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Possible US small (it started out very small but is turning into medium size) HO project


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After a few trips to the US, I have a hankering to do a HO freelance short line layout using leased locos such as this GP38-2.

post-408-0-88185800-1516397251_thumb.jpg

GP7 and GP9 also seem to be common on leasing/shortline use

 

I know b* all about the US rail scene - full size and model. 

 

I'm due a trip over there again and already looking at shops in the area.

They have DCC fitted Atlas GP38s/GP40s around the $100 mark.

 

So a few questions.

 

Whilst it says GP38 on the description, do some of the Atlas models represent the later GP38-2?

 

What DCC fitting do they have? Am I right in that it's a plug-in Digitrax decoder and not an integrated board? So they could be converted to sound later?

 

Are they worth it? I have no problem in detailing up stuff if it needs a few more bits.

 

Are there any other recommended brands or ones to avoid?

 

All info gratefully received.

 

Cheers,

Mick

Edited by newbryford
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Great to see you coming over to the dark side Mick!

 

I've been running an Atlas GP38-2 and a GP40 on my (DC) layout for six years and they are excellent models. Decent detailing out of the box, very well built and excellent runners. I also have an Athearn Genesis GP38-2, which is beautifully detailed and a good runner, although it doesn't feel quite as solid as the Atlas units. I think if you are just starting out an Atlas Geep will serve you well.

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Why am I not surprised to see a picture of a yellow loco?

 

I presume you're talking about HO scale.

 

If it says "Atlas GP38", it's a GP38: http://www.atlasrr.com/HOLoco/hogp38406.htm

 

Atlas also do GP38-2s in their 'Trainman' range, which is not as detailed as their main range.

 

http://www.atlasrr.com/HOLoco/arc-hotmgp382.htm

 

There are differences between 'straight' GP38s and Dash 2s - none major IMO, but you can see them if you know what to look for. 

 

Again IMO, Atlas are probably the best products. The website says both main range and Trainman range have 8-pin plugs for DCC.

 

Athearn's Genesis range generally have a good reputation and it includes many GP38-2s :

 

http://www.athearn.com/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=gp38-2+ATHG&CatID=THLD&OA=True&Page=1

 

As far as 'avoid' is concerned, be aware Bachmann US does not have the same reputation as Bachman UK, but you get what you pay for. (Edit - having just looked at the Bachmann website, prices seem to have gone up since I last bought anything direct from them!)

Edited by pH
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Hi Simon,

I saw that as I carried on surfing/searching which has sort of made my mind up. Thanks anyway.

 

How to sneak it out from the shop without Mrs NB looking (she will probably stay in the car whilst I am shopping) will be the next issue.......

 

Cheers,

Mick

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Why am I not surprised to see a picture of a yellow loco?

My thoughts too. ;)

 

I'm wondering if that locomotive used to belong to Uncle Pete?  This website suggests provenance for the GP38-2. (ex C&NW, ex UPRR)

 

I'm thinking that photograph would make a nice entry for the cakebox challenge!  Doing a mini-diorama might help you decide whether you want to go further.

 

Go for it Mick!

Edited by Ozexpatriate
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Nice to see you over here in USA & Canada. I've seen your New Bryford layout a couple of times and it's one of my favourites on the exhibition circuit.

 

Atlas are my preferred brand, they have always been top quality. Athearn Genesis are also highly detailed.

 

My latest purchase is new release Atlas GP38, or at least I thought it was, only to discover that it's actually a GP38-2 rebuilt from a GP38. It is fitted with an ESU Loksound decoder with the latest 'Drivehold' feature (similar to Legomanbiffo's Drivelock) Superb motor control and sound.

 

 

post-7898-0-18128200-1516444401_thumb.jpg

 

 

Mal

 

 

 

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My thoughts too. ;)

 

I'm wondering if that locomotive used to belong to Uncle Pete?  This website suggests provenance for the GP38-2. (ex C&NW, ex UPRR)

 

I'm thinking that photograph would make a nice entry for the cakebox challenge!  Doing a mini-diorama might help you decide whether you want to go further.

