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Author Topic: The demise of non sound steam  (Read 20951 times)
Yampa Bob

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« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2009, 05:10:29 PM »

Another factor is the price of steam locomotives compared to diesel.  In the Bachmann line, you can buy a very nice DCC equipped standard diesel for about $45. 

In my case there is still another factor. My wife runs our trains more than I do, I spend more time working on the layout, in the shop with projects, or reading the forum.  If she had her way, we wouldn't have any steam locomotives.

Back on topic; reviewing the 2009 Bachmann catalog, the number of non-sound DCC steam locomotives is pretty slim pickings. I have four Connies and a Richmond, new in the boxes, think I'll just keep them for a while. I don't expect to make a big profit on them, but will surely get back what I paid for them.
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« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2009, 10:25:12 PM »

I decided to modify my earlier post as it really didn't fit the thread as it is being constructed. It comes as no surprise that diesel outsells steam. We tend to feel comfortable with those environmental attributes which we have experienced and feel a connection to. Most of the folks, buying for (or entering) the hobby today have little - or no - experience with steam locomotives. A fan trip on a steam excursion railroad really isn't much in the way of life experience. I was born at steam's end (1945) and can only vaguely remember steam power. I guess I was 5 years old when my father got me a ride on a NH steamer in Hopewell Junction, NY. Just about all the trains I have seen in my life, however, were pulled by diesel locomotives.

So why did I model an obscure branchline in 1889 (not too many diesels around then)? My alter ego yearns for a simpler time with simpler machines...you can't get much simpler than a 4-4-0. My road, in model railroading, is atypical...not typical.
Ray
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 05:45:37 PM by CNE Runner » Logged

"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2009, 08:13:21 AM »

Bob,

Diesels are less expensive per unit, BUT, on all but the smallest layouts they are similar in price "per train".

Trains, prototype and model, pulled by steam locomotives, are typically pulled by only one or two locomotives. A similar length train is likely to be pulled by at least two, and more often, 3-4 diesel units.

So for those of us with larger layouts, pulling longer trains, and trying to simulate prototype practice to a higher degree, the "cost" of what is pulling the "average" train is similar, steam or diesel.

Example: Two BLI Mikado's (on sale right now, two for $250.00) or an ABA lash up of the new Proto 2000 F7's (about $300.00 without sound or DCC).

The diesels are actually more expensive.

And, comparing Bachmann standard line diesels to Spectrum or other highly detailed steam locos is hardly apples to apples. I know the new standard line locos run very nice, but for me, most of them are not up to my detail standards. Diesels with detail equal to Spectrum steam cost more like the example I sited above.

As to who is buying how much of what, well yes I would say that more diesels are being sold, for many/all of the reasons mentioned, BUT, more different diesels are made, so the per model sales (Bachmann 2-8-0 vs Genesis F7 for example) are most likely similar.

Then there is the issue of collectors vs operators that effects sales. Operators like myself only buy what fits their operational goals. I have over 100 locomotives, but I don't own a lot of what is out there because it does not fit my railroad. None of these: GS4, UP FEF, Big boy, Challenger, N&W Class J, PRR anythings, etc. Yet the industry keeps doing these locos over and over.

The manufacturers could get more of my money by making stuff that has not been done yet and offering it without sound and DCC.

Sheldon
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2009, 04:25:22 PM »

I understand your rationale, but you are basing it on your standards for detail and quality. The average starting modeler is looking for the "most bang for the buck" for a 4 X 8 layout. Also, most are not concerned about being "prototypical".

Therefore comparing a predominantly typical small layout to a large layout is also not apples to apples. The "average" train on my layout consists of only 10 to 15 cars.

For comparison, let's keep it within the Bachmann line and DCC equipped. The least expensive DCC equipped non-sound steam lists for $235 each. (I excluded the new saddle tank switcher).

Bachmann GP40 DCC equipped lists for $69. I have 4 of them, they run great and are detailed enough to suit me.

Of course, you can buy a strandard line Bachmann steamer with DCC but only as a combo with EZ Command. (actually a good deal for a starter system)

The demise of the Spectrum 2-8-0 leaves a huge gap in steam. We will never know what prompted the decision to drop it from the line. It doesn't really concern me, as I expect to phase out all steam by the end of the year anyway.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 04:35:05 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2009, 02:24:21 AM »

 TheFavoriteSpot, a "factory authorized dealer," sells the Spectrum DCC 2-10-2 for a BuyItNow price of $85 & Bachmann DCC 4-8-4s for a BuyItNow price of $95.  That's about twice what one can buy a Spectrum SD45 for NIB.
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ebtbob


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« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2009, 08:10:05 AM »

