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Author Topic: Suggestions for a good-running, small DC HO steamer, for 15" radius  (Read 10835 times)
Clovis-73


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« on: February 08, 2014, 01:09:20 PM »

I have a small layout, measuring 42" x 62" with 15" radius curves and would like a good-running, small DC HO steamer. At present, I use GP7s as my power. The theme of the layout is Southern, logging-related, 40' cars, etc. I have read many posts on this website and am not sure which steamer is the best. I was looking at the 2-6-2, but found many negative comments. (Not sure if the tender pick-up modifications make this a better model, or not.) I like the looks of the 2-6-0, 2-8-0, , 0-6-0 Porter or Saddle Tank, and 0-6-0 USRA.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jim
Fort Worth
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Doneldon

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 03:01:30 PM »

Jim-

Bachmann's 0-6-0, 2-6-0 and 2-6-2 are all the same locomotive, just with pony and trailing trucks added or not. The mechanisms are quite reliable but these small, light models aren't very strong pullers unless they have added weight. They wouldn't be a good choice on a railroad with lots of grades but I doubt if that applies to your layout as it's pretty difficult to have much terrain in such a small space. Unfortunately, these locos do have one serious drawback: the front coupler is non-operating. But for that, any of them would be a good choice for a small layout. It is possible to remove the dummy coupler and install an operating one but that might not be a job for a new model rail who lacks the experience and probably the necessary tools (like a coupler height gauge) to do the job.

The Bachmann Sound Value 2-6-0 Mogul would be a good choice for you if you feel you can do the coupler conversion. It's not like it's hard to do; it's just that couplers have to be just so if they are to work correctly. I don't have one of these myself so I could be mistaken about the coupler. It may be a working coupler on this exact model although the regular 2-6-0 definitely does not have a working coupler. Someone else on here will set you straight if I'm giving you bum information here.

The good news is that Bachmann has several other steam locomotives which should work just fine on the short line you have. First, there's an 0-6-0T. The "T" means that it doesn't have a tender but carries its own fuel and a water tank. These are great little models and they would be right at home on a small layout with sharp curves. Bachmann actually has two different styles of tankers, one with rectangular tanks on either side of the boiler and one with a saddle tank which flops over the top and sides of the boiler. The mechanisms are the same; it's just the cast boiler/cabs which differ.

Bachmann also has some small geared locomotives like the two-truck Climax which is still in production (I think). You can check eBay or do a Google search for two-truck Shays, Heislers or Climaxes to find compact geared locomotives built by Bachmann and others. These locomotives are wonderful to watch. They have more going on than even rod steamers. I do suggest that you limit yourself to two-truck locos. The three- and four-truck models are pretty large and would look a little silly on your tight curves even though they might be able to stay on the rails.

You would open up the option to run many more locos if you replace your 15-inch curves with 18-inch curves. That's still pretty tight, but most recently manufactured small- to mid-size steam engines can negotiate this radius.

Good luck with your locomotive search and welcome to model railroading and this board. I know you'll find this to be a hobby with many facets so there's always something new to learn or do. Please keep us up to date on your progress.
                                                                                                                                                                                 -- D


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Len

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 03:02:50 PM »

You might want to check out the Mantua 2-6-6-2 articulated. It's based on a narrow gauge logging RR prototype, enlarged a bit to fit standard gauge track, but does 15" radius curves just fine.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
Clovis-73


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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 03:22:06 PM »

Thanks Don

Although I've model railroading for 45+ years, I just switched back to HO from N after spending about 30 years in N, because I couldn't see the fool things any more! Or maybe I gained too much weight in my fingers....Wink

Because my layout is so small, due to space limitations, your suggestions are welcomed and the fact that you feel that these locos are reliable is great news. I really do like the looks of the Saddle Tank. Does it stall on switches? Len, I think the 2-6-6-2 would dwarf my little layout.

I have had some experience mounting couplers. I remember fighting with an old Tyco F7 and an FA2 (Roundhouse?) - that was an experience. and all of my switches are trailing. I do not have any elevation changes, and am planning to pull 2 40' cars and a caboose, max. So, this would fit into the criteria.

Thanks for your help.

Jim
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Doneldon

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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 04:05:23 PM »

Jim-

Reliability has never been their problem; it's the low power and dummy coupler. With your experience you
shouldn't have any trouble with the coupler installation. It is important that it be at the correct height but Kadee
(the only way to go) has so many variations on shank length, set and shape that you'll undoubtedly fnd one
which works.

I suspect working on HO feels great after so many years with N-scale. I've done a few things, like coupler
installs, for a friend and I can sure tell that my eyes aren't 25 years old any more.
                                                                                                                              -- Doneldon
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electrical whiz kid

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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 04:42:59 PM »

Hi; might I suggest a theme:  A wharf system with a car-float operation.  The car-float could be put on a small Rubbermaid@ cart brought to proper height, and swung into action when it is scheduled to arrive with a load of cars.  This to me, has always been a fascinating part of this hobby, and some definite purpose for operation.  Some pretty interesting scenery as found at city wharves all over the world.  There are several good books on this type of operation, all contributing a goodly amount of information.

