HO Birney Car Replacement Drive

for Kidder, Suydam and Fairfield and other Models

This drive is designed to suit HO scale Birney Car brass models produced by importers including Ken Kidder, Andeco, UMPCO, Fairfield, Model Tramway Systems, Kawai, LMB and possibly others. It would seem that there were two main types of drives, both driving a single axle, one with a vertical motor, and the other with an angled open frame motor. It is also fairly likely that regardless of the importer, the models were all made in the same factory in Japan. The two main drive types, and the common body are shown in the following photograph.

two drives

Here the underside of the two types of drives are shown side by side in the left photo, and an Andeco model is shown in the right hand photo. Our thanks to Bill Bolton for both of these photographs.

As a result, it has been possible to design a replacement drive with a floor plate that accomodates both types of drive, so it should be a drop in replacement for most brass Birney car models. Of couse there is no reason why the same drive cannot be used in other makes of bodies or used for a scratch built car.

The new Hollywood Foundry drive, shown below, has a floor plate that has holes located in the correct positions for the two common floor plates, but with these features:

  • Two main floor patterns catered for
  • Four wheel drive
  • Layshaft supported by two miniature ball races.
  • Smooth, quiet belt drive
  • Large, slow revving Mashima motor
  • Large brass flywheel
  • Brass wheel bearings
  • Solid nickel silver wheels
  • Optional two track or common wheel power collection
  • Superb low speed performance
  • Mounting points for Maximum Traction Depot etched life preserver

The drive is supplied with the required screws plus packing washers to allow it to be fitted to almost any model and set up at the correct height with respect to the original side frames. Holes are provided for two side frame patterns and also to allow fitting of a third party etched life preserver under the car, supplied separately by Maximum Traction Depot. In the right hand photo, note that each hole has an identifying letter to indicate what each hole is used for.

Please note the Hollywood Foundry Birney car drive is in HO scale, for an 8 foot (28mm) wheelbase truck, with 26" diameter (7.5mm) wheels. This is not a kit, it comes fully assembled and ready to go.

It is possible to re-use the brass side frames from the original model. Some types, such as the angled motor type, have two separate frames that are simply detached from the old drive and screwed onto the new Hollywood Foundry drive. The vertical motor type have a one piece assembly for the side frames, and is a little more difficult to transfer. You need to unscrew the frame from the original floor plate, then spring the side frames apart to release the wheels from their bearings. The old wheels are not required. Springing the frames apart will inevitably deform them a little, but they can be forced back to a straight position without any damage.

The photos below show the model fitted with the Hollywood Foundry Birney Car Drive. The model has been fitted with the optional life preservers.

Here is a video on Youtube showing the drive fitted to the Kidder model. The model is run at normal speed, then flat out and finally at a very low speed. It can actually run at a slower speed than shown when controlled by a good quality power supply, unfortunately our controller could not get below 2.5 volts. It also runs slower on DCC.

The track that the model is running on is our favourite trolley torture track, it features 5 1/2" reverse curves, and the video demonstrates the model takes these curves without a problem.


Side Frame Files

For those who would like to build their own model, we have created 3D files of the two most common side frame types, the Brill 79E, shown on the left, and the Brill 21E shown on the right. These frames have been designed to fit the Hollywood Foundry drive. They are available as STL files so you can send them the 3D Printing Service of your choice and have them made. Please note Hollywood Foundry does not intend to supply these frames, we only provide the files for you to use (free of charge and copyright).

Click on either image to download the files.

Brill 79E Brill 21E

Click on the box below to order your Birney Car Replacement Drive.



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