How to change wheels on wagons and coaches - from Model Railway Engineer.com

Roll the Wagons

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GWR Wagon N gaugeMake your wagons and coaches look and run better with this quick and easy tip.

I recently acquired a job lot of Peco GWR 5 plank mineral wagons. They look wonderful when being pulled around by a Pannier Tank engine and they’re great apart from one thing – they’re second hand and came fitted with Black plastic wheels and axles. They don’t look great and do nothing to help my trains run.


Note: I love this tip as just like 7 Tips That Will Make Your Model Train Run Smoothly and others on model railways 101, it’s simple, quick and effective way to improving how well your trains run. If you have any other tips why not share them. Either tweet them to me at @modelrailwayeng or send them via the contact page.


Luckily, I had some metal spoked wheels (seen below – shown next to the standard wheels). The metal ones look much better and I decided to replace the plastic wheels on some of my wagons with them. (Replacement wheels are easy to pick up. You can get them from a local model shop, one of the specialist online model retailers or via Amazon where a set can be picked up for under a tenner).

N gauge wheels

Swapping wheels is really easy.

Just turn the wagons or passenger cars over and very gently prise the sides of the undercarriage apart a tiny amount while lifting the axle, the wheels should pop free.

Then it’s just a case of reversing the process to put the alternative wheel into place.

Run your finger over the wheels to feel them rotate. They should move freely. If they don’t it’s likely the new wheels aren’t sat into the retaining holes correctly. With pliers on the axle move them up, down, left and right until you feel them click and try again.

Having done this my new wagons look more authentic and certainly run a lot better.



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