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Weights for Powered Engines

Jim operates HO scale and asks:

“I Run mostly Athearn Blue Box engines, but the real question is — is there a recommended weight for powered engines? I know there are weight recommendations for rolling stock (by length of vehicle ). As for wheel sets, I run code 100 track, does this effect the wheels, especially the flanges?”

You are welcome to contribute your thoughts below.

4 Responses to Weights for Powered Engines

  • Dale says:

    I’ve never heard of weight recommendations for locomotives but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Locos need weight to be able to haul reasonable length trains. It is the weight of the loco on the track that supplied the traction. If you have a loco that isn’t “pulling its weight”, you could try adding a small amount of weight but an alternative might be possibly replacing a wheelset with traction wheels.

  • Joe Graffi says:

    I have a small 2-6-0 HO loco that’s having trouble pulling 6 cars up a 3% grade, the wheels would just spin.
    I made sure that all the rolling stock wheels turned very freely – they are metal wheels with powdered graphite on the hub end of the trucks. When I determined that it was still the loco, I bought a small package of weights from har*** Freight. It took a while for me to figure out where to place them. I had to cut and shape them to fit into the cab and I put one (that I really had to cut to shape) on the chassis above the leading truck.
    Thankfully, it was just enough and the use for that specific (Athearn) loco will never increase.

  • David Stokes says:

    Early in my career I packed the insides of my “supermarket trainset” locos with as much lead as they would hold. The pundits all said I would burn out the motors. Sorry guys, 40 years on and they are still hauling trains.

  • Frank B says:

    I would expect that all good quality manufacturers would build their locos to a basically ideal weight. But lower quality locos might need some tuning up. 
     If your loco suffers wheelspin with long and heavy trains, you can increase the traction by increasing the weight resting on the driven wheels. But if you overload a loco by putting too much weight AND pulling a too heavy train, the motor may stall and burn out.

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