MTH Southern Pacific Daylights DC

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Chef Waardevast

New Member
Hello

Im new to this forum and a little new to Model Railroading. I have question about a loco I was interested in purchasing and was hoping to get some advice. I was interested in purchasing an MTH SPD GS4 HO locomotive. Its quite expensive and I guess I want to be sure it will be right for my layout before I shell out the cash.

I run a reasonable size layout but i'm not too sure what size curves I have, as they have been custom made for my layout to fit the limited space I have. its definitely larger than 18" but not sure if its quite 22" which is recommended for this loco. Has anybody had any experience with this loco on radius that is measured less than 22"?

The curves I have designed measure up at roughly 20". Will this loco's operation be too temperamental for my setup?
Also will it run on DC only?

Thanks in advance
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
If you want a GS-4 get the Bachmann model. It will handle the tighter curves you have better than the MTH model will. Truthfully, with 20" curves you should be sticking to four axle diesels and small steam, like 2-6-0's 2-8-0's and maybe 4-6-2's. Large wheelbase locomotives and tight radii tend to jack up the frustration index.
 

Chef Waardevast

New Member
If you want a GS-4 get the Bachmann model. It will handle the tighter curves you have better than the MTH model will. Truthfully, with 20" curves you should be sticking to four axle diesels and small steam, like 2-6-0's 2-8-0's and maybe 4-6-2's. Large wheelbase locomotives and tight radii tend to jack up the frustration index.
Thanks for the reply, I have been looking at the Bachmann but again it states that 22" curves is min requirement. I was also interested in the Bachman and BLI streamlined K4 they don't seem as bulky and may be a little friendlier to the tighter curves. I really appriciate your advice and time thank you.
 

Chef Waardevast

New Member
If you want a GS-4 get the Bachmann model. It will handle the tighter curves you have better than the MTH model will. Truthfully, with 20" curves you should be sticking to four axle diesels and small steam, like 2-6-0's 2-8-0's and maybe 4-6-2's. Large wheelbase locomotives and tight radii tend to jack up the frustration index.
Welcome to the forums.
That size engine will not like the tight curves on your layout. It may run on them, but it will always need attention, usually re-railing the front driver set.
Thanks for your response, it seems to be the consensus, particularly with the MTH anyway.
 

Chef Waardevast

New Member
Also be aware that MTH is going out of business, so parts and service for that locomotive may be spotty, at best. You may wish to consider going with Atlas or Athearn.
Thanks for your reply, I didn't know Athearn and Atlas made the GS4 in HO? The only ones I have come across is the BLI which seems to be discontinued, the MTH model in question here and the Bachmann. I will investigate. Unfortunately I have a real passion for the American streamliners they are remarkable looking machines, but also very big. Thanks for your advice.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Sorry, I wasn't referencing any particular locomotive. Atlas doesn't make any HO steam locomotives that I am aware of. Bachmann has really upped their game in the last several years. They make some good locomotives. I would be a bit leery of their "DCC-On-Board" line, though. Those decoders are barely worth being called decoders. The "Sound Value" line is better. The last I knew they were using a basic version of Soundtraxx decoders, and Soundtraxx decoders are quite good. The Spectrum line is also pretty good for the most part.
 

Sirfoldalot

Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
If it's of any consolation to you, CHEF? I really like your AVATAR! That's a cool photo!
Welcome to the forum - don't be a stranger?
 

Chef Waardevast

New Member
If it's of any consolation to you, CHEF? I really like your AVATAR! That's a cool photo!
Welcome to the forum - don't be a stranger?
Thank you for the warm welcome, even though I am new I can see its great friendly forum and I am pleasantly surprised at the responses I have had thus far, very informative and helpful. As for the Avatar I love the Pennsylvania railway.
 

Chef Waardevast

New Member
Sorry, I wasn't referencing any particular locomotive. Atlas doesn't make any HO steam locomotives that I am aware of. Bachmann has really upped their game in the last several years. They make some good locomotives. I would be a bit leery of their "DCC-On-Board" line, though. Those decoders are barely worth being called decoders. The "Sound Value" line is better. The last I knew they were using a basic version of Soundtraxx decoders, and Soundtraxx decoders are quite good. The Spectrum line is also pretty good for the most part.
Oh ok well I think a thank is still in order, as it just so happens I found an Athearn Genesis version of a GS4 which has a different tender but still a really great looking loco see image below. Not sure how forgiving they are on a 20" curve though.