Rich C.
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jward


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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 06:38:45 PM »

I am happy to report the alco 2-6-0 is not the same as the usra locomotive. it has pickups on the tender wheels and a working front coupler. don't know how it runs on 15r as I avoid it like the plague.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Clovis-73


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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2014, 12:00:19 AM »

Thanks to all.

Rich - I have seen some really nice wharf and harbor layouts and that theme has been tempting.

My family spent a lot of time in Bogalusa, La, with both my grandfather and my uncle being the conductors of the Crown Zellerbach 'wood train' with my other uncle as a switchmen, so I really lean toward logging operations in the south. I was also a salesman for the Frisco/BN in North Carolina, so I made many trips along the Southern Ry on the mainline from Statesville to Nantahala. Some beautiful country over there.

I'm really leaning toward the 2-6-2.

Thanks for everyone's input, I appreciate it.

Jim

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richg
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2014, 02:53:27 PM »

Thanks to all.

Rich - I have seen some really nice wharf and harbor layouts and that theme has been tempting.

My family spent a lot of time in Bogalusa, La, with both my grandfather and my uncle being the conductors of the Crown Zellerbach 'wood train' with my other uncle as a switchmen, so I really lean toward logging operations in the south. I was also a salesman for the Frisco/BN in North Carolina, so I made many trips along the Southern Ry on the mainline from Statesville to Nantahala. Some beautiful country over there.

I'm really leaning toward the 2-6-2.

Thanks for everyone's input, I appreciate it.

Jim



Just remember, the 2-6-2 is an 0-6-0 with lead and trailing truck. With powered frogs, you should have no trouble with losing power on a turnout.
My 0-6-0 locos had rather poor driver pickups. Hopefully the 2-6-2 has better pickups.
The tender does not have pickups according to the loco diagram. I just looked.
The better quality Bachmann locos with tenders have pickups on the tenders.

Rich
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Jerrys HO
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2014, 03:02:12 PM »

Thanks to all.

Rich - I have seen some really nice wharf and harbor layouts and that theme has been tempting.

My family spent a lot of time in Bogalusa, La, with both my grandfather and my uncle being the conductors of the Crown Zellerbach 'wood train' with my other uncle as a switchmen, so I really lean toward logging operations in the south. I was also a salesman for the Frisco/BN in North Carolina, so I made many trips along the Southern Ry on the mainline from Statesville to Nantahala. Some beautiful country over there.

I'm really leaning toward the 2-6-2.

Thanks for everyone's input, I appreciate it.

Jim



Bogalusa now your close to home. Just don't model the paper mill unless you can reproduce the smell that it omitted Grin Grin Grin Grin.

Jerry
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Clovis-73


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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2014, 08:57:44 PM »

Jerry...not only the 'fragrant' odor, but the reddish hue over the buildings!

Do you live in that area?

I am from New Orleans.

Jim
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richg
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2014, 10:55:04 PM »

Holyoke, MA, Paper city had many paper mills and contributed a lot of smells to the atmosphere and chemicals to the Connecticut river. I remember seeing the stuff in the 1940'2 and into the 1950's.
A paper mill that made toilet tissue in the 1950's into the 1960's near my house in So Hadley mass contributed a lot also.

Rich
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Jerrys HO
Guest
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2014, 11:12:30 PM »

Jerry...not only the 'fragrant' odor, but the reddish hue over the buildings!

Do you live in that area?

I am from New Orleans.

Jim

Metairie to be exact. Spent  a lot of time as a kid around the paper mill. My Uncle lived in Bogalusa. Worked for Goodyear and not the ones associated with the lumber company.

Jerry
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DAVE2744

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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2014, 05:48:15 PM »

Jim (altun=ha) I have the Bachmann 2-6-0 w/DCC & Sound On Board.  It does have a working front coupler as made by Bachmann.  The tender has excellent electrical pickup thru 6 finger axle wipers.  This engine will crawl through No. 6 PECO turnouts and never, ever stalls.  I run 18" min. radius, but there is plenty of side play left in the rigid drive frame - I see no reason this engine could not handle 15 inch radius.  I personally would do my darnedest to achieve 18 inch if at all possible.  The "Mogul" looks just fine on 18 inch and 40 ft cars.  This engine is a great slow speed work horse and mine pulls 11 not so free rolling cars with ease, and I have a 4 percent grade.  I bought mine at the local train show, new in the box for $125.  You can"t go wrong with it. Sound is superb. I also have the Mantua 2-6-6-2 w/tender and MRC DCC w/sound..  Runs very well,  but horrible electrical pickup. Only three drivers on each side and only 1 axle on each truck for pickup.  I'm buying the same trucks that Bachmann has on the Mogul for this unit.  This engine looks okay on 18 inch, and the smokebox does not overhang beyond the cylinders on curves.  It is a long unit, 12 1/4 inches cplr to cplr, probably too long for your layout. The "tank" version would work. Good luck, Dave
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Clovis-73


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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2014, 10:13:42 PM »

Thanks Dave.

Well, yesterday, as I was testing the layout, I found that, due to the tight curves and lack of enough straight tracks, I was not able to have reliable coupling/uncoupling, so I have redone the layout with 18" curves - a much simplified layout. Much more consistent. This will now allow me to expand my locomotive choices, but I will still stay with short trains and no elevation changes.

Jim
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