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The shell, later issue Weaver, (2, vertical cans), was modified, at least, the width, to accommodate the can motors.  First issue had the horizontal motor with chain, tower drives, which also had some problems with plastic gears.  The Plastic gear problem had a fix, though the fix was not by Weaver. Chain drive models were two rail, I think ????   Early Weaver history was two rail????

Most complaints about Weaver later issue were concerning the handrail.  Early Weaver models had fragile/frail, true to scale, hand rails, that were easily damaged.  Later issue had one piece, stamped handrail, common on most models today.   

Last edited by Mike CT

I have seen the China drive version in both 2 rail and 3 rail.

My main complaint with these Weaver and other Weaver engines is the way the shell is connected to the frame. There are tiny circular things of plastic in the top of the shell on the inside that take a long screw that comes up through the frame and screws into that very small plastic part on the inside of the shell. Sorry I don't know what to call it. These circular plastic things break and the shell can no longer be attached to the frame. I have seen a couple of people try to glue something on the inside of the shell to repair this but the glue always gives way after a while. I have never seen or heard of any good permanent way to repair this problem.

I don't know the answer to the first question, I would guess LIonel, because they got the dies for the US based injection molded freight cars, so they may have gotten the dies for the RS3, FA/FB and GP38

The original Weaver line was only 2 rail.   They slowly migrated to 3 rail as they offered built up models instead of shake the box kits.    The center motor, chain tower drive locos were eventually offered in 3 rail for awhile before they went to the China block drives.  

The "long" screws were characteristic of the FA and FB.    The RS3 had the mounting tabs at the bottom of the hoods, and much shorter screws.    A note on these and any plastic shell loco.    I never use a power driver on the screws that run into plastic.    And when re-inserting screws I gently turn them the wrong way until I hear any/or feel a click when the screw matches the existing thread in the plastic.    That way I keep using the same threads and avoid crossing threading and destroying the fragile plastic threads.

I have RS3s and FA/FB models with the original drives and I like them much better than the newer dual motor drives.    The biggest reason is they run smoother.   The second reason is that the dual motor drives sit higher on the chassis and they just don't look right.

Also, I don't think weaver ever changed the hood width for their dual motor drives.    I purchased a number of single motor chassis from WEaver that were available because customers sent in units to have the drivers replaced with dual motor drives.   These were mostly 3 rail and were all RS3s and GP38s     The tech at weaver would pull the old drives out and throw them on a shelf and just drop the shell on a new dual motor chassis.   I think the price was about 100 per unit.   I was able to buy the old drives at a very good price.

@Hudson J1e posted:

I have seen the China drive version in both 2 rail and 3 rail.

My main complaint with these Weaver and other Weaver engines is the way the shell is connected to the frame. There are tiny circular things of plastic in the top of the shell on the inside that take a long screw that comes up through the frame and screws into that very small plastic part on the inside of the shell. Sorry I don't know what to call it. These circular plastic things break and the shell can no longer be attached to the frame. I have seen a couple of people try to glue something on the inside of the shell to repair this but the glue always gives way after a while. I have never seen or heard of any good permanent way to repair this problem.

China drive - always wondered about this term. Vertical motors, truck-mounted. Mostly better than the motor/driveshaft setup. Lionel PW diesels and electrics had vertical motors, truck-mounted (excuse the early F3's, I think). So - does this mean that PW Lionel non-steam locos had the "China drive"?

"Glue gives way"? In 2023? They put together spacecraft with glue. Styrene-to-styrene assembled with Testors plastic cement is often stronger than the original joint or connection. Also, CA and Goo - good stuff.

Mentioned elsewhere, the shells were not widened for vertical motors, so far as I know.

@D500 posted:

Mostly better than the motor/driveshaft setup.

So - does this mean that PW Lionel non-steam locos had the "China drive"?



I guess "better" is a matter of opinion.  For switching and general operations, I find the single motor drive "better".  For round and round running dual motors a probably "better" since each motor will produce less heat.

Technically speaking, yes, if they had two motors.  Not all Lionel PW non-steam locomotives had two motors.

A drive with two vertical motors in most ways is not "better."  It probably costs the manufacturers less to build than a quality single-motor drive.  That equates to more profit for them, not more utility for the buyer.  The vertical arrangement also generally permits more swivel to negotiate sharp tinplate curves.  Depending on how things are situated, it might leave a little more room inside the loco for that huge stack of circuit boards that 3-rail O gaugers can't seem to live without.

The motors themselves have to be smaller, and often there's little headroom left over for good sized flywheels.  As others have alluded to, often times the loco's dimensions or appearance are compromised to accommodate the vertical-motored arrangement.

