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Too big of a steam locomotive?

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Too big of a steam locomotive?
Posted by JDawg on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:18 PM

     I am considering a BLI heavy pacific (4-6-2) for my second layout. The layout is small (3' 4" * 6'), and the locomotive would only be pulling 4 to 5 cars plus caboose. I am concerned that this locomotive would dwarf the layout. Just wondering if anyone thinks the same. If you have one of these locos, could you post a pic next to a boxcar (specify length) for some reference. Thanks all.

JJF


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Posted by JDawg on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:21 PM

JDawg

     I am considering a BLI heavy pacific (4-6-2) for my second layout. The layout is small (3' 4" * 6'), and the locomotive would only be pulling 4 to 5 cars plus caboose. I am concerned that this locomotive would dwarf the layout. Just wondering if anyone thinks the same. If you have one of these locos, could you post a pic next to a boxcar (specify length) for some reference. Thanks all.

 

 

If this loco doesn't work, what might?

JJF


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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:30 PM

If you like a particular engine and it will technically negotiate your layout track geometry, then why does it really matter if it's too big or not?

Most layouts cannot adequately represent the wide open spaces of Wyoming, or the massive 160 car ore trains of Minnesota, or the long coal drags of C&O, N&W, or others, yet that does not stop others of us from having the monster articulateds on our layouts.  

Will you eventually have more space?  What are your ultimate model train goals?  

Depending upon one's future goals, a pacific might be just fine?

I built the layout that I have to showcase the trains, so that I can essentially railfan my own trains (that in most cases are gone in real life, but can live on in model form).  To me that's all that really matters.  I can run engines or rolling stock that I'll never see run again in real life, and I can enjoy them.

Respectfully submitted--

John

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Posted by G Paine on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:42 PM

The first thing to think about is what is the miminum radius curve on the layout and will that large loco run reliably around the curve. Big locomotives are nice, but it can be frustrating if ther keep derailing on too tight a curve

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by JDawg on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:45 PM

I know what you mean John. I really do like the locomotive. However, I really dislike the look of overly large engine pulling too few cars. Like a SD80 MAC pulling 4 cars looks sort of dumb in my opinion. I just don't want that look is all. I do appreciate the input however.

JJF


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Posted by JDawg on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:46 PM

G Paine

The first thing to think about is what is the miminum radius curve on the layout and will that large loco run reliably around the curve. Big locomotives are nice, but it can be frustrating if ther keep derailing on too tight a curve

 

 

The curve radius won't be an issue. LHS ran the loco through 18 inch curves with no problem. Thanks for the tip though.

JJF


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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:48 PM

JDawg

     I am considering a BLI heavy pacific (4-6-2) for my second layout. The layout is small (3' 4" * 6'), and the locomotive would only be pulling 4 to 5 cars plus caboose. I am concerned that this locomotive would dwarf the layout. Just wondering if anyone thinks the same. If you have one of these locos, could you post a pic next to a boxcar (specify length) for some reference. Thanks all.

 

Well, the pulling 4-5 cars part would be very prototypical for a Pacific. While they could pull more, often they were used on passenger trains of that size - so that those trains could be fast.

A Pacific will run on smaller curves in most cases, just like our conversation about Consolidations...... that part will be fine.

So, like John said, if that's what you like and want, I would go for it - and I would work on figuring out some more space for the layout....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, April 30, 2021 11:13 PM

If you decide the Pacific is too large, you might want to look at a smaller Consolidation (2-8-0) or a ten-wheeler (4-6-0). A Mogul (2-6-0) may be too early for your era, but any of those three types (except perhaps the larger Consolidations) were smaller than a Pacific and might look better to your eye.

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Posted by JDawg on Friday, April 30, 2021 11:34 PM

Anyone happen to know the approximate length of the locomotive? can't seem to find that info. Bit over 50ft without tender sound right?

JJF


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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 1, 2021 12:26 AM

JDawg
Anyone happen to know the approximate length of the locomotive?

