Butch, it's nice to hear from you. I don't think we talked since the old Atlas forum. I hope all is well.
Thank you very much Rusty. I will check out those sites. And since you said I could keep asking questions I thought of two more:
#1) Is there an S scale layout somewhere near me (NJ) that my wife and I can visit and see S scale in action?
#2) I know Lionel sells steam locomotives with TMCC and Railsounds but is there anyone out there that sells steam locomotives with factory installed DCC and Sound in S scale? I've done TMCC/DCS/DCC convrsions and I don't find it to be a fun part of the hobby.
Thanks in advance.
The east coast boys are going to have to answer you about NJ S scale railroads, I'm in the midwest and don't travel much anymore.
The SHS 2-8-0 was the only mass produced S steam locomotive available with DCC or DCC w/sound installed. I believe some of the installations were done at SHS.
As Brady stated, MTH plans to install their DCS/DCC system in the former SHS loco's.
AM steam is available as DC, AC or AC with the extremely mediocre Ott sound sound board.
The good thing about AM steam is their simple construction, think Mantua/Tyco HO of the 1960's. The Pacific's are pretty basic, but there ESE Hudson and Santa Fe Northern have fairly nice detail for being cast in.
After I removed the smoke unit and chugger assembly, I did a test install of an MRC DCC/sound decoder in the boiler on one of their Pacific's and was able to fit the supplied spreaker in the smokebox. I'm hardly a DCC wizard, but the installation wasn't at all difficult.
Another defense about AM steam is their drive. Each driving axle is geared and the mechanism is like a big diesel truck. The rods are only along for the ride so there's no potential for binding.