Except for Legacy LionDrive diesels with back-drivable gears, the two motors can't really "help" each other until they get into the linear part of their speed-voltage curve (usually above 600 RPM, or 6 scale mph.)  At low speeds the motors and powered trucks can sometimes visibly fight each other.  If you don't need the pulling power, for the smoothest possible starts you might perform a radical motor-ectomy, keeping only the better motor.  The smoothest, slowest running diesels I know of are the Atlas SW and maybe the Lionel SW also.  They use a centrally-mounted single motor.

Last edited by Ted S
@Number 90 posted:

Who now owns the dies for the Weaver RS-3 hoods and cab?

Both Atlas and MTH hoods are too high and Lionel's RS-3 is not sold to the hi-rail market.

Tom, I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ve been wondering the same thing ever since Weaver exited the model train business.

IMO, Weaver’s RS-3 (and RSD-4/5) model was by far the most accurate of all the manufacturers in terms of scale size and shape.  My biggest complaint—and the reason I don’t own any—is that it lacked most of the separately-applied details we’ve become accustomed to on higher-end (e.g. Lionel Legacy or MTH Premier) locomotives.  Grab irons, cut levers, and m.u. & brake hoses, for example, were molded in.

I’ve been holding out hope that whichever company ended up with the tooling/molds will bring it back to market with all those scale, added-on details.  I think it would be a big seller…or maybe that’s just me because I would buy a whole bunch of them in various road names!

Otherwise, I’ll continue to hope that Scott/3rd Rail offers an RS-3.

Last edited by CNJ #1601
@Ted S posted:

A drive with two vertical motors in most ways is not "better."  It probably costs the manufacturers less to build than a quality single-motor drive.  That equates to more profit for them, not more utility for the buyer. The vertical arrangement also generally permits more swivel to negotiate sharp tinplate curves.  Depending on how things are situated, it might leave a little more room inside the loco for that huge stack of circuit boards that 3-rail O gaugers can't seem to live without.

The motors themselves have to be smaller, and often there's little headroom left over for good sized flywheels.  As others have alluded to, often times the loco's dimensions or appearance are compromised to accommodate the vertical-motored arrangement.

Except for Legacy LionDrive diesels with back-drivable gears, the two motors can't really "help" each other until they get into the linear part of their speed-voltage curve (usually above 600 RPM, or 6 scale mph.)  At low speeds the motors and powered trucks can sometimes visibly fight each other.  If you don't need the pulling power, for the smoothest possible starts you might perform a radical motor-ectomy, keeping only the better motor.  The smoothest, slowest running diesels I know of are the Atlas SW and maybe the Lionel SW also.  They use a centrally-mounted single motor.

Ted, I agree with everything you said but in my opinion the horizontal drives we have in O scale are not perfect. No doubt about it when it comes to the smoothest possible starts and slow speed performance the horizontal drive is WAY superior but once you get over 15 scale MPH things are a little different. Over 15 scale MPH the Chine Drive dual motors are very smooth and very quiet and they no longer fight each other and they are very reliable. Bob Turner mentioned on here many times that at his club or museum the China Drive dual motor setup would last thousands of hours without any maintenance or break downs. I have some horizontal drives (both Atlas and Weaver) and if I try to run them at higher speeds they are very noisy. They make a racket and for me it takes away from the realism of the model. True this isn't a factor for most 2 rail guys as they usually run their trains slow.

In HO they have perfected the horizontal drive where it is smooth and quiet at all speeds (at least the ones I have seen at shows). I don't know why we can't have a horizontal drive in O scale that is smooth and quiet at all speeds? Come to think of it I have never tried to run my Sunset diesels at speeds over 15 scale MPH. I wonder how they perform at those speeds? Anyway, I just wanted to mention that the China Drives do have some good points. For a club or museum layout I would definitely prefer the China drives for their smooth operation at higher speeds and their reliability. For a home switching layout I would definitely prefer the smooth starts, stops and slow speed performance of the horizontal drive from a Weaver or Atlas SW.

Another (sort of) positive of the China drive is what you mentioned. They are cheaper to make and therefore cheaper on the secondary market. This allows someone who doesn't have a big budget to get into 2 rail. I just saw in the most recent edition of the O Scale Resource that All Nation has a horizontal drive set up to convert a MTH locomotive to 2 rail and it attaches to the MTH shell but it is over $600. That is great for a die hard 2 rail guy but for someone thinking about getting into 2 rail it could be a discouraging.

@ecd15 posted:

I guess "better" is a matter of opinion.  For switching and general operations, I find the single motor drive "better".  For round and round running dual motors a probably "better" since each motor will produce less heat.

