Motorising EFE's Horsfield Tram
+ a Vienna tram car

Review by D
avid Orchard

Click on the pictures to see the larger images

The picture at the top of the page shows the "tram line up" for Halling 4-wheel unit motorised kits - four originally un-motorised EFE Leeds Horsfield cars plus one Vienna car fitted with the Halling unit from the start.

Quality model-maker EFE branched out into trams in 1989, producing an accurate 4mm scale non-motored model of the 1930 Leeds "Horsfield" tram (also known locally in Leeds as "Showboats"). The "Horsfield" was thought to be typical of the all-enclosed traditional British double-deck 4-wheel tram in its later years, though London and Liverpool could also have provided prototypes. In contrast, the London "Feltham" 8-wheel tram modelled equally well in the same scale by Corgi was a completely new design and a true 'second-generation' tramcar, although it too was built in 1930. Ironically, during the last years of the Leeds tramways in the 1950s, the "Horsfields" and "Felthams" ran together and provided the service when the rest of Leeds trams had been scrapped. The EFE Horsfield model, which is beautifully painted with excellent advertisement transfers, comes in five forms: early blue livery, later blue livery, final maroon livery (where it exactly matches one of the Corgi Felthams!), wartime grey/green livery, and a white livery for the "Road Safety Tram". Most of these variants are shown in my photos.
Showing how the housing for the Halling unit (provided) is cemented into place using epoxy cement in three of the Leeds cars, and simply screwed into place on the Vienna car. (The fourth Leeds car uses a home-grown UK white metal motorising kit, which is fixed in place the same way. But the Halling one runs more smoothly...)

BEC kit for motorising the Feltham is available (inc. post and packing) for 33 (two motorised bogies) from "The Tram Man" (email:, and he also does the BEC four-wheel drive unit for motorising the Horsfield for 19 (ask for the 34mm wheelbase unit with 9.5 diameter wheels). One of these fitted BEC traction units can be seen in my photographs of the tram undersides. It works perfectly well, but in my view the Halling unit1 has a smoother response due to its built-in flywheels; the other three Horsfields in my photos all have Halling units. The Halling price on their website at is currently 30 euro + 5 euro post/packing, which is in total about 23.50. Like BEC, there is a range of wheelbases available, and what you need is the 34mm wheelbase ("34 mm achsstand" in German) unit which is labelled as being for the Vienna KSW tram under reference 2001002-A. The website gives you good pictures of all the units, but the text tends to be only in German. There is a direct on-line ordering facility with the usual "shopping trolley" system, that takes UK credit / debit cards.

Dismantling the EFE Leeds tram has been described in detail already by David Voice in 'Tramfare', but briefly it is: (1) drill out retaining rivets holding in the old un-motorised 4-wheel unit. (2) cut away outline of new motorising unit in plastic chassis. (3) fit housing of new motorising unit into plastic chassis using epoxy adhesive or anything else suitably tough. (4) screw new motorising unit into housing. (5) - this is the cunning bit - re-attach upper saloon and lower-deck window moulding using platform handrails only, with epoxy or cement below the steps where it's not very visible, (Seriously, this works.)

Finally, how to get the Halling traction unit into the Horsfield body. This is less easy than motorising the Feltham, though not horribly difficult. Two internal vertical rods hold upper deck, lower deck and chassis in place.  The first thing is to drill out the two plastic discs in the chassis that lock these rods in place. The tram will then fall apart - you will note that the lower-deck roof/ windows and lower deck body sides / chassis are two separate components (unusual!). If the door handrails fall out, do not lose them (see below as to why!). Cut the vertical rods at a point just below the lower-deck roof, and cement these into this roof. You will now have the top two-thirds of the tram assembled. Now cut out the aperture for the Halling unit in the chassis. Fit Halling unit carefully with cement at either end, ensuring that it is level (exactly the same technique is used for fitting the BEC unit, by the way.)

Showing another German HO tram with an earlier motorised mechanism for comparison: ok, but not as good as Halling.

You will now have the top two-thirds of the tram in one hand, and the bottom one-third in the other (henceforth referred to as "halves"), with no visible means of joining them together except to cement all along the body sides, which is not a good idea (even if done skilfully) as it will harm the model's otherwise superb paint finish. Do not despair. The Horsfield comes with strong steel handrails in the doorway at either end; as built they are a sliding fit into the door step (otherwise you could never have dismantled the tram in the first place), and the step itself is a strong casting. The solution is to carefully re-unite the top and bottom "halves", ensuring the handrail fits into the door step, and then cement the handrail into the doorstep at either end of the tram, and also cement where it fits in the lower-deck roof if necessary. This effectively locks the top and bottom "halves" together, and where the cement is visually unobtrusive and easy to put a bit of paint on if you need to. I didn't.

This may all sound a bit Heath-Robinson, but the result is a beautifully-modelled 4mm tram with a really excellent traction unit, for modest cost.


The copyright of all the photos in this review remain with David Orchard.

1 Click HERE for the technical bulletin released by Halling regarding their various 4-wheel traction units - opens as a PDF file.

The  opinions offered in the reviews on this page remain those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the of views of The Model Bus Website.

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