ATMA

ATMA Paulista of Sao Paulo, Brazil, produced these H0 trains around 1960. A printed slip, possibly a guarantee card, found in one of the train set boxes is dated 19/10/61.

The locos operate on 6 volts ac, reverse is obtained using a built in sequencer switch similar to that used by Hornby gauge 0 in the 1930's. Pickup is via rollers running on the centre rail, the pantographs are non working. The central motor drives one bogie. Bodies are die cast Mazac.

All wagons and coaches have a metal base with plastic top. Coaches are internally lit via a roller pickup from the centre rail.

The 3-rail tinplate track uses plastic sleepers so the three rails are electrically isolated. Points also have plastic bases but the running rails are electrically bonded so the locos pick up from the centre rail with return through both running rails. Only electrically operated points appear to have been made. No catenary seems to have been produced although the locos are electric outline. Two electrically operated uncoupling rails are on the layout along with small plastic 'widgets' which clip under the rails and appear to be re-railers.

The sample track plans show different length straights although I have found no written reference to other than whole straights and curves, the suggested track diagrams look very childishly drawn with many anomalies. The layout uses quarter straights and strange length of about a third; all appear to be factory made. The only track reference I have found is to a special curve No 210/A with the connecting pins reversed so that reverse curves can be made. (Three rail track sections usually have two connecting pins at one end and one at the other).

The plastic buildings are all marked ATMA and appear to be commercially made. Note the factory building is labelled 'Mirim' and the station 'Villa Mirim' which makes it logical to assume it is part of the ATMA group (or vice versa!)


This layout has been built in the style of a 1960 child's layout and is 'somewhere in Brazil'.

All the railway items came from a chance find in a model railway shop. At first glance there were two boxed train sets, one passenger and one goods, with no track but a couple of extra wagons and coaches. Asking the proprietor revealed there was also a box of track, switches and some plastic buildings but he knew nothing else about it, in fact, when he bought it the seller insisted it was Hornby Dublo!

A very careful inspection of the 110 volt controller found its output was 6 volts ac at around 4 amps. The loco motors were found to have melted insulation on several wires and although they were eventually persuaded to work the high current caused a great deal of arcing on the pickups and wheels. This, combined with a reversing mechanism similar to 1930's Hornby 0 gauge, meant unreliable operation and with no spare parts available it was decided to convert the locos to 12 volts dc using modern motors. The conversion involved no structural modifications and was done so that the original mechanism could be easily replaced. One of the original motors is on display by the factory building. A lot of hard work cleaned the track and got the points working.

The buildings appear to be plastic kits but a close inspection shows they were probably purchased completely assembled as the colouring and decoration are almost identical with the figures (made of metal) glued in the same positions in doorways, etc. The only items on the layout not made by ATMA are the trees - I am not entirely certain coco-nut trees grow in Brazil but they look the part!

The layout is fully portable, it folds in half then in half again to make a block 4' x 2' x 2'6". This display panel and the end panels hinge to lock the four base boards together for protection in transit and storage.

NEW INFORMATION, June 2005

I have found references on web sites to ATMA but unfortunately all are in Portuguese. Looking at the text and making guesses at translation it would appear most of what I had surmised above is correct although the transformer output appears to be 8 volts.

The best I have found and for a history of ATMA click here: www.geocities.com/Area51/Realm/7805/atma.htm
Although the site is in Portuguese a good search engine can roughly translate it. There are also pictures of other ATMA locos.

Please get in touch if you have any ATMA items or information on ATMA.

 


 
 
 
 
Train set box lid
 
 
The track plan
 
Transformer box end
 
     
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