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What would you consider to be the best 'Train-Set' locomotive out there?

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What would you consider to be the best 'Train-Set' locomotive out there?
Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Monday, September 13, 2021 8:51 AM

Personally, I would consider the Walthers Trainline ALCO FA1, it's an absolute tank. My trio has taken a pretty bad dive to a hard floor and still works perfectly. 

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Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, September 13, 2021 9:02 AM

I cant say for diesels as they all seem to have great long lasting mechanisms, but for HO steam, Id have to say IHC/Mehano steam. Very cheap, high quality mechanisms, and low levels of detail designed for rough handling! Bachmann locos these days also have pretty good mechanisms, but theyre kind of overpriced for what they are. 

Charles

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Posted by snjroy on Monday, September 13, 2021 10:25 AM

For steam, I would say the Bachmann  Durango and Silverton set, with the 2-8-0 engine. It's a sweet little engine that is above toy train quality.

Simon

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Monday, September 13, 2021 10:50 AM

Agree with the Bachmann 2-8-0

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Monday, September 13, 2021 2:17 PM

Any of the Athearn RTR, Walthers Mainline, or Atlas Trainman series. Pretty decent power train and chassis for a not too high price. Might lack some "high end" options and details, but very good value.

Ricky W.

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Posted by NHTX on Monday, September 13, 2021 4:36 PM

     What scale are you in?  It might make a difference.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, September 13, 2021 5:56 PM

I do mostly HO with a little bit of G.

 

For an HO Starter Set, I think the GP38/39-2 is good if you're doing local runs or switching maneuvers. (An F7 is good, but doesn't have any rearward visability)

 

My G Scale set had a Green/Red/Black 0-4-0 "Stainz",  as a kid, I thought it was pretty neat.

 

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Posted by tstage on Monday, September 13, 2021 6:11 PM

I think the best "set" is buying your locomotive, rolling stock, and power supply individually rather than in one box.  It's amazing the deals that you can find on eBay on NOS with a proven track record that are much better than what you'll find in a box set.

Tom

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Posted by snjroy on Monday, September 13, 2021 6:18 PM

tstage

I think the best "set" is buying your locomotive, rolling stock, and power supply individually rather than in one box.  It's amazing the deals that you can find on eBay on NOS with a proven track record that are much better than what you'll find in a box set.

Tom

 

Some local shops can even assemble some for you at a low cost. But that is outside scope.

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Posted by hardcoalcase on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 8:29 AM

Trainman440
  ... for HO steam, Id have to say IHC/Mehano steam. Very cheap, high quality mechanisms, and low levels of detail designed for rough handling! Charles 

Ditto!  I have the 2-6-0 and 4-4-0 and they're good, durable locomotives.

Jim

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 9:56 AM

I'm not aware of any Mehano train sets available these days for a North American prototype. Some steamers were sold in Canada under the PC label - they pop up on Ebay from time to time. They are not DCC ready, but the conversion is not that hard.

Bachmann also sells some sets with the 0-6-0 engine. It's not a bad engine. I would not hesitate to buy one for a youngster. It is not an easy conversion to DCC though...

Simon

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Posted by Jumijo on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 11:20 AM

Did someone say DCC was a requirement?

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 1:07 PM

Jumijo

Did someone say DCC was a requirement?

 

No, but a train set can be the starting point of a larger layout. One of my favorite locomotives I had when I was a kid in the 70s runs on my DCC layout today... 

Simon

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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 11:43 AM

No, the requirements are as follows:

Durable Design with minimal separate pieces

Affordable cost, Less than $100

Easy to repair and replace

Good Durable Mechanism

And Must be able to do 18'' Radius Curves without issue

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Posted by Trainman440 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 12:00 PM

I would classify the Bachmann 2-8-0 as rather delicate. Dont get me wrong, its one of the BEST valued steam locos out there, but it has lots of seperately applied detail that proves to be fragile. Still, if you want a set, I agree you cant beat Bachmann's D&S set if you want value for money. 

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, September 16, 2021 12:58 PM

Great Northern Fan 54
No, the requirements are as follows:

Durable Design with minimal separate pieces

Affordable cost, Less than $100

Easy to repair and replace

Good Durable Mechanism

And Must be able to do 18'' Radius Curves without issue

With the above as your criteria, I would go with a Stewart F-unit.  Durable enough and the drives are among the best around.  It doesn't come in a set though.  As mentioned, I'd rather buy a train "set" piecemeal to ensure the best affordable quality.

Tom

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 11:11 PM

Great Northern Fan 54
Durable Design with minimal separate pieces

Affordable cost

Less than $100

Easy to repair and replace

Good Durable Mechanism

Must be able to do 18'' Radius Curves without issue

Great Northern Fan 54
Personally, I would consider the Walthers Trainline ALCO FA1, it's an absolute tank.

I have a pair of the Walthers Trainline FAs, and they are top-notch for the requirements you listed.

The Stewart/Kato F units are also great, but it has been 20 years since they were manufactured.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, September 17, 2021 1:05 AM
Isn't the Kato F7...and really all the Kato HO F-units the exact same mold as the Stewart/Kato F's? I was under the impression that there was no effective difference. So, I'm confused by the criteria here, but I think the following locos need to be added Bachmann 70tonner Bachmann FT. The 70tonner is not technically a Trainset engine, but is priced really low. It's a nice little engine. The FT is an older design than the new bachmann F7 molds, but it's solid, I've seen a number of club members run these for years upon years. They used to be $60 with the Bachmann/Lenz DCC decoder maybe 6 or so years ago, They're now $177, but the decoder is a WoWSound. So I guess not currently in the price range, but was for a long time. Find one on EBay and swap in a Digitrax decoder and you have a workhorse diesel.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, September 17, 2021 1:12 AM

YoHo1975
Isn't the Kato F7...and really all the Kato HO F-units the exact same mold as the Stewart/Kato F's? I was under the impression that there was no effective difference.

