New Atlas engine purchase?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Mrplow123, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    I am about to purchase my first new N-scale engine ever, unless you count the Santa Fe f-7 that came with my Bachmann Highballer set back in 94. Everything else has been hand me downs. Well I come to you knowledgeable people with a question or 2 or 3, well you get it. I have decided to go Atlas, and I either want a GP-38 or 40 maybe 40-2, But it needs to be Souther Pacific. I grew up around and on the rails of the Southern pacific near my house, so my Main roadnames are Southern Pacific and Union Pacific. So my questions are, which one of the 3 would you recommend? I want to stay with 4 axle power for now. I assume the 3 different Atlas models are all the same chassis and drive train, just the body's are different. So I guess the only deciding factor will be looks, so I guess that will be left up to me. Are the Atlas engines smooth running, can they run at slow speeds smoothly? The next question is, if I buy an Atlas with DCC decoder already installed, can I run it on my DC layout for now until I get my DCC system without modifying it too much or at all? Lastly, what on line retailer would you recommend buying from? I want a good price obviously, but service and IN STOCK so I can have it NOW, are most important. I would buy one from my LHS, and they have what I want in stock, but the GP-40 without decoder is $89.99. I see most online stores have them with the decoder for around that price if not less.

    And if anyone has a recomendation for another brand/model to look at let me know. I am trying to stay under 90 bucks, so Kato is out.
    Thanks in advance
  2. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I have two Atlas GP38-2's. Actually, I think they are GP38-2's but now I'm not sure and am second guessing myself. Anyways, they run very smooth also at slow speeds. Both of mine were purchased new with the DCC decoders already installed and, yes they function fine on DC as well. I purchased both of mine from my LHS and payed a little more ($115 each) because I did not feel like waiting. I was lucky in the fact that they actually had two in my favorite road name with different numbers. I already had one existing older engine that I converted to a dummy and now I can run a triple header. The only thing I dislike about them is that Atlas apparently has geared them down so as to closer replicate typical running speeds. It makes it hard to speed up and get out of the way when you can't speed up. It seems my 100% on my Digitrax controller corresponds to about 50% of everybody elses engines. Still, they pull strongly and the other night, they were pulling 40 or so cars with no problems. Would I buy more Atlas engines pre-equpped with DCC decoders? Probably not. I like Kato. Still, they were easy to program and ran with no problems right out of the box (as they should unlike others I have had.)

    Attached Files:

  3. sputnik

    sputnik Member

    The bodies are different, and on some of the GP40-2s, they have different trucks for the SP version (but it's been awhile since those were made, so they aren't so readily available). The chassis are the same, but the motor IS NOT. Some have the "faster" black motor, and the newer ones (those produced within the past few years now) have the "slower" gray motor. Atlas calls the slower motor the "scale speed" motor. The gray motor can be swapped out for the black motor, and vice-versa. The "scale speed" motor can reliably crawl at nice slow speeds (without jerking). Some engines from other manufacturers match the slower motors, some match the faster motors, and some are different altogether.

    Atlas hasn't made GP38-2s yet.

  4. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Allright, well since you put me on the spot, I had to go and dig through my boxes to correctly identify them as GP40's.
  6. SeriousSam

    SeriousSam Member

    I have a few GP40s, I must say they run as smooth as all my Kato engines. I too am more familiar with the SP and UP companies. I have bought various Atlas GP40s with other road names but have been re painted to SP. Im amazed they actually look like SP units. As far as buying them goes, Im sure you can wait a couple days for them to get them delivered to your home, and pay less than 89 dollars. I know of a couple hobby shops that sell these for 20 dollars less, plus 2 or 3 dollars shipping....
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    (Disclaimer: This is not an expert's opinion here, only what I've noticed "out of the box" straight DC operation. Your mileage may vary.) I have never had a problem with any Atlas diesel and I own several. The Kato's I run are very good and quiet too. But take a look at LifeLike Proto N...I have a GP60 and it looks and runs great. The two Athearn SD75's I have don't run as well but look pretty good. For the money vs. value...I like and mostly buy Atlas. See what price your LHS can really get them for...maybe he can cut you a better deal than "MSRP" if he realizes that if he drops the price a bit he'll gain a loyal customer.
  8. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    OK, now I can't make up my mind. I ran accross a atlas Dash 8-40B, I really like the look of it. The one I am looking at has the new slower motor, but I don't think that will matter to me since I like to run my trains slow. But how well do these perform? Equal to the GP-38 and 40? And I found it with out decoder for only 57.00, so the price seems right. Thanks...
  9. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    That's a pretty good price for a Dash-8. I run my trains slow too and really, as long as you're happy with the fit and finish, that's all that matters. IMHO, you can't go wrong with Atlas. Maybe others have had problems...but I never had and they mostly run about the same.
  10. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    OK, I think I am going to go with the Dash 8-40b. For 57 bucks, brand new, i don't think I will be too dissapointed. And I can just add a decoder to it later. Thanks for all the input guys. I love this site.

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