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1  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Coal fired steam locomotives? on: August 01, 2013, 07:03:28 AM
And on this topic of alternate fuels for steam locos, many ammusment park live steamers are, and have been over the years run on propane.

Sheldon
2  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Coal fired steam locomotives? on: July 28, 2013, 06:11:54 PM
One more point of interest about this topic.

The Strasburg Railroad, runs 6, 8, or even more coal fired steam powered trains EVERY DAY, all day long, about 10 months out of the year.

AND, they are not just  a "tourist line" that might get some special exception - they are a common carrier railroad and move freight with steam as well.

Coal fired steam locos are just as "legal" as any other railroad locomotive. And they are subject to inspections and safety standards - that has nothing to do with what kind of fuel they burn.

Sheldon
3  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO Scale Burglarized buildings on: November 13, 2012, 11:05:43 PM
How about a dead burglar lieing on the ground in front and a shop owner holding a shotgun?

Seriously, do what ever you like, but life is full enough of bad things and bad people, I don't want to portray that sort of thing on my layout - again, unless it shows the good guy winning.

Sheldon
4  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Finally done on the little 2-10-2 project on: May 22, 2012, 10:18:06 AM
George, very nice work. Glad to see how you added the weight, I had avoided that loco do to its long wheel base and reputation for not pulling so well.

My new layout has larger curves so I may consider a few now.

Why don't you like the belt drives on the othe locos? I have nine of the USRA Heavy Mountains and they all work great, as do my 2-8-0's and 4-6-0's. Never had a problem yet with a Bachmann drive belt.

In fact, I consider my heavy Mountains amoung the best locos produced in the last 10-15 years - by anyone.

Sheldon
5  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 22, 2012, 07:02:40 AM
blwfish,

One more important point, having designed and been involved with the construction of a number of layouts with a helix, I would caution you about building a helix with such a small radius.

What will your grade be? Over 3% - plus the resistance of the curve - two of the best pulling steam locos a out there will likely only pull 20 cars up it.

Sheldon

Sheldon, I am not sure how you are doing your calculation but according to mine, a 30" radius helix built 3-3/4" rail head to rail head can have full NMRA clearance and a grade of less than 2%.  With 4" rail head to rail head, the grade is still only about 2.1%.  If you really want to push the envelope and your woodworking skills are up to it, the limit is about a 1.7% grade with 30" curves and 3" clearance over the rail heads.  Not all of us have that extra foot to build our helices with 36" and larger curves.

Jim   

Jim, I did word that wrong I suppose, I meant the effective grade with the resistance from the curve would be about 3%.

I run on a number of layouts that use the helix design, and the ones with 30" or smaller radius are real challenge from a pulling power standpoint  with steam locos.

The ones built with 36" or larger radius are much more steam loco friendly, and much more suitedto long trains.

I have never been shy about my belief in larger curves, Paul Mallery argued for 48" radius as a minimum mainline radius for modeling a Class I mainline, I'm getting real close to that on the visable portions of my new layout.

With or without double articulation, some of these biggest locos simply look bad even on 36" radius. But in any case, I cannot understand wanting to make the situation worse by insisting on prototypical design of the articulation - unless I had room for 60" curves.

Sheldon
6  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 21, 2012, 07:00:03 PM
First, the Mantua engine is a small logging loco, it does not even begin to have the same track requirements as even the Bachmann 2-6-6-2.

John,

In between the old Rivarossi stuff and the current crop of mostly double articulation locos offered in the last ten years or so, there really have not been any other plastic/die cast locos to speak of.

My I politely suggest that it is hard to discuss stuff if you are not familiar with what is out there or with who made which locos. Proto never made a 2-6-6-2.

When it comes to recent articulated locos:

Proto2000 has only made a USRA 2-8-8-2, which is the same as a N&W Y3.

Bachmann has made two versions of a 2-6-6-2, the C&O H4 and the C&O H5 which is also a USRA 2-6-6-2. And Bachmann now has the EM-1.

Rivarossi has made a big boy, challenger and the C&O H8 2-6-6-6

BLI/PCM has made a big boy, N&W Y6b and the N&W Class A 2-6-6-4

Athearn Genesis has made/makes a big boy and a challenger (too many big boys - you know I have never owned one)

Sorry, but limited players like Lionel don't even count in my book.

And until MTH offers all their products with real DCC and/or DCC ready, I don't count them either.

To my recolection, of all of these, only the Rivarossi big boy is not double articulated and I may even be wrong on that.

Other than brass, that's pretty much it - again most are double articulated, and run and look very good.