Good Morning All,

       Again,   another very interesting thread.    And guess what.....you are all right and wrong at the same time!!    Your individual choice of DC vs DCC,  sound vs non sound,  diesel vs steam are all a personal choices.   Not one of us here can say anyone is truely wrong.   
       We buy what we can afford.   If not,  we go without.   I have been without an On30 EBT engine for as long as I have been in On30.  By the time one may hit the market I will probably be retired and on a fixed income.
        DC vs DCC.....again,  matter of choice.    I got into this hobby back in the 1950s so that means I was dc for more than 40 years,  but now that I have dcc in my life,  I could never,  ever go back.   Same goes for sound.
        As for steam vs diesel,   again,  since as far back as I can remember,  there has always been a greater choice of diesels over steam even in the heyday of Bowser,  Varney,  and Manuta.  Athearn's history with steam is checkered at best.   Their first major attempts including a 4-6-2 and a small switcher,  cannot remember the wheel arrangement, and were quite shortlived.   Their current trys are also a bit checkered what with splitting gears,  poor weight distribution,  etc.
         Sound vs non sound.   Roger.....for you,  your opinion is correct.   For anyone born after the 1950s,   your anology falls short.   But I recognize your right to your opinion.   I feel just the oposite,   I love my sound engines and the newer sound units coming from QSI and the Tsunmai boards are great.........to those of us who love sound equipped engines.
        My young friend Paul mentioned the fact that Athearn blue box kits are basically no longer existant,  being produced at extremely low amounts.    Well,   there are reasons for the change to ready to run cars and I suspect that the experts in marketing have done enough research to show that the ready to run cars at $15 and up bring them the most profit.   BTW....I work partime in a train store in the Philadelphia area and we get next to no requests for blue box kits.   The few we do get in sit for long periods of time on the shelves,  bringing in no money to the store.
       Bottom line here is simple......this hobby is for fun.   Get your fun from whatever your pocketbook and attitude will allow,   but no one should ever feel the need to tell another modeler they are wrong just because they do not agree with your standards.   
       As Mr. B always says,   "Have fun!"

Respectfully,

Bob
« Last Edit: May 07, 2009, 03:41:25 PM by ebtbob » Logged

Bob Rule, Jr.
Hatboro, Pa
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Not so much in Congress
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2009, 11:42:36 AM »

As Sheldon told me when I first joined the forum, "There is no right way, and it is impossible to do it wrong".   

I seldom have an opinion on anything, I prefer to think of it as "preferences".  While I was planning my layout, members gave me many "reasons" why I should not use Code 100.  Guess what, I have Code 100.

I started out with steam, but since my eyesight failed, I can no longer handle the higher maintenance.  Diesels are much easier for me, just throw them on the track and run. In retrospect, I would have probably been wise to choose On30, but I like the selection in HO, and our space is limited.

I love the sound in my AC4400....for about 10 minutes, then it starts to get on my nerves, (and my wife's, who is trying to watch TV in the adjoining room). The neighbor's kids think it's great when they stop by to run the trains.

Let's hope we will always have choices.
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Jim Banner

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« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2009, 01:34:45 PM »

When running trains for the public, as at train shows, the requests are about equally split between steam and diesel, except for the younger set - they ALL want to see Thomas run.

With that in mind, I like to run both diesel and steam on my garden layout, particularly when I am running it for visitors.  But my indoor H0, set in 1961, is mostly diesel with the occasional steam excursion.  And the turn of the century ON30 that I am presently working on will be all steam.

I guess the bottom line is that I never met a train I didn't like.

Jim
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« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2009, 04:54:52 PM »

Good Morning All,

       Again,   another very interesting thread.    And guess what.....you are all right and wrong at the same time!!    Your individual choice of DC vs DCC,  sound vs non sound,  diesel vs steam are all a personal choices.   Not one of us here can say anyone is truely wrong.   
       We buy what we can afford.   If not,  we go without...................


         Sound vs non sound.   Roger.....for you,  your opinion is correct.   For anyone born after the 1950s,   your anology falls short.   But I recognize your right to your opinion.   I feel just the oposite,   I love my sound engines and the newer sound units coming from QSI and the Tsunmai boards are great.........to those of us who love sound equipped engines.
       

Bob, good points and I agree we all find what we like and enjoy the hobby in our own way, as it should be.

I do however have a comment and a question based on your remarks above.

Comment - I can afford DCC and sound, but I don't like either one. It has nothing to do with the money. If I bought the $300 million winning ticket tonight, I would not have DCC or onboard sound in HO.

