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So I am currently downsizing to get back to prewar and tinplate. But down the road I'd like to dabble in getting an S scale Hudson and the appropriate Pullman cars.

I am curious what I need to look for or what to avoid?

I think a 326 sounds good. Smoke, choo choo, whistle. Good or bad idea?

My idea is to display my 763e and Pullman cars and my 333 and Streamliners all together. Toy trains at their finest!

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It is as FlyerRich says. One thing to be aware of if you get a 326 or any other engine with a built in whistle is they require a pure sine wave transformer for track power. Modern transformers like the ZW-L have a lot of harmonics in the waveform and the speaker in the whistle system will dutifully reproduce these harmonics loudly and continuously.

Nothing further for me to add with regard to 326's being fantastic.  But just a comment on AF air chime whistles such as you will find in a 326. If you are not familiar with them, lower your expectation. They emit a buzz more akin to Lloyd Christmas' most annoying sound in the world. Not being an AF purist, I ripped them out of my 326 and 336 and replaced with a Dallee bell and whistle board.

@RamblerDon posted:

I watched a video of the whistle being used. It was not what I expected but I am aware of the "noise" they make.

I found a 322 locally but it was a little rough and they wanted $140 which seemed high to me.

That's a little high for a 322 in rough shape.  There is one on ebay for $129 right now that looks in pretty good shape. It likely doesn't run but you can assume any that say 'untested' don't run. Regardless, whatever you buy, you will want to a maintenance overhaul unless you are buying it from one of the pros who get engines in shape before listing.

Also, if you are going 322 instead of 326 just recognize that 322's have the link coupler while 326's have the knuckle coupler.

The 322 engines do not have traction tires which might be important to you. The 322 was made from 1946 through 1948; 1946 and 1947 were smoke in tender designs, 1948 was the newer boiler smoke unit. The number changed to 322AC in 1949, 1950 and 1951. all these engines are link coupler but that can easily be changed. The only link coupler engine with the tender whistle is the 325, these will be more expensive. A 324 was made with a better whistle but it needs a special controller. I would not buy a 324 unless a working controller is included.

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