June 5, 2011

A Modern Visitor

Today the layout had a special and unusual treat. Jeff and Christian Peck brought over their new Atlas O Scale MP-15 Switcher equipped with a factory installed QSI sound decoder to test run on my layout.  Jeff is in the process of building an O Scale, shelf-style switching layout. While he is designing and building his O scale project, he wanted a chance to test out his new DCC locomotive. I too was curious to see how a modern engine would do on my track. The test was very informative from a number of perspectives. Here is a short video documenting the test.

The first observation was that the modern locomotive, even though it is a small switcher is still much larger than my civil war era cars and locomotives. The MP-15 had clearance problems with my tunnel and at the wood rick on the turntable lead track, which is on a sharp curve. Thus it could not traverse the whole layout, and could not take a spin on the turntable.

In the process of setting up Jeff's loco, I decided to put a second wireless throttle into action. It took a bit of RTFM to figure out how to do that. At times we also were getting some odd lack of control behavior from the wireless throttle. I need to sort this out further, but when I tried to run my sound equipped loco, it sometimes caused Jeff to lose control of his loco. When he left I was able to get the two wireless throttles to control my two DCC equipped locos without trouble, so who knows what the problem was.

I was pleased to see Jeff's loco run flawlessly over my track. I was surprised to see that the wheel flanges of the standard gauge O Scale locomotive had no trouble with my code 100 rail. It also had no trouble taking the 28 inch radius curve on my layout, albeit without pulling any cars. Truth be told, the diesel ran markedly better than my steamers. I would rate the diesel as a 10 out of 10 for operations while my steamers rate an 8.  The diesel never once derailed or stalled anywhere. The same can not be said for my steamers as they run well, but have a hiccup every now and then.

Since Jeff's loco had knuckle couplers, we were unable to hook any of my link and pin cars to the engine. Given the weight of the loco, I bet it could haul a good number of cars.

The Atlas loco came with factory equipped DCC and sound. It worked great.

All in all it was a fun test. Jeff has a real nice loco on his hands.


  1. I'd like to take a moment to thank you for visiting the B&O Railroad Museum and for your very nice "review" of our exhibit The War Came by Train" This is a great place for modelers to get up close and personal to real Civil War equipment (the largest collection in the world).
    Many thanks again.
    Courtney B. Wilson
    Executive Director
    B&O Railroad Museum

  2. Thanks of visiting the blog.

    We really enjoyed the visit to the B&O Museum. The ACW RR display was great. Keep up the good work. We appreciate it.