Have you ever worn out a loco?

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Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby GeraldH » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:15 pm

I'm often intrigued as to which parts will wear out first if a loco actually gets enough use to start failing. People sometimes remark about the longevity of modern motors and the need for brass bearings etc., but what is the experience in the real world? At the moment I have so many locos and such a short run, that it seems unlikely that I will ever wear out another loco. When I was growing up I had a continuous run and fewer locos, so I did manage to wear out a couple of locos.

With my Hornby Class 25, it was the gear spindles on the cast motor bogey that wore making the gears flop around even more than usual.

With my Hornby Nellie, the axle bearings in the chassis became enlarged, as did the holes in the coupling rods.

I bought a 2nd hand Mainline Jubilee chassis (while not wearing my glasses!) and the coupling rods were so won on the driven axle, that they were about to fall off the crankpin.

Has anyone any related tales? It might give us a few things to look out for when buying new locos...
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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Alexander Court » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:06 pm

My dad's duchess of Sutherland (with light bar headlights) is a bit of a worn out case for me, she's had a new body, various repairs and stuff but the motor is a whiney thing that struggles to keep going, but it doesn't get the chance as the locomotive shorts out on itself and so I would say the locomotive is worn out. The same with my dad's old blue class 47 with lit headcodes which just growls and moves very little. Both will be going away for a service soon I hope and have the worn parts mended.


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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby mahoganydog » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:08 pm

Hi Gerald,

I've worn a few old Farish locos out. One that is still intact (and ran dead silent) is a modified prairie with a mogul body on it. I can't run it at more than half speed because the gear is badly worn and starts to slip because the axle boxes are worn out too!

Once got asked to look at some Triang TT locos including the CO-CO diesel and that was really bad yet ran sweet as a nut.

I also have some Hornby Dublo locos that are well battered yet run better than my good ones.

Never ceases to amaze me how battered and abused something can be and still run!

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Bigmet » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:16 pm

Loads and loads. Rolling stock too, and rail heads wearing away; plastic point crossings can 'disappear' in half a dozen years on my main lines(that was the end of dead crossing points for me!). But I do operate in a way that most don't, every day I am home for a couple of hours.

You'll know when you enter the maximum operation bracket with locos: wheels with a groove in the driver tyres and thus two flanges, pick up wiper tips all worn away coming to 'waffer thin' edges. Some can motors can get through their brush carbons, but this is rare, blowing the black dust out of the motor can after 10 years may help gauge how fast this is going. All this easily fixable with spares. The grease lubes now available are really effective at containing wear on all components that can have a lubricant applied. You'll notice that the wear mentioned in the first sentence of this para. is to parts that are not lubricated.

Older designs.

Bachmann, Replica, Mainline split chassis steamers lasted very few years when really run, literally fell apart. The only report I have seen of these lasting less long than my experience was from the team who operate display layouts at the National Trust's Ormesby Hall. About two years tops in their 'operating when the house is open' employment.

Triang, H-D, Wrenn, Triang Hornby, the axles usually wore the mazak blocks badly, some motor bearings wore badly after many years operation, despite careful and regular lubrication and clean up; with inevitable gear wear as a knock on effect of both these. Probably due to machined finishes - especially on the steel - that were not that good. All fixable with bushings/new bearingsreplacement gears. The plastic axles of the early design Triang motor bogies just wore away in record time, bad materials choice. Seen the plastic insulation on the driven axle hubs fail in several instances over the years (some 'dry and crumbly', some 'wet and chewy') probably slight incompatability with the oil then specified for loco lube. Magnets die at random intervals, but still got some fifty+ year old gooduns.

Best design for robustness prior to current Bachmann and Hornby? The few Airfix GMR locos with the MW005 based motor. Near indestructible mechs, no signs of magnet failures in the motors (N2, Brush type 2, are the two I have real experience of). Started out noisy but good runners, and still are. Pretty confident that the China made current Bach and Hornby - and now Heljan - models will still be running when I am not.

