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Discussion Starter #1
I have been thinking quite a bit about Art's (Chugman) recent posts regarding excess in collecting and stopping. I am sure Art has been at this a lot longer then I have but I am leaning more and more to his model of stopping the insanity.

I just submitted a nearly $3000 order of MTH 2020 with the LHS because I read another LHS advice (Caboose Stop in Cedar Falls Iowa) that orders not received within a window of about 4-5 weeks are likely now to not get accepted by the manufacturers)

I still have a nearly $2000 order out on 2019 for MTH and Lionel.

I have plenty of rolling stock. I told myself regarding passenger rolling stock and locomotives that I was going to limit myself to U.P. and Rock Island. That would be fine, but I love Burlington Route and Milwaukee Road and joined their historical clubs at Trainfest and in general read a lot of history on these two Granger Roads.

The Burlington Route E series Zephyrs are cool for me, as are the Milwaukee Road Hiawathas. I have the Hiawatha 6 car MTH set on the most recent order including dome car and the trailing vista dome. I have a great MTH Premier 2.0 A-B-A purchased and the Alco DL-109 ordered from 2020 MTH catalog, so Milwaukee Road is well represented.

I previously purchased the E-7 or E-8 Burlington A-B Premier for $800 so set there. I am going to purchase a K-Line 6 car set of passenger cars from the LHS for a decent $350. So Burlington will be set.

So NOW I have drawn a line in the sand at Rock Island, Milwaukee Road, Burlington and U.P. and I have NO U.P. E's to front my MTH Premier 6 car passenger set.

I have passenger sets in Rock Island including the famous and yet untested Lionel 21" 4 car set, some Golden State stuff with more to purchase and a fine MTH U.P. 6 car set. This is all excessive now, but as with some of you the madness could go on. There are tie-ins with all passenger fleets from the Midwest. I could add Western Pacific, Illinois Central and Great Northern. (I have set a hard NO to the lines already mentioned, so it pains me to look at Western Pacific, GN and IC)

I could go on forever but the crux of this post is that I gotta devil on one shoulder and an angel on another. Having already purchased the Union Pacific MTH 6 car Premier passenger coach set, I need E series to front them.

So I go in on ebay, not having seen anything obvious in recent catalogs and see several E7's, some E6 stuff. I scroll and see a 3rd Rail (one locomotive only) E7 in full 3rd Rail regalia for $700. Never used it says. Aren't these at least $1000 new? The detail is exquisite, it's brass. It surely would be on the lead end of my passenger consist.

I also see several Lionel sets, so for $600 or so I can get a nicely detailed MTH or Lionel E7 set. 2 cars. And be set for good.

But Art is sitting on my shoulder! And I see these Williams sets of A-A or even A-B-A for $175 to $250 with "make an offer"! I'm thinking balance here. I have a set of Williams Rock Island F series freight haulers and I pulled them out the other day to inspect and they looked fine. The trucks on Williams locomotives always seem to lack, but I saw no issues with body detailing, colors and they are good conventional runners.

So, do you consider - buy the premium product 3rd Rail at the premium secondary market price of $700 (but likely still a great price) and add maybe a MTH or Williams non powered A or B Unit in front of your MTH Premier 6 car brand new passenger set? Or -

Buy the still decent Williams E7 with the poor looking trucks at $200 or less ? :dunno:

Where do you guys stand on detail / price or value and fun ? Should I "compromise" and get a Lionel or MTH A-A at $500 + or will I be totally happy with the Williams over time?

Eventually I want to STOP buying unless it's a previously unavailable Rock Island offering.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3RD-Rail-U...531151?hash=item593d6b4b4f:g:vRoAAOSww9dd2aT0

or

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WILLIAMS-U...092977?hash=item262d058231:g:54oAAOSwcBpdqgHl
 

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Bryan, slow down and take a breath. Question: do you have a layout where you actually run this stuff? My guess is no, since it seems like we buy a lot more stuff when we don't have a layout. Once you start running, it becomes obvious how much you need to be able to run and how much is excess. If you do run your trains regularly on your layout then I apologize. I know that I accumulated stuff much more rapidly when I was "between layouts." Once the new layout came along, I had many "Why in the world did I buy THAT?" moments. :eek:

About that 3rd Rail E7, it was right around $700 new so the ebay price is not a bargain at all. Also, 3rd Rail E7's are plastic and not brass (despite what the ebay seller says).

Chugman and I agree that you might want to listen to the angel a little more. But if you're having fun and can afford it, then knock yourself out. :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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I've read from several that the Williams drive train stands the test of time. They could have been referring to pre-Bachmann days so YMMV.
 

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Bryan the difference between 3rd Rail and Williams is about as big of a one as you will find. I'm not knocking Williams, but it all depends on what makes you happy. I run command control (TMCC, Legacy, and DCS) and would not be happy running conventional control.

Williams makes dependable basic engines in conventional. They have excellent bodies and paint jobs. You can add command control to these engines, but for the added cost you may as well just buy the more expensive engines to start with in my view.

