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.