Trains from the attic

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Inder, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Inder

    Inder New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I'm new to this forum and new to the hobby.
    I bought a Kato starter kit and it's a lot of fun.
    My friend had a bunch of trains stored in the attic and gave them to me but they're really old.
    There's about 5 locomotives but none of them will run. When I place them on the track only the light turns on. I can see that on some of the engines they motor tries to turn but can not.
    So I think the gears need lubrication. I need your advice on the proper lubrication and ideas on how to get these old locomotives running again.
    Thank you for your help.
  2. berraf

    berraf Member

    Hi Inder and welcome to the forum!
    Good that you bought a starter kit to get a kick off start :)

    The old locos I would clean them first before lubricating. Old grease get hard and you will need to take that away first.
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    A good motor cleaning and lubricating is in order, as BerraF points out, but you'll also need to do a thorough wheel cleaning to get good electrical pick up and avoid jerky performance.
    Hope this is the start of a long involvement with the world's greatest hobby..!!
  4. Inder

    Inder New Member

    Thank you guys. Unfortunately all the engines were far gone. None of them worked. On one of them I actually removed the motor and ran it straight but it didn't rotate correctly, it rubbed against one of the magnets. The rest were the same way. I don't believe motors go bad just by sitting around, I think they may have been abused before they were put away.
    So anyway, I went and bought some new ones.
    I bought a bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 consolidation steam locomotive.
    I have 4 old pullman passenger cars. There's no caboose but I think only freight trains use a caboose. Am I correct.
    I also purchased an Atlas c-628 locomotive with the mexican NdeM scheme. I grew up in Mexico watching these trains so it was really cool to find it.
    The steam engine runs the slowest of them all, and the fastest is the Kato Amtrak. I'm sure this is normal but I wanted to check with you guys. How many cars can I safely pull with the Atlas? I noticed that its slipped on the track when I pulled about 20 cars with it at the highest speed just before the red line on the controller.
    Your advice is greatly appreciated.
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    The Bachmann Spectrum engines are a good start.

    I've never experienced any Atlas engines so I can't say anything from personal experience but several people seem to like them.

    The steamer will probalby pull slower but that's OK since they were slower in real life.

    As for how many cars you can pull- You can pull as many as the engine will pull. If your wheels start slipping, you probably need to take some cars off or add aanother engine to your power consist.
  6. Inder

    Inder New Member

    Thank you Cannonball.
    What trains do you have?
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Not all model engines run at the same speed at all. In this case, the relative speeds sound fine. An Amtrak engine (whatever it is) will be for passenger service, and thus the real thing would be geared for high speeds. Not all steam engines were slow, but this one was. A 2-8-0 is mostly a drag and local freight engine, and isn't fast.
    With almost all model locomotives, you don't want to be pulling freight at the engine's top speed - it's unrealistic. Try running slower and see if that helps. Don't expect too much improvement, though. 20 cars is about what I've heard elsewhere for the C628; many modellers consider it a bad puller.
  8. Inder

    Inder New Member

    Wow, that was a lot of useful information. Thank you for your help.
    Your signature, it says the Erie 2-8-8-8-2... do you have that engine?
    I read about that thing. I thought the big boy 4-8-8-4 was as big as they went but I guess I was wrong.
    I just purchased a bachmann 2-6-6-2 and should be arriving in the mail shortly.

    I'm interested in the Kato EMD SD-40, the GP-50, the SD905mac which is super long. I want to run the Union Pacific engines because I like the color scheme. What do you think of those engines?

    Is the C628 is a bad puller because it's not heavy enough?
    Would it be really hard to paint my own scheme?
    NdeM is really hard to find but they sell the decals and I want to paint my own. Have you done this?
  9. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Currently I have a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 and a Spectrum F7A&B Diesel which is in it's break-in period.

    I've also got a Life-Like/Bev-Bel F7 engine and a very old Atlas Sharknose that isn't running now due to a long trip off a tall table. :( (I had forgotten about that one in my first post) I've also had a couple of regular Bachmann diesels which weren't too terrible and a Life-Like F8A&B which I just sold. (and almost wish I hadn't.)

    I had one Bachmann 0-6-0 steamer that was not a Spectrum and it wouldn't even pull five cars. If you go steam, go Spectrum or the higher dollar steamers (over $100) Anything less than $50 is not going to be worth your time for steam.
  10. Inder

    Inder New Member

    Wow the Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 Santa Fe was my very first train.
    Well I bought it first and then I bought the Atlas C628 NdeM.
    The C628 rattles a bit from time to time. I thought it was the wheels spinning but after careful inspection I noticed that it makes this sound randomly and at different speeds.
    I'm not sure if it needs to break-in. By the way, what's the break-in period?
    Hmm, It actually just sounds like a bad motor.

    I checked out the F7A&B but I couldn't find the Life-like F8A&B.
    I wanted to see what it looks like.
  11. stary

    stary Member

    Atlas has an EXELLENT forum at their web site that you should check out for answers to all your questions. The web site is: Atlas Model Railroad Co.
  12. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

  13. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    The 2-8-8-8-2 is smaller than the 4-8-8-4 because the Triplex has the rear driver set under the tender. It's basically a 2-8-8-0 with a powered tender.
    Time for the big admission. I haven't yet transitioned from HO to N. My HO equipment is still lingering around out of use. Thus, I have no actual expereince running any N equipment.
    By my standards, the C628's pulling power would be sufficient. Kato six-axle engines pull at least twice as much, but I'm not sure what sort of layout would be needed for that power to be necessary.
  14. Inder

    Inder New Member

    I have a question; In N scale, are bigger steam engines also stronger? Does a 4-8-8-4 pull more than say a 4-6-2? Do they just have a generic motor they throw in all the different models within a brand?

    Well I just bought a 4-6-2 engine made by Model Power and it runs really well. It's a little faster than my bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 and a little louder but I like it. It's not a bad sound don't get me wrong. It almost sounds like a stepper motor - it's a precise clicky sound.
    the Bachmann might just be better quality and that is why is quieter but physically they both look superb.

    I also bought an adittional Atlas C628 NdeM and this one doesn't have any problems as did the first one. I will work on sending the first one back or will see if the hobby store can do that for me.

    Are there any brands to watch out for?
    So far I like the Kato, Bachmann and Atlas stuff I have - in that order.
  15. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    It depends on the quality of the motor more than anything else. Also, traction tires help a lot. You can get larger steamers really cheap that won't pull nearly as much as a more expensive and well made smaller steamer.
  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    With N scale steam, don't assume that you get what you pay for. There are exceptions.

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