of #31 is BRAWA 0570 and the AC version is BRAWA 0572. There also is a brown model of #32 where the DC version is BRAWA 0572 and the AC version is BRAWA 0573. But I cannot find a trace of 0572 and 0573 in BRAWA’s pages, only in internet shops.
- BRAWA MUSEUM: SHUNTING TRACTOR TE 2/3 BLS – road no.: 31. Model year: 2011 – not much there
- BRAWA manual (PDF), see . This also contains technical data and history of this loco
- BRAWA digital decoder “AnDi 75 3…” as it says in the manual. For download: not the manual that came in the box, but I think it’s the same decoder (AnDi 75 320 by Uhlenbrock) (German only), see https://www.uhlenbrock.de/de_DE/produkte/prodarch/I000C327-002.apd/Bes75320.pdf
- Since it’s a 2011 model
- It has light bulbs (not LED)
- There is no sound from any speaker on board (but there is a quite nice sound of a hard working electric locomotive from the electric motor. The fact that there is no traction tyre also pulls the noise from the moving parts onto the track. And my metal tracks are screwed directly on wood.)
Any BRAWA forum?
Is there a discussion group or forum where questions about BRAWA models are discussed? The answer is no, but the guys at märklin-users.net (here) certainly are keen on this model, or maybe even BRAWA in general. Especially if the problems are associated with an AC version. See below, where I used this forum. Then I have found Moritz‘s blog Modellbauhütte where there are quite som interesting notes . And the Swiss MoBa Forum, where there is a great thread about this loco started by Cebu Pacific . There also is the Swiss HAG Forum, see .
The built-in decoder understands “the old and the new Motorola data format”. The “new” is from 1993 and is called MM2 (Märklin Motorola 2) – also called “fx”. It’s also “fully programmable from the Delta system”. I think that for BRAWA they call it DIGITAL2.
Modifying the address(?)
However, I am not able to change from the default address 78. (So I modified my little Märklin steam engine’s address instead.) I use Märklin Mobile Station with SW 2.5. The description of how to do this in the manual that came in the box is rather strange to me. I don’t understand how to do it from this description:
Adjusting the address with the Märklin digital system
- Select the current address of the decoder on the Märklin digital controller (Control 80, Control 80f, Control Unit). In a new decoder, this is address 78.
- Bring the speed control of the controller into the position for direction change-over until the rear lighting of the vehicle flashes quickly several times (after approx. 8 seconds).
- Enter the new decoder address on the controller.
- Switch the lighting on via the [function] button, otherwise the lighting function cannot be switched on later during normal operation.
- Change the direction once again briefly and the new address is accepted.
No traction tyre
There is no traction tyre on any of the axles. (Tyre is used for a covering for a wheel, usually made of rubber. Tire is the preferred spelling in the U.S. and Canada. [here]). The loss of this rubber to increase the friction easily causes a load of a single, long passenger car with bogies, to have the loco spin. On a flat layout. A small box car is barely ok. Even running the loco alone, it is noticeable to see it spin somewhat. I use the old M-track, and I think they are really only tested for C and K tracks (ref BRAWA FAQ, here). However, I can not see that the track would make any difference on this matter.
I always try to figure out why something I find odd is like it is. Maybe it’s (A) because this model has only two driving axles (update: see Motor power) and to use one of them with its two wheels for it.. would not work? In case, why should that be a problem? The tyre is mounted inside a slot of each wheel and only barely touches the track. I can see that another BRAWA locomotive is indeed supplied with “wheel set prepared for traction tire AC” and of course the “traction tire for AC” itself (BR E77 0252, here). And that loco has two axles with traction tyres, one on each bogie. And each of the bogies do have only two driving axles. Or maybe it’s (B) because it’s rather heavy (208 g) so it should be ok without two tyred wheels? After all, to me it was rather surprising to see it slip. But then I haven’t seen a non-tyred locomotive ever. Or maybe it’s (C) because of its intended function as a rangier locomotive, with only few cars. No! They would typically need to push high start-up force for even quite large train sets. Or maybe it’s (D) really created for spending its life as a showcase model? No, not with engine, flywheel and dgital operation!
I fear that my model just has had little luck from its creation. Did its parents not really believe in this odd AC version and wanted it to slip behind..?
Another question is why the DC version does not need a traction tyre?
I queried about this at the marklin-users.net community, as I have found no BRAWA community: BRAWA 0571 has no traction tyre – A BRAWA question about a spinning loco. Unholz replied with a pointer to a guy who showed how he had milled a groove for a traction tire into the wheel surface. Also, there is a pointer there to some rubber stuff to paint on the wheel: Bullfrog Snot. Unholz says that “many users are not happy with the pulling power of this neat little loco.” Then using extra weight, magnets and adjusting the hot shoe are suggested. People have solved the traction problem! See Moritz’s comment (below) and  where he basically says that it’s the pickup shoe that is the major cause of the problem. Also search for “pickup” here.
Slipping to the rescue (1)
I cleaned the track with isopropanol! It was oilier than I thought! This helped quite a lot. With this done the loco could actually pull the long passenger car with bogies. Not without some slip, but most people may not notice I guess. But this is just a side point, the loco also needs
This model has the following text printed on each side. The bottom line shows the direction. I is the front part and is above the narrow ladder by the non driven axle. II is the reas part, and is above the wide ladder.
