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How good are the Trainline ALCO FAs?

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  • Member since
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How good are the Trainline ALCO FAs?
Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Thursday, January 28, 2021 8:05 PM

I recently obtained a Walthers Trainline ALCO FA. It's in GN and numbered 310C, it seems to run well. But I have some questions

 

How accurate is the shell?

How easy is it to add a decoder?

How accurate is it's paint scheme (It's Simplified GN)

Should I get more? 

 

Please answer me. I really would like to know Smile

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, January 29, 2021 1:43 PM

I have a Trainline GP9M model.  I added a simple decoder (wired in) and maybe replaced the headlight with a LED.  I have a sound decoder I'll install some day.  The GP9M was created by modifying an older GP9, giving it a chopped nose.  Oddly, for a Walthers model, the GP9M model has the wide-body profile matching the much older Athearn BB models, which were inaccurate to begin with.

The engine on the right is the GP9M, and the one on the left is a sound dummy I created from an old BB rubber band drive.  Just to be ornery, I looked up the Milwaukee roster of these engines, and numbered the dummy engine to be the same as the one that got rebuilt into the GP9M.

The detail level isn't as good as a Proto GP9.  The mechanical parts are just fine.  I will have no trouble putting a sound decoder and speaker in the shell.  There's plenty of room.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 29, 2021 2:58 PM

 It's easy to add a decoder. You have to wire it in, replacing the board the pout in there, and changing the bulb to an LED is a good idea, but allt he wires are there in obvious locations - the right wheel pickup wires come up on the right side of the trucks, the motor wires come up from the motor away from the wheel pickup wires, etc.

They run very well. When MR tested them, they ran on pure DC at less than 1 smph, one of the best. And fairly low current.

 The details are all cast on, it is after all a shell from the early 70's, a former Train Miniature product. But if you want all the grabs and windshield wipers and all that, you can easily add those details yourself. From more than a few feet away, you don't notice.

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, January 31, 2021 12:06 PM

      The sound dummy looks like the Athearn "GP-9" which, according to the molded on louver configuration, is in fact a GP-7.  The Athearn GP-7 dates back to the the late 1950s and, was available as a dummy and, rubber band drive as well as geared.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 31, 2021 12:31 PM

I really wanted to help with this because I own two of the Walthers Trainline Alco FAs, but I am afraid I will not be much use.

 

How accurate is the shell?

It looks good to me, but not much added detail. This is OK with me because the FA was pretty spartan anyhow.

 

How easy is it to add a decoder?

I don't know. I use DC control.

 

How accurate is it's paint scheme?

I don't know, I bought mine undecorated.

 

They do run fine, not as quiet as a Stewart/Kato F unit, but they are smooth and reliable.

-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 Trainman440 on Sunday, January 31, 2021 12:46 PM

Although Ive never owned one, one of my friends had one. They run great, and are built to be thrown at a wall. 

If you're looking for a quality engine that will last forever and bring hours of fun, this engine is for you.

On the other hand, if youre looking for utmost detail and accuracy, just know that this engine was used in many starter sets. Im no expert in GN paint schemes, so I couldnt answer that. It also seems to just be a once piece shell, with many oversized details to prevent them from beaking (such as the steps on each side). It has separatly applied horns and windows, that's about it. Its missing a multitude of details (including non see through grills), but Im sure adding some handrails and pilot grab irons, it can be turned into a decent model. 

Its also not DCC ready, so itll take basic soldering skills, and a hardwired decoder to add sound. Id estimate a 1 hour job. Probably the easiest engine to start out on hardwiring DCC, but its not plug and play. (imo adding DCC sound to brass steam locos is probably the worst nightmare)

If you want a more accurate model, be prepared to pay more. MTH made some a few years back that look really good. Rapidos coming out with some too which are bonkers expensive but has the utmost detail. 

You get what you pay for, and in this case, a high quality, built to last, however not most detailed nor accurate model. 

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, January 31, 2021 1:54 PM

NHTX

      The sound dummy looks like the Athearn "GP-9" which, according to the molded on louver configuration, is in fact a GP-7.  The Athearn GP-7 dates back to the the late 1950s and, was available as a dummy and, rubber band drive as well as geared.

