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Best quality locos ?

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  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 6 posts
Best quality locos ?
Posted by streamliner51 on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 2:40 PM

Hi I'm a Newbie on the wrong side of the pond.  I am particularly interested in  HO streamlined steam locos of the 30s/40s/50s. I am looking for advice on the best makers in terms of accuracy and, living on the wrong side of the pond, reliability ( I think I would have problems getting warranty issues resolved) Price is not the main issue, I would rather have few but reliable, accurately detailed locos than many not so good. I am also interested in the early mutiple unit streamliners made by Con-Cor are they or the company worth considering?

Cornwall,UK

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 19,794 posts
Posted by selector on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 4:17 PM

Both BLI and MTH make good streamlined steam locomotives, and they both make top-drawer coaches.  I can't speak from experience on behalf of MTH, but I can speak with considerable experience on behalf of BLI.  They have quality problems no better or worse than any other manufacturer of HO scale rail items, and their repairs are at least as good as any other a body could claim is the best.  I doubt you'll have more than a modest expenditure headache for shipping items insured back to their repair facility, but I can assure you that they satisfy 99% of their customers by the time they return a defective unit.  I know of a couple of complainants who had to return an engine a couple of times, or more, before they got satisfaction, but they are in the reported miniscule minority.

If you ware willing to move further afield from strictly streamlined steamers, Bachmann, Rivarossi/Hornby, and Athearn make very good steamers and the warranties for Bachmann and Athearn are rather good.  I have never returned a Rivarossi engine, but I had no trouble getting free small parts for my H-8 Allegheny 2-6-6-6.  They are in the NE of the USA, and I asked to get a mechanical lubricator arm, a teensy little sliver of metal.  They sent two free of charge.

In BLI's case, I have a history of two at-fault repairs for which they charged me nothing, and one was a QSI decoder.  Not so shabby, eh?  I am still out-of-country, and so are you.  I don't see why which side of the Atlantic/Pacific you are on should have an impact on their desire to come to the good.  You'll be well served, but short a few coins to get it back to them at most.

Sorry, I have no experience at all with Con-Cor.

-Crandell

  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 12,000 posts
Posted by tstage on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 4:37 PM

BLI will have better detailing than MTH but MTH locomotives tend to run more smoothly.  I really like all of my BLI steamers but I've had to send 4 of the 5 back to BLI for repairs initially because of binding and/or decoder problems. Like Crandell, I've never had to pay for a repair.

The streamlined NYC Dreyfuss Hudson (pictured in my avatar) is a very nice locomotive and I really enjoy pulling my eight MTH 20th Century Limited passenger cars behind her.  I've heard some good things about both the Con-Cor Zephyr and the AeroTrain.  I believe both are discontinued so they may be more difficult to find.

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.

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Temporarily Arlington VA, usually Canberra, Australia
  • 37 posts
Posted by sarailway on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 4:58 PM

Like you, I'm not in the USA, I'm on the other side of the Pacific! :-)

Anyway, I can report my (limited) experience with BLI. I purchased three of the same loco type for conversion to an Australian loco. I was quite surprised to find that one set of drivers had traction tyres. A feature that I was quite surprised about as the loco is quite heavy anyway. 

I wrote (e-mail) to BLI to ask if a repalcement set of drivers were available. They said sure, what's your address and we will send them. Which they did free of charge INCLUDING postage! I had the replacement wheel within a week!

I was verrrrrry impressed with this customer service!

Good luck!

Modeling the railways of South Australia in HO scale!

South Australian Railways and the Commonwealth Railways.

