I saw it in a hobby shop downtown and I just couldn’t resist. The “Red Arrow” is one of the most famous trains in Switzerland even if there was just a few prototypes. It’s a legendary train for the Swiss Federal Railways and I was looking for it for a long time on the web to finally find it in the back room of a Geneva store. Happy and lucky me!

Hobbytrain Red Arrow

It’s a simple motorized railcar from Hobbytrain. Lights are functional even if they are soft. I comes in a silver plastic case with black foam inside. I feel a bit special whenever I open this beautiful little box…

In the 1930s, the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) wanted to improve traffic on low frequentation lines with a new kind of electric railcar. Unfortunately the project wasn’t really a success and only a few prototypes were built and the whole picture abandoned. Some models were single cars, others formed with 2 elements and even a few were diesel cars for non electrified lines.

Nevertheless, with it’s sharp design, it’s vivid red color and a top speed of 125km/h (in the 30s!), this category of train reached the heart of the people and gained its nickname of “Red Arrow”.

Mine is a RBe 2/4 series. After it’s service for the SBB, several models dissapeared. One was sold to the OeBB Railways and adopted their blue scheme. Hobbytrain makes a model of this ”Blue Arrow”.

You can find another RBe 2/4 remaining among other Red Arrows at the Swiss Transport Museum and it’s a beauty! (the museum is also a great place, I should go back!)

image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The model is really special because it’s just a railcar: no locomotive, no cars, no couplers nor long train. It feels strange at the beginning but you get used to it as it grows on you.

It really nicely detailed. The painting is mate and really bright, the markings are beautiful and even small pieces like the coupling hooks at each end are there (they seem a bit fragile). The rooftop painting is metallic and it’s definitely a good thing: it looks amazing along with all the wires.

It’s too bad the inside is not detailed as neatly but being a single railcar you can easily understand that there is not much room left for anything else than a motor… Speaking of motor, the pantograph is elevated with a spring and I guess it has wire power capacity. As I’m not equipped for this kind of operation (quite uncommon in Japanese railway models) I can’t really say. It bothers me a bit because I can’t run the Arrow with “open” pantos as they are fully deployed so a lot too high and not pretty like that.

The real magic appears when you start it. Oh box it looks great. I would never have imagined that a single car would look so cool on the rails.

Two small stains on this beautiful picture:

  • The Red Arrow doesn’t have flywheel so the staring and stopping can be brutal, especially because it’s a single car.
  • It’s slow, really slow compared to others models that I have and cannot run on full speed if I don’t want to see them tilt and fall on the curves. It’s not a major problem as I guess that the scale speed is prototypical but it bothers me a bit.

Last but not least: the packaging. It comes in a silver plastic box with just a line-art of the Red Arrow on it, the Hobbytrain logo and the name of the model. As a graphic designer I would say that I would have pushed the typography a bit further but I’m really being picky there…

Inside you can find the Arrow in a black foam that emphasize the beauty of it. A real jewel!

What I like:

  • Simple railcar
  • Emblematic swiss train
  • vivid colours

What I don’t like

  • a bit too slow even if it’s still prototypical
  • interior a bit poor in details

Prototype infos:

  • Operated by: SBB-CFF-FFS (Swiss Federal Railways)
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Type: Railcar
  • Service started: January 25 1938
  • Service ended: 1966-1974 some are preserved as historic models
  • Max speed: 120km/h

5 responses to Train depot: RBe 2/4 “Red Arrow”, Hobbytrain

  1. The_Ghan

    20th Sep 2011

    Hey Kumo,

    This is a very special train. You are lucky to have it. I’m wondering why it is running slow. Is a resister installed on the motor or is it the gearing? Perhaps it was done instead of adding a flywheel, which would be a bad decision in my mind.



  2. Loris

    21st Sep 2011

    I really can’t tell. I’m fine with it because I don’t intend to run it faster but I can’t help but wondering…

  3. Christophe

    14th Nov 2011

    J’ai aussi ce beau modèle de Hobbytrain. Je ne trouve pas qu’il soit trop lent, au contraire, à pleine vitesse, il va trop vite à l’échelle, en comparant à la réalité. (et de manière générale, je trouve que de manière générale, les trains miniatures roulent trop vite sur les réseaux que l’on peu voir (notamment film sur le net). Il ne faut pas oublier qu’en roulant plus lentement, les réseaux paraissent plus grand :-)

    Petite vidéo sur mon segment Biaschina en construction

  4. Loris

    14th Nov 2011

    Je suis d’accord avec toi: la plupart du temps, les gens ont tendance à faire rouler leurs trains trop vite.
    En fait ma frustration fient plus du fait que j’ai peur que cela soit un défaut que d’un réel reproche au modèle.

    Ce “défaut” m’a vraiment frappé la première fois que j’ai fait rouler mon tram: il est très très lent… et c’est normal.
    Des vitesses plus lentes c’est un rendu plus réaliste. Plus difficile de juger avec les trains à haute vitesse, on a toujours envie de les faire aller plus vite! :-D

    (Je me suis permis d’éditer tes messages pour n’en faire qu’un seul ;-) )

  5. Pingback: Trans Expo 2011 | Tecchan

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