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Discussion Starter #1
Founded by Gordon Varney in 1936. Varney's main significance to the model railroad community was his early advocacy of the HO scale and the development of a reliable motor small enough to power the locomotives of this gauge.

Recently after about 50 years in the hobby I became interested in belt drive locomotives. I bought a couple of rubber band models and was not impressed.

Then I found a Varney F-7 that featured a coiled spring drive that worked off a three stage pully allowing different speeds from low to high depending on the selection and found them fascinating.

Die cast and in poor condition I media blasted all and repainted conceiving my own road name. Eventually the plastic bodied conventional geared drive will be stripped and repainted.

Over built with open frame Pittman motors and cast transmissions they are quite robust and a pleasure to upgrade and work on.

Just wondering if anyone else has discovered these?
 

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My first Locomotive was a Varney Dockside! It was well used. It may still be packed away, but as I recall it was trashed long ago. The only reason I may still be packed away is that I also had a another engine from the early 60's that I'm sure I still have but so far it location has eluded me.
 

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Nope, only interested in more modern stuff....too much work for too little gain for me.....
That's the gain OH, you have to work to get them to run properly. The knowledge you gain about these little gems is extra.

I have a lot of "new" locomotives, nice but they just run on the track or sit there. Give me something I can get into and learn something.

Different strokes for different folks.

Just "won" another on ebay. Offered really, twenty bucks with a B unit. This one looks complete with the coiled spring belt. Much superior to rubber bands.

Still looking for my first steam Varney Dennis.
 

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You are very correct....different strokes for different folks....

I like tinkering with locomotives, but of a more modern kind....Intermountain, Proto 2000, etc.....

I'm glad you enjoy resurrecting those old locos though....:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You are very correct....different strokes for different folks....

I like tinkering with locomotives, but of a more modern kind....Intermountain, Proto 2000, etc.....

I'm glad you enjoy resurrecting those old locos though....:thumbsup:
I'm quite familiar with the Proto 2000 series of locomotives having several myself including a few in Boston and Maine.

But, thanks for turning me on to Intermountain a marketer/brand I am not familiar with. I visited their website and kicked the drivers around there for awhile. Quite the variety there.

https://www.intermountain-railway.com/
 

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I’ve built a couple Varney cars. The years haven’t been good on the card stock. Keeping an eye out for steam.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Attached parts list for power truck from my old Varney catalog. There was also a gear driven version in which both trucks had drive wheels
Thanks for that Dennis, I printed it out. Valuable and it answered some of my questions. I found a "Power Truck Assembly" on ebay a couple of weeks ago then found a F7 locomotive minus that part and married the two. Un-named locomotive in the picture above.

The Union Pacific has a plastic shell and the dual gear drive, both systems work well.
 

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I enjoyed seeing your work with those old Varney mechanisms. I've got a Varney SCL AB set but I've put them over slightly more modern Athearn frames.

Varney is such an interesting case. With the possible exception of Marx -whose tooling lives on most recently in Lionel HO- there aren't many examples of HO rolling stock as long lived as the Varney-LifeLike-Walthers journey of Varney's first plastic rolling stock models. I did a little overview of the humble Varney 40' gondola on my blog not too long ago.
 

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My first Locomotive was a Varney Dockside! It was well used. It may still be packed away, but as I recall it was trashed long ago. The only reason I may still be packed away is that I also had a another engine from the early 60's that I'm sure I still have but so far it location has eluded me.
Hah. My brother and I had a Dockside decades ago. It got too close to a heat source and melted some of the shell. I can't remember if it had one or two rubber bands. That guy was our only locomotive at the time, with us not having too much to spend.
 

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I used to have a large fleet of Mantua, Varney, John English steamers. Powered with Pittman motors. When I went DCC it did not make sense to re-motor / convert all of these. Also at the same time I was moving towards a post WW2 era on my layout. All this lead to me letting go of most of these. If I still ran DC and steam era then I would still be running them. These old ones are just to costly to convert in volume.
 

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539819

Here's your gondola's great uncle (or something like that). It's a Varney 65' with wood base, cardstock sides and lead ends and ribs. While looking for instructions I found instructions for a similar 40' gondola assembled the same way, wouldn't that be something?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
View attachment 539819
Here's your gondola's great uncle (or something like that). It's a Varney 65' with wood base, cardstock sides and lead ends and ribs. While looking for instructions I found instructions for a similar 40' gondola assembled the same way, wouldn't that be something?
Very Nice. Varney made some pretty wild stuff over the years. Some pretty innovative, some not so. I'm drawn to their locomotives, especially those coil spring band drives. Not sure why, maybe it's the integrated modular construction.

I have one that runs for about a minute or less then overheats and shorts out, band drive connected or not. I have cleaned the commutator with emery cloth then washed it out with CRC contact cleaner to no avail. I know it's the armature not the brushes or field as I have swapped it out with a known good one. Ordered a new motor for it. .
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yep. I still have one of these lil fellers. It is indeed fast. Gotta be careful on the throttle while in the yard moving freight around. "No smashups please."
There is one on ebay right now. $15 BIN.


I have a few, mostly AHM's Plymouth. My first HO model locomotive. It disappeared years ago, so I bought another, and another, and another...…..

539914
 

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Rsv1ho,
Indeed you do. I see afew 10 wheelers too. I need to aquire a couple those. 1880's through, oh say, 1910ish.
 
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