engine and carriage era advice please

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by fran1942, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. fran1942

    fran1942 Member

    Hello, thanks for the advice to my previous thread. It was very helpful.
    One more question please.
    I have decided to buy a Bachmann 51501 Union Pacific Prairie engine.Do these engines run adequately for a novice hobbyist ? Could someone please tell me what era this engine operated, as I need to match it up with a few carriages or wagons ?
    I notice that MANTUA makes a range of 1860 era carriages and wagons.
    These seem to be very cheap. Are they OK to buy or are they very low quality ? I take it they are all HO gauge items. They just seem so cheap compared to everything else.

    Thanks for any advice
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Phil, :wave:
    That 51501 is not a Spectrum grade loco, you might like the 11411
    UP Consolidation better.
    Trainworld price is currently $75

    The Spectrum line has better detail and operation than the Standard line.
    But if you like the 2-6-2 better, go for it!! :thumb: The 2-8-0 started building around
    1860, I think. The 2-6-2 maybe a few years later, not sure.
    Do you have a Local Hobby Shop (LHS)?? It helps a lot to see some of the
    available products in person for comparison.
    Glad to have you on The-Gauge!! :) :)

    I think that Mantua ceased production and was bought out by Model Power.
    That may account for the low price. The stuff is probably OK, I have no experience
    with Mantua whatsoever. I'm sure someone else here has some info or
  3. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    That Union Pacific "Prairie" would be a bit late for the era you mentioned in your other post (1860-1880), it is closer to an 1890-1920 era engine I believe.

    American engines of the 1860s and 1870s tended to be very colorful and ostentatious--it wasn't until the later 1880s that the American tradition of black, undecorated engines began in a big way.

    As far as wheel arrangements go, look for an American (4-4-0) or a Mogul (2-6-0) or maybe a Ten-Wheeler (4-6-0.) For the West Coast, you'll want diamond stacks (chimneys) rather than straight--most West Coast locomotives were wood-burners.

    Also, Union Pacific didn't reach the West Coast, except for Portland through a branch line, until considerably later. I'd recommend looking for "Central Pacific" locomotives--unless you're planning on re-lettering for a freelance line anyhow.
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Some suggestions:

    Here's a link to the IHC website--their "Old Time 4-4-0" is most suitable.


    Of the railroads listed:

    Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe is appropriate for southern California, Virginia & Truckee was western but not quite West Coast (western Nevada--mountainous, high desert, mining), Central Pacific *was* California railroading during that era--the other lines listed are not anywhere near the American west coast.

    Rolling stock:
    Here is a page of IHC's old-time cars:

    And another:

    And yes, IHC is kind of cheap. The engines run acceptably but not superbly, but the cars (wagons) are actually very nice models. Personally I replace couplers with Kadees and wheelsets with Intermountain metal wheels, but you need not do so unless you're a stickler.

    As I said in the previous thread--let us know more about your project! I'm a somewhat-rabid fan of that period (I volunteer at the California State Railroad Museum, which is largely dedicated to that area and period) and live in California. So I can supply a certain amount of advice that you might find useful.

    I assume from your verbiage (vans and carriages, etc.) that you are posting from somewhere in the UK or Australia?
  5. fran1942

    fran1942 Member

    thanks again for the advice.

    OK, I have done some research and I realise IHC trains are economy level.

    If I wanted to buy a good quality central pacific 1860's era engine that will run well and without problems for a good length of time, where should I be looking ?
    If IHC and Bachmann are low end, who are the middle and high end ?
    Thanks for any links.
  6. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    That Bachman 2-6-2 is also available as a 2-6-0 and 0-6-0 versions, of which there are several tender options as well and you can always buy another earlier period tender off bachmann.

    As for Mantua being low-end, there is also the so-called "low-end" Mehano 4-4-0 and 2-6-0 engines which, if my Mehano Mountain is anything to go by, will be very powerful for their size and cost.
  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    As mentioned in the other thread--there really isn't any middle end for Transcontinental Railroad era engines--just toy-train low and brass high.
  8. fran1942

    fran1942 Member

    thanks jetrock, that sorts out my engine choices. Good info.
    Due to the lack of 1860's engines in the marketplace, I have decided to go bachmann spectrum range and move up a couple of decades into the 1890's - which leads me to ask for advice on where to get nice looking carriages / wagons for this era at a decent price. Where would your preferred place to buy 1880-1910 carriages be ?

    any advice is much appreciated.
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Are you still looking at the West Coast as your modeling choice? If you're modeling California, then Southern Pacific rather than Central Pacific would be the railroad of choice (Central Pacific took over Southern Pacific, then used them as a holding company, and it eventually all became known as SP.) Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe was well-established in southern California, and in 1909 the last transcontinental, Western Pacific, was completed.

    If you're modeling Oregon or Washington, then the Northern Pacific or Great Northern could be modeled.

    In the mid-priced range, the Bachmann "Spectrum" line of engines is pretty nice. The Spectrum line is Bachmann's better-quality equipment (as opposed to the toy-train stuff.) The Baldwin 4-6-0 ("Ten-Wheeler") would be a good all-purpose locomotive for the era, as would a Consolidation (2-8-0) or a Mogul (2-6-0)

    I would still recommend IHC's old-time freight cars--they were still pretty common during that era, and they do look good and operate well, with just a little attention.

    Passenger cars (a point of nomenclature: "carriages" are called "passenger cars", "wagons" are called "boxcars", and a "brake van" is called a "caboose") can be had from various sources. You'll want wood-sided passenger cars, typically with what is called a "clerestory" roof.

    A good resource for these items is the Walthers catalog: www.walthers.com will give you lots of leads.

    Mantua's old-time passenger cars would work--they are a flat-roof design, typical of transcontinental "emigrant trains" of the period. Model Power's old-time coach would also work well. Rivarossi's "old-time" passenger sets would work well too.
  10. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    The Roundhouse Old-timer stock is also very good, the Overland cars are a bit to short and dinky really but the rest of the stock is very good.
  11. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    hi try http://photoswest.org/ most of there pics have a date to get a idea of what you might want for that era.

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