i have only ever collected lionel but with prices getting so high, i am thinking about getting some williams. i have been told they great pullers. what are the "pros", and more particularly the "cons" of adding them to my layout. thanks!
also, any other best bang for you buck brands? i still want to keep appearance and performance as much as possible.
The pros to owning Williams are:
They look like the old post war Lionels, but are mint in the box when you buy them
They are great pullers and runners
Can easily be upgraded to command control
Super warranty and customer service
The cons to owning a Williams over Lionel:
Although they look like post war Lionels, they aren't
See the Scenic Jumijo Railroad in CTT and OGR magazines!
I'd have to add an enthusiastic second to the above.
I started buying diesel engines from Williams about seven years ago based on price and performance (twin can motors with flywheels - very smooth, quiet, and strong pullers) and have continued to buy them. Some of their products (usually the later ones) are more detailed than earlier offerings. The scale-sized ALCO FA's are really nice with wire grab-ons and metal "see through" vents on the side. The older models, such as the Budd RDC's, aren't as nice but are still a good deal and run great. Their "semi-scale" GG-1 is a champ and puts even recent Lionel production units to shame on my layout.
In my opinion, there really are no "cons" in regards to adding Williams engines to a layout. I am assuming you are comparing postwar Lionel to Williams. If that is the case:
1. Williams uses can motors and an electronic e-unit. Quieter, smoother, and pulls more than postwar, but no "ozone" smell, and that special something that comes with an open-frame AC motor. A Lionel postwar 675 comes to mind here. Mine is like a Swiss watch, where my Williams berk. is a Timex.
2. Appearence: I have 2 Williams F-3 sets. Santa Fe and Rio Grande. They look great! The thing is, when comparing them to the original postwar units, they look different. It seems that to my eye, I am used to seeing 50 plus year old paint jobs. I have no doubt that Williams got the graphics and colors correct, I'm just not used to seeing "brand new" postwar F-3's!
3. Repairability: Both postwar Lionel and Williams can be repaired, just differently. The postwar engine consists of a relaxing afternoon removing the motor (s), cleaning the engine, replacing worn parts, lubing, and putting it all back together. I enjoy this type of work. The Williams, on the other hand, consists of replacing the can motor with a new one, or replacing the truck with a new one. That is if you don't utilize the lifetime warranty that comes with the engine, and just send it in for repairs. With Williams you replace what doesn't work, and with postwar Lionel you fix what doesn't work, kinda like new cars compared with old cars.
I won't say one is better than the other, just different. If you're used to postwar Lionel, the Williams will seem "odd", in regards to the above, and vise versa. If it was me, I would go ahead and buy a Williams engine and see how I like it.
I have the Williams semi scale GG1, love it. The above is good advice. As to the rest of your question, there are some good deals out there. RMT makes the "Buddy", and the "Beep" and some others. While not great pullers, for the price, they are kinda neat. You can usually find some good deals on K-Line products (pre K-Lionel). The problem with these is repairs and you have to hunt for them.
Buckeye Riveter............. OTTS Charter Member and Roseyville Raider
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One good clue to the acceptability and quality of Williams:
Go back through any number of years of CTT issues, and examine the layout spreads that are depicted therein. You'll very often see Williams listed as one of the brands of motive power these folks operate. And since these represent some of the finest layouts in the country, that's a pretty good indication that Williams products are enjoying more favor than many folks would imagine or admit.
You may want to check out Ma and Pa Junction. They have some very good pricing on Williams. Also, check the pages of Classic Toy Trains, I don't have a copy in front of me now, but someone advertises in a small add that they have the best prices in the country. Good Luck,
I have the Williams berk., and in my opinion, it doesn't smoke all that well. The engine is equipped with a Seuthe smoke unit, which requires it's own type of fluid (Williams includes a pretty good size bottle with the engine.). It also doesn't "puff" like Lionel's engines do. It just has a steady wisp of smoke coming out of the stack. I do think others have had better luck with Williams smoke than I have, so hopefully they will chime in.
Jus Trains is a good source. Williams U33C's and SD-45's are excellent values. They are smooth running brutish stump pullers and I've yet to throw a traction tire on one. You will love the True Blast II horns. They are digital recordings. Either can be had for around $140.
The next step up would be an Atlas Trainman RSD-5 in conventional. They are better proportioned and detailed. They are coming out with RSD-15 Gators soon. Those will be something. They are around $220.
Another choice is a Lionel conventional DGRW tunnel motor. They are around $220 too. They pull pretty decent even with their single axle drive.
Williams steam is OK but you can get origional Lionels in decent condition with magnetraction and puffing smoke for the same kind of money. Williams uses Suthe smoke units that do not puff but whisp the smoke and you can barely see it.
mpzpw3 wrote: I have the Williams berk., and in my opinion, it doesn't smoke all that well. The engine is equipped with a Seuthe smoke unit, which requires it's own type of fluid (Williams includes a pretty good size bottle with the engine.). It also doesn't "puff" like Lionel's engines do. It just has a steady wisp of smoke coming out of the stack. I do think others have had better luck with Williams smoke than I have, so hopefully they will chime in.