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I'd like to motorize this train set:

Set photo

What is the best way to accomplish this?

1 Answer 1

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There are number of ways to accomplish this. The locomotive traditionally provides the power for a train, so that is a natural place to start. Unfortunately, this locomotive is difficult to motorize directly for a few reasons.

Powered Locomotive Challenges

The wheel type and spacing makes it difficult to directly use the very simple City train motor:

88011 Train Motor

This is typically used with the smaller train wheels, and the spacing doesn't align properly with the larger wheels used in this locomotive:

Locomotive Wheels

These wheels can be motorized using Technic gears and axles along with a small motor, but I couldn't find an easy way to hide that setup inside this locomotive.

We'd also still need to find a place to house the battery box.

Powered Coaches

Another option could be to motorize one of the coaches. This would be awkward on this set, as they are relatively small and use only a single wheel at each end. The train motor works best when driving a pair.

There would also still be the challenge of stowing the battery box which would necessarily cut into the interior space in the coaches. I didn't want to mess with the interior of the coaches as they provide interest and play value for the set:

Coaches

Powered Tender

The approach that worked for me was to modify the tender to house both the battery box and the train motor. Here's the tender from the set:

Tender

In order to add a motor and hide the battery box, the tender needed to get about 3 plates taller, so this does change the look of the set a bit. I don't think it changes things too much, especially since it allows the locomotive and coaches to remain unchanged.

Here's the basic process of building the tender:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Complete

The parts list and more detailed instructions can be found on Rebrickable.

I don't apply stickers generally, but I assume that this would look a bit more authentic with the stickers applied. I did leave the open hub port facing the coaches, so light could be added to these fairly easily if desired. Overall, I found this solution to be fairly simple, and it works quite well:

Train running around oval

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    Love the solution and how you ask a relevant question and answer it yourself! +1
    – JenserCube
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 7:15
  • Excellent answer, this is pretty much how I did it when my son wanted it motorised. I found that with the tender motorised, the engines wheels had trouble spinning, and there were some drive issues on curved pieces of track. At lower speeds it was fine, higher speeds were where I experienced problems.
    – e_i_pi
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 5:19
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    @e_i_pi If I understand your problem correctly, you can try to put a (small) rubber band on the wheels which should give better traction.
    – JenserCube
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 10:51
  • @jncraton - You could also increase the weight of the locomotive by replacing some of the internal bricks with these metal bricks; bricks.stackexchange.com/questions/18070/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 18:47

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