I just happen to have my SOUTHERN PS-4 Pacific (almost the same as a USRA Heavy Pacific) in a display case. The locomotive is 7 inches long. Not quite a 50 foot boxcar.

Please ignore the dust. My house is in a remodel right now.

-Kevin

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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, May 1, 2021 12:47 AM
Ok, the Broadway Limited web site states that the minimum radius curve is 18 inches.
 
I stand to be corrected, because tenders were sometimes changed but it would appear that an as built USRA Heavy Pacific 4-6-2 locomotive and tender was 83” 4” in length, so an HO scale one should be just under 1 foot in length.
 
Now your bio says, “Younger guy modelling in ho scale”, so, while it may look LARGE, and possibly slightlyridiculous on your current layout, who knows what the future will bring?
 
What I’m saying is if you want one, Buy It NOW!!! I say this because when Bachmann Spectrum Steam locomotives were new and available, I couldn’t convince myself that they were within my budget, I have since regretted that decision!
 
My 2 CentsCheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, May 1, 2021 5:09 AM

Here's the Broadway heavy Pacific:

 ERIE_2925 by Edmund, on Flickr

   — compared to a 40' xm box car:

 ERIE_2925-xm by Edmund, on Flickr

   and roughly the length to the tender drawbar:

 ERIE_2925-l by Edmund, on Flickr

I've had three Pacifics and four Mikes plus a couple 2-8-0s from Broadway. A few had decoder glitches but BLI took care of any issues. They're good runners and pullers and the detail is adequate. I'm working on adding an Elesco FWH and a few other details to thiis Erie K-5.

Hope that helps, Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, May 1, 2021 5:39 AM

JDawg

I am considering a BLI heavy pacific (4-6-2) for my second layout. The layout is small (3' 4" * 6'), and the locomotive would only be pulling 4 to 5 cars plus caboose. I am concerned that this locomotive would dwarf the layout. 

Interesting concern. A 4-6-2 is not all that big. The problem is one of perception given that your layout is small at 3'4" x 6'. If you are committed to using a steam locomotive on your layout, you will need to consider the number of driver wheels. 

If you look closely at Kevin's photo, the overall length of that 4-6-2 is 6.75". The six driver wheel configuration is about 2.5" long. So, each driver wheel is about 0.08333" inches in diameter. A 4 driver wheel configuration would reduce the overall length of the engine by nearly one inch.

There is a list of wheel configurations in Wikipedia to choose from if you could settle for a 4 driver wheel configuration including the 4-4-2 Atlantic. Just a suggestion.

Rich

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Posted by NorthBrit on Saturday, May 1, 2021 6:04 AM

Just a thought  ---

 

Although the name of the layout escapes me,  a few years back (here in the UK), there was a model on the Exhibition Circuit  of a Steam Locomotive Depot.

A lovely layout with all kinds of locomotives on it.  Locomotives being coaled up,  turning on the turntable,  being cleaned etc. etc..  

Then when ready for their next turn of duty, off they went off stage.   

No carriages, no trucks  -  just locomotives.   Large locomotives,  medium sized and small ones   all with jobs to do.  Not one looking out of place;  a reason to be there

 

David

 

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, May 1, 2021 6:11 AM

Good morning JDawg

My Son Jeremy's nickname is JDogg.

 

Too Big?  Don't know?  I never thought like that before now.  Goes without saying the gauge of the wheel spread is the same on a big loco as a small one.  I have a challenger 4-6-6-4 for a 51"x 87" layout. 

Respectfully speaking.  For me to think that locomotive is too big for my layout, would be like me thinking I have too much money or I'm getting too much air! Smile, Wink & Grin

 

Hope that helps.

Don't worry,  Just have funWink

 

 

 

TF

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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, May 1, 2021 7:12 AM

Hi there. Why this model in particular? Is it because your LHS has a good deal? If that's the case, I would go for it. But only if it's a good deal. I had a similar size layout and my 4-6-0s were my favourite locos. They just look nice on a small layout. What kind of equipment will you pulling? Pacifics did not pull much freight while 4-6-0s and 2-6-0s pulled both. You won't be able to run long passenger cars either. 60' cars and a ten wheeler look great...

