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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good day everyone! Although this is my first post, I have been lurking here for a few months as I research options for track layout, locomotives and rolling stock. I just now joined so I could start asking questions and get advice.

I have an old (mid 90's) Atlas Norfolk Southern Diesel that runs OK. It was a gift from my wife back when we would put up a loop around the Christmas tree for our kids to watch.

Now, some 15 years later, I'm starting to get back into this, but now want to build a small layout that will be L shaped. 4'x8' with anouther 4'x4' section. Or another way to describe it would be 8'x8' but with one quadrent removed. The idea is one long section of track with 3 different levels with inclines/declines, some bridges and tunnels.

I'm looking for recommendations for a solid DC diesel locomotive. I'm hoping to find teh best one for $200 USD or less. I have no plans to go DCC, and I'm not nesessarily looking for anything that's ultra precise when it comes to scale. What I'm wanting is the best performance for the money, because some of my inclines might be 4%. Looks are just icing on the cake... I need a loco with good traction.

So far, I have identified the Kato N EMD SD70ACe Cab Headlight Version as a reasonable candidate. They are available for right around $100. But I have no idea if there are better alternatives. All the searching I have done turns up information that is 10 years old.
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Pretty much anything that you buy new is going to run fine. More money will buy you more and better details.

Consider, though, that your railroad also determines what you can have. Most equipment has a minimum radius that it requires to run reliably, and you'll want to keep this in mind. That is a fairly long loco, with large, 3 axle trucks. It will want broad curves, probably much broader than the ones you have on the proposed layout design in your other thread.

Also, a loco like that isn't going to be happy running up a 4% grade with any kind of a curve on it. You will definitely need easements into your grades if you plan on having ones that steep.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback! When I was reading the specs, it said the minimum radius is 9.75 inches, so I was trying to keep my layout to 11.25 and greater. I hadn't considered the extra drag from a turn when also part of an incline. Good thing I'm probably not going to start any builds until after the summer. That will give me some time to do a lot of research.

Does anyone here prefer one brand over another? Are we allowed to discuss differences between brands?
 

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Thanks for the feedback! When I was reading the specs, it said the minimum radius is 9.75 inches, so I was trying to keep my layout to 11.25 and greater. (1) I hadn't considered the extra drag from a turn when also part of an incline. Good thing I'm probably not going to start any builds until after the summer. That will give me some time to do a lot of research.

(2) Does anyone here prefer one brand over another? (3) Are we allowed to discuss differences between brands?
1). Yes, the drag is real, it’s been a pain on almost every layout ever.


2). Kato (at least here in the N Scale section) is considered the best, but every brand has a dud here and there.

3). Yes.
 

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Thanks for the feedback! When I was reading the specs, it said the minimum radius is 9.75 inches, so I was trying to keep my layout to 11.25 and greater. I hadn't considered the extra drag from a turn when also part of an incline. Good thing I'm probably not going to start any builds until after the summer. That will give me some time to do a lot of research.

Does anyone here prefer one brand over another? Are we allowed to discuss differences between brands?
I got into modelling a couple months ago, so I am far from an expert. I run N Gauge on a 4x8 layout. I have three loops on the layout with curves of 11, 12.37, and 13.75 inches. While almost all of my locomotives are Kato, I have two Broadway Limited Inc SD70ACe locomotives. I generally keep the two SDs on the outer two loops where they have no problems, I have run them on the inner loop. I did not go full throttle with them on the inner loop, but they did not have a problem at half throttle. I hope that information helps a little bit.

I have been told several times on this forum to take the minimum factory recommendation with a grain of salt. It usually means that the engineers were able to coax it through a curve like that, not that it would take it every time under all conditions. I have learned that this is probably a very true statement.
 

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Good day everyone! Although this is my first post, I have been lurking here for a few months as I research options for track layout, locomotives and rolling stock. I just now joined so I could start asking questions and get advice.

I have an old (mid 90's) Atlas Norfolk Southern Diesel that runs OK. It was a gift from my wife back when we would put up a loop around the Christmas tree for our kids to watch.

Now, some 15 years later, I'm starting to get back into this, but now want to build a small layout that will be L shaped. 4'x8' with anouther 4'x4' section. Or another way to describe it would be 8'x8' but with one quadrent removed. The idea is one long section of track with 3 different levels with inclines/declines, some bridges and tunnels.

I'm looking for recommendations for a solid DC diesel locomotive. I'm hoping to find teh best one for $200 USD or less. I have no plans to go DCC, and I'm not nesessarily looking for anything that's ultra precise when it comes to scale. What I'm wanting is the best performance for the money, because some of my inclines might be 4%. Looks are just icing on the cake... I need a loco with good traction.

So far, I have identified the Kato N EMD SD70ACe Cab Headlight Version as a reasonable candidate. They are available for right around $100. But I have no idea if there are better alternatives. All the searching I have done turns up information that is 10 years old.
View attachment 558186
JeffHurl;

Kato Locomotives are excellent. I have many of them of different types and all are smooth runners.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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My first layout had 3% grades, I'm fairly new to this addiction btw, a year and a half now and building up my second layout, also a 4X8 with added 4X4 L table. I swagged the grades on this one to be about 2% or so (so far with no troubles). A local shop owner suggested to me to not go any larger than 12" curves with the train I initially bought. I now have two Kato SD70ACes running consist along with the Silver Streak Zephyr on 3 1/2 separate loops. From all that I read when first getting into this hobby, Kato locos were top of the line equipment, rolling stock were the various makers depending on what / when your layout was to represent. Something that many have done, including myself is swapping out whatever trucks and couplers with MicroTrain (also considered by many as top of the line) trucks with their knuckle couplers
 
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