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Author Topic: Most powerful steam locomotives  (Read 4557 times)
Roget

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« on: October 13, 2009, 09:27:21 PM »

To the "Bach Man" (or anyone with the answer)
Now that I have retired, I am hoping to find the time to build my first layout. I want to have a mountain scene (with as much grade as possible) & pull as many cars as possible.
Which of the Spectrum N scale steam locomotives will give me the most pulling power and be the most suited to my needs?
Also which are the most dependable?
Thanks in advance for any input anyone can give me.
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en4cer

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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 10:50:16 PM »

I don't know if this will help, but we have a steamer in HO scale that is probably the smoothest running and fastest engine I've ever had the pleasure of running on our Christmas layout. Its a Model Power 0-4-0 "Fat Boy" with tender. For our purposes this engine is painted red, green and silver for our Christmas theme. Just thought you might find this information usefull, good luck finding what you are searching for.
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the Bach-man
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 11:50:28 PM »

Dear Roget,
Steep grades and long trains are generally mutually exclusive. The Class J would probably be a strong puller. That said, I believe you will find more pulling power among our diesels. 
Have fun!
the Bach-man
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USAF_Andy

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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2009, 08:15:20 AM »

I would buy the loco you want, and if it performs sub-par, apply bullfrog snot to one of the drivers, and you should be ok...
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Roget

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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 12:14:49 PM »

Andy,
Being a novice, I am unfamiliar with "bullfrog snot". Please explain, & thanks for your help
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Franz T

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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2009, 06:27:59 PM »

"Bullfrog Snot" is a liquid traction tire you can apply yourself. you can google it or try this link:
http://www.amazon.com/BULLFROG-SNOT-Universal-Plastic-Traction/dp/B001NG2ECC

Not cheap but it works great!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 06:30:37 PM by Franz T » Logged
brokemoto

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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2009, 09:46:07 PM »

The best pulling Bachmann steam engine is the SPECTRUM 2-8-0.

Be careful of bullfrog snot.  It does have its drawbacks.  You will not need it for the 2-8-0.

There are those who have said that the Athearn 4-6-6-4 is a good puller, but I do not have one.

The SPECTRUM USRA light 4-8-2 is not a bad puller if you shim the tyred driver pair.  It is still not as good as the 2-8-0.  The SPECTRUM USRA heavy 4-8-2 is pretty good, but not as good as the 2-8-0.  The USRA 2-6-6-2 is not a good puller.

The SPECTRUM 2-8-0 will pull as much as any single diseasel that B-mann sells.  The LL plastic frame FA might outpull it, but the Life Like plastic frame FA will pull every piece of rolling stock that you own up a fifty per cent grade on an eight inch radius curve.   A SPECTRUM A-B F-7 pair might out pull the 2-8-0, but that is two locomotives, not one.  The SPECTRUM F units are pretty good pullers, but one unit will not outpull the SPECTRUM 2-8-0.

Spend the time to break in your SPECTRUM 2-8-0 and you will be happy.

The Kato USRA heavy 2-8-2, with the traction tyre retrofit is also a pretty good puller, but it will not outpull the SPECTRUM 2-8-0.  On the average, the Kato tends to run a bit better at slow speeds.

The newest Walthers/Life-Like USRA 2-8-8-2 is supposed to have traction tyres and is supposed to be a pretty good puller.  I do not have the new one.  I have the old one.  It is an excellent runner, but a mediocre puller.

The Rivarossi 2-8-8-2 was a good puller.  It had other problems, the major one's being that the frame self-destructed.  This was even a problem with the more recent issues of it.

The RR USRA heavy 2-8-2 was not a bad puller, but the Kato USRA heavy 2-8-2 and the SPECTRUM 2-8-0 have superceded it.  Its slow speed control is wildly inconsistent model-to-model.

I would recommend the B-personn SPECTRUM 2-8-0 and the Kato USRA heavy 2-8-2.
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pamardon

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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2009, 09:50:27 PM »

why just bull frog in one of the drivers?
why not on more??
isn't more the better?
Im new at this too.... so just wondering
If you have better traction on more wheels shouldn't that work better?
how often you have to re  apply this liquid tire??
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brokemoto

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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2009, 10:05:10 PM »

If you put bullfrog snot on all of the drivers, it will severely compromise the electrical contact. 

Model Power sells a 2-6-0 with a traction tyre.  The tender on the  MP has only half of the wheels electrically live.  If you attempt to run the MP 2-6-0 at speeds less than thirty-five SMPH, it will stall on straight and level track.  The traction tyre compromises the electrical contact that much.  If you swap out the stock MP tender for one of the B-mann SPECTRUM tenders, which have all wheels live, you have a real winnder of a locomotive. It will creep as slowly as five SMPH with a train.

When considering N scale steam, it is important to keep in mind Miranda's Maxim as explicated by ke:  "The poor performance of many N scale steam locomotives is directly attributable to poor electrical contact".

The SPECTRUM 2-8-0 has one tyred driver pair.  The tender is all wheels live, the drivers are all live.  This gives it sufficient contact to allow it to operate well.
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Roget

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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2009, 10:58:41 PM »

Lots of good info!
Thanks to all.
I am looking at the Walthers 2-8-8-2 & the athearn 4-6-6-4. Both pretty big, but supposedly terrific pullers. Pretty expensive also. I believe both also have traction tires.
My biggest concern with these is the larger turns required.
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Franz T

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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2009, 12:40:43 PM »

I can't tell you anything about the Athearn Challenger, but I do have a 2-8-8-2, albeit from the first (LifeLike) production run. This one actually will negotiate a 9 3/4" curve; admittedly, it looks weird when it does so....
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