 

Go for it Mick!

 

This was the first loco I saw when I went looking for the Georgia Central Railway. 

 

post-408-0-57978700-1516454322_thumb.jpg

 

It's a GP16 originally built for CSX. The Diesel Shop looks like a great resource.

I can only guess it was being delivered to the First Coast Railroad after works attention. (FCR only have four locos on their roster....)

 

There is a UK connection as the parent company of GCR and FCR is Genesee & Wyoming, who now own Freightliner.

 

As for dioramas. Not too far away was a chemical terminal served by GCR that had it's own switcher. (See. I'm already using Mercan terminology)

post-408-0-45754000-1516454657_thumb.jpg

 

The exchange loops from the GCR are behind the loco.

 

post-408-0-83979800-1516455543_thumb.jpg

Is it a SW9? 

 

If - and it's a reasonably large if at the moment - I built a US layout, it would be a diorama/switching type.

 

And I've worked out a way to "not hide" my purchase. One of my club members models US, so I'm simply buying it on behalf of him..........

 

Cheers,

Mick

Edited by newbryford
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This was the first loco I saw when I went looking for the Georgia Central Railway. 

 

attachicon.gif1605.jpg

 

It's a GP16 originally built for CSX. The Diesel Shop looks like a great resource.

I can only guess it was being delivered to the First Coast Railroad after works attention. (FCR only have four locos on their roster....)

 

There is a UK connection as the parent company of GCR and FCR is Genesee & Wyoming, who now own Freightliner.

 

As for dioramas. Not too far away was a chemical terminal served by GCR that had it's own switcher. (See. I'm already using Mercan terminology)

attachicon.gif1209.jpg

 

The exchange loops from the GCR are behind the loco.

 

attachicon.gif1209a.jpg

Is it a SW9? 

 

If - and it's a reasonably large if at the moment - I built a US layout, it would be a diorama/switching type.

 

And I've worked out a way to "not hide" my purchase. One of my club members models US, so I'm simply buying it on behalf of him..........

 

Cheers,

Mick

 

NW2 by the look of it

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As others have said, Atlas models are excellent. They lose out to some others in terms of trick details but they're very well made and finished, run extremely well and tend to be very accurate in terms of shape and how they capture the overall look of the prototype. A very safe buy and they tend to be good value for money.

 

Kato models are in some ways still the best US models IMO as although they've been left behind by others in terms of detail and some of them are more like semi-kits than RTR because of the number of add on parts they run beautifully and have a wonderful finish with very fine paint.

 

Of the others, Athearn Genesis are wonderfully details and go for a lot of the modern trick details but I've found running qualities and build a bit hit and miss. MTH make some nice models but I've never really warmed to them thanks to certain business behaviours. Broadway Imports make some nice models but they can be pricey. Bowser are making some terrific models if you like Alco's and Canadian SD40 draper tapers. I have some of the Bowser Alco Century models and am very happy with them. Walthers make some nice models under their Proto 1000 and Proto 2000 brands and are well worth a look. Intermountain are well worth a look.

 

Bachmann used to be the cheap alternative to the better producers but Bachmann US prices have gone up like their UK prices and the result is that I think they're still the poor alternative in terms of detail and fidelity to prototype but that this is no longer reflected in the price.

 

Of the newer entrants Rapido are superb (although I find the paint can be a bit heavy feeling) and Scale trains look very promising.

 

As a left field choice consider brass. I collect US brass diesels and if you're patient and selective you can pick up beautiful Overland diesels for in some cases not much more than RTR plastic new. And those brass models are still finished to a standard that RTR plastic can't match, particularly the wonderful lustre and deep semi-gloss paint.

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NW2 by the look of it

 

A quick google reveals:

Distinguishing features include two stacks in the middle of the hood, a half-height radiator grille, no sand box on the front platform, and no small louvers at the top front corners of the sides of the hood.