For me, for my desired operational goals and needs, DCC is too heavy into the experiance of "being the Engineer" and lacks fundimental elements of being the "dispatcher". I know those things can be added to DCC, but if the intense "Engineer" experiance of DCC is not wanted/needed, why spend the money or more importantly why install decoders?

That is not to say these things arn't great for others, but I have my personal reasons for not liking how they impact my hobby.

Question - What does age have to do with liking or not liking onboard sound in HO scale? Other than maybe we have raised several generations of children who do not even know what Hi Fidelity is and therefor wouldn't know good sound reproduction if they heard it. If that is the case, I am correct in not "lowering" my standards just because everyone else has.

I think sound is great in the larger scales, even in On30 the improvement in sound quality is significant. But in HO or N scale to my Hi Fi trained ears (years of building, designing and testing Hi Fi speakers), onboard sound from 1" speakers is like Roger says "like a 1950's transistor radio".

Again for those who enjoy it fine, and if I was in a larger scale I would have it for sure, but not in HO. There are numerious issues of scale perspective, perceived distance from the train, sound quality, bass response, dynamic range and more that kill any supposed illusion of realism for myself, Roger and others.

Anyway, keep having fun, thats the main thing.

Sheldon



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ebtbob


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« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2009, 06:00:17 PM »

Sheldon,

       Actually,  age has nothing to do with liking or disliking sound.   The reference I made,  indirectly I believe,  was to Rogers analogy of sound being like a bad transitor radio.   Anyone born after the 1950s would probably not be able to appreciate the comparison,  and I have to admit,  being 60 years old,  the only thing I remember about the early transistor radios was that I liked the idea of having a radio I could carry with me and not be tethered to a wall outlet.   I know of no one my age,  back then that was evaluating the quality of the sound.
        As far as the issue of dcc or not,  you are absolutely correct about your preferrence to run without.   Good,   enjoy your railroad the way it is because that is your source of fun.   DCC is not for everyone and so be it.  Again,  I will say what I have said in the past.   Now that I am more than 5 years into DCC ops,   I could never go back to DC ops.    One reason being my like of the sound engines.    They are easier to use,  without special control boxes to get all the available sounds.   It has simplified my wiring,  and best of all,   it has put the "little boy FUN"   back into the operation of my railroad.
        Sheldon,  I have always enjoyed your contributions to this site and look forward to more in the future.

Bob

Bob
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Bob Rule, Jr.
Hatboro, Pa
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Not so much in Congress
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boomertom
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« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2009, 08:25:35 PM »

Sheldon and Bob ( and anyone else to whom this may apply),

Perhaps our Friend Yampa Bob and his two rules define it best.

Thankfully there is no right way or wrong way and mos of all NO my way.

I only have a very limited experience with sound in HO steam with equipment owned by others which I have been fortunate enough to operate- a couple Spectrum 2-8-0 and a Reading T-1. These were equipped with Tsunami and Loksound if I am not mistaken and were fun to operate.

At the same time, I enjoy running my GP-40 just as much and don;t miss the sound effects.

Back in the day, my first trains were Lionel 0-27 with whistle and smoke and diesels with horns so sound has been present in my model railroading life for almost 60 years now. What goes around does indeed come around and I would not be surprised to discover if an economic analysis was done that those Lionel trains make today's sound equipped locomotives seem like bargains.

Tom
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Tom Blair (TJBJRVT68)
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« Reply #56 on: May 08, 2009, 08:30:04 AM »

Bob,

Thanks, now that makes sense. I guess I was different, I worked all summer at the local hobby shop to save enough to buy my first Hi Fi turntable that wouldn't distroy the records I was buying. I still have those records now 40 years later and they sound great.

Never even owned one of the squawky radios - I used to ask the other kids why they listened to that?

As I have said before, if you want sound, DCC is a no brainer for a number of reasons. DC locos with sound have very poor throttle response and the control of the sound features is beyond awkward, even with the special boxes. And the MRC black box requires decoders in all locos so thats a non starter too in by mind.

As you may know, I use Aristo Craft wireless DC throttles, and my layout wiring is somewhat complex to make what the operators do easy. But I prefer the dispatcher centered operational concept of MZL and similar control schemes and I have signaling that is intergrated into the controls.

If I was building a different type of layout, or in a different scale, I may well consider DCC, but with over 100 locos without decoders and no interest in sound, I can reach my goals easier and at a lower cost with DC and the Aristo Throttle. Which by the way provide slow speed performance equal to DCC and excelent constant lighting effects because it uses 12 volt pluse width modulation.

If your ever down here in the Maryland area, let me know. I get you a viewing of the one complete operating layout using my control system with the Aristo throttles.

As always, nice to hear from you as well.

Sheldon
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 08:31:41 AM by Atlantic Central » Logged
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