Simon

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Posted by JDawg on Saturday, May 1, 2021 8:06 AM

Thanks for all the input and especialy the photos. I just want to reiterate that the 3' 4" by 6' is my Secondary layout at my second residence. I have a larger layout in MN, but it is set in 1963, after the fall of steam. I am choosing a slightly earlier era for my second layout so I can run steam locos. I don't have much room in my Fort Myers condo, I needed something that fit in my office, plus my desk, bookcases, ect. ect. Again, awesome replies. Thanks a bunch.

JJF


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Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:07 AM

For what its worth, and repeating much said in earlier posts:

-  A Pacific was normally used for passenger trains

-  Both Bachmann and BLI make great Consolidations (2-8-0) and they were the workhorses of many RRs for decades.  IMO, one of these would work out just fine for your shorter trains and layout size. 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:15 AM

mobilman44

For what its worth, and repeating much said in earlier posts:

-  A Pacific was normally used for passenger trains

-  Both Bachmann and BLI make great Consolidations (2-8-0) and they were the workhorses of many RRs for decades.  IMO, one of these would work out just fine for your shorter trains and layout size. 

 

Yes, agreed. I almost assumed he was talking about a passenger train, no matter the length of passenger cars he might use.

We recently had ths topic with another poster interested in a steam loco for a small layout. The Bachmann or BLI Consolidation was the number one choice.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by JDawg on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:26 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
mobilman44

For what its worth, and repeating much said in earlier posts:

-  A Pacific was normally used for passenger trains

-  Both Bachmann and BLI make great Consolidations (2-8-0) and they were the workhorses of many RRs for decades.  IMO, one of these would work out just fine for your shorter trains and layout size. 

 

 

 

Yes, agreed. I almost assumed he was talking about a passenger train, no matter the length of passenger cars he might use.

We have already had a long thread with him about using a Bachmann Consolidation......

I think I give up.

Sheldon

 

 

     I'm sorry Sheldon, I really am, but finding a Bachmann consolidation in GN colors is hard, or rather I haven't had much luck. I happened to find this BLI loco (4-6-2) but was concerned with it's size. Plus, Bachmann locos are more expensive than the BLI, and often times they don't have dcc and sound, an added expense. I'm not trying to waste your time. But, here's the thing. There is one BLI 2-8-0 on eBay. It's 500$ This pacific is 250$. That is why I can't get the BLI 2-8-0, it too darn much. Bottom line, steam locos are a whole new animal for me, I have no experience with them, and I don't have money to burn, so I want to be sure I make a wise decision. I'm sorry that you feel exasperated with me.

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by JDawg on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:32 AM

Again, i want to thank everyone for their input, you all have been so helpful.

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:53 AM

JDawg

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
mobilman44

For what its worth, and repeating much said in earlier posts:

-  A Pacific was normally used for passenger trains

-  Both Bachmann and BLI make great Consolidations (2-8-0) and they were the workhorses of many RRs for decades.  IMO, one of these would work out just fine for your shorter trains and layout size. 

 

 

 

Yes, agreed. I almost assumed he was talking about a passenger train, no matter the length of passenger cars he might use.

We have already had a long thread with him about using a Bachmann Consolidation......

I think I give up.

Sheldon

 

 

 

 

     I'm sorry Sheldon, I really am, but finding a Bachmann consolidation in GN colors is hard, or rather I haven't had much luck. I happened to find this BLI loco (4-6-2) but was concerned with it's size. Plus, Bachmann locos are more expensive than the BLI, and often times they don't have dcc and sound, an added expense. I'm not trying to waste your time. But, here's the thing. There is one BLI 2-8-0 on eBay. It's 500$ This pacific is 250$. That is why I can't get the BLI 2-8-0, it too darn much. Bottom line, steam locos are a whole new animal for me, I have no experience with them, and I don't have money to burn, so I want to be sure I make a wise decision. I'm sorry that you feel exasperated with me.

