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Who Makes the Best HO TRAINS ?

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Who Makes the Best HO TRAINS ?
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 1:10 PM

Iam looking to get into HO scale trains.

Who makes the most Reliable and Detailed product?

                Tks

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 1:19 PM

SB, 

In all honesty, it really depends on the individual locomotive.  Reliability and detailing don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.   However, generally here are the better choices on reliability and/or detailing:

  • Atlas
  • Athearn Genesis
  • Broadway Limited (BLI)/Precision Craft Models (PCM)
  • Intermountain
  • Kato
  • Proto 2000
  • Stewart
  • Trix

If there is a particular locomotive you are interested or an era that you are wanting to model, that would be helpful for us to know as to making more specific recommendations for you.  Are you also wanting recommendation for rolling stock, too?

Hope that helps... 

Tom

My web site: http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 1:22 PM
You'll get replies from all over the map on this one. In my experience I found excellent value and detail with Proto 2000 and Kato.

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Posted by cndash9 on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:10 PM

I am very fond of T55, Kato and Atlas for locomotives. I have a couple of Protos and they seem to jerk, so I will not be buying any more. 

For rolling stock, it all depends on what you are looking for.  Different companies produce different things for the hobbyist.  I'm not very fusy here, I purchase what I need for the industries.  After purchasing what I need, I make sure that there are metal wheelsets on everything and everything gets Kadee couplers.  I enoy Intermountain, Atlas, Walthers, Athearn, Genesis......

 

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:10 PM

It kind of depends on what you're looking for.

In my experience with diesels, my ratings for reliability and detail on a 1-10 scale would be:

Atlas, R=10, D=10
Athearn Genesis, R=8, D=10
Athearn Blue-Box, R=8, D=6
Proto 2000, R=9, D=9
Proto 1000, R=9, D=6
Bachmann Spectrum (new), R=9, D=8
Bachmann Spectrum (old), R=8, D=6
Bachmann Standard (new), R=8, D=6
Kato, R=10, D=7
IHC, R=7, D=4
Rivarossi, R=7, D=7
Stewart, R=9, D=9

For steam:

Rivarossi (new), R=9, D=10
Rivarossi (old), R=6, D=8
Bachmann Spectrum, R=9, D=10
Bachmann Standard, R=6, D=8
IHC, R=9, D=6
Bowser kits, R=9, D=9
Mantua kits, R=8, D=7

For freight cars:

Athearn Genesis, R=9, D=10
Athearn Blue-Box, R=10, D=7
Stewart, R=9, D=8
Atlas Trainman, R=10, D=8
Accurail, R=9, D=7
MDC/Roundhouse, R=8, D=7
IHC, R=7, D=5
Proto 2000, R=9, D=9
Proto 1000, R=9, D=6
Life-Like, R=6, D=4
Tyco, R=7, D=5
Bachmann Standard, R=7, D=6
Rivarossi (old), R=8, D=7

_________________________________________________________________

Darth Santa Fe, doing weird and challenging projects for the fun of it!

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:23 PM

Subjective question.

That's like asking who makes the best car.

If one size fit all, there would be only one size.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:25 PM
 cndash9 wrote:

I am very fond of T55, Kato and Atlas for locomotives. I have a couple of Protos and they seem to jerk, so I will not be buying any more. 

For rolling stock, it all depends on what you are looking for.  Different companies produce different things for the hobbyist.  I'm not very fusy here, I purchase what I need for the industries.  After purchasing what I need, I make sure that there are metal wheelsets on everything and everything gets Kadee couplers.  I enoy Intermountain, Atlas, Walthers, Athearn......

 

When something that is supposed to run smootly "jerks", it usually means something is either bent or pinched.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:31 PM

Can of worms here.

I prefer Factory QSI engines as I can generally make them run well.

I dont like MRC Equippted engines and prefer to buy them DCC ready and drop a Decoder into them myself.

Athearn Blue Box engines were for me the standard in analog for a long time. Atlas had some of the finest analog engines I have ever seen under 12 volts.

Atlas, Proto, and BLI as long they were equippted with QSI.

Rolling Stock.

Atlas and Intermountain.

Athearn blue boxes recieve metal wheels and kadee couplers.

Everything else is on a case by case basis. Right now Im buying some Walthers Gold line and they seem to do ok.

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Posted by Don Gibson on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:05 PM
 spongebob wrote:
Who makes the most Reliable and Detailed product?               

When comparing "BEST" products, the differences become "Best" -at what? (differences become small).

Reliability translates into 'cosistancy  Good over time' + Good drives cost more. Cheap drives cut corners. (Every Co. has had correctable mistakes. Every auto has had recalls).

What you should ask is "Who makes 'POOR' BRODUCTS?

