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I have noticed that some tenders have the holes on the top (whistle or not) in various places. Some are forward, others are rear. I have a feeling people are just not putting the covers on correctly. an example would be a 1689. Where should they be?
 

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They should be above the opening on the top of the whistle mechanism and the holes should be at the leading edge of the tender.

swede
 

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Yard Master & Research
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There is a 50/50 chance on how the shell fits. Most pictures on image search show the front. There can always be exceptions. There is no hard fast rule. Welcome to toy trains. 1654 on tandem shows the back.
 
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