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Discussion Starter #1
I have recently returned to the hobby after a 60 year hiatus. Back in the '60s, I just bought a couple of F7As and went about enjoying the trains. Now I am a little more into the details and need help identifying the various locos that came with the used layout I purchased. Might as well just jump right in!

Is there a directory or similar that would help me identify the 25 or so locos, steam and diesel, that came with the layout? The various iterations of GPs, F7s, etc. have me a bit confused.

Thanks for any help.

East Houston
 

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You could post pics here, and we could likely identify them for you....
 

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I have recently returned to the hobby after a 60 year hiatus. Back in the '60s, I just bought a couple of F7As and went about enjoying the trains. Now I am a little more into the details and need help identifying the various locos that came with the used layout I purchased. Might as well just jump right in!

Is there a directory or similar that would help me identify the 25 or so locos, steam and diesel, that came with the layout? The various iterations of GPs, F7s, etc. have me a bit confused.

Thanks for any help.

East Houston
Keep in mind that many models, especially older ones, are "mutts", that is, a generic representation of a locomotive that could be painted in several different railroads' paint schemes (livery) for sale. Specific identifying details distinguishing different railroads and variations of the same model were usually missing. Modelers would customize the off-the-shelf models if those details were important.

These days, a number of manufacturers, especially in their higher end models, include railroad and variant-specific details in production versions, albeit at a higher cost. There are still mutts out there, but fewer now than before.

So, if you know it's an F7, that may be as close as you're going to get (the various GP's are more easily distinguished). But go ahead and post some pix, and we'll see what we can do.
 

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I guess we should have been a little more specific when we said "pix". For the steam, it helps to be able to see the wheel arrangements, and the diesels need to be close enough that we can see the roof and side detailing, and fully illuminated as well. Also maybe one per picture would make it easier to tell you what is what.

Is 6200 brass? I'm gonna say a 2-10-2 Santa Fe on that one; with the big yellow letters maybe a UP model, although I don't know that they ever ran any.

The Berskshire (?) in the second picture... don't recognize the livery and streamlining... although I'm sure someone else will.

Last one is an Alco PA and the corresponding B unit (prime mover and traction motors, but no cab). One of my favorite locos.

Lots of stuff in the middle that I need to take a closer look at. Probably some other folks will weigh in as well.
 

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The two Southern Pacific PA’s are likely Athearn, and the Pennsylvania FA1’s look to be Proto 2000....
 

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You can Google many of these. This works best for diesels. Enter HO Road Name Road Number. This will usually bring up ebay or Pinterest listings with photos.

For instance the two diesels in your next to last photo: HO Santa Fe 8517. This leads to an ebay listing for an Athearn U33C.

The Amtrak 503 has ebay and Pinterest listings for an Athearn FP 45. It is an FP45. You have to be careful though because there’s also an Amtrak Dash-8 by Walthers #503. So you need to compare photos.

For steam use the same description but add the wheel arrangement 0-4-0 etc. Also called the Whyte Notation. As was previously mentioned, it’s important to show that clearly in photos.
It doesn’t work all the time but it’s a good starting point. Give it a shot, see what you come up with, then take individual pics of the ones you can’t find and we can go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess we should have been a little more specific when we said "pix". For the steam, it helps to be able to see the wheel arrangements, and the diesels need to be close enough that we can see the roof and side detailing, and fully illuminated as well. Also maybe one per picture would make it easier to tell you what is what.

Is 6200 brass? I'm gonna say a 2-10-2 Santa Fe on that one; with the big yellow letters maybe a UP model, although I don't know that they ever ran any.

The Berskshire (?) in the second picture... don't recognize the livery and streamlining... although I'm sure someone else will.

Last one is an Alco PA and the corresponding B unit (prime mover and traction motors, but no cab). One of my favorite locos.

Lots of stuff in the middle that I need to take a closer look at. Probably some other folks will weigh in as well.
Thank you for your time. I appreciate the responses so far. I hope this set of photos are better.

There are no brass units. With all the different GPs, EMDs, GEs, etc., I wonder what I have in the collection I obtained.

The following descriptions should be in the same order as the photos.

