Custom Trains Fairbanks Morse (FM) Trainmasters Identification

Photos courtesy of the B. Fetterman collection.

FM Trainmaster shell and running gear

An overall view inside the locomotive shell. A Custom Trains FM Trainmaster used Samhongsa running gear with two DC can motors. It was also equipped with a QSI reverse unit and horn.

FM Trainmaster silver can motor

Early production of the FM Trainmasters used unlabeled large silver can motors. These motors were reportedly discontinued because they stopped the locomotives too abruptly, causing problems with cars in the consist.

FM Trainmaster China motor

Later production of the FM Trainmasters used improved flywheel motors with a CHINA label. When stopping, the flywheel allowed the locomotive to drift a bit for a less abrupt stop.

FM Trainmaster shell inside

The FM cabs were new blank bodies, not redecorated. When viewed from the underside, the cabs will either have CUSTOM TRAINS (as pictured) or Williams Reproductions Ltd. Williams Reproductions Ltd. is typically, but not always, scratched out. The Williams cabs were not obtained from Williams, but were left at the Korean supplier by Williams when they switched to a manufacturer in China. It's been observed that if an engine has a Williams shell, it will have the earlier large can motors without flywheels. A three-line label on the box end lists the engine road name and catalog number. An engine with a Custom Trains shell has the later improved can motors with flywheels and a four-line label on the box end shows the engine road name, catalog number and cab number. Single-line box end labels with a road name and cab number have also been observed.

FM Trainmaster box

Custom Trains FM Trainmaster box with description of locomotive features. The name Custom Trains does not appear anywhere on the box.

FM Trainmaster instructions

Custom Trains FM Trainmaster white instruction sheet. The instruction sheets were also printed on blue paper. The company name and address are printed at the bottom of the sheet.

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