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I wanted to start an N scale set while not messing with HO, and asked my model train shop about ordering me a Bachmann locomotive. He said he usually doesn't stock Bachmann for quality concerns, but they're alright for the price. I've had a few Bachmanns start to die on me, but they're a little over 15 years old. However, I do want something that will last. What are your opinions on Bachmann workmanship? Also, what other manufacturers would you recommend?
 

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I went ahead and bought an Atlas GP40-2, as I figure I'll get more down the line. I was surprised at how quiet it was. Something about N scale just seems kind of elegant. I really like it. Thanks for suggesting Atlas, guys. Maybe I'll get my hands on a Kato engine next time and give it a try.
 

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Katos, in my opinion, are the best...although, I do have some Atlas engines. Kato quality of construction is very refined and durable. I've purchased some very old Katos at train shows, brought them home and oiled them a bit, and they run almost brand new, smooth as a sewing machine (some of the older Katos are noisy because of the older trucks).

The only problem with Kato is getting parts.....spare parts are often sold out or very hard to find. In that respect Atlas is a better investment - parts are readily available. Both are similar in costs.

Good luck....
 

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does any body have a comment on minitrix engines. i have to agree with you guys on the bachmann though. i have two ,one of 'em quit working, the other one the couplers proke off of it ,then it quit working both with a couple of months apart
 

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Salone

If you are looking for really good quality that will last, I recommend Fleischmann.
They are a bit pricey but well worth the expense.

Bachmann trains are ok but as you already know, they generally have a shorter life span compared to some brands. Fleischmann or even Atlas trains will last much longer.

Happy hobbying :)
 

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Recent experience

Since I recently (about 6 hours ago) progressed my layout construction enough to have 1 main loop and started running locos around, I can speak a bit to this.

I have 3 Kato's (1 SD40-2 [w/dcc] and 2 AC4400W), 3 Model Power F7's and 1 Athearn SD70I [w/dcc]. All 3 of my Kato's and all 3 of my Model Power's negotiate the loop successfully.

The Athearn however, successfully negotiates successfully 2 out of 3 times--and only when going just-faster-than-realistic speed. At slow speeds, it shorts at every turnout--the wheel flanges are too thick, causing the loco to stick--also resulting in a bridge from rail, to (electrically isolated) frog, to rail bridge (a.k.a. short). The wheel flanges are visibly thicker.

I'm not sure if it's this specific Athearn loco, since I only own one. I've ordered at least one more (the soon to be released 4-6-6-4 Challenger #3975 for my 'railway museum'), so I guess I'll see. It'd be frustrating if I can't run it around the layout.

I suppose, however, that I could:
a) machine down the flanges on the wheels (since there are only 6 axles), or;
b) file down the frogs on all 43 turnouts, or just-occurred-to-me;
c) use my rotary tool to cut the frog in half--but that won't stop it from sticking (I suppose I could also do a) or b) as well).

Meh... I'll figure something out.

As far as rolling stock, Deluxe Innovations (with Micro Trains trucks [w/brown plastic wheels] and couplers) is the best so far--not only for level of detail, but also reliability. Next funnily enough is Athearn. The 2 Micro Trains cars I have both have large flanges and don't run well on Atlas Code 55 track. The Walthers double-stack well cars I have wobble too much and spill the upper containers, or worse, tip over. I have a couple others (Trains Canada, Model Power), but I haven't converted them from Rapido couplers yet so they're still in their boxes.

Maybe the Kato and Model Power locos and Deluxe Innovations and Athearn rolling stock are just more tolerant of my novice track laying.
 

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Randall,I do own one of Athearn's Challenger.Unfortunately,it is being sidelined as it's MRC decoder has cooked off after twenty minutes,it is now in the process of being refitted with a Tsunami decoder.But since yours is "to be released",it will likely be Tsunami equipped right from the start.I don't think you should worry about it negociating your turnouts and creating "shorts".At least mine did not and neither my Big Boy wich has been used for over six hours yet without a single spark nor derailment.It's been absolutely flawless in all regards.But a minimum of 12 in. curves is required.Silent and smooth,both pack a lot of muscle and are real jewels,decoder aside.
 

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I must agree with most that Atlas & Kato are the leaders in the Diesel Arena anyway. Bachmann aahhh it's coming around because the 44T is a nice runner and I hear the same on the DD40xx.
Life like was bought out by Walthers here this year they aren't bad either.
Steamers I'm not familiar with; nor am I with Fleishmann. Minitrix are all European models that are difficult to obtain parts for and I model US Rail Liveries that they don't carry.

