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Early Athearn F7A/B info

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Early Athearn F7A/B info
Posted by B&M Bob on Saturday, May 7, 2011 7:12 AM

I recently purchased two early athearn F7 A&B units (B&M).  All four pieces are in good shape Only one of the A units runs. They appear to be post rubber band drive style, but before single motor in the middle type. Where can I find info on them

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:47 AM

B&M Bob

 They appear to be post rubber band drive style, but before single motor in the middle type.

I can't recall there EVER being an Athearn drive that wasn't "motor in the middle".  And I got into HO in 1958 (Lionel, previously).  I think you've got a non-Athearn drive.  A photo will be most helpful.

A few comments on drives:

Chassis mounted motor driving one truck, usually with an under-chassis shaft to the other--Hobbytown comes to mind.  There'll be lots of "white metal" and brass--very little plastic

Motor mounted on top of one truck with spur gears bringing the power down to a shaft that turns the wheels, often with a shaft under the chassis to drive the other truck.  Varney did these.  Revell did in their switcher, but I don't know about their F-unit.

Motor mounted "inside" the truck; the motor shaft drives the wheels directly.  Mantua/Tyco did these.

Here's a good place to research old HO stuff:



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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Saturday, May 7, 2011 10:29 AM

It may be possible that you have a Globe F7 with a Lindsay chassis. The F7 shell was used by Athearn a few years later, and came with an option of rubber band drive or all wheel gear drive. has thousands of diagrams and catalog pages in the literature section. Here are a few that may help:
Hobbytown chassis for Globe shell
Baker chassis for Globe shell
Lindsay chassis for Globe shell
Mantua/Tyco (shell similar to Athearn)


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Posted by B&M Bob on Saturday, May 7, 2011 10:53 AM

Thanks for the response.  The units appear to be Athearn as you mentioned. The A units have weights hung in the middle where the frame normally attaches to the shell. They appear to have a single drive set of trucks and each are mounted to the shell no frame. The B units have a frame/chassis which attaches to the shell the same way the Athearns do. And have an Athearn part number stamped on them (42005).


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Posted by B&M Bob on Saturday, May 7, 2011 11:06 AM


You hit it on the nose. It looks very similar to a Tyco unit. I hope I can salvage them as they are nice looking units. (although not very accurate in the paint scheme)

Thanks for the help




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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, May 7, 2011 11:36 AM

Must be some other brand than Athearn. I've been in the hobby since 1964. The first Athearn (Cox) I had was bought in 1966 and had the motor in the middle with both trucks driven.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, May 7, 2011 1:55 PM

I still have my Athearn F7s from the 1960s, or perhaps the late 50s.  I've got both rubber band and geared models, and none of them used anything other than center-mount motors.  The B units were identical to the A units, other than the shells and headlight bracket.

I've tinkered with them and gotten the motors to run a bit, but they aren't reliable enough for layout use.  Instead, I gutted the rubber-band units and run them as dummies.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by dstarr on Sunday, May 8, 2011 8:39 AM

You might think about replacing the drives whole.  You can find Athearn drives (aka old Athearns) at train shows for little money. 

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Posted by rfbrown1972 on Friday, April 30, 2021 11:12 AM

Its possibly a Globe.  I bought a Globe off eBay that said it was an Athearn.  As I understand it, Athearn started their F7 line using Globe shells.  On the Globe, there's a lot of metal: chassis, motor and trucks. It took a fair amount of Kypton tape, but I was able to convert it to DCC and it runs like a champ.  LED lights work, too.  Used a TCS T-1 decoder and resistors.  Didn't think it was worth getting anymore elaborate.

Tags: Athearn , F7A , Globe
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 2, 2021 12:32 PM


First, be aware rhat you just replied to a 10 year old thread. Some of those folks are still around here, some are not.

Next point of fact, Athearn bought Globe before the introduction of the plastic F7 and the streamlined plastic passenger cars.

Globe was a wood and metal freight car kit company just like Athearn.

There were fears in the industry that introducing plastic models would be see as a step down in quality.

Athearn used the Globe name to introduce the plastic line and test market reaction. Also, Athearn had little locomotive experience, so they introduced the F7 as a dummy while they sized up the response to the plastic shell and developed a drive for it.

Others already in the loco business seized the opportunity and offered drives for the new shell.

Some of those other drives remained popular because they were better than the Athearn offerings at first.

As Athearn improved the gear drive and discontinued the rubber band drive, most of the others faded from the market.

By the late 70's Athearn had fully refined the drive with a better motor, good flywheels, and improved trucks. So much so, the drive was copied by LifeLike in the development of their Proto line of locos.

Athearn still builds a version of that drive for their RTR line, or at least they did until very recently.



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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, May 2, 2021 4:04 PM

Yeah, my first F7s, an A-B-B-A set were from Globe.  One B-unit had the motor, a Lindsay power truck (motor and truck as a single assembly), while the other B and both A units were dummies.
They came in Santa Fe's "Warbonnet" scheme, likely painted and decaled by my father.

I later painted them in CPR's maroon & grey scheme,and then later in the double grey & green scheme of my freelanced road.  The only photos I have of them are b&w...

Here's the double grey & green scheme on some Model Power FAs...

...much better runners, and hugely better pullers, all with large can motors and added weight.


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