The VT858 is something of an oddity prototypically - it shuttles back
and forth between a fiddle yard and an industrial yard (circa 2m) while
I'm talking to viewers at exhibitions. I'd guess it's run about 1000m in
the time I've owned it. Probably not a fair test on which to base an
opinion of Trix products. OTOH my Trix steam locos have run much greater
distances, other than the BR96 which is a Trix branded Ma product.
That's not much. We have over 1000 meter of tracks.....
Yes, I know that one - a "coffe grinder" We have it as "Märklin - Hamo",
We allso have the Trix "Cargo sprinter", that is not a Märklin product,
but is mounted with metal worm gear on the shaft of the motor pulling a
metal cogwheel in a bogie that turns. There is som play between them,
but guess, what wears down quickly.....
Modelbane Europas hjemmeside: http://www.modelbaneeuropa.hadsten.dk
Modeltog, internet, gratis spambekæmpelse, elektronik og andet:
Well, I do have a bigger layout as well, but the railcar is really a
Nice looking though - I also have the Rivarossi model. That runs nicer
but it's lightweight and fragile.
I read about that on the Maerklin ng when they were new - it sounds like
a badly engineered model.
Can you fit a "Spud unit" or a "Black Beetle" motor bogie to it? It
sounds like the Trix/Ma power unit isn't worth perservering with.
I think the Spud unit comes from Sagami and the Black Beetle from
Mashima, both producers of good quality can motors for model railway
Both are available in a variety of wheelbases and wheel diameters.
They are both motor units with integral gears and are contained within
the outline of the motor bogie under the floor.
Operation is excellent but the price is high, although probably a lot
less than Ma/Trix replacement parts =8^)
In that case a Spud unit will be an excellent replacement.
SPUDs used to be marketed by Tenshodo, but I believe these days they are
sold under the Hanozono name. I've only seen them advertised lately in
Black Beetles are made in Australia by Steam Era Models.
Perhaps that is a quality issue also. I've noticed that some of my locos
seem to favor running fast. The Bachmann Smoky Mountain Express has trouble
even getting going until a lot of power is applied, and seems to stutter
quite a bit unless it is running fast. The War Baby runs beautifully even
at low speeds.
The Lionel Polar Express can't even get going (even when not pulling
anything) until at least 40%-50% power is applied. I've heard that Lionel's
higher end items have lower starting speeds.
BTW, thanks for the scale MPH ratings. I'll make a note of those for future
As you may have gathered from Wolf's reply, quality locomotives are judged
on how SLOW they will run smoothly. Toy quality trains are often geared to
go way too fast, perhaps to please the toy buyer. There are even
aftermarket re-gearing kits to enable some locomotives to be geared lower,
for a lower top speed and smoother performance at 1 or 2 scale MPH or less.
And this criterion has existed for longer than many in the (amnesiac)
hobby press would say. I used to have an RMC from 1967, containing an
article on realistic operation which stated that a model locomotive
able to crawl at no more than 1 SMPH to be considered realistic.
The prototypes never could crawl at 1 mph, but we like our models to
acelerate smoothly from zero. Cheap models tend to go directly to high
speed which spoils the effect of great mass being accelerated which is
the way real trains operate.
The new prototype *AC Traction* locomotives appearently can crawl at
really low speeds. AC traction motors don't have the overheating
issues (and thus minimum operating speeds) of DC traction motors. Maybe
not 1 mph, but less then the 7 or so mph the DC traction motors
required (minimum speed, short term). The big RRs are using these high
HP AC traction locomotives to haul unit coal trains and are running
with *single* units at slow speeds.
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Linux Installation and Administration
I have tested this with the two Bachmann locos I have (The 0-4-0 Smoky
Mountain Express, and 4-8-4 Southern Pacific War Baby.) Nothing much seems
to happen until at least 25% of power is applied (RailPower 1370 power
supply.) But from there they both make at least a reasonable progression in
This is opposed to the Lionel Polar Express which does nothing until about
40% of power is applied, and then jerks alive. There really is no slow
going with that train. 50% power is about the lowest at which the train
will actually make it around the track.
But as I understand it, that is a known "feature" of Lionel's lower end
units. The latest I've read from Lionel says they are working on trains
that have slower and slower starting speeds. Of course these are being
designed for larger and larger wallets...
I am enjoying the living room carpet layouts with lower end stuff I have
bought so far, but I'd like to get some higher end TMCC locos eventually.
