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Discussion Starter #1
Can you advise me on what name to stay with in buying N trains. I like steam but want to do DCC so diesel might be included. Whats a good make? Thanks Ron
 

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Well...what I have on hand...
Steamers...Kato's 4-8-4 GS4 Northern...a delight and easily converted with Kato offered decoder or with hard wire decoder but decoder doesn't control headlamp without mods,Model Power 2-8-2 Mikado and 4-6-2 Pacific are both nice and easily convert to DCC too,I also have both Athearn's Big Boy and Challenger(X2) of the earlier version with MRC decoders and had one sour up on me...to avoid but the newer version comes Tsunami equipped,certainly a much better option.Their decoders aside,these are flawless jewels.
I have a Spectrum 4-8-2 Heavy Mountain...a low priced yet decent engine,I like it.Comes DCC equipped,is no champion by any standards but reliable and looks good.Caution,Spectrum also offers the 4-8-2 Light Mountain...no comparison possible.

Diesels,my only worthy experience is with a fleet of both Kato and Atlas six axle locos and like them all,with a preference for Kato though.They're all converted to DCC,BTW.
 

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Kato all the way best quality on N scale trains ever
rolling tock doesn't realy mater who makes it in my op
Buy the nicest passenger cars you can find :)
 

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Kato for sure but they.re pricey...Bachmann Spectrum are great since they remade they;re standard engines....I've also had good luck with Minitrix or Trix 462s which were cheap in the day
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Sounds like Kato is the main brand to buy. Must check them out. I would like a nice Kato steam, that will convert to DCC easily, set of trains. Any good sets , Steam or diesel, in Kato you can list that I could add DCC to. Maybe you can lead me to a Kato set with DCC already installed factory. Any starter info would be great. Thanks Ron
 

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Visit Kato's website (Katousa) and take a look at their Daylight set they offer starting with a GS4 loco,then a 10 car set and if you want them four add-on two-car sets.Some will say this is pricey,indeed,BUT you'd have an outstanding set.You get what you pay for....You can even add the decoder Kato offers or a hardwire one and they also offer the lighting kits for the cars.Sure wish I had the budget now.......
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sounds like Kato is one of the best. You say you can't control the front light without modifications. Is there one steam engine that allows lights speed and sound without modification with easy drop in decoders? If you can tell me a good one I'll order and begin my layout. Which DCC system are you using. NCE? Digitrax? Thanks Ron

Well...what I have on hand...
Steamers...Kato's 4-8-4 GS4 Northern...a delight and easily converted with Kato offered decoder or with hard wire decoder but decoder doesn't control headlamp without mods,Model Power 2-8-2 Mikado and 4-6-2 Pacific are both nice and easily convert to DCC too,I also have both Athearn's Big Boy and Challenger(X2) of the earlier version with MRC decoders and had one sour up on me...to avoid but the newer version comes Tsunami equipped,certainly a much better option.Their decoders aside,these are flawless jewels.
I have a Spectrum 4-8-2 Heavy Mountain...a low priced yet decent engine,I like it.Comes DCC equipped,is no champion by any standards but reliable and looks good.Caution,Spectrum also offers the 4-8-2 Light Mountain...no comparison possible.

Diesels,my only worthy experience is with a fleet of both Kato and Atlas six axle locos and like them all,with a preference for Kato though.They're all converted to DCC,BTW.
 

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The Kato Northern GS4 loco has both a regular headlamp and a blinking "Mars" light that are both powered through the an individual circuit linked to the front end of the loco,without any link to the tender so that the decoder could power it.This means that these lamps are on as soon as there's power to the track,even when loco is at rest.I don't really bother as I have shut-down switches on my yard tracks and on the other hand,a basic "locomotion" decoder (like Kato's) gets the job done at moderate cost.If you want to control the headlamp with the decoder,you'd have to dismantle most of the loco to pass very small wires through...I checked...not an easy job...no real room.However,fitting a decoder in the tender is a piece of cake.

My suggestion though is since you're beginning,I don't think you should tackle decoder install for now and go DCC equipped right away for your first,and then the Spectrum HEAVY Mountain is a decent choice.Price is fair,at least mine runs well and it would allow you to get your feet wet without too big a pinch.

My system is Digitrax (DCS200/DT400R).
 

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There's an important parameter that hasn't been mentionned so far and it is what your curve radiuses are going to be.Steamers require larger curves than diesels to operate without derailing.It is likely better for you to go small diesel (GP38 or other) until it is known what your layout is likely to allow.It is most frustrating to buy a loco that one can't use because constantly derailed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I do like the Spectrum HEAVY Mountain. So maybe I'll buy that. Do I have to buy the decoder separately? Is the speed and sound decoder one unit or two separate decoders? Can both go in as drop ins? Do you know both decoder numbers? Do you know if the engine can be bought as a train set? Who should I buy from?
Is this the heavy mountain your talking about? No sound, I would need a sound decoder right? Is it available?
http://trainworldonline.com/catalog/category/detail.php?id=6008&find_section=643
Is this the right Kato I don't see a northern and it seems the same price as the Spectrum heavy and I think sound and speed decoders have to be added if both are available.
http://trainworldonline.com/catalog/category/detail.php?id=13545&find_section=419&back_url=/search.php?view=products_list&bymanufacturer=419&checkbox[0]=120&bycategory=91&x=47&y=11
GETTING CLOSE! Again Thanks Fantastic Ron!

The Kato Northern GS4 loco has both a regular headlamp and a blinking "Mars" light that are both powered through the an individual circuit linked to the front end of the loco,without any link to the tender so that the decoder could power it.This means that these lamps are on as soon as there's power to the track,even when loco is at rest.I don't really bother as I have shut-down switches on my yard tracks and on the other hand,a basic "locomotion" decoder (like Kato's) gets the job done at moderate cost.If you want to control the headlamp with the decoder,you'd have to dismantle most of the loco to pass very small wires through...I checked...not an easy job...no real room.However,fitting a decoder in the tender is a piece of cake.

My suggestion though is since you're beginning,I don't think you should tackle decoder install for now and go DCC equipped right away for your first,and then the Spectrum HEAVY Mountain is a decent choice.Price is fair,at least mine runs well and it would allow you to get your feet wet without too big a pinch.

My system is Digitrax (DCS200/DT400R).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What makes the heavy better than the light? Is it really a big difference? Ron

Well...what I have on hand...
Steamers...Kato's 4-8-4 GS4 Northern...a delight and easily converted with Kato offered decoder or with hard wire decoder but decoder doesn't control headlamp without mods,Model Power 2-8-2 Mikado and 4-6-2 Pacific are both nice and easily convert to DCC too,I also have both Athearn's Big Boy and Challenger(X2) of the earlier version with MRC decoders and had one sour up on me...to avoid but the newer version comes Tsunami equipped,certainly a much better option.Their decoders aside,these are flawless jewels.
I have a Spectrum 4-8-2 Heavy Mountain...a low priced yet decent engine,I like it.Comes DCC equipped,is no champion by any standards but reliable and looks good.Caution,Spectrum also offers the 4-8-2 Light Mountain...no comparison possible.

Diesels,my only worthy experience is with a fleet of both Kato and Atlas six axle locos and like them all,with a preference for Kato though.They're all converted to DCC,BTW.
 

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Just do a Google search under "N scale locomotive encyclopedia" and you'll find what you want to know on almost every N scale loco ever built.Very nice website.
 
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