Thomas the Tank #91401 (Bachman)

DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
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Seems the Dentist Office decided to get a Thomas engine for their line. This is the overhead shelf style layout I have mentioned and ask for advice on here before. It sure looked like this engine would be short and able to navigate the R1 curves this layout was constructed with some 26 years ago. Alas, it squeals like a piggy when it goes round those pesky tight curves. The measure between the axles is only 5 5/8 inches (about 143 mm for our metric friends) but they are fixed and do not swivel at all. There IS some float back and forth on the end axles and the center wheels do not have flanges. However, it just sticks in the curves and slows down an amazing amount. The problem seems to be further compounded by the fact that the wheels do not seem to be very smooth at all. The casting is rough textured instead of a polished finish. This makes it even worse and even seems to be grinding off brass as it goes through the admittedly already a bit worn brass curves. What a major disappointment for the dentist who purchased it. After working on this for a while now, I sure would never build with those tight curves on any layout. I have considered widening all the curves in this establishment. The sticky point to that is all the lovely steel trestles a local company built that have the exact same curves as that R1 track. So, seeing as this is the electric loco thread, do any of you have similar stories? Anybody else running one of these Thomas locos that can chime in on minimum radius for this engine? What locos do you all love for this tight radius track? And, if you are reading this Greg, the 44 tonner runs beautifully on this layout and has enough swivel in it's truck mounted hook/loop couplers to pull cars around the R1 curves. So at least that was a win. The Forney steam locos also seem to navigate these curves just fine although it also recently started binding in the tight return loop curves also. But could it be that the track is failing and just not delivering enough power to the engine? There's nothing but LGB rail joiners on this layout and I'm thinking it's time for a major teardown/cleaning/overhaul. Any thoughts?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Likely your tear down and service will do no harm. As this is a permanent line running probably most days during the Dentists opening hours it is probable that some of the curves will be worn beyond their best. As for the Thomas, sounds like the R1 is giving it issues with long running times though I have seen Thomas at sundry preserved lines running long schedules on R1. But as you say the wheels are nit so good as LGB so not surprised at the issues, personally I have stayed away from Bachmann G except for the Tram and that was an awful runner so has been converted to a Trailer Car. Not an option for Thomas. Your thoughts to go to at least R2 are sound I just wonder if the Trestles could be modified to suit?
 
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idlemarvel

idlemarvel

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I used to have a Thomas. They definitely do not like R1 curves even though the centre wheel is flangeless. I don't think there is much you can do about the large driving wheels. Thomas does run much better on R2. Drastic solution might be to take the body and put it on a PIKO BR80 0-6-0 chassis which run nicely on R1. Not tried this but assume it would be doable. Might be easier than replacing track with R2.
 
Madman

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I too used to own a Bachmann Thomas. I found, very early, that it did not like too much unevenness of my garden railway track. My smallest curves are R2, so that wasn't the issue.

I took the motor block bottom cover off and elongated, vertically, the driving axle openings. This gave enough up and down movement of the two outer axles to compensate for irregularities in the track, but did not solve the problem 100%.

I sold it and purchased a Lionel Thomas. Admittedly, the Lionel Thomas doesn't capture the full character of Thomas as the Bachmann version does, but it has no problems running in the garden.

 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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When you look at the Lionel one compared to the Bachmann one you can see that the wheelbase is much shorter, perhaps this one may be a better bet for the Barbers Shop. Perhaps he could sell his Backmann one via the shop to an interested customer if he goes this route?
 
Chris Vernell

Chris Vernell

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When you look at the Lionel one compared to the Bachmann one you can see that the wheelbase is much shorter, perhaps this one may be a better bet for the Barbers Shop. Perhaps he could sell his Backmann one via the shop to an interested customer if he goes this route?
Based on experience with both Bachmann and Lionel, I agree that the Bachmann Thomas doesn't like R1, but otherwise it runs far more reliably than Lionel's version. Lionel's power pickups are a PITA.
 
F

Flying15

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Based on experience with both Bachmann and Lionel, I agree that the Bachmann Thomas doesn't like R1, but otherwise it runs far more reliably than Lionel's version. Lionel's power pickups are a PITA.
What about replacing the chassis with an Annie one with the connecting rods and cylinders removed
New ones are available from Bachmann parts USA
There’s a bit of work in removing surplus plastic from both the Annie chassis and it’s quite laborious dismantling the Thomas running gear from the running plate etc but the Annie chassis ought to be good for Rad one
Chris
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I'm assuming this track is level. I agree that the rough surfaces of the wheels are not helping, but short of somehow replacing the wheels, I think you are stuck. Perhaps you could try smoothing the treads and flanges, but I suspect it's the composition of the metal that is working against you.