I think the best advice I have heard about detail quality is to ask yourself how far away you will be watching them from? The closer the more important the detailing is and the farther away the less important. If you get far enough away, you can't see or appreciate the details, so why pay for them?

I love the looks and operation of 3rd rail engines, but am happy with my MTH, Lionel, or Atlas. Again good luck with whatever you decide.

Art
 

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"So, do you consider - buy the premium product 3rd Rail at the premium secondary market price of $700 (but likely still a great price) and add maybe a MTH or Williams non powered A or B Unit in front of your MTH Premier 6 car brand new passenger set? Or -

Buy the still decent Williams E7 with the poor looking trucks at $200 or less ?"


FWIW, I have tried matching a Williams dummy E7 B unit with a 3rd Rail E7 A-A set and the differences (especially in the trucks and the height over them at which the body sits) stick out like sore thumb. On the other hand, there isn't a noticeable difference in paint colors or finishes in my case (Frisco Texas Specials in red), which might also be the case with UP colors.

The price for the 3rd Rail E7 model you mention is not really low but if it's basically new in the box you get what you pay for. 3rd Rail's strong points are detail and fidelity to the prototypes they model, including in their ABS-body diesel models. 3rail models have TMCC electronics and so the sound, light and smoke features are relatively limited, at least by Legacy standards. Their horizontal drive system, if working properly, produces smooth slow speed running that is certainly on a par with Legacy.

Overall, I would say the play value of 3rd Rail models is less than Legacy or DCS but then you don't have the same level of complication and potential issues. And if scale fidelity appeals to you then 3rd Rail is certainly an appropriate choice.
 

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And you wonder why the little guy, the family starting out can't afford to put a Lionel, MTH etc under the tree?
 

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There is always something else, and always a reason it is appealing, too.

I love 3rd Rail engines for display but not for running.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A good compromise between 3rd Rail and Williams is K-line.
These will have two powered units, 4 motors total. Pilots can be easily fixed with P&D pilots.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2000-K-Lin...652266?hash=item48d01489ea:g:4rwAAOSwdgtdTul3

My K-Line E8s with P&D pilot.

View attachment 516746

Pete
Pete
I have that set saved and may jump on it. I don't know much about K-Line. I run conventional and like the noises and such I hear. I am not knowledgeable about TMCC - Legacy etc but for the next few years I am OK with conventional.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've read from several that the Williams drive train stands the test of time. They could have been referring to pre-Bachmann days so YMMV.
My Williams trains run fine. They have no sounds that I am aware of. I have not pulled one out to run for awhile.

What got me thinking about this topic is that I DID pull out a Williams Rock Island F set I have to again look at the detail. The bodies seem OK, but as some one noted, they might be shorter. The box says not, but that impression is left.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Bryan, slow down and take a breath. Question: do you have a layout where you actually run this stuff? My guess is no, since it seems like we buy a lot more stuff when we don't have a layout. Once you start running, it becomes obvious how much you need to be able to run and how much is excess. If you do run your trains regularly on your layout then I apologize. I know that I accumulated stuff much more rapidly when I was "between layouts." Once the new layout came along, I had many "Why in the world did I buy THAT?" moments. :eek:

About that 3rd Rail E7, it was right around $700 new so the ebay price is not a bargain at all. Also, 3rd Rail E7's are plastic and not brass (despite what the ebay seller says).

Chugman and I agree that you might want to listen to the angel a little more. But if you're having fun and can afford it, then knock yourself out. :smilie_daumenpos:
Bob:

I do run the trains because of this forum. I asked about 2 years ago whether to build the layout or the track 1st and got a resounding "track first and run trains." I am set to tape over the track as I am building bluffs and scenery.

Nonetheless your comment is spot on. Most of the passenger locomotives I have been buying come from about 1999 to 2005. Detail is good, they run good, but are nonetheless old.

Why am I in a hurry! Part of me believes that if I get 95% of what I want now, I can stop buying. I am not looking for every locomotive in my road names that might run a passenger consist, like PTC or other might do. I will have 2 for Milwaukee Road, 1 for Burlington, 2 for Rock Island and 1 for U.P.

For U.P. I can and should wait for a new catalog offering but from what I can see, they have not been in the MTH nor Lionel catalogs for a while. The focus is on modern diesels which are in every catalog and Big Boy.

Based on the advise here, I am going to pass on Williams and just monitor the market on ebay. I'm going to work on my layout vs train buying, because of the nearly $4000 I have on order.

Maybe if I get a windfall bonus paycheck I might pull the trigger but more than likely, I will hope against hope that MTH or Lionel come out with a Legacy level or Premier A-B-A in an E for U.P.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
"So, do you consider - buy the premium product 3rd Rail at the premium secondary market price of $700 (but likely still a great price) and add maybe a MTH or Williams non powered A or B Unit in front of your MTH Premier 6 car brand new passenger set? Or -

Buy the still decent Williams E7 with the poor looking trucks at $200 or less ?"


