Athearn or Atlas

Any thoughts on which is a better buy? I have one locomotive from each and they appear to be comparable. Although the Athearn requies a bit
more assembly then Atlas.
I do like the fact that Athearn in Made in USA, as opposed to supporting the communist Chinese government through Atlas.
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Well some of it. Athearn is also switching to China, it's just world economics!
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I believe he said that...
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PCE: Unfortunately I haven't bought a new diesel for a few years. I think Athearn kits are still made here, and their RTR line is assembled overseas from American parts, except for the steam which is (I think) made in Japan, yes? I always thought classic Athearn was the best value available for the money, regardless of the raillery that seems to crop up against blue boxes from Compton.
I wouldn't worry _excessively_ about China. I used to, and then the news picked up on the topic, which tells me that it has just become yesterday's problem, and we will have new troubles for the media to ignore. <SATIRE>
All kidding aside, your vote of confidence was much appreciated by this employee of American industry. :) Monetarily speaking, a $45 purchase means little, but it always makes my day when somebody shows support for the Free World. This of course also goes for stuff made in Japan, Germany, France, Canada, etc.
You're also voting your confidence in engineering creativity in making stuff and selling stuff in the same wage market, against hunting for a cheap-labor gold mine. That's another thing I liked about Athearn locomotives. They were also quite easy to fix.
I have always had this notion to buy a Bachmann 0-6-0 tank and an old Mantua Booster, get them cleaned and tuned up, and do a DESTRUCTIVE runoff - operating both nonstop until one or the other is reduced to component form. Cost has prohibited it, alas.
Pardon me whilst I fetch my asbestos unionsuit. I just KNOW that I will need it after using the term 'Free World'.
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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Thanks, I just find it shameful that we can't even make the simplest things in America anymore. All this Global economy stuff is bunch of crap, IMHO. If I have the option of buying an item made here as opposed to anywhere else (Japan, Canada included) I do.
I was pleased to see my My Atearn Blue Box Kit was made in America. As far as my other trains go, I've been collecting vintage Varney from the 1950s, which were all made here.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Bunch of crap or not, it's an economoic and legal reality. The movement of manufacturing offshore is just "increasing shareholder value". Some US court ruled some time ago that the duty to shareholders trumped all other duties.
HTH
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It's more than that...
I suggest you read Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" to get a perspective on what's happening, why, and how to deal with it. I don't agree with everything he says, but the book is illuminating.
When the personnel at the call center in India speak better English than most US high school graduates, and have significantly better technical skills, maybe it makes sense to hire them, even if the price were the same!
Ed
in article ykwDf.2994$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com, Wolf Kirchmeir at snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca wrote on 1/30/06 2:25 PM:

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Ed Oates
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Ed, For a number of years we had a very difficult time finding people who could do takeoffs from blueprints and architectural spec's for estimating. We went through person after person with no luck. Then we looked for only people with a college education. Same thing.... problems with basic math, some could just not get things done on time and others though they could read the words could not understand what the specifications said to do. As time went by we found four people that learned fast and do excellent work. One is a girl from India who moved here with her husband about three years ago. She has two girl friends in India who we now send plans and specs too via the internet and email. She comes from a very affluent family in India and her husband makes a very good living so she is not eager and hard working because she was once poor but because of the way she was brought up in the world. She doesn't work real cheap either. The fourth is from Viet Nam and she went to school in England. They all do the work well, do it fast and are always ready for more. Its not that we can't find decent people who want to work. In our situation the real problem reading and even more regarding basic math skills. All we really need is folks who can handle basic math problems and once learning a little new terminology be able to comprehend rather plain straight forward text. People should have all those skills down pat coming out of high school. Here is an example of a problem I've actually had to teach people over and over......... If you have 3580 feet of ceramic tile wall base measured and the tile product specified is 8 inches long how many pieces will you need to order. So many just can't figure out that there are 1.5 pieces per foot and to simply multiply 3580 by 1.5 . I'm serious......many people struggle with this and have to be taught not because they are stupid but because they didn't learn how to work through simple stuff like this in our schools. Others when faced with something new ( usually the same thing presented in a different way ) hit brick walls. They want a set formula for everything. They seem uncomfortable or not confident they can figure things out correctly on their own even when they surely can. It's as if our whole system of learning does not trust people to come up with their own solutions to even the smallest problems. It seems such over used popular phrases such as "Just do it" and "thinking out of the box" really mean "show me exactly how to do everything then I will try to just do it if I can and "thinking out of the box is neat to say as long as you don't actually get out of the box to do any thinking." Bruce
wrote:

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I sympathize with your plight. There are many who want to blame schools and teachers for all these problems, and we have our share of poor schools and teachers, the basic problem is deeper.
It seems affluent parents demand that their kids get good grades so they can make Harvard (whatever), and whine incessantly if their kid gets a deserved "B" or worse. It is bad that schools respond to the whining by inflating grades, but also, their kids pick up on the entitlement attitude.
Then, where there are poor (economically) schools, it seems we have adopted low expectations: "These kids are poor, so we can't expect them to be able to learn this stuff." So, they don't teach it, and viola! They don't learn it.
Then we hold teachers in low esteem, so is it a surprise when qualified math and science majors don't go into teaching? So there are phys ed majors teaching math. (Nothing against PE majors, but they are teaching outside of their expertise, kind of like a math major running the strength training class: without training, both will do a poor job).
We need an attitude adjustment more than curriculum revision: school is actually work, it costs actual money, no one is guaranteed success or good grades, and it is the students' and families' responsibilities to become educated.
Unless these things happen, the flat world will globalize marginally educated folks right out of a job. Those who did the work, here or elsewhere, will continue to succeed.
Ed
in article JkYDf.20529$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr27.news.prodigy.net, Bruce Favinger at snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net wrote on 1/31/06 10:14 PM:

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Ed Oates
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and
can
deserved
adopted
math
of
Ed, I believe you may have hit the nail right on the head. Bruce
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Bruce Favinger wrote: [...] In our situation the real problem reading and even more

Well, actually the shortcut is not that obvious. The obvious method is to multiply 3580 by 12 and then divide by 8, which is only one button push longer on the calculator than the shortcut.... :-)

Well, of course, that's the natural result of training kids to pass tests. If you want good test scores for your school, you train kids to recognise question types and plug in the formulas. It takes much longer to teach them how to think things through, and if you try to do that, your kids will score low on the tests, which could cost you your job and will cost your school district some federal and/or state dollars.

Well, your "systemn of learning" doesn't even trust the teacher's judgment, does it? Only the "objective test" counts, not the teacher's knowledge of how far his or her students have come this school year. If you don't trust the teacher, how can the teacher convey confidence to the students?

[...]
US students are tested more than any others, anywhere. US school districts are rated on their students' test results. So US students are trained to pass tests. They are not taught how to think, which is something entirely different.
FWIW, at our school we explicitly affirmed as a staff that at about half the questions on our own, teacher-generated, tests would consist of presenting old material in new guises, thus requiring students to think through the same problems from different angles. That lasted until Mr Harris imported the US mania for testing into Ontario.
But this thread is getting off topic. When does thread not get off topic if it goes on long enough? :-)
HTH
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in article UB7Ef.8056$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com, Wolf Kirchmeir at snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca wrote on 2/1/06 11:05 AM:
...stuff deleted

If that's all they did, you would be correct. The tests could be better, but I remember taking a lot of tests (like weekly) during school to asses my mastery of the material; it's just that the results were not compiled for the whole school and compared to national or state standards. So we've always "taught to the test."
Without any standardized testing, we have no way to assess the performance of students, teachers, schools, etc. So the argument should be for tests which measure understanding of material, not parrot like responses to multiple choice questions. And it is a good thing to make the tests standard along with the curriculum, so that broad assessments are possible, including (heaven forbid) measuring teachers and schools.
In nearly every other occupation, we are measured by our results, and if we don't perform, we may be a chance to retrain or two, but generally, you hear those famous words, "You're Fired!" Educator should not be the exception. ...stuff deleteed

This "testing mania" has only been with us since about 2001 or so (No Child Left Behind), and the problem with low performance by students and certain schools predates the standardized testing. And lots of countries test at about the 12 or 13 year old level to determine your educational future: trade school or university track, and it is difficult to go back. At least we hold off on that until we test 17/18 year olds for college admissions, and even those who are not ready can get a do over: Jr. colleges are our venue to constant adult education for those who need retraining, or who finally decide that maybe, just maybe, those math and literature classes were important.

Right you are. Chugg chugg, toot toot!

