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Just looking for some input here.  I am not too familiar with 3rd Rail / Sunset Models but I like the new Amtrak E60 being shown.  Assuming their 3 rail items will operate on standard tubular track?  I understand the GGD passenger cars will operate on tubular track but will the standard 3rd Rail scale passenger cars work on tubular track as well?

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Although my layout is equipped with O42 track and switches, I recently bought the Sunset Models 3rd Rail Rock Island PEORIA ROCKET train set anyway. I knew upfront that it requires O72 minimum radius track and switches, but bought it for heart-and-soul reasons:  I'm a RI fan, I grew up in Peoria, and I rode that train to/from Peoria to Chicago as a teenager. I'll never be able to run it at home (unless I add-on a larger Train Room to the house). so the train is on display only. An expensive indulgence!  A photo is attached - the PEORIA ROCKET rests on the third shelf down from the top.

Mike

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  • MHM with Trains 2: Peoria Rocket rest of the third shelf down from the top
Last edited by Mike H Mottler

3rd Rail has a test track at the main office in CA that has Lionel tubular track, Atlas track, and Gargraves to test the locomotive chassis and cars.  They have no issue with 072 curves.  Even the Virginian EL2 and the Jawn Henry negotiated 072 curves.  Not sure what miracle of quantum mechanics made that possible.  

Most 3 rail o scale items should operate ok on tubular track if they have hi rail wheels as commonly found on most o scale locomotives and rolling stock. Those having scale size wheels can be problematic for tubular track, especially where switches are concerned.

I agree for 21" scale length passenger cars minimum curve size is 0-72.  The larger the better.

Bob

Would be nice to build an E60 set with a mix of Heritage coaches like the 3rd rail Slumber-coach...and Amfleet.   I know we have stationsounds passenger cars from Lionel but I wish the sounds could mimic the common screeching brakes that the heritage equipment had.   Wasn't the Phase II scheme still well represented into the 90's?

@Mike W. posted:

Would be nice to build an E60 set with a mix of Heritage coaches like the 3rd rail Slumber-coach...and Amfleet.   I know we have stationsounds passenger cars from Lionel but I wish the sounds could mimic the common screeching brakes that the heritage equipment had.   Wasn't the Phase II scheme still well represented into the 90's?

By the 90's there wasn't a lot if any Phase II painted equipment left.  Phase II was fairly short lived from about 1976 to 1981 when Phase III was introduced.  That lasted up to just after the turn of the century.

However, many E60's stayed in phase II paint up through the mid 80's prior to rebuilds into E60MAs. 

My plan is to put together a mixed Heritage fleet train as well.  Finding much that is to scale in phase III is difficult.  I'm probably going to repaint some items personally.

@Mike W. posted:

Thanks for the feedback.  Reserved a Phase III E60MA and the heritage slumbercoach for now.   I always like the E60 even though it wobbled and derailed at high speed.  Wasn't this true of Amtrak's other beauty, EMD SDP40F.

No, the SDP40F did NOT "wobble and derailed at high speed", unless it was on bad track! Neither the Santa Fe nor the UP ever had any issues with the SDP40F, even at speeds to 102 MPH.

  We need one of those in O Gauge.  

 

@Mike W. posted:

There was some fatal flaw noted with the SDP40F. 

No,,,,,there was NOT!

Reported to ride poorly and after several derailments they were dropped from the roster. 

They "rode poorly" on RIOUGH/BAD track. I as stated earlier, there was never any problems on the UP nor the Santa Fe, at speeds to 102 MPH. 

Unless Amtrak chose to stick with the bad track and dropped the locos as being the reason. 

Amtrak didn't have any bad track, but the railroads they operated over, in the east sure did (like the Family Lines, and Chess System, and PC/Conrail).

 Was the E60 ever involved in any self inflicted derailments?

Yes. The GE passenger units on the Santa Fe, equipped with the exact same truck as the E60, derailed at speed on the Santa Fe. They were subsequently quickly removed from passenger service. Also, during the first test Amtrak passenger train on the North East Corridor, the E60 derailed at 98 MPH, in a slight curve, and tore out 3 of the 4 tracks.  The GE test car recorded all the data!  It was subsequently discovered that the critical vibration frequency of the GE 3-axle truck match exactly the frequency of 39 foot rail joints, thus there was no way to keep the E60 "on the rails" at speeds over 98 MPH. 

 

The big P30CHs had the same truck as well as I recall and were very rough riding locomotives.  

The issue with the SDP40F is complex and in many ways more of a political issue for Amtrak at the time over anything else.  They had a perfectly acceptable locomotive adapted for passenger service with a lot of bad press.  The F40PH arrived and subbed for E8s and SDP40Fs during a particularly harsh winter and management made the decision to dump the SDP40 as a result.  The remaining E8s were always on borrowed time as it was.  

It should be noted that the SDP40Fs traded to ATSF for what I recall were CF7s (someone can correct me please), performed fine in freight service with no real issues.

As for a model of the SDP40F, my El Cap set could really use some.  However, need to get the E60's reserved up first and built.

Could it be that two axle trucks perform better for passenger speed and 3 axle better for pulling freight.  I am not criticizing any Amtrak locomotive, please note I was asking a question based on some accounts of safety issues.  Nothing against EMD...they are quintessential in railroad history.  The SDP40F's are beautiful and look great pulling a longer heritage based Amtrak train.  Well I can't really say I like the Genesis series and perhaps some of the odd ball Amtrak units.  But E60, SDP40, F40PH, AEM7 and the carry over F/E units and GG1s top my list of the Amtrak roster.  

Last edited by Mike W.
@Mike W. posted:

Could it be that two axle trucks perform better for passenger speed and 3 axle better for pulling freight. 

Not really. Remember that all EMD E Units and Alco PA  Units had 3 axle trucks.

I am not criticizing any Amtrak locomotive, please note I was asking a question based on some accounts of safety issues. 

Again,,,,,,,there were no "safety issues" with the Amtrak SDP40F. Attempting to operated a heavy passenger unit (over 395,000 lbs) at passenger train speeds over rough/crap track, was a recipe for derailments. Neither the UP nor the Santa Fe ever had any problems!

Nothing against EMD...they are quintessential in railroad history.  The SDP40F's are beautiful and look great pulling a longer heritage based Amtrak train.  Well I can't really say I like the Genesis series and perhaps some of the odd ball Amtrak units.  But E60, SDP40, F40PH, AEM7 and the carry over F/E units and GG1s top my list of the Amtrak roster.  

 

@Mike W. posted:

There was definitely some bad track on the routes of the Floridian and other similar routes.  Any ideas why the Crescent rarely if ever ran with a SDP40F?  Perhaps due Southern running to 1979?  Very true about the 3 axle trucks on the E's and PA's. 

The Southern did not enter Amtrak until the late 1970's.  However, SOUTHERN CRESENT trainsets did run to/from at least NYP to New Orleans three times a week.  Other days train turned at first at Birmingham, then Atlanta.  Trainsets had Amtrak and SOU cars.  Transfer point between the two railroads was Washington Union. One sleeper went past New Orleans to LA.  I did ser SOU sleepers on the Amtrak SUNSET.  

There was a bad wreck on the SOU part of the SC.  To help out, Amtrak leased some cars, and maybe an SDP40F or two.

But SDP40F's did not run on SOU passenger trains.  When Amtrak took over the SC, it renamed it the CRESENT, and powered it with F40PH's.

I think the through slepper to LA ended when the SUNSET got Superliner cars.

Corrections accepted!

Last edited by Dominic Mazoch

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