Amtrax road diesel, builder unknown,road number 503.

Amtrax switcher, builder unknown, road number 88.

Autotrain diesel, Bachmann, road number 4000.

B&O steam, Bachmann, road number 5601.

B&O steam, Rivarossi, road number 6200.

GN diesel, Yugoslavia, road number 1186.

IC switcher, Yugoslavia, road number 420.

NYC diesels, MRC, road number 1830 and 2429, both units powered.

Pennsy diesels, Life Like with functional louvers, doors, bellows (closures between the units), and cooling fans. The lead "A" unit is Life Lke, road number 9620, powered, the "B" unit is Life Like, road number 9696, dummy, the trailing "A" unit is Life Like road number 9623, powered. The units connect with non-functional couplers.

Pennsy steam, Yugoslavia, road number 689.

SF, builder unknown, road number 8517.

SP steam, Bachmann, road number 4449.

SP diesesl, builder unknown, road numbers 6009 & 5915, "B" unit is a dummy.

Whoops, I guess I will have to break this into smaller pieces, 10 photos at a time. I cannot removed the canceled photos below, so I will send more replies.

Thank you,

John
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for your time. I appreciate the responses so far. I hope this set of photos are better.

There are no brass units. With all the different GPs, EMDs, GEs, etc., I wonder what I have in the collection I obtained.

The following descriptions should be in the same order as the photos.

Amtrax road diesel, builder unknown,road number 503.

Amtrax switcher, builder unknown, road number 88.

Autotrain diesel, Bachmann, road number 4000.

B&O steam, Bachmann, road number 5601.

B&O steam, Rivarossi, road number 6200.

GN diesel, Yugoslavia, road number 1186.

IC switcher, Yugoslavia, road number 420.

NYC diesels, MRC, road number 1830 and 2429, both units powered.

Pennsy diesels, Life Like with functional louvers, doors, bellows (closures between the units), and cooling fans. The lead "A" unit is Life Lke, road number 9620, powered, the "B" unit is Life Like, road number 9696, dummy, the trailing "A" unit is Life Like road number 9623, powered. The units connect with non-functional couplers.

Pennsy steam, Yugoslavia, road number 689.

SF, builder unknown, road number 8517.

SP steam, Bachmann, road number 4449.

SP diesesl, builder unknown, road numbers 6009 & 5915, "B" unit is a dummy.

Whoops, I guess I will have to break this into smaller pieces, 10 photos at a time. I cannot removed the canceled photos below, so I will send more replies.

Thank you,

John

Well, those were the Pennsy diesels, here are some more.
 

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You can Google many of these. This works best for diesels. Enter HO Road Name Road Number. This will usually bring up ebay or Pinterest listings with photos.

For instance the two diesels in your next to last photo: HO Santa Fe 8517. This leads to an ebay listing for an Athearn U33C.

The Amtrak 503 has ebay and Pinterest listings for an Athearn FP 45. It is an FP45. You have to be careful though because there’s also an Amtrak Dash-8 by Walthers #503. So you need to compare photos.

For steam use the same description but add the wheel arrangement 0-4-0 etc. Also called the Whyte Notation. As was previously mentioned, it’s important to show that clearly in photos.
It doesn’t work all the time but it’s a good starting point. Give it a shot, see what you come up with, then take individual pics of the ones you can’t find and we can go from there.
Thanks prrfan. The wheel arrangement I understand, but the names; such as, Mikado, Consolidation, Mallet ... seem to apply to specific locos, but how are they defined?
 

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Maybe go with one or two locos at a time. The sheer volume makes it a tiring task to try to analyze each one of these posts -- I think that's at least part of the reason you don't have more responses. Even trying to help, my brain gives up pretty quick when I see a post with a dozen attachments. Eat the elephant in many small bites, not 2-3 big gulps.

That batch of photos is better, but still some issues -- some are blurry, many have light splash, some are too far away. People trying to identify locos are looking at the number and shape or various grills and screens, the overall shape of the unit, wheels arrangements, and so forth.

