Lima XPT Conversion to New Hornby HST
Author Mick Wearn


Love it or hate it, at the moment and for the foreseeable future the Lima XPT is about the closest thing you will get to an Australian eXpress Passenger Train.

But with the lima motor being very noisy and tired these days having been around for 20+ years it doesn’t run very well, especially when next to a new 44..

After much research into what could be done, I thought I’d share it with anyone who’s interested.

What can be done?

New Motor/chassis (All wheel pick up/All Wheel Drive)
New LED Lights
Sound (if you’ve got the money)

Here’s what you’ll need:

I’ve been lucky enough to find 3 sets now on the internet (ebay) 2 sets in red livery and 1 in Countrylink.

For the red sets 1 came from the US, and the other from the UK each set I paid $250AUD delivered – the country link set was here in Australia, and cost a bit more.

Look for the sets which feature extra detail along the skirts of the coaches or in the case of Countrylink the coaches are silver in color not grey.

New Motor/chassis
Search on ebay (including world wide) for a new or second hand Hornby HST Pack, I’ve been lucky enough to find 2 both of which I paid $150AUD for delivered to Australia.

You want a pack that features on the hornby website, something like BR InterCity 125 High Speed Train  Product Code: R2701

This locomotive is very heavy and a great performer I’ve had it pulling 17 XPT carriages plus the trailer car.. it is a real winner.

Be careful if buying on ebay that you don’t get the old model which has an old pancake motor.

New LED Lights
These look great, and are custom made for about $15AUD from a guy in the UK.

You can get them from his ebay store You need the Lights to suit LIMA – If you can’t see any listed send him a message enquiring about them and he should be able to make some for you.

Make sure it says LIMA on it

Also there are two different types of lights available 1 in bright white, and the other in Proto-white

Sound (if you’ve got the money)
I’ve decided to abound sound as it got too expensive, but if you are interested in putting sound in the front and rear loco’s check out Or

Both offer sound for a 43 Class which is the Hornby HST, Sound previews can be found on YouTube (Search for HST Sound)

The conversion over to the Honby HST is very simple.

Remove the clear insert from the LIMA Shell and place to one side, and then remove the lugs from the underside of the shell that hold the shell on the old LIMA chassis. I use a pair of pinch snips, and clean up with a Dermal.


Cut the clear plastic insert as shown, and glue to the inside of the shell, Leave this to one side
Next take the Hornby HST Locomotive, and remove the shell (we won’t use this again) and remove the wires for the original HST lights ( you may like to try and wire the new lights up different it’s up to you) I remove the wires for the original lights so they can’t short anything out.
Cut off the LIMA Coupling from the old chassis and file down the sides until it’s a tight fit in the new HST coupling hole, The Hornby Coupling just pulls out

At this point I would test fit your XPT Shell, and make sure it looks good. It’s a loose fit for now, and the shell should just slip on the chassis, fit the shell nose first.

If you’re not going to add lights you can stop here add a decoder and off you go.   The decoder fits nicely in the cavity above the rear bogie

New LED Lights
Wire the circuit board from BlackCat Technology
Once you have wired it all up, test your lights – there is no need to use a resistor as this is built into the circuit board from Blackcat Technologies – Test the light by connecting the blue wire to one rail, and the yellow or white to the other rail.

Fixing to the inside of the XPT – Before you start remove the clear light piece from the XPT nose cone and sit safely to once side – this can be pushed out from the inside with the tip of a knife blade

First remove the bumps with a Dermal from the inside of the nose cone as shown, very lightly the result will be a small hole.

Before (4 holes)
After (6 Holes)
Next fixing the circuit board in place – Add a small amount of Blu Tack to the circuit board as shown
And press inside the shell until you see the LED Lights line up through the holes in the nose

Then using a pin vice drill a hole through the nose cone using the hole in the circuit board as a guide.

The BlackCat Technology Circuit board should come with a small screw and nut

Now that you have a hole, remove the circuit board, remove the Blu Tack and clean up any loose plastic.

Install the screw through the front of the nose, and thread the circuit board on followed by the nut, and tighten as required.

Fit the clear plastic lights back in to the nose cone and test.

Once you are happy with the result wire up to your decoder, in my XPT’s I’ve just used the simple Hornby Decoder – and have carefully soldered the wires directly to the top of the NMRA Plug.

Blue is Active
Yellow is Rear Direction Lights
White is the Front Direction Lights

For the trailer car - the process is the same, and you have a few options here for what you can do.

First though you will need to install some extra pick-ups, the best option is to get a set of these wipes from Hollywood Foundry (

The are small cheap (around $5 for 4) and fit neatly on the bogie truck.

They come with instructions and are fairly easy to fit. One hint is to solder your wire to the wipe before screwing it in – this will give you something to hold on to and avoid melting the plastic with the soldering iron.

Also too there is no need to bend the wipe first, it will bow out and touch the wheels once the screw is tightened up.

Finally to hold the wipe in place while you fasten the screw in I used Blu Tack again to just hold it in place while I fasten the screw.

Note: Make sure your wheels are set the same way or you’ll cause a short out.

Option 1 –
Install the lights with a FlikerFree capacitor setup this will allow the loco to light the lights with out power for about 3-5 minutes.

For info on this set up check out Marcus’ Mainline North Website Look for Flicker Free lights -Super Capacitor (

Option 2
Install a TCS Fleet-lighter Decoder this is a lights only decoder for about $25 and can be programmed the same as the decoder in the power car  to detect what direction the train is in and switch the lights accordingly.



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