Athearn Engines

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by planeshavings42, Apr 13, 2002.

  1. I have recently acquired several Athearn Engines (F7A) and (GP-35) All still in origional boxes, and being new at the hobby, I'm wondering if these engines are capable of pulling a 3" bridge pier sold by atlas? Or will I have to opt for more expensive engines??

    Any good advise here would be appreciated...:)

  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    ummm.... what do you mean by 'pulling a 3" bridge pier'?? Is this foreign American lingo of some sort?? :confused:
  3. 3" Bridge

    What I meant was I intend to build a gradual grade to a height of three inches from the board, and my question was will the Athearn engines pull gradual grade, or will I have to invest in more powerful engines?

    Thanks, SantaFe :)
  4. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Mr Planeshavings,

    Ah ha! Now I understand! :)

    What you are referring to is an "incline" and whether your locos will haul you load up the hill!

    It depends on a lot of things, but the general rule of thumb is to not make your incline (rise to the bridge) more than 2% -3%. ie, for every 100 inches of track, you should rise more than 3 inches. The larger/longer the load, the less the incline should be.

    This subject has been tossed around in many threads in here. If you click on the "search" button, and use "incline" as a word to search for, you will see quite a few posts/threads on the topic.

    I run nearly a 5% incline and it is toooooooo steep. At first, the locos would slip when hauling to load up the hill, so I was using two locos. Using some wet/dry emery paper (to clean the tracks) after a while, I found that one loco was enough and it didn't slip anymore. However, the speed is considerably slowed, and it then races down the other side. I run a 5 passenger car consist over the steepest incline, and 8 passenger cars over the less steeper one.

    For some very good helpful info, do the search on "incline" (full text search). You will find the info useful.

    Another thing you MUST consider too, with inclines is to "transition" them.... in other words, make the change from level to slope a gradual one over a distance of 12"- 18" or so. Long rollingstock WILL derail if you go from level track straight to the angle of the desired incline, and it will look unrealistic too.

    Your locos will be fine on any incline, but, will sit there and wheelspin if the incline is too steep, when hauling a decent load.

    Some locos are better at inclines than others, especially the "all wheel drive" locos. There should be no need to use anything other than your Athearns, if your inclines are kept to a reasonable steepness.
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    BTW, How steep do you intend to make the rise (incline) to the bridge? That is the biggest thing to consider, not necessarily the locos, when it comes to inclines.

    Shamus, for instance, runs an 8%?? (Correct me Shamus?) incline on his logging layout, but only hauls 1 - 2 light logging cars up it, as a spur line, not a mainline.
  6. Incline 2-3%


    Thanks for the advice, I have printed your reply, and will keep it

    to no more than 2%- 3% incline. Am also glad you pointed out

    about "transition." It makes good sense, but I wouldn't of

    thought of it if you hadn't mentioned it. I Will also "Search

    Incline" On the Gauge.

    I Have ordered the necessary track, Switch's, crossings, Pier Set,

    etc. and it should be delivered this week. I'm quite anxious to

    get started. My first layout in more than 50 years.

    I will post pictures on my web site when it starts to look like a


    Thanks Again for the advice,:)

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    look at the transition as a vertical curve. you will need a lot larger radius than on horizontal curves. I don't know how you plan to do your roadbed for this, but when we use plywood or Homasote(TM), we usually just let it bend naturally and gently into the grade, keeping a few feet tacked down flat to begin with, then bracing it to the curve that forms.

    Also check what your locos will take for a vertical curve before the trucks start to hit the underframe. Plan for the future -- bigger locos will start to give problems as will steamers.
  8. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi planeshavings42, and welcome to the gauge.
    What woodie states for inclines is fine, my logging layout only ever uses 3 log cars at a time to climb the 8% grade. If I were to use passenger coaches etc, I would keep it to 1" in 48" that would mean a run of 12 feet to climb up 3".


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