But with another child on the way (coming in August), that will have to
For a carpet layout, I've bought an awful lot of stuff already while
remaining debt free. I better not push my luck.
I do appreciate the realism. Though it is fun, albeit extremely
unrealistic, to have a loco roaring around the layout. I think, for me, it
is the noise factor and laying on the carpet watching the loco come
straight at me.
Of course now that I have a radioactive waste flatcar and rocket fuel tank
car, it's horrible to imagine the result of a real train running at those
speeds. What a mess for whatever unfortunate town. A vast pool of
radioactive waste, burning rocket fuel, Dixie honey, Gold Medal milk, and
God only knows what it in that Great Northern tank car. The only saving
grace would be the tank car full of Comet Cleanser. With any luck, the
Chessie Hi-Cube box cars are full of Handi-Wipes and HazMat suits.
But seriously, when I finish planning a permanent layout running three, or
maybe four trains, I will reduce the speeds to increase realism and reduce
distraction. Though I will make a GarGraves 0-138 outer loop for the
purpose of running a train flat out just for fun if I want to.
I'm still thinking of what passenger line I want. I have my eye on a
vintage Lionel Blue Comet set with five Madison cars. However, wanting to
use TMCC at some point leans me towards the Green Bullet. But those are old
What about the Amtrak Acela? That would seem to be realistic at very high
speeds since it is a bullet train.
I don't mind mixing eras. I'll already be mixing O and HO gauges, so the
era hardly matters.
Quality can mean different things to different folk. Ideally the
quality model would never derail, never uncouple accidentally, be a
faithful replica of its prototype in all dimensions, be completely
detailed right down to the undercarriage, have even the tiniest details
in three dimensions, no cast on detail, have all windows glazed, be
weighted up the NMRA recommendations, have constant intensity lights,
have full interior detailing, last forever, and cost next to nothing.
Few commercial models are quite this good.
I have three personal classifications of quality
1. Really great stuff
2. Good dependable stuff
3. Stuff I won't buy unless the price is really right
The Really Great Stuff
Brass steamers (if they are good runners or can be retrofitted to run well)
The Good Dependable Stuff
Bachman Spectrum steamers
Stuff I won't buy unless the price is really right
Bachmann NON spectrum anything and most Bachmann diesels
Pulling power of locomotives, both model and prototype, is limited by
the onset of wheel spin. The motors all have enough omph to spin the
wheels. Tractive effort can be computed by multiplying weight on
drivers by the coefficient of friction of nickel silver on nickel silver
(or steel on steel). The coefficient of friction is in the order of
0.25 for either case, so in round numbers a locomotive's drawbar pull is
about one quarter of the locomotive's weight.
On the prototype sand is used to increase the coefficient of friction
when needed. Some models use rubber traction tires for the same
purpose. Adding weight to locomotives improves their pulling power.
Most plastic steamers are light, and pull somewhat less than we owners
would like. The older cast metal boiler steam will pull more. Model
diesels pull more than model steamers, to the dismay of us lovers of
Derailment is the limiting factor on train speed, again this works on
both model and prototype. Most model locomotives will run plenty fast
enough to derail on a curve. Many models top speed is in the order of
200 scale miles per hour, which is way fast. All model power supplies,
even the cheapest trainset pack, will furnish all the current one
locomotive wants at rated output voltage (12VDC for HO, maybe a tad more
AC volts for Lionel). The power pack makers take care never to exceed
the rated voltage at full throttle, lest bad things happen to customers
trains, like lamps blowing out. For HO, 12 volts is the limit, and all
power packs will produce 12 volts and no more than 12 volts at full
throttle, give or take some manufacturing tolerances. For Lionel the
same considerations apply, although I can no longer remember exactly
what Lionel full throttle voltage is supposed to be. Might be 12 VAC,
might be 16 VAC, might be something else.
So, for a single locomotive, any power pack will make the train go
as fast it's gonna go. For say a ABBA diesel lashup with all four units
powered (no dummy units) you may need a bit more current than the bottom
of the line power packs can furnish.
The size of your layout doesn't make much, if any difference in the
amount of current your power pack needs to furnish. One locomotive
draws the same amount of current on a small oval around the Christmas
tree as it does on a layout the fills a two car garage. Of course,
larger layouts have room for more locomotives so in that sense larger
layouts have larger power supplies.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.