Can I ask what your intention is, here? Do you want to know what the real-life prototype for your equipment is (so you know what you're running), or are you looking for a description of the model, perhaps with an eye to selling it? Especially if the latter, you're going to need a couple of good, clear, well-lighted photos for a listing.

Here's a place to start: Wikipedia. Whyte notation - Wikipedia will describe the steam locomotive identification by wheel arrangement; each type of loco (at least, all the common ones) has it's own article as well. Then each major manufacturer of diesel locomotives has it's own page: ALCO (American Locomotive Company, no longer in business) -- List of ALCO diesel locomotives - Wikipedia ; GE --List of GE locomotives - Wikipedia and EMD: List of EMD locomotives - Wikipedia . Each of those pages has photos of most models, and many types have their own articles. That should get you started.
 

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Maybe go with one or two locos at a time. The sheer volume makes it a tiring task to try to analyze each one of these posts -- I think that's at least part of the reason you don't have more responses. Even trying to help, my brain gives up pretty quick when I see a post with a dozen attachments. Eat the elephant in many small bites, not 2-3 big gulps.

That batch of photos is better, but still some issues -- some are blurry, many have light splash, some are too far away. People trying to identify locos are looking at the number and shape or various grills and screens, the overall shape of the unit, wheels arrangements, and so forth.

Can I ask what your intention is, here? Do you want to know what the real-life prototype for your equipment is (so you know what you're running), or are you looking for a description of the model, perhaps with an eye to selling it? Especially if the latter, you're going to need a couple of good, clear, well-lighted photos for a listing.

Here's a place to start: Wikipedia. Whyte notation - Wikipedia will describe the steam locomotive identification by wheel arrangement; each type of loco (at least, all the common ones) has it's own article as well. Then each major manufacturer of diesel locomotives has it's own page: ALCO (American Locomotive Company, no longer in business) -- List of ALCO diesel locomotives - Wikipedia ; GE --List of GE locomotives - Wikipedia and EMD: List of EMD locomotives - Wikipedia . Each of those pages has photos of most models, and many types have their own articles. That should get you started.
I am sorry for the overload, I am trying to identify which locos I have and understand what someone means by a Consolidated, a Niagra, or a GP35, and so forth. I am probably not going to sell the units in the photos, I have a separate box of those. I have looked at some of the lists you mentioned, but have trouble matching the real life photo with the unit on the layout. One responder suggested searching through EBAY and I will try that approach.
Thanks for the responses,
 

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The Illinois Central and Amtrak switchers are Plymouth Industrial diesel switchers made my Mehano in Yugoslavia. They are almost identical internally

The IC is usually sold under the AHM brand.
But also many other brands sold it.

The Amtrak is usually sold as Model Power. Its hugely overscale to the point that some have used it for narrow gauge O scale.
More recently I think Production was moved to China. There was even a DCC version made for a brief time before the line was discontinued and the tooling sold to Lionel.

As others have said, the Southern Pacific PA locos look like Athearn.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The Illinois Central and Amtrak switchers are Plymouth Industrial diesel switchers made my Mehano in Yugoslavia. They are almost identical internally

The IC is usually sold under the AHM brand.
But also many other brands sold it.

The Amtrak is usually sold as Model Power. Its hugely overscale to the point that some have used it for narrow gauge O scale.
More recently I think Production was moved to China. There was even a DCC version made for a brief time before the line was discontinued and the tooling sold to Lionel.

As others have said, the Southern Pacific PA locos look like Athearn.
Thanks Eilif,
Very helpful.
 

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Thanks prrfan. The wheel arrangement I understand, but the names; such as, Mikado, Consolidation, Mallet ... seem to apply to specific locos, but how are they defined?
You have embarked on a huge field of research. Several of our members are real experts in the minute details of locomotives but good to get a basic understanding first.
Google all the types you mentioned for starters.
This may be a good reference:
 

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Thanks Eilif,
Very helpful.
You're very welcome.
The Great Northern diesel is a GP18 made by AHM. Some of these are pretty smooth running 8WD.

The Blue Santa Fe and Auto train are both "U-Boats" made by Athearn. I don't know the specific model but putting "Athearn, Road Name, Number" into google will let you know.
 
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