tender drawbars

I have a royal blue loco and a #300 that both seem to have the same problem. on curves they sometimes stop and it seem that the draw bars being very long cause the tender to tilt and loose contact. I changed the wire between loco and tender to some very flexable and it did not change a thing.  any fixes or ideas. Thanks Rick


Original Post

What state are the tender pick up wheels in? Do they have a lot of pitting and look black, if so they will need cleaning to remove it all. Check the copper pick ups that contact the axles to make sure they have tension on them and clean these as well where they make contact on the axles.

The trucks can get bent/twisted so that all four wheel are not touching the track at the same time.

Turn the tenders upside down and look at the axles. Sight along the the trucks, perpendicular to the axles, like you are aiming a rifle. See if the axle shafts are parallel to each other.

Another way to test this is to put the tender on the track and press the journal boxes down, all at the same time - not the tender body, but the journals . See if the truck rocks back and forth.


everything is clean and rolls as is the track if i lock the engine in forward it will run. i can see the tender being twisted as it goes around the curves , if I set a spare tender weight on the forward half of the tender it solves the problem while its there. maybe enlarging the hole in the draw bar to let it twist as well as go up and down ?


Generally you do not have to change the design to fix the problem. Just find out how the loco/tender/track have been damaged and correct them. Bringing them back to original specification will usually fix the problem.

Are the drawbars twisted? They should be parallel to the rail heads when looking straight down the track from the front or the rear.  Are the shoulder screws that hold the drawbar to the loco chassis bent?

Many people are rough when removing a steam loco from the track, especially ones with link couplers, and that can damage/twist/bend the drawbar. The drawbar has to be straight and not twisted. The tender truck sides have to be straight and not twisted. The track rail head has to be flat with no dips/bumps and the gauge has to be consistent.

Redesigning may seem like the fix at the moment, but often will introduce new problems. These locos are over 60 years old and thousands have been made and they all worked at one time.

Can you get your eyes down to track level and see what is happening there?


I just thought of something. Are these the long drawbars that attach to the loco behind the rear drivers? Or are they the short drawbars that attach to a brace at the rear of the loco cab?

The short ones are terrible, in my opinion. Since they mount/pivot some distance from the wheel base, they have a cantilever effect and cause the tender to speed up when going into a high speed turn, just like the whip effect of a line of ice skaters.

If both of your locos have the short drawbars, then I could be convinced to redesign them. That's what Gilbert did. Most of the short drawbars are on the very early locos, except for Hudsons and Northerns.


Does it matter which direction (forward or reverse) or heading (clockwise or counterclockwise)?  I just had one that ran great except in reverse headed counterclockwise through a curve, then it would stall into neutral.  The tender to engine leads were too stiff and too short exerting force on the tender in curves, plus there was a non-Flyer insulated bushing and rivet on the front truck that prevented the chassis from having enough roll freedom before lifting up the metal wheels which happened to be on the inside rail.  By replacing the wires and installing the correct bushing, rivet, and tin washer -- all is good.  Runs like the wind now any which way.   


S happens


x-Chief Wrench & Bottle-washer of Precision Flyer Repairs 

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