1885 Steam Loco Help Needed

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Doc Holliday, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I've got a little Christmas money burning a hole in my poccket and am looking to expand the BAD Wester steamer roster. I'm looking for suggestions for a mid-level loco for DC. I'm experiencing the inability of my Bachman 440 to climb a 4% grade with more than one car in tow. I'm more into the building and scenery than operations, but do want to run trains once in awhile. I want to stay fairly true to the 1885 time period. Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Roundhouse has both a 4-4-0 and 2-6-0 (the latter is not here just yet, but you can order it online) that fit the time period with just a little work. Both have DCC and sound. I'm guessing the Old Timer 2-8-0 will be revived.

    HO models of older 4-4-0s are notorious poor pullers, unless traction tires are fitted. If fitted with traction tires, electrical pickup becomes an issue. Likely the best pulling 4-4-0 is the Mantua General (metal, not plastic Tyco version). The General can be fitted with a Cary conversion boiler (available from Bowser) which is also die cast metal, and gives the General an 1890s appearance (but cylinders are not quite right for the update). In reality, a prototype 19th century 4-4-0 would struggle to haul more than 4-5 cars up a 4% grade.

    The Bachmann Spectrum 4-4-0 is a new model of a prototype built in 1906, however the same design was in the builder's catalog in the 1890s. Get the early version with wood cab. No sound but does have DCC.

    The Tyco 1890s 4-6-0 and 4-8-0 have oversize cabs and tenders, but can easily be modified to look better.

    The Bachmann Spectrum 4-6-0 can be backdated to the 1890s by carefully removing the valve gear and removing/replacing more modern appliances like generators, air pumps, and headlights.

    Model Power imported an Old Timer 2-8-0 in the 1990s from a Brazilian maker. I have one, it's beautiful to look at with nice detailing. I've never run mine yet, but the mechanism which is an all tender drive is reputed to be horrid. It must be replaced with an all tender drive because too much of the drivers, rods, etc are plastic instead of metal. So I'm looking at something similar to the NWSL mechanisms for Shay or Climax locos.

    my thoughts, your choices
  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Thanks for the info Fred.
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Doc, the first Shay was built in 1880, so you could take a look at the Bachmann version. It's supposedly a good runner, although I'm not sure which era it's from.

  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The Bachman Shay in HO (3 truck) is more of a 1920's era locomotive. The On30 Bachmann Shay is more of the 1885-1900 era but that doesn't help you much.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have a Rivarossi 4-4-0 that has the motor in the tender with a shaft going through to power the drivers. It pulls pretty good for a 4-4-0, but I haven't tried it on a 4% grade to see if it would handle it. I also bought it about 5 years ago. I don't know if they are still available. You might also consider combining an Athearn sw7 drive with a boxcar to make a "helper" to get your train up the grade.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The Rivarossi 1870s and 1880s locomotives (Reno and Genoa) are somewhat larger than true HO scale - closer to 1/76 in proportion, and most had the pizza cutter flanges. The latter is not that hard to fix. Of course, the same over-sizing is true of the Tyco/Mantua 4-6-0 (Hooterville Cannonball originally). The Rivarossi have finer details than the Bachhmann 4-4-0s.

    A real expert on the various 4-4-0s in HO is Harold Minkwitz of Pacific Coast Air Line Railway fame (http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/). He somtimes posts on this forum, and his web site is a treasure trove of good info and tips.

    Just my thoughts
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I've seen his website. He does great stuff! I've sent him a couple of e-mails but haven't heard from him yet.

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