Operations Department

Leased power looks interesting and could bail you out of a power shortage –


Here’s the deal… while pulling a recent north-bound stone train the Lebanon & Northern’s only functioning locomotive, an old Bachmann F9, went all coffee grinder on me and rolled into town on its last leg.  This put a pretty serious dent in stone traffic and threatened to shut down the railroad permanently because none of my B&M equipment is compatible with the Lebanon & Northern’s rolling stock due to the older Rapido couplers.  That left me in a bit of bind because I needed to clear up the mainline so the routine B&M traffic could run.  Then a solution reached out and slapped me in the face… leased power.

Last week I was puttering around on the internet and I decided to visit one of those large east-coast online N scale retailers.  I didn’t see anything exciting for a while but I decided it might be worth checking their clearance items just to see what was available.  Among other things I discovered an offer for damaged Life-Like FA2 units (the old plastic frame ones) for $7.50 each.  I thought about it for a while but I decided I could use a few for projects or fixer-uppers so I ordered two of those and a couple clearanced Bev-Bel freight cars.  I’ll save details about the other items for another post but one of the locomotives I received was a pretty nice Life-Like FA2 Alco demonstrator unit.


The only damage was a broken ladder on the left side, which was easily located in the jewel case and glued back on.  I have to tell you that I like factory demonstrator units and I think they add something interesting to look at on a layout.  This recent acquisition was the perfect solution to the power shortages on the Lebanon & Northern.  I added a couple drops of Labelle gear oil and sent her for a test run, all was well.

For the time being the Lebanon & Northern will be leasing the Alco demonstrator unit until the problems with their F9 (which was actually in the process of getting a new look) can be rectified.  If the F9 can’t be resurrected then I suppose the lease will last until a replacement unit can be procured.  You may never find yourself in the odd position of trying to track down a decent running Rapido equipped locomotive but the whole unique situation worked out for me because I was poking around on the right website at the right time.  Regardless, leased motive power can add something interesting to the look of an otherwise boring train, and it probably doesn’t hurt to have a few decent locomotives stowed away just in case anyway.  Try it out… I ended up ordering two more FA2s, I think it’s worth the shot.


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