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Australian Railway Models D55 Class Steam Locomotive

DCC Sound Installation 

ARM K-D55 Class.jpg

Now available with a NEW Remastered Custom Sound Project 

including “Full Throttle – Heavy Load”

About the NSWGR 55 Class

In 1916, Clyde Engineering were awarded a contract to build 300 K class 2-8-0 steam locomotives for the New South Wales Government Railways in Australia. Following experiments with Southern type valve gear on an earlier class, it was proposed its installation on these locomotives. The use of Southern valve gear was rare on locomotives operating outside the United States of America. Its use in this instance signalled the first NSWGR main line design with outside valve gear.

The first of the class, K1353, entered traffic on 29 November 1918, but the NSWGR wanted to extensively test the first locomotive, so the next member did not appear for a further two years. Meanwhile, the contract had been reduced to just 120 locomotives, K1353-K1454 with all of them in service by March 1925 and were fitted with large capacity “Wampu” tenders. However, from August 1924, NSWGR reclassified its entire fleet of steam locomotives resulting with the “K” class becoming the D55 class, and they were all renumbered 5501-5620.

The D55 class spent most of their days attached to depots at Enfield, Goulburn, Harden, Junee and Cowra operating on the Illawarra and Main South lines. They were seldomly used on the Main Western or Main Northern lines.

In 1946, given the contemporary discontent and industrial action in the coalfields following World War II, it was decided to convert seventy of the class to oil burners, with the first six being converted. A further 10 were converted in 1947, followed by another 54 in 1949. As the coal crisis passed, the oil burning locomotives were withdrawn, as they were still four times more expensive to run than the coal-fired ones. Sixteen were converted back to coal firing and the remainder stored. The last oil burning 55 class was 5591 which was withdrawn in February 1959.

Of the NSWGR Standard Goods engines, the D55 class were the first to be retired, with the last 5597 being withdrawn from Enfield Locomotive Depot in June 1967. Only one was preserved 5595 which has been cosmetically restored and is displayed with a Commonwealth Turret Tender at the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum in Thirlmere.

DCC with Sound and Light Modifications

Australian Railway Models released the NSWGR D55 Class RTR model No. K1353 in October 2023 

The model is DCC ready – NMRA compliant DCC 8 pin socket in the loco, but is by no means DCC Sound Ready.  With no wiring connection between the loco and tender, it restricts using the space inside the tender for a DCC Sound Installation.


For this installation, we recommend the ESU LokSound 5 (Sound) with our remastered Custom Sound Project for the 55 Class or the LokPilot 5 (No Sound) for those not wishing sound 

We offer a light modification for the ARM D55 Class

The first model released K1353 did not come with a headlight, as it probably did not have one in real life. 

The D55 were fitted with headlights and if ARM releases future models with a headlight then we will offer the light modification.

We can install an LED working Headlight into this model only if a non-working headlight is fitted.

On top of that, we have modified the headlight operation to resemble the prototypical operation of a real steam locomotive, where the light generator controls the operation rather than the light function. No more turning off the sound and the light stays on waiting for you to turn it off.

Also added are:

* Automatic High Beam Headlight Function when the locomotive begins to drive. 

   Bring the loco to a stop and the headlight will return to dim.

* Low Beam Front Headlight when reversing is also available.

The DCC Solutions NSW 55 Class Custom Sound Project is packed with

sounds and features not found on other sound decoders

and will have your model sounding just like a real D55 steam locomotive

So why not get fully featured sound from DCC Solutions

Our Custom Sound Project now includes these new features:

Cold and Hot Start Up Sequences

Coal Burners — Select the Cold Start Up and you will activate the cold boiler preheat long start. You will hear the water being pumped into the boiler, the light of a match to start the fire, the sound of the fire crackling, coal shovelling and the sounds of the pressure building up to reach the correct level before commencing to move off. Now that's something you won't hear from other sound decoders!

Oil Burners — Select the Cold Start Up and you will activate the cold boiler preheat long start. You will hear the water being pumped into the boiler, the oil being ignited and the sounds of the pressure building up to reach the correct level before commencing to move off. Now that's definitely something you won't hear from other sound decoders!

Select the Hot Start-Up to activate the hot boiler quick start to skip the preheat assuming the correct boiler pressure is reached. 

Shut down your D55 Class and the sound just doesn't stop. Steam releases and other sounds will be heard as it shuts down.

Full Throttle – Drive Hold

This feature allows you to simulate a hard-working loaded train by pressing the F1 function button. When the button is pressed, the motor will remain at a constant speed, while the sound changes into an intense chuff, so this can simulate a hard-working steam locomotive. This exciting, new feature gives the operator the ability to have the train crawling along the track while producing an intense chuff. Release the Drive Hold function button, and you simply go back to throttle-controlled speed, motion, and sound. Available only from DCC Solutions, our Drive Hold will stop your loco when you reduce the speed to zero, even while the function is still active. 

Your ESU factory sound or sound from other providers will not stop your loco at speed step 0 with the drive hold switched on.

Coasting on Demand

This feature allows you to enter coasting mode whenever you want with a press of a button. The loco will enter the coasting mode and remain in coasting until you turn it off, regardless of changes in the speed. Experiment with turning it on and off while the loco is moving at speed to hear the sound changes of a steam locomotive when you want. With this feature, you can have your model sounding like a real steam locomotive.

