Large Scale Central

Aristocraft engines

Just wondering if the FA’s and FB’s were good running engines, I purchased a set back in the day when they came out and repainted them to SP Blood Nose paint scheme. I never ran them and sold them to a train friend who was a SP fan, but he never ran them either. He as since passed away and I can get them back from his wife if I want them, so my question is, are they worth getting and what is today’s going price, they have been in storage for 25 years indoors. 2. will there be any problems changing them over to RailPro battery power. 3. will the trucks be easy to remove the electrical pickups, I see they do not have sliders, but have brushes that rub on the wheels. 4. I don’t expect them to be like LGB quality, etc., but what do you think about them in general.



They probably would run fine with a clean up and new lube. One thing to keep in mind is that S.P. never had any FA units. The original black widow paint that they came in was fictitious. Gonna need new paint if here in 2021 you want to be prototypical in your modeling.

what do you think about them in general.

John, I know little personally, but I am learning as a friend has just bought another FA/FB pair in addition to the FA/FB/FA trio he bought last year. (He hasn’t even built a layout yet.) I certainly see plenty of them running and for sale.

He’s telling me there were many versions - yellow box, black box (no grey box?) I steered him to Greg’s website where he found plenty of useful info. We’ve also been googling to answer specific questions. George Schreyer has a section on them that you might want to read. He says it’s a good loco.

My friend is converting his sets to Bluerail/DCC and battery. As far as converting to Railpro, they have quite a few facilities already built in. Aristo started adding a plug/socket connection to MU the locos so you only had to buy one TE receiver and battery. (Aristo also sold a boxcar with a complete TE rig and lead-gel battery, I believe.) Many of them have a switch for track/motors off/battery which helps. [I’m told the switch doesn’t disconnect the pickups properly, so you may have to snip a few wires.]

I haven’t checked prices, but I doubt you’d have to pay more than $200 for one in good condition. I’d offer the widow what you sold them for 25 years ago!

If they are that old, then I would clean and re lube the motor blocks. The grease could have dried out by now. Also it might be a good idea to get a set of replacement motor blocks just in case.

I have an older FA that I had to re gauge the wheels on so that it would run properly, but re gauging the wheels isn’t too difficult

The RS3 use the same trucks/motor blocks, and my WM RS3 has a lot of run time on it with no issues. there were a few different version of those motor blocks, and they were improved over the years. That’s why I suggest getting a replacement set, just in case.

So who’s motor blocks would you purchase, are they avaibile today, and what price range are they in. Do they come with wheels installed, or do they have to be purchased separately. Thanks, trainman

Standard issue which is well covered and documented is the cracked axle gears in these. Fixes are wrap with line and, cut brass tubing that fits to length. Ted D (on Greg’s web site) and George S. both have devoted pictures of how to do these procedures.

If you don’t have the issue with your trucks now chances are you will have the issues with your trucks once you start running them. The fix is simple no real need to replace the trucks if you do the fix.


And yes Pete there are gray box ones also I have an ABBA set.

Trainman I believe Bachmann now makes those trucks. It is the same drive as the Eggliners. Yes they come with wheels not sure but don’t think they come with side frames

George’s pages

I used to have one of the early versions with the sprung trucks, converted to onboard battery power, it ran great for several years till I sold it to a friend.

I had not yet seen cracked plastic axles in the Aristo motor blocks, like are very common with the USA Trains motor blocks which are repairable using brass tubing.

That said, as pointed out in a prior post, though later production Aristo-Craft FA/FB1s locos came in black and finally yellow boxes, early production FA/FB1s (including the antecedent REA brand name) like the ones I have in Rock Island came in the gray boxes - shown below.

Shown below are 3 evolutionary versions with example distinguishing features.

Even though the Rock Island locos are very old (but essentially “new old stock”) when I got them, with some attention paid to the power pickups in the side frames, they ran well without having to re lube the internal gears. Shown below are older type motor blocks with axle tips that go into the side frames. (Newer ball bearing motor blocks have no axle tips and use internal power pickups.)

For much info. about these locos, see vignette hosted for me on Greg Elmassian’s website, title:
Aristo FA1/FB1 Lowered & Body Mount Kadee 907s

Also, see vignette, title:
Upgrading Aristo-Craft Loco Motor Blocks from Sleeve to Ball Bearing [Motor Blocks]”

Be careful with lubricant types. In this regard, see vignette, title:
Aristo’s “Plastic [In]compatible” ELECTRALUBE Legacy!

I hope this is helpful,

Ted all I can say is I can pull all four of my loco’s apart and show you the splits in the plastic. (

But thanks for bringing your pics here

Hollywood, I can fix them for you if you want to pay postage.

Thanks for that offer Lou. I repaired them when I bought and serviced the locos. but since I wrapped them with fishing line you can still see the split s in the plastic

Thanks for all that information, I never knew that the Aristocraft engines had that big of a following and as many updates can and have been done on them. Looks like the motor blocks run around $85-90 each, plus what I would have to pay for the engines. All being said by the time I add RailPro with battery power, it could get the price up there where it makes it and $800 engine for a rebuild older model. Not saying I wouldn’t do it, but I’m not that big on FA’s in the first place, so I may rethink this. Plus these are the FA’s in the gray boxes which I guess are the first run with pointed axles into the side frames, which I understand are not the better models and are the first run models.


Thank you David.

I think the plastic used for Aristo’s axles is Nylon, but maybe not all, so I wonder if those axles were subject to Aristo’s Electralube?


Bachmanns new eggliner motor block is the same one used in the FA and RDC’s. However, no side frame comes with it nor do the axles protude for power pickup but if going to battery power pickups are not needed.

I bought mine new in 03 and the are still running great. Just re lube every so often. Later RJD