This for current or future owners of the Lionel Century Club Niagara. As most know by now Lionel, thanks to Mike Reagan, is offering brass replacement gears for this engine.

I had a chance to really test these gears yesterday on the club layout. It easily pulled 12 18" passenger cars for over and hour.

At the end of that hour a passenger car derailed and the wheel tread got stuck in a switch guard rail. Even after uncoupling the engine, the cars could not be pulled forward by hand until the truck was rerailed. This dead weight did not cause any damage to gears and it still functions perfectly.

Anyone still hesitant about running this engine under heavy load or procrastinating about doing the upgrade should know that it will handle anything up to the limit of its tractive effort and above without damage. 

Next test will be a more prototypcal 18 car passenger train or 50 car freight.

 

Pete

Original Post

This is good news for Niagara owners.  I feel the market will have more of these available.   I know Alex has done some work with these.   I am very excited over the new Niagara that I saw at York.  The CC was beautiful but did not cut it with the original gears.  

 

 

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Yep, with the fix in u-joints and gears, this Niagara is a great engine in my roster.  Pulling the 20+ milk cars makes a very nice looking consist.  I have pulled a consist of ten MTH/Lionel NYC heavyweights with no problem, after pulling the same was when the original u-joint on the motor to gear shaft quit on me.  The opportunity to acquire a second (for double heading) is an intriguing thought. 

 

As the Lionel Niagara has come up, I have a question: do we have any idea what percentage of the CC Niagaras failed from the gearing issue? Not an exact number, but any reasonable idea? I realize that some are shelf queens and that some have never left the box, but of the runners...? 

I have one, and I have bought the parts to fix it - but I do not intend to until it fails. It has not, but mine is low-mileage and on my small (18X12X10Xsomething) layout, 4 passenger or 8 - 12 freight cars is a train. It has not failed.

Anyone else out there with a "so far, so good" CC Niagara that gets used?

Just curious.

D&H 65 posted:

D500: Mine was still going strong when I removed the delrin gears and replaced them with the brass ones from Lionel.

Dave: i seriously doubt any dealer is going to upgrade used ones they have in stock.....just my opinion.

Well, I can always ask mine just out of curiosity, sure he would say what for. If it isn't done, I'm sure he would also indicate to the potential buyer of the issue.

Dave NYC Hudson PRR K4 posted:

Well, I can always ask mine just out of curiosity, sure he would say what for. If it isn't done, I'm sure he would also indicate to the potential buyer of the issue.

Is there a way to tell without disassembling it?  Unless it's New Old Stock from a dealer who knows it's in the same condition it was direct from Lionel (or maybe he's had it since before the metal gears became available), how could he know whether it's got the new gears or not?

Maybe there is a way to tell, but my understanding is these are way down in the innards, based on Alex's original demo videos.  I don't suspect you can see the pieces in question without serious disassembly.

-Dave

To change out the gears, just about every fastener in the engine has to be removed. This engine is made like no other steam engine I have worked on including brass or diecast.

Besides the gears the driveshaft should be changed out as well. It's failure rate is almost as frequent as the gears.

Pete

The axle gear stays. I would guess Alex M has done as many as anyone. If you have not done one, it can be pretty daunting but not bad after that. Basically just about every fastener has to be removed to get the gearbox out to replace the gears. 

Pete

Thanks Pete and Dave. 

Roy if you like i can do it for you, I've done 19 CC Niagara's so far. I replace both original gears with brass and i also change the original plastic driveshaft to a steel one. If you like email me, my email is in my profile 

Thanks, Alex

 

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Roy, let me suggest going for the whole enchilada with John's Super chuffer/chuff generator and get 4 chuffs, and all the rest. Close to Vision features and a better looking engine with the proven Pittman motor for a fraction of the cost.

Pete

 

No problem Alex. The one other thing that Lionel did wrong with these is the deck plate, they break real easy Roy. When I was packing mine to send to Alex, mine broke. I know Lionel had run out of stock of the plates, but they're back in. I don't think I'll bother fixing that on mine as it is(was) still partially attached.

I still have the desire to get some of my other engines upgraded, but that may be a while yet still with all the stuff going on with mom's estate. I guess after that is done and I can breathe, that will be one of the first projects to get on.

Norton posted:

Roy, let me suggest going for the whole enchilada with John's Super chuffer/chuff generator and get 4 chuffs, and all the rest. Close to Vision features and a better looking engine with the proven Pittman motor for a fraction of the cost.

Pete

 

Probably a good idea, but I am not particularly enamored with the NYC Niagara - especially the smoke deflectors.

This loco broke its gears the first time I ran it. My thinking was to get it repaired and then let someone else enjoy it who is more into this loco than I am. I don't know what they go for in the secondary market, but it seems that no one will buy any loco if it is not 100% functional, as almost no one fixes stuff themselves any more.

I generally fix my own stuff, but disassembling this loco seems like more of a challenge than most.

RoyBoy

Norton posted:

Well, you could sell it as is and let the next owner fix it up. Plenty of folks around me who do their own work.

Pete

...I’d be in that market!....Roy....if you’re listening!....😉............Pat

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"....but I am not particularly enamored with the NYC Niagara - especially the smoke deflectors."

What? What? You're coming in weak and distorted...say again....?

The only loco I "prefer" to the Niagara is the NYC Hudson, some varieties more than others, plain or fancy - and sometimes even they don't quite get there. The Niagara looks "streamstyled", though it is not (well, they were aware, as a matter of policy), and the deflectors are a part of this look. I love the modern, sleek, industrial-equipment look of the S-class*. 

*and the P&LE(NYC) A-2 2-8-4; totally different locomotive with a different mission in life, but had the family look.

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