Atlas Trainman RS3 Sputters / stalls.

Have an Atlas Trainman RS3 equipped and running on 18V TMCC that Sputters/stalls on certain areas of my layout using Atlas track. 

The locomotive has less than one hour running time  I have cleaned rails-tops and insides, cleaned rollers, cleaned whatever I can think of (with alcohol).  Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't at the same position.  I cant tell whether I'm losing hot or ground.  All you have to do is touch the loco lightly and it will light up and sputter some more until it is happy and then runs on with no problem.

My Lionel and MTH locomotives cruise over the entire layout with no problem.  Have not run an Atlas Master or 3rd rail locomotive yet.  (my 2-10-4 is on the way though).

Not a big fan of the Trainman pickup system vs all others, unless something changes no more Trainmans for me..

Any ideas, suggestions?

Gray Lackey



Original Post


I believe all Trainman engines come with two pickup rollers and that is probably the source of the problem. I have many Atlas engines both Master and Trainman and all of the ones with just two pickup rollers have given me problems with stalling and sputtering and I'm using Atlas track. The track and rollers have to be pristinely clean to make for smooth operation. Then the next day after the cleaning they would stall and sputter again. I don't know whether it is the material Atlas uses for the rollers or what but two rollers just doesn't work. Four rollers, however work very well. All my four roller Master engines run great.

I bought the recent issue Trainman U23b with two rollers and it ran poorly. Fortunately the bottom gear case covers had provisions for adding additional rollers. So I took the extra rollers, insulators and screws off a dummy Atlas SD-35 I had and installed them on the U23b. It runs great now with no stalling issues at all.

Check your RS-3 trucks to see if the bottom gear case cover has a cutout area at the end of the cover for another pickup. If it does contact Atlas and see if they have the rear rollers, insulators, and screws you can order. Of course you will have to take the engine apart to install the rollers and add wiring to them.




I had similar problems with an Atlas GP60. What I did was change the length of one of the rollers, using a longer Bachmann pick-up roller. Now it will go through back-to-back Fastrack switches with no stalling. I think I'll have to do the same with an Atlas GP-35. They are the only two engines that have this trouble.

If the GP60 has two rollers per truck (I don't have one) I could understand that.  The RS3 has only one roller per truck that springs straight down and with the truck gearing design, I don't see how to put another roller (with an arm) on.


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