Whenever there’s a new Z scale locomotive about to be introduced, there’s always a lot of buzz and chatter in online user forums. The new Mikado from AZL is now the talk of the Z scale motive world and as we look forward to its release, I got to thinking about correct break-in methods and times for locos in general.
I’ve read users saying their new locos, when right out of the box, were running slower than some other locos, both new and old. Not much was brought up about the locos being broken-in, or run-in. I couldn’t find a lot of info online regarding the suggested break-in methods for Z scale, so I turned to our slightly larger N scale cousins for tips on this topic.
I found no definitive manufacturer information on breaking a loco in but a general consensus of users tend to think a minimum of running a new train in one hour at a moderate speed, then reversing the direction via throttle and running for another hour is a reasonably safe bet. I think this is, in some ways, really just the beginning of a break-in period as I’ve read comments from many users saying that after 20 hours or so of running, their locos were truly broken-in.
One way to make this a bit more convenient is to have a dedicated oval of track mounted on a board. This insures the track is absolutely flat. Having a dedicated test, or running-in, board with a couple of screws and a bit of wire attached to the underside also makes for easy wall hanging once you’re finished.
Until I hear definitive information one way or another from a manufacturer, I’ll keep on with my hour of forward and reverse at a moderate speed as my basic break-in method.
If you have any tips or methods you use for locomotive breaking-in, please feel free to tell us below!