 

Please note I edited my post, while I have tried to offer you advice before, I did confuse you with a different poster asking similar questions to yours. My apploigies.

If you think Bachmann locos cost more than BLI you are shopping in the wrong places.

As for roadnames, yes not every roadname that Bachmann has made in 25 years is readily available. Preorders and limited production is the new normal....... so I am told.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by JDawg on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:01 AM

Ok. No hard feelings. I was just trying to remember when I asked about 2-8-0's!Big SmileConfused

 

I shop for some stuff on eBay, and I was looking at a Bachmann 4-4-0's, and 4-6-0's and the 4-4-0s run around 300. The 4-6-0's are less, but they have no sound, so then you add the custom paint work, the price of a decoder, and your are back up there in price. That's my big predicament! Look's too big but the price is right, or it looks ok and the price is high, hard choice to make IMO. Thanks for the revision too Sheldon. I do value your input.Embarrassed

JJF


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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:10 AM

It does seem big for the layout but most of us who run large steamers put them on trains for which they are over powered. The N scale guys can probably run prototypically correct trains but those of us in HO and larger put large steam on trains for which a Ten Wheeler or Consolidation would be more appropriate. So what? It's a hobby of compromises. If you're happy with a Pacific on a 5 car train, who's to argue. It's also feasible that a large steamer discarded by a Class 1 railroad might find a second life on a short line pulling much shorter trains than it was designed for. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:27 AM

John-NYBW

It does seem big for the layout but most of us who run large steamers put them on trains for which they are over powered. The N scale guys can probably run prototypically correct trains but those of us in HO and larger put large steam on trains for which a Ten Wheeler or Consolidation would be more appropriate. So what? It's a hobby of compromises. If you're happy with a Pacific on a 5 car train, who's to argue. It's also feasible that a large steamer discarded by a Class 1 railroad might find a second life on a short line pulling much shorter trains than it was designed for. 

 

Yes, even my 35-45 car trains are intended to "represent" the 60 to 75 car trains of my era and local.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 1, 2021 10:34 AM

John-NYBW
t does seem big for the layout but most of us who run large steamers put them on trains for which they are over powered.

I am guilty!

I own a Bachmann 2-8-8-4, and the maximum train length in my staging yard will be about 12 freight cars.

-Kevin

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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, May 1, 2021 12:03 PM

I have a BS 4-4-0 that pulls five cars around the layout for hours on end when I am working on the layout. It may be just me but that little 4-4-0 makes the layout seem just that much larger as it is small and I usually set it at about 25mph.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, May 2, 2021 3:32 PM

GMPULLMAN. The Erie classed its USRA Paacifics as class K5 with the copies it ordered post USRA as K5a. Interestingly, the cover girl of first RMC I ever bought (in the early Sixties)  was a Max Gray modernized K5 (Hal Carstens was a big Erie fan) that the railroad had grossly updated with an Elesco FWH, Boxpok drivers, air compressors on the pilot deck behind shields and twelve wheel tender - its hard to see the USRA loco under all that

https://www.railarchive.net/randomsteam/erie2941.htm

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, May 2, 2021 6:36 PM

Recent DCC Bachmann steam locomotives have got very expensive to buy new. The Russian Decapod msrp is pushing $600.00. 

That's a small "big" locomotive that suits a small layout.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 2, 2021 7:57 PM

Lastspikemike

Recent DCC Bachmann steam locomotives have got very expensive to buy new. The Russian Decapod msrp is pushing $600.00. 

That's a small "big" locomotive that suits a small layout.

 

I can't speak for prices in Canada, but Bachmann street prices here are typically 40% off msrp or more, and the Decapod is $579 US, and Trainworld has them for $330, 44% off.

So the question is, what price can you buy it for?, not what is the msrp.

Other brands like Broadway are typically only discounted about 30-35%, yet their msrp is about the same on similar locos.

Again, I can only speak for what I have access to.

We have a dealer in this region, about an hour from me, who always has Bachmann at the lowest prices, and who has a big inventory of it.

Sheldon 

    

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