Working Brake

Press the Brake Function button, and your locomotive will come to a stop at a much shorter distance than if you were to bring it to a stop by reducing the throttle speed. Release the brake and your locomotive will move off again, or choose to have it remain stationary when the brake is released. The brake can also be used while driving to slow the locomotive up.

Brake Squeal on Deceleration

Activate this function and when you reduce the throttle speed, your locomotive will begin braking and slow up quicker as you continue to lower the throttle speed, and you will hear the squeal of the brakes. Accelerating will release the brakes.

Coupling and Release with DCCS Shunting Mode

Activate coupling or release and your locomotive will automatically reduce its speed to allow for a more realistic coupling or release operation. Once the coupling operation is completed, your locomotive will automatically stop while once uncoupled will continue to run at slow speed for a few more seconds before returning to the speed set on your throttle.

Prototypical Headlight Operation

We have also modified the headlight operation to resemble the prototypical operation.

In the past you would have turned off the sound (Pressing F8) and all the sounds including the generator would stop playing, but your headlight would remain on, and you would have to turn it off separately. Well not anymore...

Press the headlight button (F0) to turn on the generator. The headlight won't turn on until enough power has been generated to turn the light on, dimmed. While the generator is on, the headlight stays on. If you press F8 to shut down and turn the loco sound off which will include the generator, then the headlight will also turn off even if you haven't turned the headlight off itself using the headlight button.

Also, added for lighting are:

Automatic High Beam Headlight when the locomotive begins to drive. Bring the loco to a stop, and it will return to a dim state.

Low Beam Front Headlight when reversing is also available.

Selectable high to low beam while driving.


And includes all these great features to make your 55 Class locomotive drive and sound impressive

  • NSWGR D55 recorded steam sounds in a Custom Built Sound Project

  • Coal Burner or Oil Burner Custom Sound Projects — User selectable with a single CV value

  • Cold Boiler Start Up Sequence including boiler water fill, fire up sequence, boiler pressure reached before moving off

  • Optional Quick Hot Start Up Sequence – Straight to waiting for boiler pressure to be reach before moving off

  • Full Throttle Heavy Load-Lock the loco speed, control the chuff sound independently to simulate a hard-working locomotive

  • Coasting On Demand

  • Working Brake

  • Brake squeal on deceleration and turns off on acceleration

  • NSWGR D55 Whistle, including a reversing whistle

  • NSWGR D55 Class Compressor

  • Playable Stop Sounds including boiler/steam sounds, safety values, blower and more

  • Random Drive Sounds including track squeal, compressor, injectors, coal shovelling, and more

  • Individual Coupling and Release Options depending on the locomotive's direction with DCCS shunting mode

  • Water filling tender sounds

  • Generator controlled Headlight. The generator sound controls the headlight.

  • Automatic High Beam Headlight Function when the locomotive begins to drive and returning to a dim state at stop

  • Optional low beam headlight when reversing or while driving

  • Guard's Whistle

  • Wheel Squeal and Rail Clanking

  • Can play up to 10 different sounds simultaneously

  • Motor settings and sound volumes tuned to specifically suit the ARM D55 Class Model using the DCC Solutions speaker

  • Individual sounds slots and master sound volumes can be adjusted by the user to suit personal requirements

  • Full 28 function button remapping to suit your personal requirements

  • DCC Solutions High Performance Speaker delivering great sound


Standard DCC Installation: ESU LokPilot Standard Non-sound decoder with no lighting modifications.

Premium DCC Installation and Light Modification: ESU LokPilot 5 Non-Sound decoder with installed LED Headlight

Premium Sound Installation: ESU LokSound 5 Sound decoder programmed with the DCC Solutions D55 Custom Sound Project.

Premium Sound Installation and Light Modification: ESU LokSound 5 sound decoder programmed with the DCC Solutions D55 Custom Sound Project and installed operating LED Headlight

DCC Solutions SOUND and FUNCTION Labels

Premium Sound Installation and Light Modification using the ESU LokSound 5

F0    Headlight — FWD-Bright_REV-Off_STOP-Dim

F1    Drive Hold – Heavy Load

F2    Playable Whistle

F3    Low Beam Headlight while driving

F4    Cylinder Steam Release

F5    Coasting On Demand

F6    Brake

F7    Brake Squeal on Deceleration

F8    Boiler Start Up Sound On/Off/Mute

F9    Reserved (Light Mods)

F10  Reserved (Light Mods)

F11  Reserved (Light Mods)

F12  Reserved (Light Mods)

F13  Headlight - FWD-Bright_REV-Dim_STOP-Dim

F14  Reserved (Light Mods)

F15  Blower

F16  Compressor

F17  Coupling /Uncoupling + DCCS Shunting Mode

F18  Wheel Squeal

F19  Guard's Whistle

F20  Sanding

F21  Volume Fader - Reduces Sound 50%

F22  Headlight On/Off (No Generator for Silent Running)

F23  Tender Water Fill

F24   Injectors

F25  Safety Valves

F26  Coal Shovelling

F27  Shunting Mode

F28  Rail Clank

Note: The above functions are for the LokSound 5 Decoder programmed with DCC Solutions Premium Custom Sound Installation with Light Modification.

The functions and sounds will be different from any standard generic ESU Sound Files or other Sound Decoders.

To learn how to use these functions, see the Info & Help page.

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