Remotor old Bergs/DJH/Dockyard/Lloyds brass/whitemetal NSWGR steam locomotives

  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Building the courage to have a go with 30, 35, 36 and 59 class...

If anyone has done this, can you please provide some links/hints/suggestions/photos that cover things such as:
  • can or coreless (something from Hollywood Foundries I guess)
  • flywheel or not
  • where and how the replacement motor was mounted
  • replace the gearbox or not...and if replacing, with what and how difficult was it
  • and any other advice you think is relevant... Smile


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  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
This is a very difficult subject to generalise about when replying.

I have re-motored several old brass steam locos in the past (back in the 90s).

Basically, there is no "one size fits all" approach you can take.

However, here are some basic ideas drawn from my aging memory:

  • I used Mashima motors almost exclusively. I think these can still be purchased from AR Kits.
  • I also used NWSL gearboxs....but you need to do some calculations to determine what one suits your needs as regards gearing, axle diameter and shaft diameter.
  • I never bothered fitting flywheels....not enough room in the locos I did, plus the fact that the shaft of the Mashima motors wasn't long enough to add a flywheel and still leave enough shaft exposed to add the uni joint/flex tube etc.
  • Start with a "simple" a 32 or 35 class. Once you get into the 36, 38 etc you have more complicated valve gear to contend with.
  • You need to be prepared to remove the side rods, base keeper plate, brake shoes etc and then extract the geared wheel-set. You will (ideally) need a NWSL Puller tool to remove one driver from the axle and then the gear. Then a NWSL Quartering tool would be handy....but I never had one and just refitted the driver to the axle by "eye".
  • I tended to mainly use model aeroplane fuel hose for the coupling between the gearbox and the motor shaft....same set-up as the DJH kit locos use.
  • If you're going to use NWSL uni joints and shaft instead of the fuel hose, then you will also need to alter the chassis in order to "hold" the gearbox in a steady fore/aft position.....otherwise the motion of the loco will immediately turn the gearbox forward, dislodging the shaft from the uni joint.
  • Mounting the motor is different for each loco....but basically I used to make a suitable brass mounting "pad" to solder to the chassis where the old motor used to be (unless there was already something suitable there of course). I would place the motor in the desired location, making sure it didn't protrude into the cab (because I would make/buy a suitable backhead with some detail on it).
  • I would temporarily hold the motor in situ with a rubber band twisted around it and the chassis and test run the loco to ensure my alignment was all okay.
  • Once satisfied that it was all okay, I would lift the motor up (still attached to the fuel hose) and apply a fillet of silicon sealant so that the motor would be glued in place and the silicon also absorbed a lot of the vibration.

I hope this is of some value to you....

  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Roachie, that is unbelievably helpful - thanks....
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Mate, I would just like to clarify one thing I said.....

Regarding gear boxes, I only usually replaced these if the loco didn't actually HAVE a gear box in the first place. Some of the older locos used a crude system of having the worm gear placed directly on the motor shaft and then positioning the motor so that the worm was in direct contact with the axle gear.

Some of the locos had a reasonable (albeit "open") gear box which, for all intents and purposes, wasn't too bad and it was often decided in those cases to just replace the motor only.

Like I said earlier, there isn't any ONE formula as far as I'm concerned.


  railmod Chief Train Controller

Hi Gremlin,

Really good treatise by Roachie, you also mention Whitemetal (kits?) - DJH I assume, in which case this blog by Brendan has a good post on replacing the supplied motor gearbox with a 'Highlevel' combo.

There are also a couple of articles in the AMRM, one only in the last issue or so.

Hope this helps.

Cheers Alex
  The railway dog Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
This turns up just as I'm about to have a go at refixing a loose driver on an old Berg's C30T. Looking at a nick in the paintwork I think the conrod snagged the driver's crankpin, it was always pretty sloppy even though the pin was tightened up & the conrod padded out as much as possible.  I've got a NWSL Quarterer, which I haven't used before. Unfortunately it's the insulated driver that's loose, so I'd value any tips about that & anything else anyone thinks is relevant.

Hope it's OK to derail the thread to this extent, 'taint too far off topic.

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