Tender-driven locos?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Just wondering what folks think about tender-driven steam locos. I have one and it runs well and I'm open to getting another one. Personally, I like the idea of the loco doing the actual work (not the tender), but a lot of this is "psychological" and it shouldn't really bother me. Also, they might have improved electrical pick-up because the loco usually picks up the current for the tender to use.

    But has anyone ever noticed any problems -- or benefits, for that matter -- that are unique to tender-driven locos, i.e. are they more prone to derailments, weaker performance or pulling power? Just curious!
    Thanks in advance.

  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Most tender driven locos have a "pancake" motor/drive -- the motor mounted across the chassis. These have a bad reputation.
    I have a number of tender drives with varying degrees of reliability. The main problem is that the tender is light and they had to put traction tyres on the wheels. One of mine gives an unearthly screech with any sort of a load. The one property that you would think they'd have -- all running at the same speed for a given voltage -- doesn't exist.
    The other fun property is that when the loco wheels seize up, the unit just keeps running with the brakes fully applied.
    You will note that Hornby is replacing their tender drive units with loco drives. (Opportunity: tender drives will be sold off cheap!)
    One of our operators has banned tender drives from the regular operating sessions.
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, David. My SDJR 2P 4-4-0 runs quite well. Sometimes the tender can be a little prone to derailments but that's usually due to my track. It has traction tyres which currently need replacing (I used Wahl oil to clean the track and that's a no-no for 'tender tyres' as it expands them). I'm thinking of buying an old Hornby loco that has tender drive so I hope it will run as well as my 2P.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Funny you should mention this. I just got home from my model club meeting and a fellow member brought a Model power 2-8-0 with tender drive. It was very dirty. he said his wife used it on their christmas layout using cotton batting for snow. the mechanism was overrun with fibers but thats another story.
    I got a good look at it and It too has traction tires (I'm not a big fan of them) the tender trucks do not swivel since the mechanism is so small and the tender wheel base is short. but the side-to-side play of the wheels will still let it make an 18" curve. My bigest compaint however are the drive wheels on the engine itself. they have metal rims on plastic wheel centers on metal axles. The wheels are somewhat loose on the axles, so much so that I knocked one out of quarter trying to clean the metal rims (I think it picks up power from the tender wheels as well.)
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I remotored a couple of brass CPR D-10's (Ten Wheelers) for a friend. They had small open-frame motors, with poor running characteristics. Because the locos were so small, there wasn't room in them for a decent-size can motor, so I mounted the new motors in the tenders. I removed the armatures from the original motors, replaced the old motor shafts with longer ones, and used a u-joint to couple the new motor shaft to the extended one in the cab. The new motors ran very smoothly, and because I was able to add considerable weight to the locos, pulled very well, especially for such a small loco. The only problem was that the motor torque, when starting, caused the tender to rock on its trucks. This was solved by adding bearing plates between the tender frame and the tops of the truck sideframes.

  6. Why me

    Why me Member

    I hate tender driven locos as they look like they are be pushed rather than driven hornby are at long last going back to loco driven motors can drive great stuff and about time mike
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks again for your feedback. I get the overall impression that most tender-driven locos are "not bad" but not the best arrangement. Rob
  8. rough days

    rough days New Member

    i like the idea of tender driven locos because that way the loco dont havt to pull the extra weight but they get very front lite and are more prone to derailments because they have no force to keep the front down
  9. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    Tender driven trains are stressed more I think because they have to pull the actual train AND push the front of the steamer, which could be quite stressful as I said. Also, tenders are more usefull for DCC sound and stuff in my opinion. Desiels don't have to worry about this as they don't need tenders. That's why there are powered "B" units and hollow ones for sound, etc.
  10. AndyWS

    AndyWS Member

    It also depends on what is meant by "tender drive". Are the tender wheels the actual driving wheels, or is the motor just mounted in the tender with a driveshaft running to the locomotive to turn its drivers? I have an IHC 4-4-0 with the latter configuration that runs very well.
  11. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Malarkey. The work done by a loco is the same whether it's at the front or in the middle of the train. The strain on the drawbar might be a little different, but that's it.

    A true tender drive (tender wheels driving) works well in large steamers, that have a large tender with large, 33" or so wheels. I had a friend who built a tender drive for a Lionel GS-4, he used an Athearn drive train, and it ran like a charm. It also runs steamers much more smoothly, because the motor isn't trying to overcome the resistance in the running gear (siderods and valve gear).

    The problem, as mentioned, in small steamers is getting enough motor in there to do any work. The small wheels and short wheelbase trucks, never mind the tighter confines, make it difficult to put an effective/powerful drive train in there.

    The problem with motor-in-tender-driveshaft-to-loco is torque. When the motor starts up, it's twisting against the inertia of the drive train and loco, so it twists the tender, and possibly can lift the wheels off the rail.
  12. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Type A...tender doesn't need engine to run (some european, british, and bachmann 1830's engines)
    Type B...motor in tender, driveshaft to locomotive.

    I hate type B with a passion. I'd prefer driver tires to putting the motor in the tender.
    Type A is okay if the engine is powered too. Basically, I like the concept of a locomotive having extra horse power. It also is nice for double heading without DCC. I have a german 2-10-2 like this.
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    double post.
  14. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    That can be a problem whether the motor is in the engine or tender.
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Robert is probably talking about the recent (last 25 years) British style where the tender has a complete drive unit in it. Because most Brit tenders were 6 wheel jobbies with no trucks, the modelling companies put the 6-wheel truck from a diesel in it. This followed from years of complaints that there was no "daylight" between the boiler and the footplate (running boards, esentially) because the motor and gears were there. So then they weren't happy about the tender drive.
  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Roco uses them on their big steam with great success. A huge motor can be placed in the tender with a massive flywheel, leaving the locomotive to be free for proper detailing including suspension, piping and the see-thru look under the boiler common on steamers. It's just gotten a bad rap from manufacturers who saw it as a cheap way to use existing diesel drive mechanisms, the Tyco "Clementine" and "Chattanooga" being the classic examples.

    Here's one of those---the drive is the two inner wheels on the tender. Note that it looks like the pilot wheels are missing when in fact this was the way it was sold. The trucks on the tender are too far in from either end as well. The bright spot was that they provided a working coupler on the pilot, something that most better manufacturers wouldn't do for another 15 years. Near mint, it doesn't run but it is a part of my nostalgia collection.:thumb:

  17. Seaboard

    Seaboard Member

    Tender Drive usually means the motor is in the tender and is driving the tender its self, without the motor in the steamer. I have seen the ones with the motor in the tender with shaft going into the locomotive itself, thats either the motor is to big to fit inside the engine cab. Bachman makes those kind to.
  18. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    nice engine shaygetz! Just curious, why is that really big engine on the shelf behind it's tender? Shouldn't it be the other-way-'round?:confused:
  19. AndyWS

    AndyWS Member

    CNWman, that's an SP cab-forward locomotive! They were supposed to look like that!
  20. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    nostalgia collection, hmmm, now thats what I should call my dead section :hahaha:

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