Hey stuart...let me start by saying that I know nothing about switchers, so they could very well indeed be geared down to act like real switchers. I once bought a Bachmann locomotive that was a B23-7 (I hope I have the kind of loco correct). It was a DC loco (purchased shortly before I switched to DCC). I bought it on vacation, which was about 1000 miles from where I live, at Caboose Hobbies in Denver, CO. I put it on the track for the first time and the motor spun nicely, but the train barely moved. I was not going to send it back...besides, I only paid $29.99 for it. I took it apart and noticed that the shaft going from the motor to the gears in the truck was in two parts, joined by a knuckle (female on one shaft, male on the other). The shaft from the motor spun fast, but the shaft from there to the trucks spun slowly. The female part on the one shaft was just spinning on the male part of the second shaft. I simply glued the two shafts together at the knuckle to make "one" shaft. It worked perfectly, and ran VERY well! Taking it back just wasn't an option for me, so I had to try something desperate. I am not saying that this is your problem, but just something you might want to look into. Good luck!