As for sound decoders I am a real novice in DCC. I am building a DC layout as I am confused about how to go about building a DCC layout and I have a feeling I will be breaking the bank in conversions. I'm not sure I can have operating sound on a DC layout.
 

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Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Oh ok well I think a thank is still in order, as it just so happens I found an Athearn Genesis version of a GS4 which has a different tender but still a really great looking loco see image below. Not sure how forgiving they are on a 20" curve though.

As for sound decoders I am a real novice in DCC. I am building a DC layout as I am confused about how to go about building a DCC layout and I have a feeling I will be breaking the bank in conversions. I'm not sure I can have operating sound on a DC layout.
That's actually an Mt-4. It's a 4-8-2 vs the GS-4 being a 4-8-4. Athearn recommends a 22" minimum radius for that one, though some users have used them on smaller radius curves down to 18". Occasional problems were reported. You might squeeze it down to 20", but no guarantees! I have two of them. Good models.
 
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Chef Waardevast

New Member
That's actually an Mt-4. It's a 4-8-2 vs the GS-4 being a 4-8-4. Athearn recommends a 22" minimum radius for that one, though some users have used them on smaller radius curves down to 18". Occasional problems were reported. You might squeeze it down to 20", but no guarantees! I have two of them. Good models.
Thank's for clarifying, I could see that it is not fully streamlined as the 4-8-4, it has been stripped back a little. Seems to me for easy access maintenance work. Still a great looking loco and it seems to run very smoothly based on the clips I have seen. Have you had much issues running, maintaining etc.?
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Thank's for clarifying, I could see that it is not fully streamlined as the 4-8-4, it has been stripped back a little. Seems to me for easy access maintenance work. Still a great looking loco and it seems to run very smoothly based on the clips I have seen. Have you had much issues running, maintaining etc.?
No, it's quite well done. I did replace the McHenry couplers with Kadee, which is standard procedure for every Athearn I buy. I found that when double heading the plastic couplers would flex enough to allow the consisted locos to separate. The Mt class was used in passenger and freight and the skyline casing was actually more to keep the smoke out of the cab than anything else. Most of the class got them, though a few didn't. Mine are the later Semi Daylight models with the larger tenders as used in the San Joaquin Daylight, which is what I pull with them. It's a long heavy train, and they handle it well.

Here's a vid of a test I did with the train.
 

Chef Waardevast

New Member
The locos have very serious pulling power, that is a very long set of carriages and runs very smoothly on slower set speeds. By the way I wanted to complement you on how wonderful your layout looks. The detailing is very intricate, I would be very interested in seeing more if you were happy to share.

My layout (thus far) has been designed as a split layout. On one end I have a British layout and on the other (Using a divider) I have Victorian Railway (Australia) designed layout which is where I am from. Both ends are dedicated to detailing and running locos of the same time and era (50's 60's). However I have always been fascinated by the size and shear brute strength of American trains and more specifically the elegance of American streamlined trains.

The most interesting thing from my own research and observation is that Australian and British railways share a common feature of having been standardised government operated railway systems (at least England has for the period I cover). However American trains have been fiercely competitive privatised systems since its inception. For better or worse this has created some of the most interesting and spectacularly designed trains and railway networks, so its hard for me to settle on one rail network and miss out on all those great loco's (trying to have my cake and eat it I guess).
As for my dilemma, I am trying to find a balance of running trains from the same era from all three countries. For Australian and British trains there is no problems at all modeling all the best lines on minimum track curves is easy as most operate on 18' track as the locos are not large. There may be one or two that require more but its negligible for most modellers.

Unfortunately for me the American loco's I really want to model just so happen to be very large trains. I am trying to find a way to strike a balance. Aesthetically its not difficult because Australian architecture resembles both American and English architecture as both countries have had a significant influence. The question is, can I run some of these trains on my existing layout design or should I design a seperate line to run American trains only. Unfortunately the streamlined trains I like are mainly recommended 22" curve if I want detailed higher end models and I am not overly all familier with the American brands that make them.
My interest is mainly Pennsylvania Railways but I do have some New York Central, Santa fe and Southern Pacific's I run. I do know Broadway limited have or are planning to release streamliners of Penn and NYC which seem to be ok on 18'' curves.

The additional locos I would like to model (which may be overly ambitious) are Pennsylvania PRR 6-4-4-6 Duplex, Pennsylvania PRR T1 4-4-4-4 Duplex and the Southern Pacific Daylight. My preference is to have them all running in the one place but this may be wishful thinking. Any thoughts? Space is an issue on my existing track layout which is why I have 20" curves.
 




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