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Author Topic: Spectrum 2-10-2  (Read 7228 times)

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« on: March 31, 2010, 03:40:54 PM »

I have just been give a Spectrum 2-10-2 engine. I'm in the process of building a layout with 22 inch outside curves add have to use 18 inch curves on the inside. Will this engine work fine on these curves? Also I have a 2% incline will that effect the operation? 

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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 04:13:29 PM »

I believe that the recommended minimum radius is 22".  Bear in mind, however, that the engine will look and operate much better on larger radius.  There is anecdotal evidence on the web that this engine will sometimes stumble on 24" radius curves and also that the trailing truck will sometimes derail when backing through turnouts sharper than a number 6. 

Just workin' on the railroad.
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 04:16:56 PM »

The 2-10-2 according to Bachmann (not mentioned on the website though) has a recommended minimum radius of 22" due to it's long wheel base and lead and trailing trucks. It will run great on 22" radius, but will have "issues" on 18" radius (i.e. derailment or uncoupling). 18" with this large a loco is  bad idea and a "disaster" waiting to happen.
Pacific Northern

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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 11:25:53 PM »

I acquired the DCC/Sounc version of this engine. I am impressed with the quality of this engine both the sound and running characteristics.

I also have a test track with 18" radius curves and this model handles the 18" curves well.

I also include portions of the review from the Model Railroader site which contains comments on this engines ability to run on 18" track. It looks out of place on the 18" track but it does run on it. As noted there is considerable lateral movement allowing the drivers to run on the tighter 18" radius.

This powerful HO 2-10-2 may be called a "light" 2-10-2, but it's still a big steam locomotive by most model railroad standards. For its size, this new Bachmann locomotive is surprisingly flexible and capable of negotiating 18"-radius curves. A factory installed automatic dual-mode decoder allows it to operate on either DC or DCC (Digital Command Control).

The prototype for this 2-10-2 Santa Fe type was designed by the United States Railroad Administration (USRA) while the government controlled the nation's railroads during World War I. This locomotive was designed as a drag engine in an era when speed wasn't considered as important as pulling power, so it was the second largest rigid-frame locomotive in the USRA's series of standard locomotives (the heavy 2-10-2 outweighed it).

All 94 of the light 2-10-2s were built by Alco and Baldwin in 1918 and 1919. The initial 50 locomotives were assigned to the Southern Ry.; then 15 went to the Seaboard Air Line, 10 to the Boston & Albany (sold to Canadian National in 1928), 10 to the Duluth, Missabe & Northern (predecessor of the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range), 5 to the Chicago & Western Indiana (for its subsidiary, the Belt Ry. of Chicago), and 4 to the Ann Arbor RR.

Bachmann's model of the light 2-10-2 is a credible replica of its prototype. It closely matches the dimensions shown in the USRA drawings published in Simmons- Boardman's 1922 Locomotive Cyclopedia, including the locomotive's overall wheelbase. Even though this is a USRA standard locomotive, there are six different models offered with prototype-specific details. These detail variations reflect modifications the owners made during the 2-10-2s' long service lives. A well- illustrated instruction sheet has more than two dozen exploded isometric drawings that show all of these alternate parts. A standard USRA boiler and cab is fitted with a choice of four boiler fronts and two types of running boards and handrails. The basic mechanism is assembled with either Southern or Walschaerts valve gear, spoked or Boxpok main (center) drivers, and a Delta or Hodges trailing truck. There are four different tender bodies made with high, low, and narrow coal bunkers, and an oil fuel version.

A can motor and flywheel are combined with a metal boiler and chassis to produce the pulling power while the tender carries the dual-mode decoder.Construction details. The boiler frame and cylinders are detailed die-cast metal that provides most of the model's 15-ounce weight. Many of the details are plastic castings that match the prototype fittings.

The plastic tender bodies are based on railroad modifications of the USRA standard long version. They all have a die-cast metal floor and four-wheel Andrews trucks.

An automatic dual-mode DCC decoder is concealed inside the tender and connected to an NMRA eight-pin socket. Six wires connect the tender to the locomotive; the decoder offers directional lighting control but no sound. There's sufficient space within the tender to substitute a DCC sound decoder, but the speaker would probably have to go in the coal bunker.

Our 2-10-2 came smoothly painted in matte black with a graphite firebox and smokebox. The printed Canadian National markings on the cab and two-color herald on the tender were neatly applied. The back of the tender also has the correct tender fuel and water capacities.

The mechanism. This model is one of the few large steam locomotives I've seen that has the correct prototype wheelbase. The combination of small drivers (scale 57") spaced on 75" centers provides operating clearance for the model's RP-25 wheel flanges. In addition, the lead and trailing truck wheels are the proper size, and they're also spaced on the correct centers.
The die-cast metal chassis has a five-pole can motor mounted in the firebox. An acetal plastic gearbox connects the worm and gear drive to the middle driver; the side rods power the other drivers. The middle set of drivers is correctly blind (no flanges), and the others have some lateral motion so the model can run on curves as sharp as 18" radius, but it'll look better operating on wider curves.

All ten drivers and four tender wheels pick up current. Each driver is insulated from its axle, so sets of tiny contacts collect current from all the wheels.

Performance. On DC the 2-10-2 seemed a little hesitant, so I ran it with test leads for a few minutes. Then it started and ran smoothly at appropriate freight speeds.

On DCC, the 2-10-2's speed range was nearly identical to its DC performance, except for an amazing slow speed. It started moving at a barely perceptible .3 scale mph; this was so slow that we had to stare at a tie to see the locomotive move!

There are no traction tires, but the 2-10-2 produced sufficient tractive effort to pull 52 free-rolling cars on straight and level track.

Bachmann's new USRA light 2-10-2 offers good looks and excellent performance. 

HO scale USRA light 2-10-2

Price: $225 with dual-mode DCC decoder (without sound)

Bachmann Industries Inc.
1400 E. Erie St.
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Plastic and die-cast metal ready-to-run steam freight locomotive
Road names (two numbers in each paint scheme):
Canadian National; Chicago & Illinois Midland; Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range; Kansas City Southern; Seaboard Air Line; Southern Ry.; and painted but unlettered

HO USRA 2-10-2 features

Amber light-emitting-diode headlight and backup light, reversing, with constant brightness
Automatic dual-mode DCC (Digital Command Control) decoder that also operates on DC layouts
Bachmann E-Z Mate couplers, mounted at correct height
Die-cast metal boiler and frame
Drawbar pull: 3.7 ounces, 52 free-rolling freight cars on straight, level track
Engine and tender weight: 20 ounces (engine alone is 15 ounces)
Minimum radius: 18"
NMRA RP-25 contour nickel-silver wheels, painted black
Prototype-specific details

Appeared in: August, 2006 issue of Model Railroader Magazine
View the Table of Contents of the August 2006 Issue

Pacific Northern
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2010, 12:00:32 AM »

Although it can run on 18" radius, doesn't mean you should... my erie 2-10-0 decapod won't run on 18" radius, so this makes me wonder is there a difference in the 10 drive wheels between the 2-10-0 and 2-10-2. Also, if I remember correctly, Yampa Bob could not get his 2-10-2 to run on 18" radius, I think he mentioned something about the tender.
Pacific Northern

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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 01:02:11 AM »

I have two of these engines, the 2-10-2's and mine both will run fine on the 18" radius tracks. It must be the luck of the draw, that some will run on 18" and some will not.

Do you have any Spectrum 2-10-2's your self? I am speaking from personal experience.

As the attached review from Model Railroader stated these engines will run on tight radius 18" curves. Not that they necessarily look good doing it.

 I also have some Spectrum 2-10-0's that also run fine on 18" track as well. The spectrum decopods are about the same size of the spectrum connies, they are not very large engines at all.

I also have a few Spectrum Heavy mountains, and guess what? They too run fine on 18" radius track.

Pacific Northern
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 01:13:18 AM »

I have two of these engines, the 2-10-2's and mine both will run fine on the 18" radius tracks. It must be the luck of the draw, that some will run on 18" and some will not.
Do you have any Spectrum 2-10-2's your self? I am speaking from personal experience.
I also have a few Spectrum Heavy mountains, and guess what? They too run fine on 18" radius track.
You must have all the luck then because I have several 4-8-2s and none of them run on 18" radius. My one decapod doesn't run on 18" radius. But, I do not have a 2-10-2, but I would think it would run similarly to my 2-10-0. It must be luck of the draw like you said because I recall other people saying theirs could not make 18" radius.
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2010, 01:05:09 AM »

I looked in the Bachmann online catalog and as it turns out the minimum radius reported for both the 2-10-0 and 2-10-2 is 22 inches. So, that must mean that you've just been really lucky because it is evident Bachmann did not think they'd make 18" radius. Also Bachmann lists the minimum radius for the 4-8-2s at 22 inches also see the Bachmann catalog PDF link
Pacific Northern

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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2010, 05:37:22 PM »


This subject has come up many times.,10833.0.html

Yes, many of the Spectrum Steamers will run on 18" curves, even some of the larger ones..

Yes it varies, even some of the same models like the Spectrum Heavy Mountain will run on 18" and yet another Spectrum Heavy Mountain will not. Go figure that out. Obviously there are subtle differences that would account for the disparities.

Yes, I am lucky that the Spectrum engines I have like my Heavy Mountain will run on 18" curves.

Did you not read the Model Railroader review of the 2-10-2 that stated that model would
run on 18" curves.

Do the larger engines look good running on 18" radius track. No they do not. No argument of that aspect.

I am speaking from experience, I have a few of each of the Spectrum engines I have mentioned.

By the way, I do not have any 18" track on my main layout any longer , it was replaced by larger radius track which looks so much better.

I do however have a test track on a 4' x 8' plywood table.  which uses 22" and 18" curves as well as a number of turnout switches varying from tight radius to number 6. This is where I break in my locomotives.

I do own one Spectrum engine that will only run on a minimum 22" radius, it is the J 4-8-4.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:50:01 PM by Pacific Northern » Logged

Pacific Northern

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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2010, 12:29:33 PM »

A good rule of thumb, if a manufacturer says "yes, it will run on 18" curves" that means 22" is probably a much better bet. That 18" curve is probably a test model, on perfect track, both perfectly in gauge, with no turnouts, no cars coupled to the loco, and perhaps at one speed only (sloooow).

Real railroads didnt run huge engines on sharp curves. The B&O would rarely allow its huge fleet of excellent S1 2-10-2s to operate on the Cumberland West Sub (and then ONLY as pushers in sloooow speed service, and even this was extremely rare) as the long wheelbase did  not mesh well with the sharp curves. If you want to run huge engines on sharp curves, run 6 coupled mallets, or 8 coupled if you dare (even some of these, such as long wheelbase 4-8-2s or 4-8-4s with big drivers is asking for problems) but 10 drivers is just begging for disaster when it derails and heads for the floor. I had a couple of brass Samhongsa S-1s and they would not run on anything less than 30". Much pickier than these ones I'm sure, but still a good example of the curves 10 coupled engines prefer, and they had (like the real thing) a flangeless middle driver, to allow it a bit more breathing room.

Always go a couple inches larger than the manufacturer lists as "minimum" and youll have  a much much easier time of it. Doubly so with anything with 8 or more drivers in a rigid wheelbase.
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