Thursday, March 15, 2012

Romford tender drive unit

Tender drive

Here's a blast from the past, a Romford tender drive unit. Nowadays we laud manufacturers for moving away from motorised water carts and cramming the motive power back in the locomotive. In the past things were different. Producing a powered loco chassis wasn't that easy and yet there were some lovely Airfix loco kits that people wanted to build and then run on the railway.

With it's 52mm wheelbase, I'm not sure which kit this was intended for but despite its age, you could still use it for the intended purpose. Attaching some leads and cranking up the DC, it turns over and runs like a sewing machine. That's a 5-pole motor in there.

While tender drives might have earned a dubious reputation, in my experience they aren't as bad as many think. In theory you can see a loco with stationery wheels being shoved by it's tender but that doesn't happen often. The advantages are that smaller wheels mean smoother starts - look at the way a model diesel will often out-perform a chuff-chuff. With all the waggly bits on the outside there's lots more to stick and jam. The added complexity of course is why tender drive was so popular in the first place.

Value ? No idea. Probably next to nothing. I found this one in a box of unsaleable bits left over from a club second hand stall. It would be fun to do something with it one day. Maybe a Kitmaster Stirling single in BR Black perhaps...

(Thanks to Colin Snowdon from DOGA for identifying the unit with his encyclopedic knowledge of things model railway. Reason enough to belong to the Association)


John Teal said...

I recently was given a box of old Hornby from a friends loft. I was pleasantly surprised to find a rather clean looking Duchess with a tender drive. It didn't work straight out of the box but with little more than an hours cleaning and fiddling it runs exceptionally

Tender Drive

CF said...

Love it! It'll probably still be running after all the tiny motored,DCC Bachmanns have been binned.