I can undrstand those who already have older brass planning to keep it and run it, but I would never go looking for an old brass piece if a current production plastic/diecast version is available.

But then maybe I just don't have enough money.....

Sheldon

I don't consider used twenty year old locos as viable choices when deciding on motive power. There is no assurance they can be found. But I guess that view comes from not being a collector - of brass locos or of anything.

As we have discussed before, I'm not a collector or a buyer/seller in the secondary market. That is a hobby all to its self, a hobby I'm not in. I'm a modeler, I am interested in building a very specific layout theme and actually running my trains.

So what Howard buys and likes to run that was made twenty or thirty years ago is of no importance to me.

I don't know what problem you had with a Proto2000 2-10-2, but my two 2-8-8-2's and two 0-8-0's are some of the nicest running locos I have, as are my Bachmann 2-6-6-2's.
7  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 21, 2012, 03:58:37 PM
Guys, here is my point, don't be so quick to judge the double articulation until you have really seen it on the curves you plan to use.

The bigger the curve, the less noticable it is, in fact because of the reduced front overhang, it makes big curves look like truely prototypical curves in many cases. While the movement of the rear engine is hardly noticed.

And they pull better with less losses in the curves, and they eliminate the need for un realistic side clearances or track spacing.

Personally, I will just never get this idea that it acceptable to shrink the turnout number or curve size way down, but not acceptable to compromise the equipment at all?

And my layout is built for running big power too - while pulling trains long enough to justify its use.

Sheldon
8  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 21, 2012, 03:35:35 PM
John, I'm well aware that most brass articulated locos have prototypical fixed rear engines. I didn't say anything about brass in the statement you quoted?

Most guys I know are running modern diecast/plastic stuff - not brass. I would say there is plenty of detail on all my articulated locos and double articulation is not limited by any of it. As listed earlier - Bachmann 2-6-6-2's, Proto 2-8-8-2's, BLI 2-6-6-4, Riv 2-6-6-6.

I know many of those old brass locos run fine - once you fine tune them and your trackwork - but I have also seen a lot of them that were nothing but a pain to fine all the rubs and shorts and such.

The other factors are rigid wheel base, boiler length, and total wheel base. The EM-1 is a lot bigger than Y3 in these regards - yet the 2-6-6-2 is not much bigger than most 4-8-2's.

But I'm not buying any $2000 brass locos anyway, so it matters not to me.

Sheldon
9  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 21, 2012, 01:15:03 PM
blwfish,

One more important point, having designed and been involved with the construction of a number of layouts with a helix, I would caution you about building a helix with such a small radius.

What will your grade be? Over 3% - plus the resistance of the curve - two of the best pulling steam locos a out there will likely only pull 20 cars up it.

Most helix designs I have done use 36" minimum with a 4" seperation for a grade of 1.8% and an effective grade of about 2.5%. A BLI Class A or a Rivirossi H8 can pull 65 cars up eight loops of this design - I know, we built it and do it all the time.

We have not yet tested the EM-1 to the max yet, but just last week a Bachmann EM-1 with 40 cars sailed around that layout with no difficulty - it has two such helix.

My next helix will be 4 tracks, the 38" radius and the 42" radius will be the "up hill" routes.

The visable curves on the new layout will mostly be in the mid 40's range - and I still don't see any 2-10-2's in my future.

Sheldon
10  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 21, 2012, 12:58:21 PM
blwfish,

I don't mean to be argumentitive here, but for what it is worth, a great many modelers I know have 36" radius and larger curves on their layouts. And based on my conversations with them not one would prefer their articulated locos to be prototypically rigid in the rear, hinged only in the front.

I have seen both prototypically hinged brass and the new Bachmann EM-1's on 36-38" curves - it an't real pretty in my view - with either loco design - the over hangs are pretty bad.

BUT, at least with the double articulation you don't need 3" track centers on double track and tunnel portals big enough for two O gauge trains for double track.

As I suggested before, in the context of the locos you listed, your curves are not really that big - not compared to the mainline curves these locos ran on in real life.

My current layout has curves that range from 36" to 54" and don't run any 2-10-2's or other locos with rigid wheel bases above 21 scale feet.

I will likely get a few Bachmann EM-1's but only becaue the new layout I am starting on now will have even larger curves.

I currently have quite a few Bachmann 2-6-6-2's and well as PCM 2-6-6-4's and Rivirossi 2-6-6-6's and Proto 2-8-8-2's, all with double articulation. They look very good on 36" and larger curves and the movement of the rear engines is hardly noticable.

Obvoiusly you should make your own choices, but if you have any interest in actually operating these size locos on the curves you mentioned, you will find the performance of the double articulation to be a distinct advantage.

