Skip to main content

Some time ago I picked up a Williams 773 diecast Hudson. Didn’t pay a lot for I was mainly interested in its tender for another project. This version came with a prototypical cab number and a full scale, what some might call a 700T tender, instead of the smaller 2426 tender that the 773s came with.

This engine did suffer from jack rabbit starts that most Williams Post War reproductions seemed plagued with. It came with a 9:1 gearbox and despite cautions by master craftsman Harmonyards that a replacement motor would not solve this problem I decided to try a few that I had found along the way. That included a 24 volt motor and 2 12 volt motors spec’ed at 2000 rpm vs the typical 5000 RPM.

I used a ERR Cruise Commander set at one speed step and 100 speed steps to drive all the motors.

Here is what I started with.

This is the slowest the engine would run with any of the six that I tried though one smaller Buehler Motor rated at 2000 RPMs did turn slower it did not have enough torque to start a train.

I came to the conclusion like Pat did that no motor was going to solve this problem and the fix was going to be a new gearbox with a higher (numerically) gear ratio. I was able to find a NWSL idler gearbox on the Bay with a 23:1 gear ratio, closer to the 18-20:1 found in most MTH and Lionel scale steam engines.

I also settled on a Pittman 8700 series motor as it was small enough to fit in the boiler freeing up the cab after milling out some metal.

This is the final setup showing one speed step and flat out. I lose some top speed but it seems fast enough if not 100 mph.

This is the mod to the boiler.


And how the cab looks now.


Now back together awaiting detailing.



Images (2)
  • 6D70826A-6D2C-4C03-ACA6-D6821E23A632
  • 2319B268-A61E-4968-905F-AABEE82C3ED4
Videos (3)
Last edited by Norton
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

The mill work inside the boiler, with the attention to detail is what catches my eye,….obviously beautiful chassis work as usual, and way to go taming the wild horse that is a Williams, …but I’ve got to get to get to that level on how you did the boiler casting,…..fantastic!….this is why you still wear the master’s jacket ,….I remain second fiddle,….😌


Very nice pete.   Ever wonder why Williams had all the weird 44:1,  42/1, 9:1 gearbox ratios. I do have some Williams with sane gearboxes but they seem to be in the minority. Their PRR B6 had a 21:1 which is just right for a mainline locomotive but a bit high for a switcher.  Lucky their 42:1 gearbox has the same gear on the drive axle and will swap with the 21:1 so I took the 21:1 from the B6 and put it in my N&W J and put the 42:1 from the J in the  B6. Both are happier for it.            j                      

The 42 & 44 to 1 gear boxes aren’t that miserable to fiddle with, ….usually the right Pittman motor will make them ….let’s say reasonably descent runners,….the fist fight with the diecast Williams Hudsons is the horrible 9:1,……there’s just no where’s to go,…you just can’t get a motor to spin that slow and make it smooth,….Pete’s certainly tamed it, so hats off to him,….I surrendered on my Williams Hudson and it now resides as a static display on the layout with little workers trying to fix something I couldn’t … would be nice if the gear boxes Pete found were more readily available as this would open a new frontier in modifying Williams Hudsons into nicer models worthy of adding more & more details,…..IF the gear boxes were easier to obtain, modding a Williams Hudson into a nice scale model would be a far cheaper endeavor than cutting up the old Lionel Pulmor Hudsons,….cause if you want a big can motor in a Lionel, step one is chop off the whole back of the chassis and cry cause you ain’t turning back!!…..I might be letting the cat out of the bag, but I got to watch every other evening as Pete wrestled this thing,….one thing he did that’s neat is he’s scooted everything forward, so now he can add important parts, like a full backhead, and judging by the depth of the motor, it ain’t gonna be stuck out the back like a Lionel,…..impressive work,…



NWSL is back in business after a few years off line during a change in ownership.

I had ordered a 25:1 Mod .5 gearbox for this engine from them just a few days before I found this one on eBay as it typically the case. They are built to order so may take a few weeks.

Anyone wanting to do a similar swap can use either a mod ,5 or mod .6 25:1 and 23:1 respectively. This engine has a 5mm axle. A driver has to be pulled to remove the gear and axle bearings then requartered.

I could have just gone with a Cruise board as it does a lot to slow down the engine but wanted to take it to the next step.

I think the first speed step is close to Vision Hudson speed now.


Last edited by Norton

Those results are impressive. I have one of these Williams that I detailed a la 700E, and in which I installed a Cruise Commander/pre-RS Sound Commander. This made it useable. I have been happy with the now-steady running speed and slow-speed performance - at least until seeing yours. Gee, thanks.

I've posted this photo of it before; the valve gear still needs to be corrected/completed. That sand dome is a separate piece, as I recall - I was tempted to do a square sandbox/B&A J2 treatment.



Images (1)
  • HudsonWms-b

D, the catch with simply swapping the gearbox is its much shorter than the existing one. With parallel shafts the offset is 3/4” requiring a belt drive. No room to tilt the big motor being so close to the cab roof. I had to grind the roof to be able to tilt that smaller motor.

BTW, very nice detail work. I will be adding details over time.


Last edited by Norton

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.