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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am looking at a couple of steam locomotives for purchase. I can't afford both, so I need to make a decision on just one. They are both new, and about the same price ($400 plus or minus).

The first one is a Lionel, 84683 Milwaukee Road Pacific 4-6-2 with LC + control.


The second is an MTH, Imperial, 30-1776-1, GS-4 American Freedom with PS-3.

I like them both and I will probably be using either one as a freight hauler.

Looking for your opinions.

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D2B12FD3-DE18-4222-BDEE-926CEDA63FD9_4_5005_c.jpeg
 

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I would give the edge to MTH for reliabilty. Even their Railking line is pretty solid. Lionchief steam seems to be OK, better than the diesels but I read about more Lionchief issues than MTH these days. I like the colors on both though.

Pete
 

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You did not mention whether you have DCS CC to operate the MTH steamer or that currently you operate in conventional mode. For me it would be the MTH steamer but my layout is set-up for DCS CC.

BIll
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, sorry. I run a conventional operation. I once had several early Lionel LC+ locos, but all of them seemed to have small problems. I do like the color scheme of the Lionel better, but I think the MTH would be a better bet for reliability.

I don't know if Lionel has improved the LC+ system over the early generations.
 

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I think I would go MTH.

I own the 6-84681 Alton version of that same 4-6-2 engine. Operationally, it's okay but the paint color stinks. It should be a deeper maroon but instead it's a little "off" almost like it has some mauve in it.

Also, while I don't have a RailKing Freedom Train, I do have a RK 4-6-2 Pacific that I can view side-by-side with the LC+ engine. I like the RK better. I think the sounds are better on the RK (but I tend to keep the sounds pretty low anyway). While there is technically more detail on the LC+, it's molded in and gives it an overall toy-like appearance compared to the RK (a negative for me since I lean to scale anyway). But again, the paint on the LC+ is the main thing distracting me. Of course, the LC+ engine has Bluetooth if that's important to you. I'm on my way out the door but if you're still torn and you think it would be helpful, I can post some pics later.

In sum, if you've seen the Milwaukee LC+ paint scheme in person and you like it, then it's more of a toss up. Otherwise, I'd definitely go RailKing.
 

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I'm with you Bob, I like the looks of the Milwaukie Road engine better.....can't comment on the Lionel vs MTH issues though......getting something on looks alone can be dangerous, as we all know......

The MR engine would look better hauling freight, IMO.......
 

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The MTH is definitely the better loco. MTH gives you more bang for the bucks. But I would get the SP GS-4 (30-1774-1) instead. I like its color scheme better than either the LC+ Milwaukee Road or the 30-1776-1. And it’s the same price as the 30-1776-1 at Just Trains of Delaware.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I checked at Just Trains, and although they list both MTH Locos, neither is in stock. I haven't had any luck buying from them in years. But, that is probably by the time I decide to purchase something, all have been sold. A day late and a dollar short, as it were.
 

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I think they are just about equal overall. It is a difficult decision but you won't go wrong either way.
 

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Mario's Trains seems to have a bunch of Railking steamers in stock in the $400+ price range. But he has discount coupons used at checkout ($20 off over $299, $30 off over $429) on the web site and offers free shipping. The coupons take a couple of clicks to appear (click "Promotions" on the home page and click some of the results). Here's two:

542242
 

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I don't even own any MTH locomotive's and I'd say you'll probably be happier with the detail, sounds and running quality of the MTH locomotive. The tooling for the Lionchief Pacific shell is based on the tooling for the Postwar 2055 Hudson locomotives if that gives any sense of what it'll look like in person. The Lionchief Plus stuff is OK for a basic locomotive, but probably not as good of a deal as the full featured MTH Imperial stuff (similar price range?). The new LC 2.0 stuff appears that it might be more comparable to the features you get with the MTH stuff, but I don't have any experience with it yet.
 

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I checked at Just Trains, and although they list both MTH Locos, neither is in stock. I haven't had any luck buying from them in years. But, that is probably by the time I decide to purchase something, all have been sold. A day late and a dollar short, as it were.
Just Trains goes to MTH once or twice a week and picks stuff up, so If MTH has it in stock, Just Trains will get it and send it to you. Give them a call. The SP isn't in stock at MTH, but the American Freedom loco is.
 

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I'm HO only. But I only wanted to say something about the price...I'm lacking info, but $400 sounds like a sky high list price...Have you looked on ebay for them ?? 🛤🌄🌵
 

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Discussion Starter #16
For the level of locomotive I am considering, the price is reasonable. I have checked eBay, but did not find what I want. When you consider a new entry O Gauge locomotive at a couple of hundred dollars to a high end loco in excess of $2000, these are in my range.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I believe I'll probably go for an MTH, either a 4-8-4 N&W J, or the Freedom Loco. Without being able to physically see the Lionel's actual color, I think I'll have to pass. Very often, the catalog does not depict the actual color, and is much nicer looking than the real thing. This has been my experience in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Welcome to O Gauge.
 

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I'd favor the mth in this case also. The lowest I paid used for o was about $200 for an mth sd70 ace & a I think they thru in a box car or two. I never quite figured out why they wanted to get rid of it so bad. Maybe they stole it or something...
 
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