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Hey Guys,

For my birthday, I bought a used Lionel JLC Hudson, with tender, in near Excellent shape.    When I put it on straight sections of my tracks, it runs very well in both forward and reverse, and the E-Unit functions property.

The "surprise" came when it came to the 031 curves.   

Almost all of the curves in my layout are 031 Lionel track curves (they are half curves).    I have a Post War Scout, a mid-70s switcher, and  Sante Fe El Capitan, and all of these run smoothly and strongly around the curves, without hesitation or power loss.

Not so with the Hudson.   When it starts around the curves, it suddenly cuts down to about half speed, as it struggles to make it around, and then rockets back up to full speed when it hits the straights.

Just by happenstance, I have one curve where the track sections mate absolutely perfectly. The ends of the rails butt firmly against each other, with zero gaps.    On this one curve, the Hudson will  travel through it with no slow downs.

My other curved sections are not perfect.  Some have 1/16th to 1/8th inch gaps between the butts ends of the rails, but the pins are new and tight.  For all of my other engines, this creates zero problems.  For the Hudson, it seems that they are a killer.

I do have one curve that is 042, and the Hudson travels that smoothly without any problems.

Any ideas or suggestions here?    Are the Hudson's designed  so that they only run well on 042 curves?  Although the JLC Hudson is really great looking, I sure cannot pull up my layout and try to force every section of 031 rails into perfect butting connections with the next.

Thanks for any ideas.


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My guess would be either the front or back driver sets is wider in gauge than the other.

I don't think Lionel was even selling O42 track at that time.  The JLC Husdon should run fine on O31.  It's basically a 2046/646 at heart.  I had one that would careen around on my display layout O31 curves and O22 switches with no problems for an hour during train shows.  (We changed trains every hour for variety.)


Mannyrock,  are you referring to the brown and gold JLC Hudson with cab number 8210 which was produced in 1982 by Fundimensions?  If it is, it should operate easily on 031 curves because as has been stated it really is nothing but a gussied up post-war 2046/646 with a beautiful paint scheme along with a very nice metal tender.  The 2046 was built to operate on 031 curves.  I have both the post-war 2046 and the Fundimensions JLC 8210 Hudsons and they are smooth runners on 031 curves and to be honest about I too have some gaps on my curves.  

Well,  I measured both the front and rear driver wheel sets.

Distance from outside of one wheel to outside of the other: 

  Front Drivers:  1.66

  Rear Driver:  1.75

Distance from outside of the raised flange on one wheel to the outside of the raised flange on the other:

        Front Drivers:  varies from 1.22 to 1.25

        Rear Drivers:  varies from 1.22 to 1.30

Distance from Inside edge of one wheel to inside edge of the other:

       Front Drivers: 1.11

        Rear Drivers:  1.09

Seems like these differences are really small, and shouldn't matter much.

I did notice that when I grab the set of front drivers by the outside of the wheels, the wheels and axle will slide back and forth in the housing about 1/16th of an inch.   When I grab the set of rear drivers by the outside of the wheels, the wheels and axle will only slide back and forth about 1/32nd of an inch.      Is this normal?

Only other thing I can think of:   The curved sections of the track were new Chinese Steel Lionel track, with the original pins crimped incredibly tight into the ends of the rails.  Because of the Switches and other straight sections I had to connect the curves to, I had to remove the pins, and it was really really hard to do.  Took alot of "flaring out" the underside of the ends of the rails, and really twisting and pulling hard.  I guess I could have maybe permanently twisted the ends of the rails enough to create the stalling problem?     Again, however, none of my other engines have any problems on these curves whatsoever.   Even the Scout. which has two sets of drivers right next to each other.


Follow up thought:  This Locomotive has been run so little, that on the rims of the driver wheels, only a very thin strip of the original "new rough pewter" color on the rims has been worn off to the normal smooth silver color.   Could it be that when traveling over some track irregularities, these pewter parts of the rim are bearing on the tops of the rails, and receiving a reduced amount of current compared to the worn silver color parts of the rim which are normally bearing on the rails in the straight sections?

If so, could it really hurt anything if I gently sanded off all of the pewter colored coating on the rims of the drive wheels?

Thanks, Mannyrock

The #8210 has no "pewter" anything on the wheels.  In fact, there are no tires on the wheels.  They are simply sintered iron, single piece wheels.  The outside pair have flanges, the inside wheels are flange-less.  Not only should the 8210 easily negotiate O-31 curves and switches, but it will also negotiate O-27 curves and switches.

Sounds like you may have binding somewhere in your valve gear.  Pick up your engine and flip it over.  Do the wheels roll freely by hand?  No hang-ups?  They should.  Trouble spots to look for:  the smoke unit lever can be jamming.  The eccentric crank can be in the wrong position.


Thanks guys,

The iron wheels are a darkish gray in color (I called it pewter) except where the rails touch on the bottom and those thin strips are a silver color.

Hard to believe this engine was run that much, since the rollers look brand new and original and the engine runs great.

The 1/16th play is while sliding the driver wheels and axle side to side. There is no play in attempting to move it front to back.

I am starting a new post tomorrow in the Lionel section, and will post pictures.

Thanks again.


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