Athearn Locomotove

Hello, all. After decades in an attic, I came across my old Athearn HO set. The locomotive (model of diesel-electric) is powered by four small
rubber bands that have dry-rotted. I found replacement bands listed on the Athearn website. I also need to replace the two rubber couplings that connect the motor shaft to the fore and aft drive shafts (look like small nails) which are in turn coupled to the wheels via the rubber bands. Does anyone know what the Athearn part no. is for these rubber couplings? Thanks for your time and comment. Sincerely,
John Wood (Code 5550) e-mail: snipped-for-privacy@itd.nrl.navy.mil Naval Research Laboratory 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20375-5337
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J. B. Wood wrote:

Well, that certainly is a labour of love and nostalgia that you've undertaken! - I had one of those rubber band drives in an Athearn RDC, and trashed it pretty quickly. Bowser IIRC offered a replacement motor with long fixed drive shafts, that worked much better, but it was a power hog, used about 1.5A. Top speed of the RDC was about 300 mph. I still have that motor soemwhere, but it's obsolete technology.
Instead the rubber tube couplings, use pieces of intravenous drip tubing. Much superior stuff, as its more flexible. It's fairly easy to get, as miles of it are tossed out every day. Just ask, most doctors and nurses are happy to oblige. You will find other uses for it. You may want to replace the drive shafts with slightly larger rods (nails will do nicely) so that the tubing fits tightly enough.
But be warned: the rubber band drive is pretty bad. The loco won't move at low voltages, and jack-rabbit start is a understatement to describe what happens when it does get going. :-)
Happy hunting.
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I'd go with converting them into unpowered dummy units and just buy new matching power units with driveshafts and gears.
Eric
Wolf wrote:
"Well, that certainly is a labour of love and nostalgia that you've undertaken! - I had one of those rubber band drives in an Athearn RDC, and trashed it pretty quickly. Bowser IIRC offered a replacement motor with long fixed drive shafts, that worked much better, but it was a power hog, used about 1.5A. Top speed of the RDC was about 300 mph. I still have that motor soemwhere, but it's obsolete technology.
Instead the rubber tube couplings, use pieces of intravenous drip tubing. Much superior stuff, as its more flexible. It's fairly easy to get, as miles of it are tossed out every day. Just ask, most doctors and nurses are happy to oblige. You will find other uses for it. You may want to replace the drive shafts with slightly larger rods (nails will do nicely) so that the tubing fits tightly enough.
But be warned: the rubber band drive is pretty bad. The loco won't move
at low voltages, and jack-rabbit start is a understatement to describe what happens when it does get going. :-)"
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote:

[...]
So would I, but there's no arguing with nostalgia. :-)
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:
"So would I, but there's no arguing with nostalgia. :-)"
Well, I'm not telling him to trash can them. Seems to me that dummies are a great way to reuse old rubber band drive locos.
Eric

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"> "So would I, but there's no arguing with nostalgia. :-)"

That and drop kicking them into the garbage can.
-- Cheers Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Thanks for all the replies to my post, folks. My Athearn set was just one of many forgotten toys languishing in my parents' attic for 40 years. I have no complaints about the rubber band drive. I remember it working quite well when the set was new. But my favorite train set of all time was my Gilbert American Flyer 3/16" scale. Accessories like oil drum loaders, cattle car loaders and cranes were as much fun as the trains themselves. I always found the "S" scale trains of a size that were not too large (layouts that require copious real estate) but not so small you had to nearly be a watchmaker to work on them. Damn, A.C. Gilbert in New Haven sure knew how to make quality, long-lasting stuff (trains & accessories, Erector sets, chemistry & science sets). American manufacturing at its best. Sincerely,
John Wood (Code 5550) e-mail: snipped-for-privacy@itd.nrl.navy.mil Naval Research Laboratory 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20375-5337
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J. B. Wood wrote: [...] But my favorite train set of all time

Yes, they were well made toy trains, and unlike Lionel's product, all of it was to scale (except for the wheels.) When we came to Canada back in the 50s, some of our new friends had trains too. My brother and I had brought a Triang OO Jinty train set with us, but over here it was all Lionel and American Flyer. We used to take our train sets to each other's houses and set them up on whatever floor space was assigned to us. We all preferred the AF S gauge to everything else, because it was the most realistic. See, even back then Lionel didn't fully understand that the market was changing.
S Scale is alive and well, albeit a niche gauge/scale. If you want to get back into the model railroad hobby (instead of or in addition to resurrecting old toys, which is a different hobby), look up S Scale.
HTH&HF
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Hey John,
I enjoyed your post. I work out at the David Taylor lab next to the American Legon Bridge in Bethesda. And am getting ready to retire this coming January. Things are just not fun anymore and the whole place is going to hell. I didn't know NRL was still in business - I thought it was shut down with White Oak and Annapolis during the BRAC stuff. _Good For You_ that you all are still "alive" and doing good work for our young men and women in the DOD and in harm's way.
But anyways, I enjoyed your post re the old Athearn rubber band drive locos. I grew up in the 50's with the wonderful Lionel 027 trains that my Dad bought for me and set up every Christmas.
Well somewhere in the 60's I discovered "HO" trains at my local hobby shop. Using my meager kid's money, I bought a set of Athearn B&O heavyweight passenger car kits in the yellow boxs. Because I grew up next to the B&O's Metropolitan Branch in Silver Spring Md. And I so wanted to buy the Athearn B&O GP-9 loco model of the handsome "gray top" geeps that pulled the many commuter and no-name "number" trains that me and my friends enjoyed from a hill next to the tracks every evening. But I couldn't afford the loco. I got two used steam locos from the store display, a Rivi 0-4-0 Docksider and Mantua 0-4-0 tank, for a buck apeice. Pretty good deal, I still have them and they run smooth and quiet (: But I never had a loco for my Athearn B&O cars.
On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 07:39:21 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@itd.nrl.navy.mil (J. B. Wood) wrote:

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