GS-4 Imperial or Premier

Howdy all,

Been searching for a train forum for the larger scales for a while. Need a hand on deciding what to go with.

Ive recently completed a shelf layout at the house. Gargraves flex track, and O-54 fixed curves for most of the turns for smoothness. 155ft of track. I didnt care for the track pins with soldered wires / gaps between rails. So i soldered directly to ends of rails, and soldered other end to 14/2 buss wire. Picked up a new MTH ES44AC to get up and going, but still want a steam engine and psngr car set. Have my eye on this engine due to having it in HO.

Only running 1 loco at a time, with a z1000, and DCS remote commander.

I started looking around for this particular engine. Was not aware at the time there are different... price tags. Thought some were just newer until I did more reading. Found some on ebay, but by the model numbers, they are older units. They may work well, but i prefer to get something new. So trying to get an idea on which one I should go with.

I see that the new Imperial that comes out in October sometime, will run on 31... so on a 54... should look really nice without any overhang. The premier, minimal of 54, worried there is noticeable overhang. Does anyone know the overhang on engine from outside rail on 54? Like to see if i have the clearance on current setup, or if I would have to make some changes. Now i wish i had gone to 76 or 80 for the turns.  Ive seen many on youtube, but lack in the description on what curves they are running.  I don't want to get the Imperial, only to kick myself for not getting the premier. But is 8 more inches worth double price tag? I read that everything else is pretty much the same. I don't plan on getting the full DCS system.

So any input would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Love the new UP diesel, but need me a steamer.

20180806_103452

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Original Post

Imperial or Premier?  I struggled with this question for a number of years as my disposable income grew and my attention turned back to trains.  In the end I am not sure that I made the best decision since it has limited my selection somewhat and (since I went scale) required more space to operate my trains.  The Imperial line from MTH is really nice and they have done a great job at the selective compression resulting in fine looking models.  And you can run your old Lionel stuff with it without looking way out of place.

If I were to start today I think I would put my emphasis on Imperial products.

Rolland

What rolling stock do you plan to run, Railking or Premier? That could possibly make a difference to you? But with only one train running on a ceiling layout I have to wonder if one could tell the difference between the Imperial and Premier engines or rolling stock? I am not sure I could tell unless the two types were side by side, but I am not train expert either. It took me a while to figure out the differences between all these things when I got back in the hobby in 2011. Also, I know little about the prototypical railroads.

IMO, the MTH Imperial line is arguably the best value available today. I also started out with an MTH starter set. Imperial engine, and then moved up to the Premier line. I think there is more available in the Premier line, especially in rolling stock. That was one reason I switched. If you only plan to have a train or two total with maybe an extra engine or two, I think you might be just as happy with the Railking/Imperial lines. 

This is really a personal choice though, I think you should get whatever makes you the happiest as you are the one that will have to live with the choice. If you have doubts about the Imperial line, maybe more thought about the Premier line is in order here. 

Good luck with your choice, whatever it may be.

one more thing, if you ever plan to get a LionChief set or LionChief Plus engine, they are more the size of the Imperial/Railking items. Might be more interchangeable with the rolling stock, etc. Just another thought...

Thanks for the input. Well the engine I end up picking, would be the same psngr cars I would be getting. But I do know I don't want the engine, nor the cars with the extra Christmas lighting on them. Just looks a bit tacky in my opinion.

The rolling stock I have now is Railking, but its freight cars being pulled with a Diesel. Steam would have its own set of psngr cars.

But yes the Premier I could get today. The Imperial, I would just wait for the new ones to come out in October going by MTH.

Just saw this but here's my take. I had a Railking SP GS2. It ran fine and looked good. Problem was the locomotive looked small next to scale sized 1st generation diesels (F units, GPs, Alco RS series). The real GS2/GS4s were much larger than 1st generation diesels. So after about 10 years I sold the Railking version and bought a Premier GS4. The size difference is noticeable. It looks correct next to scale sized 1st generation diesels, and like the prototype, is noticeably larger than they are. If you ever put a Railking version next to a Premier version you'll notice the difference right away.