Technically speaking, yes, if they had two motors.  Not all Lionel PW non-steam locomotives had two motors.

Actually, I was being a bit of a smart a** about Lionel having a "China drive". I'm not sure why it's a "China" drive; it first showed up in quantity in non-Lionel 3RO from Korea, did it not? And can't it be "China" with one motor?

Also, my personal experience - not the same as a scientific sample - with the single-motor system has been 100% bad.  My Lionel S-2 whose drive self-destructed twice (I fixed it once with Lionel parts) is one example. It is now a to-be-painted dummy. The electronics are salvageable. Very expensive dummy. And by dummy I may or may not mean me.

And the brass 3rd Rail Dash-9 whose driveshaft became, uh, disconnected. This was after I had the ERR working in it (a whole 'nuther story). Almost went up against the wall. I think that the ERR boards are still in it. I must rescue them for use elsewhere.

So, yeah - failed driveshafts, universals, noisy chains (see Weaver) - not a fan.

@prrjim posted:

I don't know the answer to the first question, I would guess LIonel, because they got the dies for the US based injection molded freight cars, so they may have gotten the dies for the RS3, FA/FB and GP38

Lionel did not purchase all of Weaver’s tooling. Atlas purchased most of it, including locomotives.

Here’s the 2015 press release that was easily accessible through a Google search and was posted multiple times on the OGR Forum.

Atlas Acquires Weaver Tooling

In a move that bolsters its already large back-catalog of O scale model railroading products, Atlas has announced an agreement with Weaver Models that brings a host of popular locomotive and freight cars into the fold. This announcement comes on the heels of Weaver Models closing its doors at the end of June 2015.

“It was with sadness that we heard Weaver Models was shutting down operations,” said Paul Graf, CEO of Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc. “However, we are pleased to announce that we will be bringing many of their models back to the market so that they can be enjoyed by a new generation of model railroaders. These products will fit right in with our existing lines and we are committed to bringing them to market with the high quality that you’ve come to expect from Atlas.”

Tooling acquired in the agreement includes the 2-8-0, U25B, RS11 and VO-1000 locomotives, the Troop Sleeper and Kitchen Cars, the Pullman Bradley Coaches, the War Emergency Gondola, the Wagontop Box Car; and the H30 Covered Hopper. In addition, the molds for the 20’ Containers and telephone poles have also been obtained.

Announcement dates for the models have not been decided at this time. Please watch future All-Scales Monthly Catalogs and All-Scales Catalogs or sign up to be an Atlas Insider at www.atlasrr.com for more information.

@D500 posted:

Actually, I was being a bit of a smart a** about Lionel having a "China drive". I'm not sure why it's a "China" drive; it first showed up in quantity in non-Lionel 3RO from Korea, did it not? And can't it be "China" with one motor?

Also, my personal experience - not the same as a scientific sample - with the single-motor system has been 100% bad.  My Lionel S-2 whose drive self-destructed twice (I fixed it once with Lionel parts) is one example. It is now a to-be-painted dummy. The electronics are salvageable. Very expensive dummy. And by dummy I may or may not mean me.

And the brass 3rd Rail Dash-9 whose driveshaft became, uh, disconnected. This was after I had the ERR working in it (a whole 'nuther story). Almost went up against the wall. I think that the ERR boards are still in it. I must rescue them for use elsewhere.

So, yeah - failed driveshafts, universals, noisy chains (see Weaver) - not a fan.

Well, it sounds like single motor drive are not compatible with your style of operating.  That's fine, but to condemn all single motors drives as a result is misguided.  On most 2 rail club layouts I have operated on, single motor drives are the norm and I have had a very different experience with them.

@D500 posted:

China drive - always wondered about this term. Vertical motors, truck-mounted. Mostly better than the motor/driveshaft setup. Lionel PW diesels and electrics had vertical motors, truck-mounted (excuse the early F3's, I think). So - does this mean that PW Lionel non-steam locos had the "China drive"?

"Glue gives way"? In 2023? They put together spacecraft with glue. Styrene-to-styrene assembled with Testors plastic cement is often stronger than the original joint or connection. Also, CA and Goo - good stuff.

Mentioned elsewhere, the shells were not widened for vertical motors, so far as I know.

China drives were never better than single drive units. One less motor, one less problem. Case in point, Atlas SW8. Single motor, can pluu about anything.

Dick

@D500 sorry for your troubles, man.  The S-2 was Lionel's first effort at a single-motor drive.  They've improved upon it with subsequent releases; their latest SW1 is one of the smoothest 3-rail locos that I've experienced.

