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Author Topic: Hours of service?  (Read 5897 times)
lirrman

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« on: June 02, 2008, 07:18:52 PM »

I was selling a Rivarossi steam locomotive at a train show.  A prospective buyer asked me "how many hours of service" the locomotive had.  I can't print my reply.  Does anyone actually keep track of this.  If operating a model railroad creates more paper work than my job it's time to quit.
LIRRMAN  Tongue
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Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2008, 07:41:22 PM »

I can imagine your reply. It's sad to say, but some buyers are not too bright.  I certainly don't keep logs on my locos and they don't have an hour meter.

Ever watch guys kick the tires on a used car? 

 
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Paul M.

T&P Railway in the 1950s


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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008, 07:57:09 PM »

When I buy a used locomotive at a train show, I just want to see if it runs well or not.
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2008, 08:49:04 PM »

I've never been to a train show, but don't they usually have a track set up for testing locomotives? 

One dealer I know has a 3' piece of flex with a transformer, mounted on a board for a test track.  Now wouldn't you think he could afford to have a small loop track?  He said if he ran it around a loop, then he would have to sell it as "used".  Give me a break.
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Daylight4449


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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 08:59:30 PM »

My hobby shop tests all locos before handing them to you. i love that and on ebay would rather buy a c-8 that runs great and has been tested than a c-10 which was not tested.
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SteamGene

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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2008, 09:04:06 PM »

Bob,
Most of the guys who have test tracks have more than one gauge - large, O, S, HO, N normally.  It would be hard to make a loop that is easily transportable to set up as a test track.  If the engine starts smoothly, stops smoothly, and runs easily well forward and reverse, that's about as much testing that can be done there.  I remember buying an Athearn light Pacific off e-bay.  I tested it at home, it ran fine for about five minutes and the infamous gear broke.  The seller said that since it ran fine for five minutes it was good to go.  Then he got my evaluation. 
Gene
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 11:16:14 PM »

Couldn't they make a set up of "E-Z riders" in several gauges? That would at least give you a few minutes of running and listening to the thing.   
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grumpy

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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2008, 12:53:40 AM »

The most questionable purchase you can make at a swap meet is from a woman whose husband just died and she wants to sell off his stuff A friend of her husbands told her it was worth x no. of dollars. she digs it up from the basement and all she knows it is a pile of trains and equipment.Her husband's friend popsup and says yes it is a soan so and it is worth so much. you then dicker it down to a price that both parties are happy with and you take it home .At home you open it up to find the guy had ripped all the insides out and installed an obsolete decoder that will not work with ant current decoder. It happened to me . Bythe time I got it runing I could have bought a new one.
Don Roll Eyes
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 02:41:29 AM »

Yes. some of us do keep track of how much our trains run.  The group I model with has an H0 layout in the local museum.  Knowing how many times the railroad is run by the public is a strong bargaining point when we renew our contract.  We regularly rack up numbers over 1500 hours per locomotive even though we start and stop the trains by simply turning the power on and off every two minutes of run time.  Incidentally we use Bachmann 2-8-0s almost exclusively.  We have tested some other brands and in some cases have had consistent failures at less than 50 hours.

We have debated what would happen if we ever started selling these locomotives when they reached say 1400 hours.  Would the average buyer detect that they were nearing the end of their lives?  How about experienced model railroaders?  Because of our doubt, our policy is to destroy the locomotives when we are finished with them.  We feel it would be unfair for us to sell them, knowing their condition, and giving them away would risk their being offered for sale by whomever received them.
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Daylight4449


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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2008, 06:28:18 PM »

where do you get them, i want one really badly in ho and have no luck. in any event my locos never die and i get many on ebay.
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2008, 12:54:15 AM »

Jim
What is the most significant component that establishes the mean time before failure for the locomotive? Even if the mechanics failed, there should be an abundance of spare parts that could be put to good use.