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Ed Oates
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On Wed, 01 Feb 2006 14:05:57 -0500, Wolf Kirchmeir

Yes, but if you allow 1/16 inch for grout, the answer is 5330 - and that allows one for breakage! Alan in beautiful Golden Bay, Western Oz, South 32.25.42, East 115.45.44 GMT+8 VK6 YAB ICQ 6581610 to reply, change oz to au in address
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Alan, Typical specifications will require a 1/4 inch grout joint with an 8" tile. A 1/16th inch joint is generally used only with the common 4.25" x 4.25" and 6"x6" wall tile used here for institutional work and for many commercial projects. Once you figure the number of pieces needed for the base we generally add 1% to cover for broken tile, miss-cuts and damage by others. Specifications will often require another 2% - 3% attic stock for future repairs. If things get real screwed up as they sometimes do such as a section of wall being knocked down for some reason we generally go to the attic stock and have enough to finish. After that its up to the GC and owner if they want to buy more tile. Bruce
wrote:

to
those
problem
3580
is 8

3580 by

taught
GMT+8
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Bruce,
While I can't speak personally to your situation, I've heard way too much of this "give us people with the skills and who are willing to work & we'll hire them" stuff. I once scored the highest EVER on a company's so called pre-employment aptitude test... and they still laid me off when it came down to money.
Then again, I'm not sure that flipping burgers is worth the $15 an hour that some people think they deserve. But there are skilled workers out there who are grossly underemployed.
dlm
wrote:

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wrote:

Having spent many years doing architectural work , take offs and many times the total estimate for jobs , I sure do understand your problem. It's so hard to teach someone how to do even the simplest of jobs. Most of my estimating was large commercial buildings and many times limited to the masonry work. Sometimes when doing take-offs , especially for something as complex as a hospital , usually an addition , I felt almost alone in the world because there was hardly anyone to fall back on with a problem. And when your numbers would make or break there was a lot of stress at times. When attempting to teach others it was so hard to get them to see the job as so many small units , wall by wall , floor by floor instead of being overwhelmed by the whole job....and then there were all the different numbers for coverage by various products.. They usually didn't last long
Ken
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Ken Day wrote: [...]

[...]
Many people think anyone can teach what they know. Fact is that the better you are at your job, the harder it is for you to see it from the uninitiated person's point of view. You have in fact forgotten what it was like not to know how to do that "simple job." So you don't really know where to start.
Fact is, a "simple job" rarely is. We all tend to assume that because a job is easy for us to do it must be simple. No job is simple or easy for a person who hasn't learned how to do it. A good teacher can figure out what the student knows, and more importantly, what (s)he _doesn't_ know, and go from there.
HTH
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My experience has been vastly different than yours... the half dozen or so times that I've neeeded to talk to tech support or my bank's service center, both located "over there," the spoken English was poor and the technical assistance matched. In a recent effort to get a simple report from my bank, three different people sent me the wrong report three different times... not good at all.
dlm
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Anyway, to answer your question, it (sort of) depends on which Athearn loco's you're talking about.
As compared to the Athearn Blue Box and RTR, I'd say Atlas is generally better. It has a smoother, quieter driveline and somewhat better detail, although the Athearn RTR with the old RPP shells aren't bad.
My experience with Athearn Genesis is limited, but their detail seems to be as good or better than Atlas's. I've heard, though, that some folks have experienced noisy drivelines with Genesis locos. They generally seem to fetch a higher price as well. I'd call this one a tie.
Stevert
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All politics aside it all depends on the which Athearn you are comparing to which Atlas. There is the older lesser detailed Atlas of the yellow/white boxes that were made in Austria (roco) and there is todays Atlas in the black/red boxes. The older Atlas's have chunky details compared to the later Atlas's. There is Athearn "blue box" and Athearn "RTR" and then Athearn "Genesis"
Todays Atlas is considered amongst the best and Genesis is considered the "top line" for Athearn. If you compare those two then Atlas generally come out on top due to their very smooth, powerful and quite drive lines and faultless current collection. Genesis however are a very close and may only need a bit of tweaking to equal Atlas. Some have complained about the reliability of the current collection in Genesis locos.
I have no Athearn RTR but have seen it running and I was somewhat dissappointed in the general clackity noise it made out of the box. This is all to do with the drive line and although you shouldn't have to, is easily fixed by fitting better quality universals. Athearn "Blue Box" locos are way out of date. Consider their F7's which are mostly "wrong" and their Geeps with over width bodies they simply don't compare by todays standards. They were grand in their day but not anymore. Having said that their blomberg side frames are still considered the very best. The Blue Box drive lines are clackity at best but for those of us who enjoy this part of modelling trains can get a very quite, smooth and powerful chassis from a blue box. Even the original motor (thats the gold one with brass flywheels) is very good if tuned properly and run on a decent control device (like a DCC decoder with BEMF). And replacing the universal with something like NWSL type does them the world of good.
In summary and still no politics
The older Atlas is better then Blue Box but not as good as RTR Newer Atlas slightly better than Genesis, better than RTR and dumps on Blue Box
Just a very short opinion.
Bye Nigel
-- Redline Race Controls http://www.wave.co.nz/~lakewood/Redline2.htm Western Pacific Model Railroad http://www.wave.co.nz/~lakewood/MyWP.htm

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