Some people do indeed lubricate the rails, but that now becomes a regular maintenance item and usually affects pulling power.

I like Chris' idea.

Greg

p.s. good deal on the 44 tonner, nice short wheelbases, be sure to keep the truck swiveling areas lubed.
 
Chris Vernell

Chris Vernell

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I might note, if you want to stick with the Thomas range, that Percy (0-4-0) is good with R1s and Toby (A1A with a centre axle that has plenty of play) makes less fuss about them than Thomas does.
The Troublesome Trucks squeal on R1, but what do you expect from troublesome trucks? LGB wagons with their swivelling axles have no problem.
 
jimmytrains_0

jimmytrains_0

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Add 12 pieces of 10040 41mm track to each end of your r1s. this makes your curve a dodecagon. Yes I had to look it up. Had same problem with my christmas window at work.
 
palstig

palstig

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I might note, if you want to stick with the Thomas range, that Percy (0-4-0) is good with R1s and Toby (A1A with a centre axle that has plenty of play) makes less fuss about them than Thomas does.
The Troublesome Trucks squeal on R1, but what do you expect from troublesome trucks? LGB wagons with their swivelling axles have no problem.
I echo what Chris has said in his post. I have both Thomas and Percy.

Thomas will go round Radius 1 curves, and R1 reverse curves ok on my LGB track, but does develop a squeal. This can be cured for a short while by cleaning the wheels of Thomas, the top of the rail surface, and the inner sides of the rail. However, it's not long before his wheels are squealing once more. The other problem is that Annie and Clarabel will throw Thomas off the rails due to their long wheel base and lack of bogies. Thomas will run well with LGB stock, but not the carriages. I am seriously thinking of saying goodbye to Thomas and his "troublesome" carriages soon.

Percy on the other hand runs like a dream, in part helped by the short wheelbase 0-4-0 arrangement with a bit of play which helps. His trucks are anything but troublesome, though they do squeak occasionally, but I can live with that.

I'm actually looking forward to Bachmann bringing out "Diesel" later in the year, but I'm a little apprehensive if that will suffer with the same issues as Thomas.

Regards,

Paul
 
palstig

palstig

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By the way. Here's a gratuitous picture of Percy hauling his wagons through the rock cutting.

20200714_091535.jpg
 
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PhilP

PhilP

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Build a truck, with an LGB motor-block instead of plain axles.. Give Thomas a push to help. - He will run warm, and not last in your situation..

A rebuild with a better chassis, may-well be the ultimate answer?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Build a truck, with an LGB motor-block instead of plain axles.. Give Thomas a push to help. - He will run warm, and not last in your situation..

A rebuild with a better chassis, may-well be the ultimate answer?
Have to say that a rebuild was sort of my idea say an LGB Corpet Chassis, though I suspect that the roving eyes would be lost and may look a little odd.
 
Chris Vernell

Chris Vernell

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I'm actually looking forward to Bachmann bringing out "Diesel" later in the year, but I'm a little apprehensive if that will suffer with the same issues as Thomas.
Yes, I have a Diesel on order. I suspect it shares the same mech as Thomas, but I want it ;).
I run the Bachmann Thomas with Lionel's Annie and Clarabel, which have swivelling trucks so no problem with R1s (OTOH, the Bachmann A&C are far better models). The Emily six-wheel coaches (and her tender) squeal even on R2.
I haven't had the gang out at all this year, what with all the shows being cancelled :(.
 
DVS4G

DVS4G

RR Dave
25 Apr 2020
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Great ideas and information presented! Thanks to all of you! I did a little searching to find pictures of both Lionel and Bachmann versions of Thomas. There is quite a difference in size and detail. In my searching I and came across this nice little web page detailing the differences.
It has a nice picture showing the different lengths. It also has a link toward the bottom of the page to another updated article about additional offerings and comparisons.
So now, for me, I just have to decide what to do as you all have given me a bunch of ideas to consider.
Here is a comparison picture. Lionel left and Bachmann right.

Lionel left Bachmann right.JPG
 
trammayo

trammayo

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I got fed up with derailments caused by the two coaches so I made a new underframe and fitted trucks. My portable layout is R1s and reverse curves. Plus I used the Bachmann coupling adaptors to lower the couplings - seems to work apart from the squeals! Time to take these two in tow! (15).JPG Sorry about the pic quality!
 
Chris Vernell

Chris Vernell

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I got fed up with derailments caused by the two coaches so I made a new underframe and fitted trucks. My portable layout is R1s and reverse curves. Plus I used the Bachmann coupling adaptors to lower the couplings - seems to work apart from the squeals!
Seeing as how A & C are bogie coaches in the books, you have a perfect excuse :rock: