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Messages - Len

HO / Re: 2-6-2 prairie
August 22, 2008, 01:42:24 PM
The other gripe is it's not really a "Prairie". It's a USRA 0-6-0 switcher with a pilot and trailing truck added to make it a 2-6-2.

HO / Re: couplers
August 22, 2008, 01:39:43 PM
While there's no doubt a bit of selective-compression goes on with the Athearn 72ft models, they aren't totally out in left field either.

A number of roads, the RF&P comes immediately to mind, actually did run 72ft cars because of the number of tight curves on their lines. The New Haven 80-seat "American Flyer" light weight coaches built in the mid-1930s were in the 70 - 75ft range in length also.

So I would suggest not gettng too hung up on the "real passenger cars are 85ft long" mantra.

Quote from: Joe Satnik on August 15, 2008, 12:16:19 PM
Dear Len,

I know the Bach-Man was on our side a few years ago, though I know that often he's just the messenger.

"Why cut into the 90 degree crossing sales?" must be the reason given by the bean counters.   

The new layout book not even mentioning the 2" straights is a kick in the pants, though.  It's a critical piece for closing gaps.

<snip demo derby tip for brevity>

FT2"S !!!  (Keep your head up, it could happen some day !)

Joe Satnik

Thanks Joe,

I don't know too many folks into demo derby with trains though.

I use RR-Track to try and come up with EZ-Track layout ideas, and I'm constantly running into the 2in gap problem on relatively simple layouts.

You'd think someone would point out to Bachmann's 'bean counters' that Atlas includes a 4-pack of 2in straights in their True-Track line, and they sell very well at my LHS.

You might even think someone at Atlas used their RTS software to play around with True-Track layouts and noticed the same thing regarding 2in straights, and thought it would be a good idea to make them available.

Don't think I'll hold my breath waiting for Bachmann to get a clue though.

HO / Re: couplers
August 15, 2008, 08:44:23 AM

Don't hold your breath for the McHenry #52 couplers.

Since Horizon bought McHenry they've been focused on getting the new 'shelf' couplers out, and retooling to make the older (e.g., #52)  McHenry's with metal knuckle springs instead of the plastic finger spring. My LHS doesn't expect to see the new ones before the end of the year.

Also, you can add a bit of weight below the body by converting to metal wheels. A pack of 36 metal wheels with RP-25 flanges is available through Walthers, item number 348-5997.

These are the "31in" diameter used on the IHC cars, not the more typical "36in" size used on passenger cars. You could use the "36in" wheels, but you have to trim off the brake shoes to do so.

HO / How goes the "Free the 2in Straights!" Project?
August 15, 2008, 08:32:16 AM
Been away a while, and just wondered if there's any word of late whether the 2in straights will ever be made available without having to add another 90deg crossing to the junk box to get them?

Any word on when the Power Upgrade trucks for the dummy diesel units will be available? Clicking the 'Order Parts' link shows nothing for O scale. Walthers, Horizon, and Heartland have them listed, but with a "To Be Announced" release date.

I know the focus has been on getting locos, cars, and sets in to the pipeline. But I've got several four and six wheel truck dummy units I like to get upgraded in my lifetime. Any info on availability dates would be appreciated.

HO / Re: DC or DCC?
February 28, 2008, 12:24:42 PM
Some folks mentioned "simplified wiring" as a plus for DCC. After helping a neighbor with a 12x20 basement layout, I'm here to tell ya' even with DCC put electrical blocks in your trackwork. Just leave them on all the time.

Trying to find in all that track, without being able to isolate sections, where a dropped foam pin landed after taking a bounce is a major pain. Finally found INSIDE the factory building across the spur that goes into the building where the overhead crane is.

HO / Re: Advanced DCC
February 28, 2008, 12:02:12 PM

Except now your friend has to put his original address back when he returns to his home layout.

Personally I like the Zephyr with the direction/brake lever for mainline running, and the Atlas Commander for working in yards and large industrial areas. The direction buttons on the commander make is simple to do the "Kadee Shuffle" over the magnet when uncoupling knuckle couplers.

HO / Re: Wiring EZ track crossovers
February 17, 2008, 07:09:19 AM

Gaps are required in the rails and connections under the roadbed in order to isolate the two loops the crossover connects for independent DC operation.

The fellow with the portable Acela layout has 'how to' instructions on his website. The URL is scattered around the forum.

This issue has been around since the #6 crossovers were first release. So why Bachmann doesn't include this info in the box, or at leat on their own web site, is beyond me.

Thomas & Friends / Re: Gordan HO Set Transformer
February 14, 2008, 02:24:13 AM

Appreciate the offer, but I've already replaced it with an MRC 1370. If my Grandson stays with it enough to justify the space for a table, we'll use the original transformer for low load accessories.

Thomas & Friends / Re: Gordan HO Set Transformer
February 12, 2008, 06:46:47 AM

You said, " are far more concerned watching him speed along under their control, rather than how many cars he can pull, which is the general consensus for the age group."

I wasn't dealing with an "age group", but a 7 year old grandson who is VERY familiar with the Thomas videos. In particular that Gordan is often seen pulling 3 or 4 coaches, not just the 2 that come in the set, in the videos. He specifically requested the extra coaches (and track) when we were at the LHS purchasing the set.

You also say,

"Its illogical for Bachmann to risk sales by raising the price just so a child can run 4 cars."

If my LHS can sell an MRC 1370 with an MSRP of $39.98 for $29.95 and make money, how much is it really going to cost Bachmann to include one at OEM prices? I'd be glad to have paid an extra $2 - $3 dollars for the set to have included a decent transformer to have avoided the hassle to a second trip to the LHS.

You need to rething this statement, "In conclusion, maybe in the manual's and dvd's that come with the sets they should suggest the use of a Spectrum transformer in the future if one wishes to pull many cars."

The Gordan locomotive can easily handle more than 2 cars with a decent power supply, the Thomas videos often show Gordan pulling more than 2 cars, Bachmann sells add on coaches seperately and should expect people are going to add them to the Gordan set, and that those people are going to expect the transformer in the set to be capable of fully utilizing Gordan's capabilities. Finding out AFTER purchasing the set and getting it home that you'll need a better transformer is what will annoy the customers (like me).


P.S. For Zelda: My grandson doesn't have to use a screw driver. I attached the power lead lugs to the transformer for him. All he has to do is plug/unplug the connector from the track.
Thomas & Friends / Gordan HO Set Transformer
February 06, 2008, 11:46:22 AM
I picked up a Gordan HO passenger set, a couple of extra coaches, and some extra track for my grandson. He loved it, until he wanted to pull four cars like Gordan some times does in the videos.

Even with an extra feeder to the far side of the loop, the rinky-dink transformer that came in the set just didn't seem capable of getting the job done.

So I ran back to my LHS, picked up an MRC 1370 transformer on sale for $29.95 and hooked it up. What a difference in Gordan's performance. Plus there are accessory power outputs for building lights, switches, etc., when he's ready to expand some more.

Why can't Bachmann put a decent transformer in these sets to begin with? If nothing else, maybe do an OEM agreement with MRC to put 1300's or 1370's in the set the way Walther's Trainline does in theirs.

Williams by Bachmann / Re: Williams Warranty
January 30, 2008, 05:59:43 AM
Just wondered if the pre-Bachmann purchase loco lifetime warranty issue has been "ruled on" yet?

Thomas & Friends / Re: Question About Emily
January 25, 2008, 12:20:12 PM
A complete explanation of those stupid labes can be found on the Aristo-Craft site at:

Basically California passed a law that can have major impacts on businessess that don't do business in California if one of their customers brings a product into California that doesn't have one of these labels on it. Even though they aren't required in the state where the company does do business. Why this Feds haven't stepped all over this, as it affects interstate business, I have no idea.

HO / Re: HO 4x8 dual train layouts
January 01, 2008, 02:04:31 PM

Both the Atlas and Kalmbach books explain how to create electrical blocks for DC operation of two, or more, trains. It's actually not that hard to start out with DC, and then add a DCC controller either. Even with DCC the electrical blocks can help isolate problems.