Steam Tenders, weight and other characteristics


What should a tender weigh? Why am I even asking this?

Well, after finally "graduating" to good enough trackwork to handle long trains, and wheels properly gauged, and switches that work, and body mounted couplers, I found that I could not only run long trains, but I could also back long trains without derailments.

But, when I tried backing long trains headed by steam locomotives, I got derailments.What was happening to my smoothly running railroad?

It was the tender! With such a short "car" it could not be problems with curvature. I remembered something else at this time, the Northern the Rex Ammerman bashed for me had a really heavy tender. Hmm, maybe Rex knew something I did not.

I weighed some of my tenders:

Aristo "Long Tender" ART-21800 (comes with Aristo Pacific and Aristo Mikado) - no backup light

The stock Aristo Mikado "long tender" weighed 3 pounds xx ounces with factory speaker.

The speaker is 70mm, the outside dimension is 3". (remember the right way to measure speaker diameter is the cone plus the surround diameter, not the outside of the frame).

The trucks are leaf spring type, and the wheelbase on the trucks is 2.7"

Aristo "USRA Tender" ART-21875 (comes with Aristo Mallet) with backup light.

The stock Aristo Mallet tender weighs 3 pounds 10 ounces with the factory speaker.

Aristo Consolidation tender:

Aristo 4 axle (ART-21850) and 6 axle (ART-21810) Vanderbilt Tenders - with backup light.


Ted Doskaris reports: "4 lbs., 9 oz. for the Vandy tender with its 3 axle trucks."

The trucks have a wheelbase of 3.7". Note that the pivot point is offset about .45".

Lionel Atlantic

Lionel tender with 3" speaker is 1 pound 12 ounces.

"Aristo" Northern Tender

Northern tender (from  Rex Ammerman  4 pounds 8 ounces. This is a Aristo USRA type with Aristo commonwealth trucks

Accucraft/AML K4 tender 6 pounds 13 ounces 

Not surprisingly, it never derails.


A tender needs to weigh as much as a regular 40 foot car, if not a bit more.

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