I only have one of the newer 3rd Rail diesels (imported circa 2015) and it ran well out of the box.  I'm not sure what the vintage of your Dash-9 is.  I know Scott has made some improvements too, such as ball-bearings for the axle ends.  If I ultimately decide to go back to wide-radius curves I would probably buy more 3rd Rail diesels because I prefer single-motor drive, the low ride height and the option of fixed pilots.

There are two main "styles" of single-motor drive.  One uses a lower driveshaft that connects to the trucks.  Sometimes people call this a "tank drive" (because the driveshaft passes through, or emerges from the fuel tank.)  The other type involves what I call "gear cassettes."  There are two longitudinal clam-shell castings (which remind me of an audio Compact Cassette!) that contain a worm gearbox at the top, and a train of spur gears leading down to the axles.

In my experience, the "cassette drive" seems to have less internal friction.  It's widely used in HO, N, and even in S gauge (American Models, etc.)  In 3-rail O gauge, the most recent and widely-known use is the Atlas SW, which is an excellent runner.  This, despite using a single inexpensive RS-385 motor, and 15:1 gearing for "road speeds" (~70 mph.)

I think cassette drives are not more widely used in O gauge because the cassettes are themselves a casting.  Any casting requires an initial cost outlay, which is only economical if production volumes are high.  The frame also has to contain a sturdy gantry or upper pivot point to anchor the gear cassettes.  This requirement makes it hard to retrofit a cassette drive into a loco not originally designed for one.  Other reasons which I mentioned are a lack of space for electronics, limited ability to handle sharp curves, and the big one is cost.  If people aren't demanding better and are buying the twin-verts, the manufacturers have no incentive to change designs.

Some of limitations of the twin-verts have been addressed:  Legacy LionDrive uses a generic can motor with universal coupling and back-drivable worm gears in the truck.  This facilitates motor replacement, and allows both motors to "help" each other from the slowest speeds.  If one motor gets "stuck" between poles, the other motor can still nudge the loco, which in turn jogs the first motor back into operation.  High-speed filming with a stroboscope might reveal minor stuttering but in practice it's much smoother than two sets of self-locking gears.  They can get away with smaller flywheels too, because the back-drivable gears promote coasting.  Postwar diesels with two vertical motors had back-drivable gears, so in a way Lionel returned to its roots with this.

Another point is the gear ratio.  Most of the vertical-motored setups are geared around 10:1 which gives about 100 mph of top speed, leaving some low-speed performance on the table.  There are some exceptions- the Lionel Genset seems to be geared lower and it runs very smoothly, despite having a single vertical motor.  I believe Atlas changed the gear ratio in the second run of their F-units, in part because of feedback from this community.  I was never able to get confirmation of this, or how much it changed.

The last frontier for consideration is electronics.  Although not my preferred approach, vertical motors leave plenty of room for DCC / TMCC / PS3, and it's amazing how much difference these technologies can make.  Check out this video of a "China drive" diesel controlled by the DCC ProtoThrottle.  This is an Atlas, but I'm sure MTH would be similar:

https://youtu.be/yv-QjWruWyY?si=SoTHRTMQOVqCK3kk

I have a pretty large fleet of Weaver diesels with the chain drive, and I've paid my dues replacing split gears, chasing down vibrations, etc.  Having done that, they are gratifying to run and switching performance is excellent.  I would love to see more manufacturers adopt a single motored drive with dual flywheels, U-joints, and gear cassettes like the Atlas SW.  With the continued miniturization of electronics this may yet happen.  Meanwhile we have a lot of choices, and generally better ones than we've had in the past!

Last edited by Ted S

Truthfully, I see so few real issues with the dual motored setup that I can't jump on the single motor bandwagon with gears and driveshafts to deal with.

The one issue with dual motors is that only one is speed controlled, but that would be easy to solve with those same "continued miniaturization of electronics" previously mentioned.  Having both motors with a tach sensor would make the dual motored models truly have dual motor power.  The elimination of the extra mechanical components has to be a positive for costs and simplicity.

@Ted S posted:

@D500 sorry for your troubles, man.  The S-2 was Lionel's first effort at a single-motor drive.  They've improved upon it with subsequent releases; their latest SW1 is one of the smoothest 3-rail locos that I've experienced.



I appreciate the sympathy....remember, as the saying goes at some other magazine: "Model Railroading is Hard".

I don't really have a scientific sample to go on, anyway, as I said. The single-motor setup can be better, certainly. More opportunity for better gearing, more room in the body shell for "stuff". All that. And, when I see some these videos of nice old O scale locos (mostly steam) running nice and slowly on straight DC, I always remark "See - that's all we ever needed - good gearing. No cruise required." Most of my "locomotion" work is with steam, so I don't deal with diesel/electric drives much.