That shell and body were from my first HO scale engine, which came from an Athearn train set I bought in the late 1950s.  I found it was easier and cheaper to get new engines rather than try to rehab old ones after 40 years.  So, out went the motor and rubber bands.  But, I couldn't part with my old locomotives, so I made dummies of those.  They got Kadees and for this one I even found an aftermarket set of handrails.

Athearn called this model a GP9.  To be honest, I can't tell the difference between a GP9 and a GP7.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, January 31, 2021 2:01 PM

 Athearn considered the ones with dynamic brakes a GP9 and ones without a GP7, and I can't tell you how many modelers to this day think that is the difference. That's not. For example, the Reading had only GP7s, no GP9s, but they had ones with dynamics for freight trains, and ones with no dynamics for passenger trains.

 The most obvious distinguishing characteristic when new is the battery box louvers, problem is, railroads that had both, when the locos were shopped, any battery box door could fit on any unit, so the louver or no louver was no longer a reliable spotting feature. Best way to tell? Close up of the builder's plate.

                                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 31, 2021 2:29 PM

MisterBeasley
I can't tell the difference between a GP9 and a GP7.

My three GP units with zebra stripes are GP9s, my GP with rooftop torpedo tube air tanks and a steam generator is a GP7.

I know, because that is what the boxes said. I have no idea how to tell one from the other.

-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 Monday, February 1, 2021 3:09 PM

I compared my ALCO FA to some pictures. The paint looks pretty good, can someone tell me if they have inaccurate paint?

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 2:23 PM

 My Reading ones have accurate paint, but Reading's cab diesel paint scheme is pretty simple, all black with a green and yellow band.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
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  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 3:06 PM

Great Northern Fan 54

I compared my ALCO FA to some pictures. The paint looks pretty good, can someone tell me if they have inaccurate paint?

 

 

I can only go with the pictures of the model that I see online.  The paint looks close, however the lettering appears off.  Great is in the correct place, however it appears that Northern is too close the center door of the unit, and ends to far away from the cab door.

 

The green on the top also does not appear to go far enough down the carbody.  The rivet line that runs along the top of the orange stripe should be green, not orange as on the model. 

 

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 3:21 PM

SeeYou190
My three GP units with zebra stripes are GP9s, my GP with rooftop torpedo tube air tanks and a steam generator is a GP7. I know, because that is what the boxes said. I have no idea how to tell one from the other.

These two are from Athearn, both with the too-wide hoods, but otherwise matching their prototypes very well, as I worked from photos taken of the real ones.

The 76 is a GP7, with no dynamic brakes and no steam generator, and was set-up to run short hood forward...(click on the pictures for a larger view)

...while the 403 is a GP9...

...with roof-mounted torpedo-style air tanks, which allowed for a water tank to be added adjacent to the fuel tank.  This locomotive, one of three, was originally used as a passenger unit, and is equipped with a steam generator, which gets its water from the added underbody water tank.  These three locomotives ran long-hood forward on passenger trains.
When the passenger trains were phased-out and replaced by RDCs, the GP9s carried on as freight locos.

Both of the locos above were brush-painted, as were the heralds on the cabs' sides, and I did another couple of dozen, not detailed to the same degree, before switching to an airbrush, for roughly another four dozen. 
I was thankful when Atlas came out with a r-t-r version, later followed by the ones offered by Proto.

Wayne

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 7:51 PM

Great Northern Fan 54
"How good are the Trainline ALCO FAs?".

Not having any, I can't say if they're good, bad, or nothing.  Despite newer and better FAs (and FBs) being offered by companies such as Rapido, I stilll ike my Model Power FAs and FBs.  They're good runners and their pulling capabilities are outstanding, especially after I added quite a bit of weight.  They were equipped with large can motors (not necessarily top quality, but still pretty-darn good quality).
I have four of my freight versions left, even though I no longer model the diesel era...

These two, converted into passenger locomotives to look like their prototypes, which were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works, the FPA-4...

...and FPB-4

I painted them in a faux CNR scheme, but lettered them for one of my freelanced roads.

Later, when I backdated my layout to the late '30s, I sold them to a good friend.  While they definitely went to a very good home, I regret that sale to this day.

I have another (all-powered) A-B-B-A set left, but they haven't been detailed or painted into ones that match my remaining ones.

Wayne

 

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Posted by Autonerd on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 9:23 PM

Like others, I can't give you a precise answer... I can tell you I have a pair of Trainline F40PHs and love them. They run well and pull strongly. They are not DCC-ready, but soldering in a decoder was not difficult, and I'm a novice solder-er.

