Good locomotives

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N

Nibbler

Guest
Hello im wonderin if there are any good train engines out there at a decent price. I have a train set engine but i guess there not the best. if you have some ideas id like to hear them
Alex
 

grumpybob

Lake Shore Lines
Unfortunately, really good engines and reasonably priced are not compatable.

Athearn is probably the most reasonably prices, without talking about the Genesis series. Above that Proto and Atlas at around $60 to $100 are your next bet. that is if we are talking pricing.

You might want to check on E-bay, just watch what they are saying about the engine.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hello grumpybob how good would you say an Athearn was compared to Proto or an Atlas diesel, myself I don't have either but I do have Athearns and they run satisfactory for my needs, I add details and I'm just wondering if the others are worth the difference in price.
Cheers Willis
 

grumpybob

Lake Shore Lines
Willis

If your doing your own detail work, and you are working with the lastest round of Athearn engines, then there isn't a lot of difference. The older Athean, for my take, required remotoring, rewiring, and changing the wheelsets to make them run reasonably with the Proto and Atlas. I used to like the Front Range version as the shells were much more detailed.

The Proto, I have found to run reasonably well. Most problems I have had is changing the pickup wires are they are so small they tend to break of easily.

Atlas have always run very well for me, and have had to do little to them except detail them to what B&M used for additional equipment.

this is just for conventional running. Not DCC. For DCC, I have had to change the light bulbs as well.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hello grumpybob, and thanks for the info. Since I'm somewhat of a lone wolf railroader without a hobbyshop close by it's difficult to visulize what one is getting for his $$. To give you an idea of the prices here Athearns are $50 to $70 and I'm guessing these are the older kits. Atlas runs $95 to $159 and the P2K $120 to $130 mailorder, add to that the s&h plus 15% tax on the total you can see why ebay can be attractive to a person like me. So far I have only blue box, old ( brass flywheels) and older ( steel flywheels) which are not really compatable to run with each other. My latest purchace on ebay is supposed to have the new motor and drive so I'll have something to compare too, and most likely it will not be compatable with anything else I have for MU' ing.
I certainly agree with your advice to nibbler and would like to add read carefully the terms of sale the sellers feedback page and if the description doesn't say Powered, then ask a question before you bid on the item.
Cheers Willis
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Well it looks like I got an Athearn with the new motor and drive off ebay. I guess I'll have to wait to compare it to some of my modified ones. It'll be interesting for me as I'll finaly have something to compare fleet too.
Cheers Willis
 
N

NHGuy

Guest
No. I'd stay away from the old old Athearn from 50's and 60's. The technology between those and the next leap in running quality was the use of fly wheels, universal joints, motors and worm gears. This lead to Athearn being the leader in model railroad engines during the 70's and mid to late 80's. Thier drives were about the best factory drives out there. Then the boom in modeling hit and other companies started producing better "upgrade' parts for Athearn. This then lead to other manufactureres getting into the game where better shell tooling and drives lead to more prototypicle models and smoother drive mechanisms. This lead to what is available today. The leap in technology in the last 20 years has lead to some pretty nice out of the box running engines and cars. More detail and better proportioned.

The drives of the 60's just don't compare to the 70's Athearn drives. I have some and they still work after 30 years!

Compare that to today's skew wound motors, quiet drives and electronics and you can see where the 'base' of todays drives comes from. An improvement over the pioneering efforts of Irv Athearn and his company.

That said, I have to admit that Life Like Proto, Atlas and BLI are the leaders in todays market. Athearn has also stepped up to the plate and put out the Genisis line of better quality and detailed models. Most of my engines are LL, Atlas , BLI and Bachmann Spectrum. I do have a couple of Atherarn Genisis locos, but they just don't produce engines I needed and use. I'm a 1st generation Alco guy. Atlas, LL and Bachamann produced the models I was after. This is determined because the railroad I model, the New Haven of the 1950's, was a loyal Alco user. Hence the standard locomotives for my railroad are mostly Alcos with a smattering of Fairbanks-Morse and EMD.

I do have some 'other' engines that will never see the DCC layout I'm building today, but some of my well detailed and painted models I made will sure be there including the older Athearn driven models. I didn't take the time to super detail these not to run them also. :D

Bill Shanaman
 
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CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Bill, Athearns, LOL they are my best engines. I do have one or two of the RTR ones and as far as the drives go my older ones run just as good and just as quiet if not a bit quieter than the RTR. Of course if Athearn had put the hours into them, that I have, they would probably be right up there in the $$$ . One thing of note is the ones with the larger motor and steel flywheels, do not run well with the next generation which have the brass flywheels. I don't have DCC yet but that might make it a bit more interesting.
 




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