I do echo Gunnrunner:  "Truthfully, I see so few real issues with the dual motored setup that I can't jump on the single motor bandwagon with gears and driveshafts to deal with. "

But - years ago I ERR-ed a Williams NW-2. Beautiful runner, good model - no sound. As the cab has a motor in it, and the end of the hood has a motor in it...gee, the available cubic inches seemed about the same as that in an HO boxcar. I didn't feel like a wrestling match, so my ICG NW-2 is always in stealth mode.

   "Tooling acquired in the agreement includes the 2-8-0, U25B, RS11 and VO-1000 locomotives, the Troop       Sleeper and Kitchen Cars, the Pullman Bradley Coaches, the War Emergency Gondola, the Wagontop Box Car; and the H30 Covered Hopper. In addition, the molds for the 20’ Containers and telephone poles have also been obtained."

The above was quoted from the Atlas press release about buying the Weaver dies and molds.    I had stated that Lionel purchased the molds for the cars made in the USA, at least originally not sure by the end.   This is what has become the "Lionscale" line with some tweaks.    None of the those cars are mentioned above,    They included the PS1 boxcar, a couple of tank cars, 2 and 3 bay hoppers and some others I think.   These are not mentioned above, and neither are the RS3, FA/FB, and GP38.    Atlas already had an RS3.    I don't if they got the molds for these locos, but they are not listed in the above quote.   

All of the cars listed in the quote are higher end imports with individual applied details, vs the cast-on details that the Lionscale cars have.    The locos listed were also imports, not part of the original line made in the USA.    What Lionel bought is probably a much smaller portion of the line for whatever reason.

There a few major issue with the two motor drives for me.   They do not have smooth easy low speed control.   The ones I have or have had ran at high speed like old time slot cars.    The second issue is starting and stopping smoothly.     All the ones I own or have owned, tend to jerk into motion and make jerky stops    They jerk into motion with one motor staring and then the other.    And stopping they slow down nicely  and then suddenly jerk to an abrupt stop

If I were just running trains somewhat continuously,  I probably wouldn't notice this behavior.    However, I do a lot of switching using my computer generated switchlists.   Most of this is slow speed and includes a lot of back and forth and stopping.     Jerky running and poor control is very noticable when I do this.  

I don't have issues like the above with my single motor drives.    Sometimes they take a little breakin running but then control is always smooth and precise.        And I have never had one that had super high top speed.     In fact, I had a pair that I actually put new motors in because I thought they ran too slowly.     An advantage of single motor drives are it is relatively easy to replace motors.

Now I do admit that have had to replace parts on Weaver single motor locos.   Early on, it was quite frequently.    In recent years They have stablized and I very seldom have to replace gears or sprockets.    To me the maintenance tradeoff is worth it to get the operating characteristics that I like.

@prrjim posted:

   "Tooling acquired in the agreement includes the 2-8-0, U25B, RS11 and VO-1000 locomotives, the Troop       Sleeper and Kitchen Cars, the Pullman Bradley Coaches, the War Emergency Gondola, the Wagontop Box Car; and the H30 Covered Hopper. In addition, the molds for the 20’ Containers and telephone poles have also been obtained."

The above was quoted from the Atlas press release about buying the Weaver dies and molds.    I had stated that Lionel purchased the molds for the cars made in the USA, at least originally not sure by the end.   This is what has become the "Lionscale" line with some tweaks.    None of the those cars are mentioned above,    They included the PS1 boxcar, a couple of tank cars, 2 and 3 bay hoppers and some others I think.   These are not mentioned above, and neither are the RS3, FA/FB, and GP38.    Atlas already had an RS3.    I don't if they got the molds for these locos, but they are not listed in the above quote.  

All of the cars listed in the quote are higher end imports with individual applied details, vs the cast-on details that the Lionscale cars have.    The locos listed were also imports, not part of the original line made in the USA.    What Lionel bought is probably a much smaller portion of the line for whatever reason.

Did some digging.

http://www.tcawestern.org/weaver.htm

If I’m reading correctly, Weaver produced the RS3 shells in the U.S., so that tool would have gone to Lionel. But the mechanism tooling, produced overseas, was not acquired. So that would have effectively idled the production of Weaver’s RS3, which could still be produced if the shell tools were again mated with the chassis.

I’m not going to guess where the chassis is. But I suspect it’s not within Lionel’s grasp.

Anyone know if the RS11 chassis matched the RS3 in Weaver’s production?

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