Just my opinion and I can take a hit! If you enjoy your layout you ARE doing it right. Theoretically I have a right of way for a 12 by 18 area and even using 0-72 which is 36” radius it’s a challenge to plan something that will be fun. No where near ready to start it and I am 69 so I may need to be content with my Fastrack on the floor Christmas layout. 

MTH had a Meteor set loco with passenger cars out a few years ago that I was tempted by. My favorite (and only) Frisco is a PFM HO decapod, one of two HO engines I run regularly to keep going.  The third rail Texas Rocket is tempting but I have to beg off after buying the 600 class TP. Had an uncle in Houston who used to remark “That Rocket’ll shake yer teeth out...!”

There will not be any dummy units made on the 3rd Run E7s.  There is not a lot of demand at they often don't price out competitively enough to justify making them.  With all the road specific detailing, the cost is already 2/3 or more of the cost of a powered unit. 

I find though that the new locomotives are very power efficient.  I ran 15 GGD cars and 5 powered locomotives (3 E8s and 2 FL9s) just to see what would happen and I was right around 7 amps in the straight sections and about 9 through the 072 curves. 

Can't wait to see T&P pictures on layouts when this arrives.  Rolland - I hope you bring yours the September meet!

Jonathan Peiffer


I just test ran mine on my host’s 0-72 mth ballasted factory roadbed and the engine and tender kept derailing on curves. Also the hinged footplate has a hinge that failed. Not so worried about the footplate but I am worried about the derailing, 

My host’s 3rd Rail S-1 6-4-4-6 ran perfectly! I did notice the mth Realtrax has some very high tie plates!

Ever the optimist, I added the smoke fluid before running the engine I had it set on conventional and no smoke appeared.

I also had an issue with the footplate.  The hinges are cast brass and the hinge pin is brass wire.  On mine the wire had partially fallen out on one side.  I removed the screws on the brass hinge, removed the hinge pin, straightened the pin and re-assembled.  Good as new.

I notice in one of your pictures that the sanding line is bent ahead of the 5th driver on the engineers side.  Could this be part of the de-railment issue?  The instructions tell you to carefully check the brake shoes and I discovered several of my sanding lines were similarly bent when doing this inspection.  The lines are very delicate.

Once I lubed and broke in the engine it runs smooth as silk!


Thanks! Now that you mention that I do see it. Although I still think it’s the mth track as the tender was coming off as well, mth Realtrax has big protruding tie plates like European ones, think of Burt Lancaster in THE TRAIN loosening up the tie plates to derail the train.



I retested it on my O-60 Fastrak tonight and the engine would stalk about 10” into the curve. It was not derailing but that was secondary to it not running into the curves at all. I sure put the hex on it I threw out the shipping container and I am pretty sure mine needs to go back. Very sad and disappointing. 

The only other one of these 3R 600's I have knowledge of ran beautifully on a gigantic local Gargraves layout which probably has a 6 foot minimum radius (it's the centerpiece of an even gigantic-Er O scale 2 rail layout). I am wondering if it would run on O-72. I have been model railroading 64 years and this was my dream loco I have wanted since early childhood seeing it on display at Will Rogers Colliseum here in Fort Worth. Frankly it's failure to even make an O-60 circle was upsetting me so much last night I awoke at 3 AM and did not get back to sleep until 5. My other O ga. buddy who has a 3rd Rail S-1 that just runs and runs... I thought this would be like that and not all fiddly and temperamental. I am going to take it over to the big layout and let my superman O gauge expert friend  look at it. He has $5000 2 rail engines that come with white gloves but he can make my 1615 run! If it runs ok on his layout I guess I will spring for a circle of 0-72 and see if it will run on that. If it does, fine I will redesign my Christmas layout. If not Scott has said he is there for his customers, maybe this one slipped through QC? Possibly it can be gone through and fixed, maybe not. Sand lines and bell cords are great but I want a runner. Personally I place reliability above hyper scale fidelity and would rather have a running engine than a beautiful display piece only. Wonder would the superstructure fit in an MTH 2-10-4? Sorry... venting a bit but so far this really has me upset... Supposed to be fun but it's not.

These like all 3rd Rail engines are wrapped very tight to prevent damage during shipping as I'm sure you discovered when unboxing the locomotive. Many times parts get bent in or down in places causing limitations or restrictions in the curves. it's an easy fix but you have to watch it carefully while moving very slowly through the curves. Once you find what it causing it, just bend the hose or pipe out of the way...very carefully of course. It could be that a screw holding the trucks on are too tight, preventing them from rotating freely. They ARE RUNNERS, but you have to tweak a few things out of the box.

I would suggest that you NOT ship it back because further shipping will just cause more problems. Especially if you don't repack it correctly. 

Honestly I wouldn't even consider running a 2-10-4 on anything less than 072....at a MINIMUM



I had a similar problem with an engine. I mounted a small video camera on a flatcar and ran it through the curve. I discovered two problems which had caused the perfect storm of derailments. The first was that there was a slight kink in my track. The second issue was at that kink there was a slight drop in elevation in the track, After fixing both my engine ran perfectly.

Good luck with your engine.

sdmann posted:

Check that that plug is pushed in all the way. Often when it is so/so pushed in, it will disengage some wires going into a curve.

We have replacement deck plates if you need, they are held on by 2 small screws.


Scott Mann - China

My deck plate broke off somehow in shipping - I was going to try and re-solder the hinge but probably wont be successful because of how it broke.

Do I need to email you directly on ordering a new one?



Bruk Bannister

-The Guy who made the RCMC & BEMC wiring diagrams.

I am with Santiago - I too think a 30" radius is a little tight for any O Scale steam model that purports to be sort of accurate.  My 4-10-2s need 74" radius, which, in 3 rail language, is O-148.  Even then, tailbeams and lead trucks cannot be totally accurate, and tender spacing must be a tad greater.

2,3,4 are blind....so that means 1 and 5 which happen to be the outside drivers are flanged. 

You will figure out that curve is a minimum reccomendation. A little common sense must be applied here. Its a 2-10-4 with the 1st and last drivers flanged. You may get it to run on 060 but it will take some time and effort to figure out what is binding up. That is just a fact. 

Also like mentioned above....it could be YOUR track, especially if you are using Fast Track. You're trying to run a 3 rail scale model on toy train track. Are the joints in your curves tight on both sides? Is the track completely flat?

This engine is not a take of of the box and run on toy train track type of model. It's just not. It's going to require some tweaking.



Track work is usually the culprit.  On my modular, I can run a Williams Niagara fine on the outside curves and always assumed they were 072.  Got a Williams scale Daylight and it jumps out of the curves.  Did a check of the track and it's actually only 071.  I was given the layout so I never bothered to check until then.  The same thing happens with my 3rd Rail GG1.  The difference being that it just lifts the wheels and they fall back on the rail again.

Track work has everything to do with it.  I am always skeptical of running big steam on anything less than 072 in 3 rail personally.  Beats my 2 rail steam which is recommended 54" radius (O108).

Beautiful steam locomotive all around.  As others have said, sometimes they need minor tweeking, but are still stellar runners.

Jonathan Peiffer


Well in order to trouble shoot anything, you are going to have to run it at a very slow speed, and lay down on the floor to inspect it as it creeps by.

Im sorry to say that if you bought that engine to do what that video shows.....you should return it now. Its not a Lionel toy. At that speed on that track..... NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!



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