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 31 posts
Posted by Norfolk Fan on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 10:38 PM

I have Athearn, Broadway Limited, MTH and Bachmann. From my experiance, I like my Broadway Limited locomotives the most. The Athearns are good runners, fairly detailed, and a good price. The bachmanns I only buy if no one else makes the model I am looking for. All 3 of my bachmanns make a horrible rumble when running down to tracks. Cleaning the gears made them a bit better, but it seems to be a very common problem with them based on my club's experiances with them. MTH..... well..... The N&W J I have from them I hate. Their customer service is horrible, and they told me nothing was wrong with my J. Well, when you set it on the tracks, nothing happens. Put it on DC, nothing happens. I opened it up, found the factory had pinched a wire between the shell halves and it fried the board, yet MTH claims there is nothing wrong with it? That one will get a Tsunami card and a full gut job to fix it. (MTH refuses to work on it claiming there is nothing wrong so I gave up fighting them.) My Broadway's I love to death. Have 3 Y6b's and 2 N&W A classes. They are very strong pullers (had 100 hopper cars behind one of my Y6b's at the club house this weekend and she pulled them like nothing was there!) and sound very good. I had one of my A classes take a power spike that killed the sound card though. I sent it back to them, they fixed the board and shipped it back to me at no cost. And I got my locomotive back! Bachmann and a few others will just replace the locomotive, weathered or not. I told BLI my A had been weathered, they assured me I would get that A back, and I did. Broadway Limited's customer service alone sealed the deal for me. Their locomotives are good, but their service department seems top notch. MTH does not seem to care at all what you think, based on my eperiance, and I will never buy another MTH locomotive because of that.

Another lesson a fellow club member of mine learned the hard way, if you buy an MTH locomotive from a dealer that has not paid the outlandish fees to become an MTH authorized dealer, they will not honor your warrenty.

But these are just my observations and opinions, your mileage may vary. Cool

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 2,367 posts
Posted by Tracklayer on Thursday, January 02, 2014 5:52 AM

streamliner51

Hi I'm a Newbie on the wrong side of the pond.  I am particularly interested in  HO streamlined steam locos of the 30s/40s/50s. I am looking for advice on the best makers in terms of accuracy and, living on the wrong side of the pond, reliability ( I think I would have problems getting warranty issues resolved) Price is not the main issue, I would rather have few but reliable, accurately detailed locos than many not so good. I am also interested in the early mutiple unit streamliners made by Con-Cor are they or the company worth considering?

 

No, no, no. Don't go HO. Go N scale. Seriuosly... We need more N scalers so that the model railroad companies will produce more of a variety of engines and rolling stock...

Tracklayer

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Chicago IL
  • 273 posts
Posted by bobwrght on Thursday, January 02, 2014 6:07 AM

I have several Broadway Limited, Bachmann Spectrum, Riverossi, Ihc(mehano), and Athearn steamers. About 200+.  None have given me any problems. I also have several Hormby steamers and the above are on par with the Hornby.

  • Member since
    October, 2004
  • From: Colorful Colorado
  • 8,502 posts
Posted by Texas Zepher on Thursday, January 02, 2014 6:55 PM

streamliner51
 HO streamlined steam locos of the 30s/40s/50s. I am looking for advice on the best makers in terms of accuracy and, living on the wrong side of the pond, reliability ( I think I would have problems getting warranty issues resolved)

I have the AHM Blue Goose and Dreyfuss do not recommend them.  They are typical Rivarossi locos that the drive train is so loosy goosy to go around 18" corners they like to bind up.  Other than that and the lack of detail I guess they are reliable in their simplicity.

I have a BLI Dreyfuss that runs great.  I have not run it nearly enough to comment on the reliablity.

I also have a Fox Valley Milwalkee 4-4-2.    It porpoises a bit as it goes down the track.  Once again I've done little more than test run it.  So no comment on the reliablity.

I am also interested in the early mutiple unit streamliners made by Con-Cor are they or the company worth considering?

No personal experience, but I know others who just love them.  The Comet, the Yankee Flyer and ummm ummm seems like there was one other.  Real Yankee Flyer had the Winton prime mover which makes the sound unique. 

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 31 posts
Posted by Norfolk Fan on Thursday, January 02, 2014 7:09 PM

streamliner51

I am also interested in the early mutiple unit streamliners made by Con-Cor are they or the company worth considering?

I missed this part of your question. The M-10000 has problems with the rear electrical pickups breaking off the wiring. The Aerotrain and Pioneer Zephyr from Con-Cor I can comment on as well. My father ownes those two as well as the M-10000. He has not had any problems with the Aerotrain or the Zephyr and runs them a lot. I spend more time fixing his M-10000 than he does running it.

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