Favorite Locomotive

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Active Member
For a diesel, I think I'd have to go with a SP SD45. It's what I saw every day growing up, and they just look like their cut out to do work. Especially when there's 3 or 4 lashed up.

For steam, it's tough to pick one. SP 4449 came through town when I was 6, and so I think that's always been my favorite steam locomotive. Although I really like the looks of any steam loco.


Well-Known Member
That is a tough question!
I love this one because it was my first and my Mom gave the set to me.

Not my actual locomotive, I got the picture from Bing.

I love this one because it ran under my Christmas tree for many years. Not to mention I sampled coal in hoppers behind ones like it.

Not my actual locomotive, I got the picture from Bing.

This is my favorite Lionel locomotive.

Photo from Lionel

It would be impossible to me to choose only one, but it was fun to think about it!


Whiskey Merchant
My favorite diesel from a prototype is this Northern Pacific F-9.


This was custom painted and detailed from a Stewart F-9. . The prototype is now in service on the Mount Rainier Scenic Railway. Back in the late 70's a friend of mine who was the shop foreman at the BN shops in Livingston, MT called my up so I could get some photos of the prototype as it was preparing to leave to the west coast

My favorite diesels that I run are my Atlas Alco units with the Kato drive. I had been having to rework the Athearn locomotives that were probably the best bang for the buck at the time and ended up having to remotor them with NWSL can motors to get them to run the way I wanted them to. Atlas brought out their line of Alco RS units. Picked one up to see how it ran and was so impressed that I have over a dozen of them.


These are probably some of the best running locomotives right out of the box that I've found. Even after many years of use they still run like new.

My favorite steamer is this little consolidation. It is a brass model of a Santa Fe consolidation. Got it for next to nothing and had to paint it as it was bare brass. Lettered for my freelance railroad. I've had it for at least 25 years and it also still runs fantastic. It did had PFM sound in it at one time but now just runs dead silent around my DC layout.



Last edited:


Big trains first (from my working days):
EMD GP38 and GP40 series -- great handlers, smooth riding, responsive throttle. The 38's were great for local freight and yard switching.

EMD SD40 and SD50 -- best over-the-road engines of my time. The 50's on Conrail were nicknamed "the Cadillacs", because that's how they rode. Felt light as a feather, even though they were big. This is 180 degrees from the typical GE locomotive, which rode "like it weighed 400 tons" (hard).

The winner:
Amtrak's (now gone) AEM-7.
The BEST engine I ever worked on.
These (along with the F-40, also a great engine) were the locomotives that saved Amtrak in the early 80's.

On the model railroad:
Walthers Proto SD9:


Atlas C425:
PC 2419.JPG

Another smooth runner, picked this up as "new/old stock" through the HO swap list.

Old [Life Like] Proto 2000 GP9:

When I first got this, it ran jerky and the bearings squealed. I changed out the wheelsets, almost required on these because of the "splitting gear problem". I put some oil on the bearings, but it still squealed, so I put it "on the shelf" for about 6 months, wondering what it would take to get it running better. I was going to take it apart, but gave it a quick tryout first, and -- amazingly -- it now runs as well as anything else I have. That oil must have taken its time to get in the proper places!
Last edited:


Stuck in the 1930's
Gotta be the late years of a Y5 2-8-8-2.
Second, The M2c N&W 4-8-0's.
3rd, C&O/VGN 2-6-6-6 Allegheny/AG.


Active Member
I like tank locos as far as steamers.....and I love the RS series of diesels. As far as models....I like any that can run dead slow and smooth and that have no motor or decoder noise.


Well-Known Member
No photos for the moment, but:
Steam: Probably the kitbashed Burlington M-4 2-10-4 I created out of Mantua Mikados. Second choice, probably Burlington's O-5 Northerns both prototype and my kitbashed version made from a pair of Mantua Pacifics.
Diesels: The shovel nose Burlington Zephyrs that I used to ride as a kid, with their E7's as a second choice.


I forgot that my all time favorite loco is a Narrow Gauge K-27.


If only the triplex was real... great model!

I really like the shovel noses too.

If my engines don't run quiet I have to take them apart and rebuild them don't ask me why I just do.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.