You might also want to check out Spookshow; a review of most Locomotives & Rollingstock
http://www.visi.com/~spookshow/trainstuff.html

Hope that helps you some.
 

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I went ahead and bought an Atlas GP40-2, as I figure I'll get more down the line. I was surprised at how quiet it was. Something about N scale just seems kind of elegant. I really like it. Thanks for suggesting Atlas, guys. Maybe I'll get my hands on a Kato engine next time and give it a try.
kato made Atlas engine also con-cor
 

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does any body have a comment on minitrix engines. i have to agree with you guys on the bachmann though. i have two ,one of 'em quit working, the other one the couplers proke off of it ,then it quit working both with a couple of months apart
Hi i use minitrix for over 25 year now and these engine run super once you fine tune them and a lot of old model power steam engine was made my minitrix
 

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Since I recently (about 6 hours ago) progressed my layout construction enough to have 1 main loop and started running locos around, I can speak a bit to this.

I have 3 Kato's (1 SD40-2 [w/dcc] and 2 AC4400W), 3 Model Power F7's and 1 Athearn SD70I [w/dcc]. All 3 of my Kato's and all 3 of my Model Power's negotiate the loop successfully.

The Athearn however, successfully negotiates successfully 2 out of 3 times--and only when going just-faster-than-realistic speed. At slow speeds, it shorts at every turnout--the wheel flanges are too thick, causing the loco to stick--also resulting in a bridge from rail, to (electrically isolated) frog, to rail bridge (a.k.a. short). The wheel flanges are visibly thicker.

I'm not sure if it's this specific Athearn loco, since I only own one. I've ordered at least one more (the soon to be released 4-6-6-4 Challenger #3975 for my 'railway museum'), so I guess I'll see. It'd be frustrating if I can't run it around the layout.

I suppose, however, that I could:
a) machine down the flanges on the wheels (since there are only 6 axles), or;
b) file down the frogs on all 43 turnouts, or just-occurred-to-me;
c) use my rotary tool to cut the frog in half--but that won't stop it from sticking (I suppose I could also do a) or b) as well).

Meh... I'll figure something out.

As far as rolling stock, Deluxe Innovations (with Micro Trains trucks [w/brown plastic wheels] and couplers) is the best so far--not only for level of detail, but also reliability. Next funnily enough is Athearn. The 2 Micro Trains cars I have both have large flanges and don't run well on Atlas Code 55 track. The Walthers double-stack well cars I have wobble too much and spill the upper containers, or worse, tip over. I have a couple others (Trains Canada, Model Power), but I haven't converted them from Rapido couplers yet so they're still in their boxes.

Maybe the Kato and Model Power locos and Deluxe Innovations and Athearn rolling stock are just more tolerant of my novice track laying.
Hi .First what turnout are you using .Turnout make a big different in N scale and are the turnout long or short and where the relay mount to bottom or top of table
 

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The turnouts are #7's and #10's for the mainline, and #5's for the yards and all switch machines are under-table mount. And minimum turning radius is 13" inside--a bit tight for steam, but a 2-6-0 I have runs fine.

I solved the Athearn locos issues by re-guaging the wheels (I wanted to get advice from you folks and contact Athearn first before tinkering too much--I'd hate to ruin a loco).

The Walthers well cars are just really tipsy. When I changed to Micro-Trains trucks on one of the cars, the wobbling almost disappeared. When I added a weight to the bottom container, it was as stable as the Deluxe Innovations well cars (unmodified and unweighted).

Just shoddy trucks/manufacturing? I should try to find out from Walthers what kind of trucks they are, so I can avoid them on future purchases.

Thanks for your response kennyach.

Cheers!
Randall
 

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The turnouts are #7's and #10's for the mainline, and #5's for the yards and all switch machines are under-table mount. And minimum turning radius is 13" inside--a bit tight for steam, but a 2-6-0 I have runs fine.

I solved the Athearn locos issues by re-guaging the wheels (I wanted to get advice from you folks and contact Athearn first before tinkering too much--I'd hate to ruin a loco).

The Walthers well cars are just really tipsy. When I changed to Micro-Trains trucks on one of the cars, the wobbling almost disappeared. When I added a weight to the bottom container, it was as stable as the Deluxe Innovations well cars (unmodified and unweighted).

Just shoddy trucks/manufacturing? I should try to find out from Walthers what kind of trucks they are, so I can avoid them on future purchases.

Thanks for your response kennyach.

Cheers!
Randall
HI .Glad you got it working and the Walthers engine and car are made by model power , I use some these car with kadee Trucks & Wheelsets and a little weight help then run good
 
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