Day 7: What’s in a Spares Box

Day 7: Drawer 7: Bearings & Couplings


This drawers has more than just bearings and couplings in it, but I had to call it something.

If bearings have been installed correctly, the shaft is properly aligned, the bearings are suitably oiled at intervals and there is no source of excessive heat (such as a faulty armature) then there is no reason why bearings shouldn’t last for the lifetime of the locomotive. They are produced from a hard wearing nylon.

So, running through the contents of the drawer, top left to right, we have;

Top left, bearings. Here you can see an assortment of white and black bearings. All Poole Farish bearings were white nylon and these were available as spares. BR Lines also supplied these bearings but now supplies a black version, as used in early Bachmann Chinese designs (such as the class 20). In my experience the black bearings have been no different from the white bearings. I occasionally find the bearings can be too loose or tight, but this was also the case with the white bearings, and so I put this down to chassis distortion. I do not, however, mix the black and white bearings within one locomotive.

The next compartment has some lay shafts with worm gears attached – useful if you find a brass gear has stripped a worm gear!

Moving to the third compartment we see a card divider. To the left we have class 87/90 bearings and to the right bearings for type I armatures (mostly steam locomotives). The class 87/90 bearings have been modified by BR Lines, since the originals were free to move within the chassis block, which was undesirable. The modified bearings have “rabbit’s ears”, or tabs poking out, which prevent the bearings from moving within the chassis block. This is a worthy improvement on the original design in my opinion. This will be covered in a later topic.

Fourth from left we have another box divided into two. The bottom section contains class 158/159 bearings, through which the drive coil passes.

Fifth from left is a compartment full of couplings, and the last compartment (top row over to the right) has nothing of particular note.

Now on to the middle row – first compartment on the left we see two items; class 43 (HST) couplings with coupling block, and plastic “base plates” which are bolted to either end of the large diesel chassis (class 37/47 etc.). These shouldn’t need replacing and I have them most likely from a few chassis being dismantled. The class 43 (HST) coupling blocks might come in handy if you have a HST, since these blocks could get broken if the loco is in unsuspecting hands! Again, not really essential spares.

Next compartment to the left you see more couplings.

third compartment, middle row, you see it is divided into two. The bottom half has, you guessed it … more couplings, whilst the top half has class 101 coupling blocks. These are similar in design to the class 43 (HST) coupling blocks in that they clip into place in between the bogie chassis and bogie side frames. I shall cover this is a later article.

The fourth compartment in the middle row we see some nice brass turned buffers – courtesy of BH Enterprises. Ever since I bought a class 47 “Lady Diana Spencer” BR Blue, which came standard with brass buffers, I actually like the look of brass buffers on my locos. Whilst I’m a traditionalist in trying to keep my locos exactly how they would have come from the factory, I do pain on experimenting with a few to see how the brass buffers look.

Next to the brass buffers you see an assortment of smaller buffers – handy for any wagon kits!

Lastly in the middle row (far right) we see yet more bearings. These bearings, however, have been used. Not being one to throw used parts away, I keep these and sometimes use the odd one when I need just one bearing. I might need to try various used bearings to get the one that fits best, but I strongly believe in keeping my used parts for when the day comes that they might be the only parts left!

Along the bottom row you can see some class 158 under frames, a small diesel baseplate (I’m not home to cross reference which one it is right now), and then some large diesel (class 47) chassis cover plates. These were early chassis cover plates, you can tell this by the small copper extrusions at each end, which were conductors for the rice-bulb lights which dropped into each end of the chassis – these were most likely from a Lady Diana Spencer Class 47, BR Blue.

Do you know of other Poole Farish diesels which had lightning? Please share this with us via the comments box below if you can think of any.

Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the last drawer of spares – motive power!


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