And having seen a number of them in action, the new EM-1 is a solid performer and a great looker!

Sheldon
11  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bypassing EM-1 DCC on: May 20, 2012, 10:29:38 PM
The museum layout uses a microprocessor controlled form of DC control, I know, I know the guy who built and installed the controls. Tapping in DCC or changing the voltage is not easily done. It was built as a display layout in this fashion on purpose.

The only real answer is to rewire the loco, as I discribed.

Sheldon
12  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bypassing EM-1 DCC on: May 20, 2012, 04:37:48 PM
Regardless of statements by Bachmann or other manufaturers, dual mode DCC decoders are not 100% compatible with all DC throttles.

I use Aristo Train Engineer wireless radio throttles which use constant voltage pulse width modulation for motor control just like the motor output from a DCC decoder.

Many other advanced DC throttles use similar motor control wave forms that will not work with dual mode decoders.

This type of signal confuses the dual mode decoder causing it not to function correctly.

The best thing to do with an EM-1 for DC operation would be to remove the tender circuit board and the motor mounted capacitors and rewire the loco using suitable resistors and diodes for the LED lighting.

Sheldon
13  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Locking the articulated rear engines on: May 20, 2012, 10:26:26 AM
Because the front engine does not pivot from the rear, locking the rear engine simply will not work, the loco will not track around curves if you lock the rear engine.

The rear drivers of the front engine would try to swing outward since the engine  pivots near the middle - with the rear engine locked the loco will derail on curves.

And, I would politely suggest to you that a 30" helix is not a very large radius for any of the locos in question and that from a tractive effort and clearance standpoint you would be much better off leaving them alone.

As curves get bigger and bigger, the double articulation is less noticable, so If you had even bigger curves, there would be even less reason to worry about it.

Sheldon
14  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: The newly announced 2-6-0, Spectrum or Standard Line? on: July 14, 2011, 10:35:00 PM
Sheldon-

Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware of the nylon traction tires. They sound like a super solution if they add traction, help avoid motor burnout and last longer than rubber. I'll definitely have to try them.

I, too, like to putz with my trucks. I mostly have CVs which are very free rolling as well as equalized. I'm not convinced that the equalization makes a real difference with five ounce cars, but it sure doesn't hurt. I use a little graphite in the journals. It seems to plate the journal and axle tip without holding on to any dust or debris. If I don't have CVs I always use Intermountain wheel sets with whatever sideframes are on the car. Most of my non-CV trucks are Kadee.

                                                                                   -- D


Interesting - in my 40 years of playing with these things, I am convinced equalization makes a big difference in both free rolling and derailment free tracking.

With respect to oil vs graphite, the oil has never shown to pick up any dust or dirt, and it soaks into the cast metal providing the same sort of oilite bearing as graphite, but I will say my trains are in a clean invironment.

In my view, motor burnout is an operator issue and has nothing to do with traction tires. I suspect these motors could handle as much weight as could be applied in a normal scale model and it could pull as much as the available traction would provide. If an operator fails to shut down a stalled loco, that is not the fault of the loco or the traction tire - that is simple abuse of the machine.

I have never worn out burned out a model train motor. Based on my experiance that requires constant display type running.

I used CV trucks years ago and still have a few, but I am very happy with the performance of my Kadee/Intermountain combo.

Sheldon
15  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: The newly announced 2-6-0, Spectrum or Standard Line? on: July 14, 2011, 08:07:33 AM
Doneldon,

No I have never worried with such things in 40 years of modeling. I have never burned out a motor either. Some of my locos have traction tires, some don't. I do like the idea of the BullFrogSnot as an easily replaceable/removeable traction tire - we will see - others have reproted great sucess with it.

I understand Rogers feeling on traction tires, but I also know that the physics do not scale down and in my modeling I pull long trains 30-50 cars and more. So I want good pulling power from all my locos - again, never had any problems. Most of my traction tire equiped locos have been re fitted with nylon traction tires from Calumet Trains. They do not wear out nearly as fast as rubber ones and the provide the extra traction but still allow the drivers to spin when stalled.

In addition to increasing loco traction with weight or traction tires, I outfit almost all my freight cars with very free rolling trucks of my own developed design. I use Kadee metal sprung trucks but replace the wheel sets with those from Intermountain. Much testing has shown this to be one of the most free rolling combinations possible and they track better than rigid trucks. Also by having metal trucks, which adds some weight down low, it is possible to keep cars lighter and still pull very long trains. And contrary to some conventional thinking, I put a drop of light oil in each journal when I install the new wheel sets - it is metal to metal.

Sheldon

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