FWIW, I have tried matching a Williams dummy E7 B unit with a 3rd Rail E7 A-A set and the differences (especially in the trucks and the height over them at which the body sits) stick out like sore thumb. On the other hand, there isn't a noticeable difference in paint colors or finishes in my case (Frisco Texas Specials in red), which might also be the case with UP colors.

The price for the 3rd Rail E7 model you mention is not really low but if it's basically new in the box you get what you pay for. 3rd Rail's strong points are detail and fidelity to the prototypes they model, including in their ABS-body diesel models. 3rail models have TMCC electronics and so the sound, light and smoke features are relatively limited, at least by Legacy standards. Their horizontal drive system, if working properly, produces smooth slow speed running that is certainly on a par with Legacy.

Overall, I would say the play value of 3rd Rail models is less than Legacy or DCS but then you don't have the same level of complication and potential issues. And if scale fidelity appeals to you then 3rd Rail is certainly an appropriate choice.
This is great information. I consider my MTH Premier U.P. passenger cars to have great detail and color and they need an appropriate U.P. locomotive. The 3rd Rail is a stand alone unit and most other offerings are A-A or A-B or ABA.
 

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Pete
I have that set saved and may jump on it. I don't know much about K-Line. I run conventional and like the noises and such I hear. I am not knowledgeable about TMCC - Legacy etc but for the next few years I am OK with conventional.
Just like MTH engines, when you run a TMCC or Legacy engine in conventional you will get prime mover (diesel), chuff (steam), whistle or horn, and bell. You may get some background noises as well like dynamo or air compressor. Most K-Line made 2000, or later which this engine is, are well made. The TMCC engines use Lionel electronics and parts are readily available and won't break the bank if they fail like a Legacy engine. Many had extra features not found in Lionel or MTH of that era. The E8s have moving fans. The F7s came with three different pilots, big claw coupler, Scale coupler with small opening, and one with closed coupler doors. Something all manufacturers should include but don't.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #16
And you wonder why the little guy, the family starting out can't afford to put a Lionel, MTH etc under the tree?
We are all at different stages. I can only use the analogy of the old car hobby, which I am weaning off of. I have been in it for 42 years and I am 56. I bought what I could afford until I could afford better.

As for this hobby, I started with a RTR set. I have a Lionel RTR set on order which features a Norfolk Southern and a kid can have that set for $400? It's still on order but it would suffice for any 14 year old.

Then they can build from there. There is a lot of rolling stock on ebay for $10 to $20, the O27 stuff. Rail King.

My rolling stock is a mixture of Rail King, Atlas, MTH Premier, and Lionel.

Put it this way, if I had to buy a Williams A-B U.P. set to run a consist it would still look great to me. I have Williams locomotives and like them. I'm a detail guy, and I would not run the Williams unless I was satisfied they looked OK. I have a 24 year old Lionel Rock Island GP-7 and a newer Rock Island F series with two trucks per axle that are scrapped because of lack of detail.
 

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One small tidbit of advice:

The sooner you can decide what your goals are the better. What I mean by this is try to decide what road names you want to run, what time period you want to model, steam or diesel or both, and how realistic you want it to be. What type of track you want to use.

A good friend got back into model railroading and O gauge and he bought everything that he thought was a "good deal" or "too good to pass up" He ended up with a mish mash of different brands of track, too sharp of curves, too sharp of switches and nothing looked good together. He then bought some great deals on conventional engines, but later decided he was only happy with command control. He found 027 cars at great prices, but later felt that they were too small and too toy train like for his tastes. He bought any road name engine that was what he considered a great price. He has later decided he wanted to nly run roads that were in the Midwest, especially Chicago & North Western.

He now wished he had thought through things a little better. What were originally though to be fantastic deals turned out to be money wasted that he had to sell at a loss in many cases.

When it come to trains, if you're not sure, save your money. There are newer and better items coming out all the time and there will also be plenty of deals out there as we all age and our wives have to sell our stuff.

Art
 

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My I ask Why Lee? My 3rdrail engines are the best runners on my layout.
Well, for one thing I run in conventional and the TMCC in most of the third rail locos makes them jackrabbit badly. I have also had some problems which were fixed, but still.

They look so detailed and good that i am quite okay with them just be for display only.
 

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::::adjusting my horns:::::Bryan, your questions can only be answered by you. Only you can decide what makes you happy in this great hobby. As for the trains themselves, just like in life you should never put limitations on yourself. The trains are meant to be enjoyed so you should enjoy them to their fullest potential. Especially since you're running them now, my advice would be to buy both the 3RD Rail and the Williams trains you like. And I wouldn't worry yourself about road names on your layout. There are sooooo many beautiful colors and types of trains that would look magnificent on your layout.

The truth is, it's so much easier to give in and buy the trains you love. It's so stressful trying to limit what you buy, while wishing you could get what you need. Just let go and buy what you like. They may never come around again and you'll be sorry if you don't get them while they're hot!!

And in a few short weeks, the new Lionel and MTH catalogs will be released. And don't forget Atlas O and Williams. You'll feel soooo much better when you have all the trains you really want and need.
 
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