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I'm fascinated by the announcement of Scott's latest offering, a unique rendition of an electric locomotive that ran as a three unit combination for a total of 7,000 hp. All three units in the 3rd Rail units will be powered.

I wonder how many of you run a combination of three powered units, and if so why? I find single modern locomotives with traction tires easily  pull eight or so passenger coaches or perhaps 20 freight cars. I have a big layout, the outer loop has 120 curves, so can run big trains. I've not seen the need to MU locomotives.

What am I missing? LOL


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They're offered as a three unit set because that's how the Virginian ran them.  As well, it's a heck of a lot easier for Scott and 3rd Rail to reach the minimum number of reservations to build selling 3 powered unit sets versus single powered units or one powered unit and two dummies.

They're not for everyone, but judging how the EA / E1 sets sold as well as the demand on this forum for the VGN jackshafts, I'm guessing these get made, and relatively quickly.

As an aside -- as non-aesthetically pleasing as the jackshafts were compared to steam or the diesels that followed them, they were a hugely important technological advancement at the time -- replacing three or more huge articulateds that were choking out their crews with smoke crawling up the 2% grade thru the tunnels west of Roanoke.  Once that section of the railroad electrified, it never went back -- only after the merger did N & W dispose of the big electrics because they merged their routes and the Virginian's.  I'm in for a set because they're a milestone in motive power as well as for roster completeness -- I have a model of literally all of the other Virginian big power except for these.

Last edited by BlueFeather

I run 3 powered units frequently with my 3rd Rail locomotives and have run as many as 5 without any issues.  They draw very little power and there is less wear on each of the respective locomotives.  I run on a club layout where there is a long 2.5% grade, and the extra power gives me the ability to easily pull 20 car passenger trains for long periods of time.  When my SD40-2s arrive, I'll be running 4 powered units together. 

Also keep in mind that a portion of the buyers for this model will be 2 railers and non-powered units are not very common in 2 rail.  For the small amount of interest in non-powered units there isn't a lot of savings on the manufacturing side in offering them. 

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