I am not aware of an HO scale F unit marketed as a Kato model. Every one I have seen has been in a Stewart package, hence the Stewart/Kato designation.

Kato did market an F unit in N scale under their own name.

If Kato did offer an HO scale F unit under there own name, I would love to find out about it. Maybe it would be the same model as the Stewart branded product, but maybe it would be better.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Friday, September 17, 2021 11:34 AM

Has anyone considered the Proto 1000 EMD F3?

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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Friday, September 17, 2021 11:40 AM

ricktrains4824

Any of the Athearn RTR, Walthers Mainline, or Atlas Trainman series. Pretty decent power train and chassis for a not too high price. Might lack some "high end" options and details, but very good value.

 

 

I would throw in Walthers Trainline. They are really sturdy and have great mechanisms 

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Posted by snjroy on Friday, September 17, 2021 11:52 AM

Great Northern Fan 54

No, the requirements are as follows:

Durable Design with minimal separate pieces

Affordable cost, Less than $100

Easy to repair and replace

Good Durable Mechanism

And Must be able to do 18'' Radius Curves without issue

 

Ok, well that's useful. Most sets suggested here are out of range in terms of price, looking at two major distributors online. Unless you look for something on sale, it's mostly Bachmann stuff, which are OK for what you pay for. Steamers are out of range, except for Thomas the train sets. I have a Thomas that I have for younger audiences. It's actually a pretty good mechanism, although it is light on its feet. 

Simon

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, September 17, 2021 1:24 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
YoHo1975
Isn't the Kato F7...and really all the Kato HO F-units the exact same mold as the Stewart/Kato F's? I was under the impression that there was no effective difference.

 

I am not aware of an HO scale F unit marketed as a Kato model. Every one I have seen has been in a Stewart package, hence the Stewart/Kato designation.

Kato did market an F unit in N scale under their own name.

If Kato did offer an HO scale F unit under there own name, I would love to find out about it. Maybe it would be the same model as the Stewart branded product, but maybe it would be better.

-Kevin

 

 

My Dad got me a Kato F9 in the late 90s. And I could have sworn it was in a Kato box with no Stewart name on it.

 

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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Friday, September 17, 2021 2:05 PM

snjroy

 

 
Great Northern Fan 54

No, the requirements are as follows:

Durable Design with minimal separate pieces

Affordable cost, Less than $100

Easy to repair and replace

Good Durable Mechanism

And Must be able to do 18'' Radius Curves without issue

 

 

 

Ok, well that's useful. Most sets suggested here are out of range in terms of price, looking at two major distributors online. Unless you look for something on sale, it's mostly Bachmann stuff, which are OK for what you pay for. Steamers are out of range, except for Thomas the train sets. I have a Thomas that I have for younger audiences. It's actually a pretty good mechanism, although it is light on its feet. 

 

Simon

 

 

Well this is referring to an individual locomotive. Not a Train Set

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, September 17, 2021 2:12 PM

The lifelike Proto locomotives aren't trainset level but they are cheap. At some level the fragile detail features don't really matter because you can remove them and still end up with a good looking usable locomotive that will usually be DCC ready in some sense. Some are pretty much plug in ready while others need a bit more work.

For robust and cheap reliable DC only locomotives that are in effect the equals of  current trainset level you just cannot beat an Athearn Blue Box. They are bulletproof, lack any fragile detail,  haul very well and look rather good at usual viewing distance.  Fit Kadee couplers and maybe get the plastic window set available from Athearn for the F7 line anyway, and you'll be satisfied. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by snjroy on Friday, September 17, 2021 2:44 PM

Great Northern Fan 54

 

 
snjroy

 

 
Great Northern Fan 54

No, the requirements are as follows:

Durable Design with minimal separate pieces

Affordable cost, Less than $100

Easy to repair and replace

Good Durable Mechanism

And Must be able to do 18'' Radius Curves without issue

 

 

 

Ok, well that's useful. Most sets suggested here are out of range in terms of price, looking at two major distributors online. Unless you look for something on sale, it's mostly Bachmann stuff, which are OK for what you pay for. Steamers are out of range, except for Thomas the train sets. I have a Thomas that I have for younger audiences. It's actually a pretty good mechanism, although it is light on its feet. 

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

Well this is referring to an individual locomotive. Not a Train Set

 

I focussed on the loco, but there are a few Thomas the Train sets. Here is an example:

https://www.trainsetsonly.com/bachmann-thomas-with-annie-and-clarabel-set-ho-00642.html

Simon

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, September 17, 2021 2:49 PM

YoHo1975
My Dad got me a Kato F9 in the late 90s. And I could have sworn it was in a Kato box with no Stewart name on it.

I don't doubt it, it is just something I have never seen.

I have a large population of Stewart/Kato F units, and these make up the largest plurality of my locomotive types. I look for good models new in box to have a few spare mechanisms on hand. If they were sold with just the Kato name, that would give me something else to look for.

So far, none have failed, but if I run my trains as much as I intend to, something will break eventually.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 5:46 PM

The Triang F7 unit. I had two and they ran well although perhaps not as detailed as one might want. 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 5:51 PM

My first Canadian train set was a Triang CN F7 freight set. I sold it to my LHS to buy an Athearn BB F7 undecorated which I only just recently painted and decalled.

This is entertaining. The CP version is really not right.

https://tri-ang.weebly.com/single-ended-diesel-loco.html

 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 1:21 PM

Ulrich

The Triang F7 unit. I had two and they ran well although perhaps not as detailed as one might want. 

 

 

That thing keeps me up at night

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