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 Tomix Spring Worm Drive


Tomix Rolling Stock with "Spring Worm" Drive

by R. D. Kerr
Tomix 92009 OER Series 9000 LSE drive detail

Most model railway drives use a helically-toothed "worm" that drives a "worm gear" having angled teeth. This design has the advantage of compact size, high reduction ratio, and a 90-degree offset between the motor shaft and the worm gear axis. Instead of a solid machined worm, Tomix in early drive designs used a spring that looks a bit like the spring inside a standard retractable ball-point pen. The open-spaced coils act like the helical worm tooth. The spring also acts as a universal joint, flexing when the the truck/bogie swivels. Because the spring might also flex to climb out of the worm gear teeth, an open-bottom plastic box is used to contain it in place over the worm gear. This arrangement causes the spring to rub against the containing box, creating a potential source of friction and noise. A number of railway modelers have reported terrible luck with the "Spring Worm" drive design, while others report satisfactory operation.

A list of Tomix product numbers through 2011 for powered rolling stock (sold separately or in a set) that use the "Spring Worm" drive is provided here, so modelers can know whether a particular unit has it. Over the years many of these locomotive or powered car series have received "updated" drive designs lacking the "Spring Worm," under different product numbers. At times, concurrent models of the same series have been a mixed offering, with different drive designs used in different product numbers. Do not assume that every Tomix locomotive or powered car in a prototype series listed below has this drive, unless it is marked with a "*." In addition, some prototype series whose models had "Spring Worm" drive have simply been "retired" entirely from the Tomix product line, instead of being updated. The few product numbers which are still in the Tomix product line are shown in bold print. I have tried to make this list as thorough and accurate as possible with given resources, but there may be errors and omissions.

Electric Locomotives
Item Product No. (Separate) Product No. (Sold in Set) Approx. Years Sold
ED61* 2136 2138   1998-2009 Retired
ED62* 2137 2139   1998-2009 Retired
ED75 2111 2122 2126 2175 92214 1985-2008 Updated
ED76 2103 2128 2184   1985-2007 Updated
ED79 2123   1990-2007 Updated
EF15* 2116   1984-2009 Retired
EF30* 2110   1987-2009 Retired
EF58* 2117 2118 2119 2120 2121 2129 2130 2149 2150 92028 1986-2009 Retired
EF62* 2102 2182   1985-2009 Retired
EF64 2108 2115 2155 2185 2188   1981-2009 Updated
EF65 2101 2106 90021 92006 92080 1981-2008 Updated
EF66 2109 2112 2124 2159 2189 90001 90003 90022 90023 92026 92027 1986-2006 Updated
EF71 2107   1981-1992 Updated
EF81 2113 2114 2153 2154 2183 2193 90102 1981-1996 Updated


Diesel Locomotives
Item Product No. (Separate) Product No. (Sold in Set) Approx. Years Sold
DD51 2207 2257 2287 90002 1984-2004 Updated
DD54* 2203   1986-2009 Retired
DE10 2205 2208 2209 2220 2285 92089 92234 1983-2009 Updated
DE15* 2206 2211   1983-2009 Retired
DF50* 2204 2224   1981-2009 Retired


Electric Multiple Units
Item Separate Product No. (Sold in Set) Approx. Years Sold
Class 84/83*   92042 92043 92910 1990-2001 Retired
Class 103/102   92044 92650 92651 1989-1999 Updated
Class 113/112 2332 2337 2342 2382 2388 92005 92018 92019 92111 92112 92642 92643 by 1980-1999 Updated
Class 115/114   92020 92023 92646 1985-1999 Updated
Class 185 2352 92002 92620 1982-2006 Retired
Class 185-200 2357 92012 1984-1992 Retired
Class 193/192* 2349 2350 92007 92010 92139 1982-2011
Class 211/210 2394 92034 92036 92041 92047 92603 92626 1989-2001 Updated
Class 381/380 2319 92004 92618 1981-1992 Updated
Class 415/414 2346 92021 92022 92032 92050 92053 92055 1981-2001 Updated
Class 485/484 2302 92017 92045 92602 92621 1985-1992 Updated
Class 485/484-1000 2324 92001 92601 1982-1991 Updated


Diesel Multiple Units
Item Separate Product No. (Sold in Set) Approx. Years Sold
KiHa 84/83*   92042 92043 1989-2009 Retired
Class 181/180 2412 92016 92606 92616 1985-2000 Updated
Class KiHa 183/184/182 2408 92011 92040 92610 92644 1983-2007 Updated


Private Railways
Item Separate Product No. (Sold in Set) Approx. Years Sold
Hakone Tozan 1000* 2619 2620   1984-2011
Nagano El. Ry. Series 1000*   92318 2007-2011
Nagoya Railway 7000 2607 92008 92101 92046 92611 1982-2006 Updated
Nagoya Railway 8800 DX*   92024 92291 1987-2011
OER Series 7000 LSE*   92009 92605 92743 92744 1982-2011
OER Series 10000 HiSE*   92604 92768 1989-2011
Kinki Nippon 30000   92025 1987-1990 Updated
Sanriku Railway Type 36*   92103 92136 92137 92143 2003-2011
Seibu 5000 Red Arrow* 2602 92003 92617 1981-1999 Retired


Shinkansen "Bullet" Trains
Item Separate Product No. (Sold in Set) Approx. Years Sold
Series 0/37 2812 92014 92612 1985-1996 Updated
Series 100/116/125 2821 92031 92039 92613 1987-1990 Updated
Series 200/226 2802 92013 92614 1983-1992 Updated
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