Detail is a matter of mould tooling and hand application = expense. Each newer product out ups the competition (and costs more). Too much detail, and there is more to fall off.

It really boils down to 'How much you want - or are willing to pay for? (IE: personal opinion).     More to the point, 'how much is enough' before it becomes 'too much'?

MY EXPERIENCE is when something is 'best' in everything, it becomes unaffordable. Conversely, there is a saying: "when something be comes 'Idiot Proof' - only 'idiots' will buy it".

I try to stay within those parameters. Currently I find much to like in INTERMOUNTAIN products.

Don Gibson .............. ________ _______ I I__()____||__| ||||| I / I ((|__|----------| | |||||||||| I ______ I // o--O O O O-----o o OO-------OO ###########################
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Posted by CPrail on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:58 PM

Hey Sponge

All the above I agree with as far as Reliability and how they appear are top factors for me but also Warrenty has a big decision on what I buy, I tend to support the companies that have Life time warrenties as opposed to those who offer 60 days to 1 Year, I have had to send a couple engines back that I have run for years and had a part wear out or break and it has been fixed wih no questions asked,  all I paid for was the shipping, In fact with the Spectrum line they no longer made that part for my engine so they sent my engine back unrepaired and sent me a new undecorated engine to replace it, those are the things that are important when I make and engine purchase, as far as rolling stock I stick with the Atlas RTR,Rapido,Intermountain and Trueline trains as they offer great detail for a fair price and I don't have to switch out wheels or couplers...

Thats my..My 2 cents [2c]

Mike..

Southern Interior & Cascades Model Railroad. http://www.freewebs.com/sicmrr/
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Posted by Driline on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 4:18 PM

Spongebob,

I think Patrick makes the best HO engines, except he seems to drool on them alot.

Modeling the Davenport Rock Island & Northwestern 1995 in HO
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Posted by cndash9 on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 4:48 PM

Hi Peobe Vet,

It was doing that from the get-go.  I have since retired them from the layout and they now collect dust on the shelf.  My friends in the group that affilliate myself with also have some Protos and they are not happy with them.  That's OK , no harm done, I just won't be bying any anymore.

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Posted by csmith9474 on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 4:57 PM
 Phoebe Vet wrote:
 cndash9 wrote:

I am very fond of T55, Kato and Atlas for locomotives. I have a couple of Protos and they seem to jerk, so I will not be buying any more. 

For rolling stock, it all depends on what you are looking for.  Different companies produce different things for the hobbyist.  I'm not very fusy here, I purchase what I need for the industries.  After purchasing what I need, I make sure that there are metal wheelsets on everything and everything gets Kadee couplers.  I enoy Intermountain, Atlas, Walthers, Athearn......

 

When something that is supposed to run smootly "jerks", it usually means something is either bent or pinched.

The Protos may be suffering from the infamous cracked gear problem. I purchased a P2K GP7 and a P2K GP9 and they both had cracked gears and ran jerky and had that thumping noise at higher speeds. I replaced the suspect wheelsets (thank you Athearn), and now they run like champs. I know I could have gotten them free, but I only needed two, and the Athearn replacements were about $2 a piece at the LTS.

Smitty
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Posted by d van on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 5:43 PM
I have a Bachamnn GP-50 in SRR tuxedo scheme with DCC that runs on my DC layout fantastic. I picked it up new on the auction site for $25 plus shipping. It runs better than my LL Proto engines and as good or better than any of my Atlas engines. For steam BLI are hard to beat but a recent Bachmann Pennsy K-4 and Baldwin 4-4-0 both run as good as the BLI. Best to ask about a loco type and then get folks to reply with their fav.
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Posted by Teditor on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 7:23 PM

YOU!

Teditor. 

Teditor

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Posted by TrainManTy on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 7:49 PM
I have a fleet of 2 Athearns, a Bachmann Spectrum, (old) a Walthers Trainline, and 2 Atlases. The Atlases are the best, while the Spectrum has a pretty fast starting speed, and the Athearns are rather noisy, but run OK. One Atlas is an AtlasMaster series SDP35;which has phenominal detailing, but for some reason doesn't have as good electrical pickup as the Trainman Series (I think) U23B.

Tyler

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Posted by railroadnut675 on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 8:09 PM
Should You have the time, (to attach small, annoying decals) Athearn Genesis is one of the best engine makers (in my humble opinion)
All hail the Mighty HO Scale Does thinking you're the last sane person on Earth make you crazy? -- Will Smith from I, Robot
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Posted by dale8chevyss on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 8:29 PM
I would stay away from Old Bachmann and Life-Like (those that came in the set you buy at a local big-box mart) as well as Tyco.  I've used Athearn and Bachmann Spectrum and am happy with those so far. 

Modeling the N&W freelanced at the height of their steam era in HO.

 

Daniel "always learning" G.

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