best brands of N scale locomotives

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by CNWGP38, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    That is a great site Steve, lots of info, thanks!
  2. WMRR

    WMRR New Member

    I prefer Atlas and Kato locos. I also have a IM FT that runs great!

  3. redracer

    redracer Member

    Regarding Japanese prototype, there are 51 electric, 10 diesel & 15 steam locos on my Kato catalogue list ....

    and this doesn't take into account all the stuff they make for the European market :rolleyes:
  4. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member

    I like Kato, Atlas, Lifelike, Intermountain and some older Con Cor PA's made by Kato.

    I try to pick up locos in ERIE, Erie Lackawanna and Great Northern.

    For the money I am very impressed with the Lifelike locos. Their SD-7 is a super quiet and smooth running loco.

    I happen to like the looks of the early Alco Cab units, such as the FA-1, FA-2 and PA-1 as used on the ERIE. LifeLike makes all three and they run great.

    The Kato SD-45's are great, as are the Atlas diesels.

    The Intermountain FT units are expensive but I know of no other EMD F-units available in ERIE livery. They run very smooth but my much cheaper Lifelike FT-1's are equally smooth and will handle the same load for a lot less money.

    For switchers, the little Lifelike SW locos are about as good as you will find from any maker.

    Much of your loco choice will depend on what prototypes your favorite railroad used. They're all nice, just buy what you need to keep you happy.
  5. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    G`day people,
    My personal preferance is kato, but like many the pocket rules, most of my loco roster are life like, allthrough I do have six katos, bought second hand and are still better than LL`s brand new.
    To each his own.
  6. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member


    I don't think anyone will argue Kato or Atlas quality.

    My loco selection is based upon what is offered by the various manufacturers.

    Since we just had a couple of hurricanes go through Florida recently I had my locos boxed up for safety....... so I could take a quick count of the diesels.

    29 Lifelike (SW-1200, E-8, FA1-A/B, FA2-A/B, PA-1, SD-7 in Erie, EL, GN, others)
    13 Atlas (RS1, RS3, GP7, SD35, U25B in Erie, EL and GN)
    4 Intermountain (all FT-A/B in Erie)
    6 Con Cor (all PA-1 in Erie, SP, PRR, Southern)
    4 Kato (all SD-45, 2-EL, 2-GN)

    We're remodelling the house right now so my layout is hanging on the garage wall will have to run locos on a 20" radius test loop for a while.

    The Kato and Atlas locos are expected to be superb performers but I am really surprised at how smoothly most of my Lifelike locos run. The only one that puts out any noise is the earlier FA-2 that doesn't have flywheels. It has a pleasant growl and runs great but lacks the quiteness of the newer FA-1's, also from Lifelike.

    I like all of my locos and pedegree is not as important as the type of loco I wish to run at any given time.

    Wish there were some F3 and F7's done in Erie livery, I don't care who makes long as it's Kato, LifeLike or Atlas.
  7. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Two cents...

    I haven't got many locos, and (perhaps fortunately) only have modern ones, but as far as the ones I have go, the Kato (F3A) scores 10, the Atlas ones abour 8, and the Lifelike SW1200 about 5-6. Maybe my scale is different from others -- like I say, the SW1200 is the worst I have. It's noisy and is seriously lumpy starting. By comparison, sticking the Kato on the track and switching to speed "1" (of 128) makes it move forward absolutely smoothly, at a speed of around half an inch per minute. You can't really get more perfect than that.

    I also have a Kato Heavy Mikado, which is similarly smooth and pulls like hell, but is trickier round tight curves (as you'd expect for a 2-8-8-2 I suppose).

    Because I don't fancy the idea of installing decoders, I prefer to buy locos from Tony's train exchange, because you can order anything with a decoder ready installed. Your mileage may vary.

  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Charles,I have a Atlas GP9 that I tweak that will cover about the same distance that your locomotive does on DC..This is one tweak I do not wish to duplicate anytime soon. :eek: :D This geep does have the newer slow speed motor though and that help some.. :thumb:
  9. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    You know DV, I could not remember if I had any atlas loco`s. but to my suprise I found 2 not sure what they are but I think they are 1500 switcher`s, also found a tomix gp38 sp. and a kato E8, How ever I may commit murder, or suiside but I cant find about 8 locos after the last workin bee.

    You said you had 4 intermountain FT units, dont know this make, tell me about them.... Have a good one... Steve

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