NorthWest Short Line replacement wheels

Replacement wheels for Aristo-Craft diesels
Marc Horovitz
Replacement wheels for Aristo-Craft diesels
NorthWest Short Line
PO Box 1349
Hamilton MT 59840
Price: $49.95/8 wheels

Solid nickel-silver wheels (#2609-6) to replace plated wheels on Aristo-Craft diesels; direct replacement for factory wheels; will fit Dash 9, SD-45, GP-40, and other locomotives with tapered-axles. Dimensions: 1.379" over tread; .214" tread width; .108" flange depth; .316" total thicknesss

Pros: Solid nickel-silver wheel; will not corrode; no plating to flake or wear off; direct replacement for factory wheel
Cons: None
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
NorthWest Short Line is slowly stepping into the spare-parts breach left by the demise of Aristo-Craft. Over time the company hopes to offer a variety of the more common replacement parts necessary to keep Aristo-Craft locomotives on the rails. Sent for review were eight wheels designed as direct replacements for Aristo-Craft’s Dash 9, SD-45, GP-40, and other locomotives with tapered axle ends and wheels that are held on by screws.

The new wheels are beautiful, solid nickel-silver turnings (though future ones will be in stainless steel). They are 1.379" over the treads—exactly the same size as Aristo-Craft’s—making them 40" wheels in 1:29 scale (or 44" wheels in 1:32 scale). Aristo-Craft’s original wheels were plated, and the plating had a tendency to wear off, leading to rapid wheel wear and decreasing electrical performance. NWSL’s wheels solve this problem.

I didn’t have access to any of the specified diesels but I did find an Aristo-Craft British class-66 diesel, whose wheels are the same size and attached to the axles in the same manner (although the face profile is a little different). The most difficult part in replacing the wheels was in removing the old ones. The sideframes must first be removed before the wheels can be taken off. The screws holding the wheels in place appeared to have been treated with a thread-locking compound, making them exceedingly difficult to unscrew. However, once the screws were out, the wheels came off with just a little tapping from the back side. The new wheels slipped neatly into place on the tapered axle stubs and the screws and their lock washers cinched them up tight.

NWSL provides the wheels in bare-metal finish (see photo), so you’ll have to paint them to suit your locomotive. If your Aristo-Craft diesel’s wheels need replacing, these can’t be beat. I look forward to seeing future Aristo-Craft replacement parts that NorthWest Short Line produces.


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