Aaron

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Posted by Lee 1234 on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 9:04 AM
I had one. It developed zinc rot and the whole frame crumbled. I had converted it to DCC no sound. If I recall the circuit board holds the motor in place and cannot be discarded. I cut circuit board tracks and added jumpers as needed. It had a silver can motor with plastic end bells. it ran fairly quiet.

L

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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 12:49 PM
I have been looking into scoring a Trainline Pepsi can. Do they have any faults? I know I model GN but Pepsi Cans are cool
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Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 1:21 PM

MisterBeasley

I have a Trainline GP9M model.  I added a simple decoder (wired in) and maybe replaced the headlight with a LED.  I have a sound decoder I'll install some day.  The GP9M was created by modifying an older GP9, giving it a chopped nose.  Oddly, for a Walthers model, the GP9M model has the wide-body profile matching the much older Athearn BB models, which were inaccurate to begin with.

The engine on the right is the GP9M, and the one on the left is a sound dummy I created from an old BB rubber band drive.  Just to be ornery, I looked up the Milwaukee roster of these engines, and numbered the dummy engine to be the same as the one that got rebuilt into the GP9M.

The detail level isn't as good as a Proto GP9.  The mechanical parts are just fine.  I will have no trouble putting a sound decoder and speaker in the shell.  There's plenty of room.

 

I have read that the Trainline GP9M came from the ol' Cox GP9m. Which has deep Athearn Roots.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Thursday, February 4, 2021 12:24 AM

OK, the GP97 (1500 HP 567B engine) introduced in 1949 after the BL2 failure, was EMD's first road switcher (OK, the NW3, NW4 and NW5 were light roadswitchers). It can be identified by three sets of louvers on the battery box under the cab and two sets under the radiator. Variations - Dynamic Brakes (after 1950), Steam Generators, Water Tanks beneath frame (with air tanks on to of the hood), 36 inch dyanic brake fans (until August 1952) then 48 inch, Sloped Pilots (until mid-1952), then flat with boxes for MU hoses, Some early units lacked the box-step on the walkway on the left side of the cab, Controls - short end front, long end front, bi-directional. Head End Power in squared off long hood. 5 B-units for the Santa Fe. CNJ 1524 is HEP equipped

CNJ-1524.jpg (5000×2440) (digitalrailartist.com)

FRPRT163564.jpg (1000×610) (american-rails.com)

"Torpedo Boat" with roof mounted air tanks

1102.1168671600.jpg (932×644) (railpictures.net)

GP9's (1750 HP 567C engine) were introduced in 1954. Spotting features are - Single Louver, later 2 small sets on battery box, Louvers on the first two large hood doors behind the cab, a third was added later, Small Louvers under the radiator. Fuel Tank Skirting perforated on early units, cut down on later (often done by the owner to early units) Options - Dynamic Brakes with 48 inch fan, After October 1957, the 4 36 inch roof top fans were replaced by 2 48 inch ones, Steam Generators were an option, Enlarged water tanks with air tanks on the hood roof a seperate option,  Fuel tank size varied as per customer request,  Low Nose option was available late in the production run, with an SP order for 20 being EMD's first low nose locomotives, Controls as per GP7. PRR(40) and UP (125) bought B units. 

"Torpedo Boat"

1001.1110436260.jpg (1024×695) (railpictures.net)

Late model

1341.1363741054.jpg (1200×807) (railpictures.net)

Low nose

4529.1243562827.jpg (1024×668) (railpictures.net)

Note that GP18's are almost identical to late model GP9's. Differences - 1800 HP 567D1 engine, Barred Grilles on air intakes Flat top fans and Notched Skirts on late units. 

5938.1144612800.jpg (1024×767) (railpictures.net)

nw2707.jpg (978×600) (donrossgroup.net)

 

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 5, 2021 10:53 AM

 Sure it was an FA? the circuit boards in mine did nothign to hold the motor in place. I did leave a tiny bit of the board over the rear truck (just cut it off) as a place to mount the decoder. I could have cut a piece of styrene, but I had the old factory board right there, so why not?

                                           --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • 46 posts
Posted by Great Northern Fan 54 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 1:31 PM
Really Late update, I now have a trio and they got put to the test. An A-Unit and a B-Unit took a dive and hit the floor. They survived

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