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:31 pm

I've worn out the plating on the wheels of a Hornby made Pug and J94, but they were the mainstay of operation on two previous layouts. I bought a Mainline Collet 0-6-0, for a tenner as a non runner, which after ten years use started to have problems with the current path through the wheel bearings, so I fitted wipers between the wheel backs and frames and got another eight years out of it before the motor bearings wore out. I've had a couple of Hornby 0-4-0 chassis where the crankpin holes in the rods have become oversize and needed new coupling rods fitted.
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Ken Shabby
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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Ken Shabby » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:43 am

About 30 years ago my brother had a Hornby E2 tank in olive green , which at first gave good service on my flexi track oval which had near radius one curves.
When it was just over a year old, we took the body off mainly out of curiosity. Inside the smoke box was a weird powdery light grey sludge.
At the time we thought it was just some sort of lubricant and put the body back on and had no problems for another 6 months.
One day the loco stopped working, the motor could be heard racing away but the loco didn't move an inch. When the body was removed again it became clear what the grey sludge was, a mixture of oil and fragments of the grey cog on the front axle. The worm although plastic had ground down the teeth on the cog until it could no longer drive the wheels.
The E2 was dismantled for repair, some bits got lost and it ended up in the bin.

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:49 pm

More years ago than I care to think about I had a Dublo 3rail layout, with the gloriously wrong LMS liveried 0-6-2 tank, which gave such good service that by the time it stopped running had little livery left. I also had an 0-6-0 built by Graham Farish, and sold in an unmarked box, which ground it's way around the track. It could just about pull itself and its tender around, but hang more than four axles on the back of it and the overload cut out would pop every minute or so. It stopped when it was about two years old with the motor whurring away inside but no sign of motion. The steel worm had chewed it's way through the teeth on the brass gear. It languished in the corner for a number of years until I swapped it for a couple of wagons with a friend who's father remotored it with a Triang X03 and the matching gear.
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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby DonB » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:32 am

I've not yet managed to wear out a RTR loco yet, but I did manage to wear out the motor & gears on my kit-built Class 15.
Gears & motor were replaced, these were later to die rather spectacularly.

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby SRman » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:52 am

I wore out a Triang DMU (R157/158). It got a lot of running in my teen years and eventually the gears went out of mesh. On investigation, I found that the U-shaped axle journals in the main bogie casting had worn upwards to the point where they were literally paper-thin at the top. This allowed the axles to float a bit, so when running slowly or stopped, one of the gears would go out of mesh. With a heavy load behind it (I wasn't bothered about accurate formations then!), I could actually leave the motor running slowly with the train stopped and the one meshed axle turning. Rev it up and the torque would pull the other axle and gear into mesh and the train would take off smoothly.

Eventually it got to the stage that I needed a replacement bogie frame. The local toy and hobby shop coincidentally had a box full of "useless" Triang southern electric motor bogie frames, which were all but identical to the DMU frames with the addition of cast shoe beams on each side. The shop keeper was keen to rid himself of the surplus stock so sold the bogie frames to me for the princely sum of 20 cents Australian each. I got to repair the DMU and had several spares for future use as well.

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby markh » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:19 pm

not sure if it counts but ran in a hornby flying scotsman a few weeks back on a short section off track, and then smoke came from the motor and it stopped suddenly

also had a triang 0-4-0 takn that smoked when ran but that had been in a box on top of a relatives wardrobe for years

as for worn out ive not had locos get to a worn out state



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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby b308 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:18 am

Never worn one out, but I'm a bit of a builder of layouts rather than an operator, when I go to exhibitions my helper tends to operate (and anyone else who shows an interest!)...

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby RAF96 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:45 pm

Hornby merchant navy - I wore out the rivets on the valve gear and it all fell apart. Simple to replace but this time I gave them a drop of oil.
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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Boxcar Willie » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:18 pm

I have great fun in restoring old locos to operating condition. Not all are a success - apart from an old 8F that had a neo magnet fitted and could do a scale 600mph. Just lately I got my hands on a Southern N15x built form a kit by a fellow club member years ago and while it's a great model the old x04 motor is past it. I replaced the brushes and now it won't run at all; I might refit the old ones and put up with the growling and jerky running. Otherwise it's probably time for it to take pride of place in the display cabinet until I get a new motor.

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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:12 pm

Were the new brush arms exactly the same as the originals. Sitting a bit too high or low could stop the old X03/4s or was the surface of the com worn down and giving little area of contact. Worth having a look on line for a refurbished one if it means putting a good model back on the track.
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Re: Have you ever worn out a loco?

Postby Wayne2467 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:44 pm

This is something I'm finding frustrating as someone fairly new to the hobby. A year ago I bought the Somerset belle set to start me off. The loco packed up after about 7 months so a guy from one of the train fairs fixed it but it only lasted about three weeks and has struggled to run since then. Also had problems with two others , though they were se one hand. It strikes me that if you don't know how to fix them then it's going to be expensive

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