 

post-408-0-86226800-1516481451_thumb.jpg

 

 

Cheers,

Mick

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A quick google reveals:

Distinguishing features include two stacks in the middle of the hood, a half-height radiator grille, no sand box on the front platform, and no small louvers at the top front corners of the sides of the hood.

 

attachicon.gif1209b.jpg

 

 

Cheers,

Mick

 

Where was the pic taken Mick?

 

cheers Paul........

Edited by 40019
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Where was the pic taken Mick?

 

cheers Paul........

 

Colonial Chemicals, Telfair Rd, Savannah, GA in November 2016.

 

The driver looked very annoyed at me taking photos and got out and came over to have a word, until he heard my English accent.

 

Trying to find "industrial use" locos is proving time consuming. If it's kept it's road number from original user, then it's either ex-Boston & Maine or Kansas City Southern.

 

Cheers,

Mick

Edited by newbryford
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Oh dear! :no:  :no:  :no:  :no:  :no:  :no:  :no:  :no:

hahahahha

 

I worked Nick Pallets O Gauge Midland Ohio at Nottingham a couple of years back, I got hooked.

post-9335-0-42333600-1516486287_thumb.jpg

Edited by Andrew P
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A quick google reveals:

Distinguishing features include two stacks in the middle of the hood, a half-height radiator grille, no sand box on the front platform, and no small louvers at the top front corners of the sides of the hood.

 

attachicon.gif1209b.jpg

 

 

Cheers,

Mick

Kato used to do a NW2 back in the day. I had one in UP paint scheme and it was the smoothest running loco.   Rails of Sheffield have one for sale.

 

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KATO-HO-GAUGE-37-116-CHESSIE-EMD-NW2-PHASE-II-DIESEL-LOCO-5287-6R/201921439810?hash=item2f0374a842:g:-UgAAOSw5cRZFCtb

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Mick your OP pic shows a slightly unusual loco, a Dash 2 with Blomberg B trucks, rather than the Blomberg M type introduced as standard with the Dash 2 line. No doubt CNW traded in some old F units or Geeps and got their old, entirely satisfactory, trucks back. Some others did the same.

 

Customisation occurs even with new purchases, and even more so when the loco has been around a few different owners. Part of the fun of the US scene, really, but it can mean that the faithful model you buy has wrong features for your chosen prototype. 

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I don't have a huge selection of locos, but I've found that my Atlas ones are the best. They're pretty strong, good runners and the sound is really good (everyone seems to love my RS11, but the HH600 is just as nice IMO). My Bachmann engine is fine, and was noticeably cheaper (though still a lot of money), but I would definitely recommend Atlas out of everything I have experience of.

 

The truck swapping they did takes some keeping up with - am I right in thinking that some geeps ran around on trucks which started life under Alcos?

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Mick your OP pic shows a slightly unusual loco, a Dash 2 with Blomberg B trucks, rather than the Blomberg M type introduced as standard with the Dash 2 line. No doubt CNW traded in some old F units or Geeps and got their old, entirely satisfactory, trucks back. Some others did the same.

 

Customisation occurs even with new purchases, and even more so when the loco has been around a few different owners. Part of the fun of the US scene, really, but it can mean that the faithful model you buy has wrong features for your chosen prototype. 

 

Hi Ian,

 

It also means I can do a freelance short line with a fictitious name and leasing company and not be too worried.........

 

The Bryford County Railway maybe - with a predominantly yellow colour scheme? I quite like the fact that some use railway as opposed to railroad.

 

The NW2 I photographed is starting to grow on me.

 

Cheers,

Mick

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I don't have a huge selection of locos, but I've found that my Atlas ones are the best. They're pretty strong, good runners and the sound is really good (everyone seems to love my RS11, but the HH600 is just as nice IMO). My Bachmann engine is fine, and was noticeably cheaper (though still a lot of money), but I would definitely recommend Atlas out of everything I have experience of.

 

The truck swapping they did takes some keeping up with - am I right in thinking that some geeps ran around on trucks which started life under Alcos?

 

Try GM&O. 

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