Steam engine questions.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Hookedtrout, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    I think I've decided on a 2-8-2. I'm looking at several and haven't made up my mind on how much I want to spend and if I want to attempt to put in the DCC decoder myself or just get it already DCC.

    I'm looking at the Broadway Limited with DCC and sound and I see the heavy and the light and I've read the heavy had a bigger boiler. My first question is why is the light so much more expensive. Are there running issues in the light that make them worth more or is it just a popularity issue? They both look fine to me.

    How good are the Broadway limited trains with DCC and Sound? Are they worth the money? How does the sound work? Does it just activate itself dependent on what you are doing or do you activate the sound?

    Any other brands of 2-8-2 that anyone would recommend and why?

    This is getting really fun :D thanks, Hook
  2. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    :wave: Hook...The difference between the BLI lt. 2-8-2 and the heavy 2-8-2
    is that the heavy was first to come out and is the Powerhouse series, pulls great and fair detail. The light came out second and is the Paragon series, a great puller plus highly detailed. These are very both good choices. I understand the Trix 2-8-2 is a good puller but you need a second mortgage
    on the house to buy one. Rivarossi makes a pretty good puller and good detail
    at a pretty good price but no sound. It can be made to pull better but a decoder installation is not for the faint of heart or a beginner. Athearns 2-8-2
    does good to pull its own weight and is very difficult to improve on. For the performance (or lack of), it's not worth the price. I have an Athearn that i'm trying to get rid of, a Rivarossi that I don't think I want to get rid of, and as soon as BLI comes out with a 2-8-2 decorated for Santa Fe, I'm going to jump on it. (Not literally).

    Texas Chief
  3. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    Don't like the Athearn? Is that typical with Athearn or just the model you have?


  4. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    :) For every one person who said they liked it, I've heard from about ten who didn't. Of all the people in my club that had/has one, only one doesn't plan on getting rid of it. Instead, he 's going to use it for yard/roundhouse decoration.

    Texas Chief
  5. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    I'll definitely keep that in mind while I'm looking, the Broadway Limited is looking better all the time. What about the Bachmann line?
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    The Athearn 2-8-2 is a fine running loco which unfortunately is poorly balanced and virtually impossible to correct, therefore it doesn't pull much. I bought two and originally planned on more, I'm keeping the ones I have but won't buy another, nor their Pacific which I'm told is worse.
  7. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    How much is much? When you talk about how much they will or won't pull what should a good little 2-8-2 pull? I've never really thought about how much I wanted to pull?

  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    My experience was as follows: On level track with conventional curves (24" radius) it would pull about a dozen cars. Of course the # is dependant on the cars rolling ability. Some cars roll more freely than others. Put the 2-8-2 on a 2% grade, maybe 6 cars.

    How many do I want it to pull? Well, as many as possible! 20 to 25 would make me happy. Bachmanns 2-8-0 will do that. It's a nice loco and inexpensive. There are drop in sound units made for it.
  9. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    The Bachmann you referred to...


    Is the Bachmann you referred to DCC equipped and do they make a 4-6-2 steam engine model? I'd like to get one with sound and decoder installed...wonder how much that would cost? :eek:

  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    They do have a Pacific but I don't own one so can't speak to its quality. The 2-8-0 comes with a socket in the tender for a decoder. Soundtrax makes a small decoder with speaker built on which plugs right into the tender, just need to work on the coal load to allow sound out. Many people just drill numerous small holes (#72 or so) I prefer to remove the whole molded coal pile and replace with foam with scale coal attached. The sound decoder is $120 at Tony's. The loco itself is sold for about $83 at Tony's, I think. However you ought to be able to find one for less, maybe around $60. The sound is ok, not as good as BLI.
  11. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    Sure do take you to the cleaners on the decoder :eek: now don't they. More than the engine. There can't be that much to a decoder. :mad:

  12. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member


    I have the Heavy BLI "Mike", and it is one great locomotive.... sound, detail, and performance all in one package. If you can afford the "extra" detail, go for the Light version, but for my money... the Heavy is the all around winner.

  13. Hookedtrout

    Hookedtrout Member

    Thanks Bob I think I'm going to get the BLI for sure one or the other. As for the money, what the heck I planned on spending around a thousand dollars for this entire train adventure and I reached $2500 just restoring the "Train Shack" before I finished it. It turned out awesome in and of itself and has a real train feel to it. Haven't started decorating the inside yet as that will have to wait till the train is up and running. Anyway, I have given up entirely on any budget, I'm just going till I'm done and I'll sort that out later. I am paying cash and avoiding the credit thing however. :D

  14. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    :thumb: Hook...Both the Spectrum light 4-8-2 and thier heavy 4-8-2 pull
    great and look great. I didn't mention them in my prior post because I thought you were only interested in 2-8-2's. Thier 2-8-0 is a darn good
    little engine also. I have one of each of these and I love em. I haven't, however, attempted to install a decoder in any of them yet. So I can't give you first hand knowledge on how easy this would be, but it doesn't look too hard.

    Texas Chief
  15. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    Anyone who knows me knows what I'm about to say.

    If you want a Mike that's a truly great puller look into a Mantua. You can get the old ones at train shows, they often carry the Tyco name. The detail isn't great, and they were made pre-DCC so installing a decoder might take some doing. I have one my parents bought me in 1977 and it'll still pull the bumper off a '69 Impala.

    Model Power bought the tooling for Mantuas and is making them now. They're supposed to be DCC ready, but I don't have any nor do I do DCC, so I can't comment on them.

    I asked on the Bachmann board a while back about a Spectrum 2-8-2 I saw in the Trainworld ad, it's a Chinese Mike that was actually used on (I think) the Susquehana. Spectrum engines are great, I personally like the fact that they make a bunch of small engines like the 4-6-0, Russian Decapod and 2-8-0. Not everyone needs a monster articulated engine.

    I don't have any Athearn Mikes but I've heard plenty of people complain about they're pulling capabilities. I've heard of some that wouldn't even pull themselves up a grade that other engines pulled a train up.

    If I remember correctly IHC also makes a Mike, IHC engines are usually a good value. I have a couple of their camelbacks and like them.
  16. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    I too am a fan of the Bachmann spectrum locos. Good middle-of-the-road engines. Nicely detailed, good running, priced very moderately, all DCC ready.

    I'd suggest looking for them on Ebay - one guy there (thefavoritespot) has them running all the time and they usually go for very competitive prices - usually 30% below the lowest price I find online (that usually from I recently bought a 4-8-2 for $68.00 ($12.00 shipping - a bit steep) but total price of $80 compares well to the $118 at Trainworld ($110 plus $8 min. shipping - and I would also be stuck with Sales tax as we're both in NY)

    THe one exception to this is the Spectrum Shay, which seems to go for $115-120 on Ebay, and is available from Trainworld for $129, so less differential there.

    Anyhow, take the engine, plug in the new sound decoder from MRC (my best price on that was tony's train xchange for ~$60) and you have what I'd consider the cheapest sound-enabled-dcc-mid-sized-steamer option (at what I consider acceptable quality levels).


    And no, I'm not the guy selling 'em on Ebay, nor do I work for TTX...

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