Perhaps you could dismantle it and discard only the worn out parts. Someone who is into serious bashing might use the remains for practice or experimentation.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 02:08:50 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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glennk28

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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2008, 01:50:35 PM »

generally a look at the driver tires should give an idea of how much a loco has run--but unless it has really serious wear, a simple back and forth on a test track should determine if it works. 

It MUST be tested on track--I bought an LGB loco (Krokodil) once that had a dead short in it when placed on the track, but ran when tried with test leads.  But-- the two motors ran opposite--someone had been into it and screwed it up-- and I got a bargain.
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Daylight4449


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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2008, 03:56:22 PM »

okay so where do you get those 2-8-0's and by the way, what goes wrong with locos after running for 1500 hours anyway.
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2008, 03:11:22 PM »

Frank Ellison, a model railroad pioneer, used to use a measurement on his layout called a "smile." It was basically a train length because scale miles in "O" scale were too long for his home layout. So he'd measure distances in the number of train lengths between stops. It made sense when he did it.

If someone asks you how much operating time a model has ask the person are you talking real time or HO time? Are you talking real miles, scale miles or someother measure?
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2008, 09:17:10 PM »

Most of our 2-8-0s have been purchased from Hobbyworld right here in Saskatoon.  Hobbyworld supports local model railroading and train shows and we like to support them in return.  The 2-8-0s came equipped with DCC but for our operation it does not make any difference. 

The failures in these locomotive, when they finally occur, have been from many sources.  The most common has been the side rods cutting off the crank pins on the main drive axles.  This is a direct result of our on-off mode of automatic control.  We have repaired a number of these for our own use by making up new crank pins, but the effort in time is worth more than a used locomotive would fetch in dollars.  Even locomotives that fail for other reasons show signs of cut crank pins.  This is one of the reasons that we do not claim warranty on these locomotives.

Bearing failures, particularly the small bushings supporting the worm shaft, have been the second most common mode of failure.  Unfortunately, by the time these failures become obvious, the worm shaft has usually damaged the frame.  We have (once) made up new bearings out of Oilite and bedded them in epoxy to make up for the frame damage but the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this repair. 

Third most common mode of failure has been worn wheel wipers (power pickups.)  The tender pickups fail first.   With the tender pickups gone, our reliability drops from about 99.99% (one failure-to-start in 10,000 tries) to about 99.9% (one failure-to-start in 1000 tries.)  Fortunately, tender pickups are easily be replaced by new ones cut out of phosphor bronze  or brass shim stock.  (Phosphor bronze lasts longer, brass shim stock is easier to find.)    Failure of locomotive wheel wipers is much rarer but generally more devastating in terms of reliability.  Our usual repair for this is replacement with a bottom plate from a locomotive that failed in some other mode.

Other failures include motor failures (usually worn out brushes), lost rivets in the motion, worn out frames letting the axles wobble excessively and ultimately leading to excessive derailing, and other, rarer causes that I cannot remember at the moment. 

Eventually, our locomotives are reduced to a pile of useless pieces.  However, in the process, we squeeze a few hundred extra hours out of each locomotive.  If the initial failure was at 1500 hours on a locomotive that cost us $150, an extra 300 hours is worth about $30.  It seems hardly worth the effort when we could sell the locomotives for at least that much after the initial failure and repair.  But as I said before, we would rather destroy our used locomotives than sell junk. 

As a group that deals with the public, we have seen too many disappointed newbies who's "good deals" turned out to be junk.  This is bad enough if the newbie is an adult but can be devastating if a youngster is involved.  We do what we can to repair these locomotives, but we cannot make silk purses out of sow's ears.  Fortunately, our group fairly regularly receives donations of usable or repairable model railroad gear and are often able to provide such youngsters with a good locomotive and give him/her instructions on converting his purchased one to a dummy.

One thing we rarely have problems with is tire wear.  We regularly add oil to our rails to keep them clean and to maintain reliable power pickup.  Without it, our reliability would fall below 99% within a few months of rail and wheel cleaning, no matter which methods we tried.  With oil, our drive wheels stay shiny and bright and our reliabilty remains high for years at a time.     

 
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