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A few years ago, a guy gave me a pile of old model railroad magazines. About eight years before that, there was an article ripping into N gauge, particularly steam locomotives.

The author claimed that low-cost N steamers had many problems with the drive rods, and that they often stalled on tiny particles on the track. because they only have one pick-up point for electricity. He advised readers to stick to diesels or high-cost steamers.

A few weeks ago, Bachman added a warning to its ad for an expensive N steamer. The warning stated that this train was for advanced modelers only.

In simple English, I THINK that a number of these sets had been returned, but when they tested them at the Bachman factory, there was nothing wrong with them. The problem had been with the operators.

Can you tell me: With today's more-advanced steamers, do low-cost steam locomotives have these problems?
 

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I don't think I consider any of the Kato or BLI steamers I have as premium (the Athearn Genesis Big Boy I do think is premium), but I also don't think of them as low cost either. But I was in the LHS yesterday looking at a new train for my granddaughter. We were looking at the Bachmann N scale Durango-Silverton set. Before he would sell it, the owner warned me that they use an 060 steam locomotive that would not make it through most turnouts. We got it out to look and this has been fixed. It seems the last generation did not have pickups in the tender, so it was too short for a lot of turnouts. The one in the set we looked at has been upgraded by Bachmann to include pickups in the tender and we did not think I would have the same problem. I wonder if that might have been part of the problem.
 

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Bachmann especially has really upped their game recently. Most current production locos work well (keeping in mind that no manufacturer is perfect, and there will be the occasional defect). I really wouldn't trust old evaluations like that in the current market.

I would say that the warning is a polite way of saying, "not appropriate for children", probably because there are lots of small, delicate parts.
 
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I gave up on steam years ago because of an N scale old Bachmann 2-8-2, think it was that wheel set....not one of the 8 wheels was aimed in the same direction and the 2 sets just would not stay planted on the track.
I'm not going to blame everything on the loco, I probably didn't know enough about turn radius back then. My still not know a thing....
There is not too much neater than watching one of these old steamers run around a layout when things go well, and things have progressed and are made better but I'm sticking with the diesel era.
 

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I also gave up on steam because of troubles with old Bachmann. Then I bought a Kato 2-8-2 about fifteen years ago. I don't use it often and haven't gone any further into steam, but that Kato Mikado is what the old Bachmann stuff ought to have been.
 

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I don't know where the 1980 steamer was made, but the Kato Mikado of the post 2000 run was more durable. I think the 1980 product might have been better made, but then it seems there is a learning curve for the manufacturers. Kato's products got better over time, their current diesels being improved from 1988 and 1992 F series runs.

I still have a few of those that still run, though.
 
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