Rebirth of a Tyco loco

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Heath, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Heath

    Heath Member

    With a trip down memory lane as I wanted to get my original Tyco GP9-18 hybrid on the rails again. This loco was part of the Tyco train set that I got when I was a kid back in the early 1970's. You should have seen what the shell of the poor HO loco looked like after I had finished using it when I was a kid 30 years ago. Here's a description of what it looked like before:
    • Cab window frames completely wrecked and broken
    • Crack in the roof and engine horn missing.
    • Back steps of loco completely broken off but piece recovered.
    • Hand rails mostly all rusty and somewhat bent.
    • The electronics were completely shot, motor was toast and the driving wheels were cracked.
    What to do? Couldn't throw out something of high sentimental value as this was the reason I got into the hobby again. So, I entrused an absolute craftsman who custom model builds and paints and asked what he could do with it. Well, after a few months this is the result. I've attached a few pic's for you of the new creation.
    Your probably asking yourself how can this run if the guts were all completely shot. Well, I bought the undecorated GP9 Trainline from Walthers, removed the shell and it was an extremely close fit with only minimal modifications to the Tyco shell from what my buddy Jeff had said. Here's what he had to do:
    • Remove the old broken cab window frame and repair the crack in the roof.
    • Graft on a custom window front cab section with more prototype number boards.
    • Repair front pilot and include etched front steps for crews and install MU hoses.
    • Install LED ditch lights on front. I know there is supposed to be on the back but didn't want to go overboard with this as I was going to run it as a lead engine anyway.
    • Make modifications to the shell to include a speaker for sound.
    • Repair the back walkway and re attach the stairs with reinforcement.
    • Custom painted and weathered with long Kadee's installed.
    And so after 30 years, here she is running on my friends layout , with DCC sound too.
    The other photos are of it leading a customized SD40 that my friend Jeff had custom modified, painted and weathered too.
    It took me about 1 hour to calibrate the two locomotives so they would run in consist in near perfection team work and wow do they ever haul alot together.
    With a vision, the possibilities are limitless. I'm grateful for getting this loco back on the rails for me to enjoy for another 30 years or so.
    Happy railroading all:wave:

    Attached Files:

  2. 65GASSER

    65GASSER Member

    Man that is one good looking unit! :thumb: I had to read it again after I looked at the pictures. I kept thinking... those don't look like tyco trucks. sign1 Awesome rebuild!!!!
  3. Heath

    Heath Member

    Hey many thanks Jeremie,
    I have the biggest smile when I see this run again. Now I can hear it run too. I'm having a great time in this hobby again and learing much by listening to folks and reading lots on here.
  4. 65GASSER

    65GASSER Member

    Yeah me too. This place has inspired quite a few of my projects. Hope you get another 30+ out of her!
  5. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Awesome, inspires me to get my forst Tyco Alco back on the rails.
  6. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Looks great Heath.
    It's nice to see others put the time into a classic loco.
    I still have most of the locos I had as a child. Most have been rebuilt (restored or upgraded), Brings back lots of great memories.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Very nice! :thumb:
  8. The Royal Blue

    The Royal Blue New Member

    I know exactly where you are coming from here heath keep up the fantastic work. My story is extremely similar to your own.
  9. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Great idea, wish I still had some of the stuff from when I was younger....can't sat childhood, I'm still there...LOL

  10. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    As the owner of some old Tyco locos that I gutted to make into dummies I am very pleased to see one renovated and running so well. I don't knw about you guys but I always appreciated their durable and good looking hand rails.
    Nice stuff Heath!
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    My original Bachmann F-unit theoretically suffers from the same general opinion as your old Tyco. I am happy to report that it runs just fine after more than 25 years in storage, although it currently spends most of its time on display.

    Great work!

  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Another option for the mechanism rebuilds of these older locos is the Hobbytown of Boston (now Bear Valley) kits. Back in the '60s, there was a Hobbytown mechanism kit for nearly all the common plastic diesels on the market. The Hobbytown mechanisms were far better than anything of the time.

    yours in upgrading
  13. Heath

    Heath Member

    This is such an awesome forum, many thanks to all your kind words. I check and read it daily and just wanted to share in some of the fun I've been having in the hobby.
    I do have some of the old Tyco rolling stock that I've stripped down, fixed up, repainted and weathered if any one wanted to see. I'll post a new thread on what they look like now. I felt brave enough to tackle those on my own but the loco wanted to give to an expert and he well exceded all my expectations. Two thumbs WAY up to my friend Jeff.
    BTW, the GP9-18 that's leading the SD40 is hauling about 25 long box cars. I decided to realy push things and put my P2K hi nose GP9 in the middle of the consist and put another 25 cars in the mix for a total of 50. An extremely long train, no derailments and they all keep up the speed going up a helix and down it too with no problems what so ever.
    Take it easy and thanks everyone!
    PS. Here's a link I posted on my Tyco rolling stock a while back. They've now been finished and are back on the rails.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for the info, but the loco does actually run surprisingly well considering its age and long-term storage. It actually ran right out of storage! I have since opened it up and cleaned and relubed. It works great.

    It is not a "pancake" motor rear-wheel drive though. It has a full cast metal frame with all-wheel pickup and all-wheel drive. I am under the impression that this is a bit of an oddity for the old "toy" level Tycos and Bachmanns common in the 1970s. However, it seems well put together and pulls like crazy.

    If I was less sentimental, I might update it, as it has some bad weathering, plus details are broken off. But I like it like it is, so it'll stay on display for now. :)

  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    and a cool looking layout, too~

  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Great work, I really enjoy seeing Tyco getting a fair shake in the hobby, without those guys, we may not have the hobby as we know it today.:thumb:
  17. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I have a few of those drives. A couple F-9s and a GP-40.
    They are great runners when tuned propperly. I put a larger can motor in one(with some modification to the chassis) and it out preforms the Bachmann plus locos I have.
    Gem used those same chassis in their brass F-9s.
  18. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Wasn't tyco bought by something foods or someother in the early 70s? Prior to that buyout I think the quality was better - as tyco was by Mantua, I think.


    edit - tyco was owned by sara lee for awhile.
  19. zedob

    zedob Member

    I betcha the guy who made that decision didn't get a $52million bonus that year.:rolleyes:
  20. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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