Te 215 031-6
36t 2x10t P/V 31t Vmax geschleppt remorque 50km/h
REV Sp 31.3.95
Details not in the manual
- You can do some fixing and perhaps even the lubrication from the top. The digital decoder is also available from the top. The top is lose and lifts off easily. Use a nylon spudger
- Be very careful if you follow the instruction to dismantle the housing. There it says to lever off the two snow removers. Use a spudger again and lever off to the forward or backwards, not up or down. The snow removers have two male connectors and the locomotive has the corresponding female holes, but they are tight and the males are too short. I managed to break one of the male connectors, so I need to extend them some day
- However, if you use a narrow screwdriver and are careful with the ladder then it’s possible to get the two housing screws out without first removing the snow removers
- “The plow is also such a bad part, the shape does not fit 100% with the effect that it is bent backwards. This can be corrected by filing the top edge.”,  #20 (Dumeng)
- The drive box over the spring of the pantograph fell off easily, simply because it was too big. I removed some plastic from it, and used a tiny amount of glue as well
- The pantograph does not have stops to hinder it becoming dismantled if you loosen it from the grips when it’s down to raise it. Be very careful!
- I was not able to fasten one of the wide ladders when I mounted the housing. I think the top of the ladder should be held in place by the metal housing, but there was not enough space. So I had to cut some off the ladder
- Don’t place the loco upside down if you are not certain that none off the parts on the roof are free. You may need to make a frame or mask for the roof, of some foam or the like. I will next time!
- You may perhaps use the to me rather unusual transport brace clips. They have male parts to insert into the wholes that would appear when you pull out the buffers
- I actually cut some foam to make another transport system so I don’t have to remove the buffers all the time. But it must only touch the center of the loco, and not much of the wheel part or roof part. But this just may wear the text on the housing. Disclaimer: the original transport brace clips and foam is probebly much smarter, but when I bought mine the man in the shop was unaware of this and really messed it all up. There are pictures of the transport system on the net
- Be careful to lift the loco as the long wire to the pantograph is fastened to the isolator and it may break off. It did for me. I had to glue..
- I removed the close coupler (one one?) and inserted relex couplers, since I have some smallest radius track and i don’t want the buffers to hook
- Because of the bulbs the locomotive gets somewhat lukewarm also when it stands still. With the 3 bulbs on it draws 70 mA (*10V = 700 mW) and when bulbs are off it draws 1-2 mA (=”nothing”). The motor seems to draw some additional 30-60 mA
- Motor power: This goes for both the DC version 0570 and the AC version 0571: As shown by Moritz in  the motor only applies power directly to one axle. The other axle is powered via the coupling rods. BRAWA probably has meant to power the second axle via gears since there is one idle axle with a gear between the two wheel set. But there are no gears to do the rest of the mechanical connection.
Moritz added more parts from BRAWA and made both axles properly powered. See my question at the bottom of . He shows in a video there that the loco is able to pull a rather large train uphill as well, when the pickup shoe has been fixed:
- The pickup shoe is the main problem causing the low pulling power. Search for “pickup” in this document. Update 23Oct2019: I did replace the original pickup shoe with the Märklin “zero” E144133. I cut away four plastic ears and bored a 2.5 mm screw hole, somewhat off-center so that the one end should not hit the non-driven axle. It helped a lot! Plus, if I ran the loco in the opposite direction as shown in the picture above it pulled even better! It’s almost as my other light locos! Remember that I also fixed this:
- The free front axle has two springs that press the axle somewhere down, but the axle is inside the springs. The springs have 11,5 rounds and the axles were in the third round from the top. I could feel that the force of the wheels were quite high, effectively hindering the other two (more or less) powered axles of applying their force. So I shortened the springs by about three rounds so I now have about eight rounds left. This also helped pulling power some, my test train (one short and one long bogied car) was pulled somewhat easier
See Moritz’s .
Fig.1 and Fig.2 are shot in the train layout. But since I don’t have catenary wires there, the above shows my kitchen table studio. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 produced RW2 raw pictures for me. I set F-number to 8 for max depth view, and exposure time was then 1/8 sec. I opened them in GraphicConverter 10 and saved as TIF. I use macOS. Then Preview save to JPG max quality, to preserve as much of the loco’s text as possible. It’s alwasy difficult to be abe to see the wheels, but the LEDs behind a white paper helps. But then, that also distorts the colours somewhat. I tried to use Post Focus and slice the pictures in Pages (as I did here) – but this time the Fig.3 that goes out of focus actually looked better.
I used about the same procedure for Fig.2. But for Fig.1 I used auto mode and JPG in the camera. But no extra lighting for those two pictures, so the wheels are darker. Which is also ok.
I didn’t have an extra Märklin 6631 power for the Märklin 60116 digital connector box. (I did not want to disconnect units from the layout). But I had an extra 60116. It should have 18V, but 15.5V was ok, since that’s max from lab power. Also, the track are two-rail because it looks rather nice. I fed power through the wood to a point below the loco. Needed for the lights only.
- Operating Instructions Shunter traktion engine Te 2/3 Direct current model 0570 Alternating current model 0571– in English and German. Revision 9955.01.91 / 6 5 01 – WAN
- Moritz-BR365‘s blog note Brawa BLS Te 2/3 – Umbau auf AC und Sound (in German, but translated by Google here). Also see comment (below)
- Brawa Rangiertraktor Te 2/3 Nr.31 by Cebu Pacific on MoBa Forum (in German, but translated by Google here)
- HAG Forum, see https://www.forum.hag-info.ch