The Premier GS4 will run on 054 no problem. There is overhang but it's not awful. I should note that you can find good condition, low usage Premier GS4s for Railking prices if you are patient. I ended up paying a little over $400 for a barely used Premier GS4 with PS2. Deals are out there. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

B8144AAA-C237-4713-A791-CF436262396E301CEC9D-F515-4AA8-B43C-615FE1427B45 

I have the imperial model and it is an amazing locomotive.  The difference between the two is that the Premier model is more expensive and bigger.  You’re getting almost the same thing with the imperial model at a very modest price. Here are some videos of mine

 

https://youtu.be/YbVNpUswfeA

https://youtu.be/_6dsnYD4S_A

https://youtu.be/ORCZeMUamOM

This last video is the Black (Freight unit) fast forward to 5:25.

https://youtu.be/I2rQ_cM6GZI

Tim Lewis

 

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Thanks for all the input.  Premier for RailKing prices? Haven't seen those deals yet. Have a road trip for a training class in Indiana. There is a place called Mr. Muffins trains not too far from where I will be at. Hopefully see some of these engines up close in person.  Around where I live at, (Houston) , don't have a train store with some of these bigger engines on display for sale.

Was leaning to Imperial as I only run one loco at a time with DCS remote commander. No plans on the full system.

But the size of the Premier... and now that yall have said runs good on 054 with little overhang.... might go this route along with the passenger cars.

Tugboat15 posted:

Thanks for all the input.  Premier for RailKing prices? Haven't seen those deals yet. Have a road trip for a training class in Indiana. There is a place called Mr. Muffins trains not too far from where I will be at. Hopefully see some of these engines up close in person.  Around where I live at, (Houston) , don't have a train store with some of these bigger engines on display for sale.

Was leaning to Imperial as I only run one loco at a time with DCS remote commander. No plans on the full system.

But the size of the Premier... and now that yall have said runs good on 054 with little overhang.... might go this route along with the passenger cars.

Wait a minute.  You live in Houston.  That is in Texas.  Go big or go home.

Bill in Harlingen...Texas

Here is my two cents.  I have only been into three rail for nearly 3 years and I am a recovering engineer (over analyze everything).  I am also stuck with 031.  So after convincing myself that I can live with semi-scale I can emphatically state the following.  GO SCALE!!!!!  You have the radius to support nearly everything.  If you stay with scale everything looks right when coupled together.  Semi-scale is very flexible in size.  Somethings look great together others don't.  Also, if you run passenger cars you will find that many 60 foot passenger cars are scale in width and height only shortened for going around 031 (for that matter many "scale" passenger cars are a 70 foot compressed length).  Coupled with a semi-scale K-4 the locomotive looks too small.   I am sure the SP semi-scale GS-4 would also look small.  in my humble opinion you cannot go wrong with scale and do not obsess over the increased price because with the increased price you get a much more authentically detailed locomotive. 

 

If you can run premier than I would do it. My outer loop is 048 and I'm lucky enough to run Premier passenger cars, most Premier diesels, and some premier steam engines. The only Premier steamer I have is my 4-6-4 Dreyfuss Hudson and I love it and have no regrets. I'm also future proofing a bit as my next layout will have O72 curves.

Here's a size comparison between a Rail King Imperial size GS2 and a Premier GS4. The first 3 pictures compare the Imperial size GS2 to a traditional Lionel F3 (itself scale size) and the last 3 a Premier GS4 to a traditional Lionel F3. In real life a Southern Pacific GS class locomotive and tender were about the length of an A-B set of EMD F units. As you can see in the pictures the Imperial size GS2 looks much too small next to a F3. This is why I ended up selling the Rail King locomotive and replacing it with a Premier model.

20180119_16282420180119_16301420180201_20513820180610_12033420180831_21115320180831_211223 

Santa Fe, All the Way

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Took me many searches to find this comparison image back when I came to split in which direction to go. Forgot that I had it on the desktop. Comparing an RK to Premier.   But again, with yall saying little overhang on 054, and thats what I installed on shelf layout for this engine... I might as well go Premier.

Few questions.

I need to get the hi-rail or the -1 model correct?  And did MTH make the steamers smoke more? Looking at SDIV Tim's  youtube posts again, sure puts out alot of smoke. Whereas my new MTH ES44AC hardly puts out much smoke at max setting. I can smell it, and see it close up, but not wanting to burn up the element, or flood it with too much fluid, I turned the pot off.

Would I be able to run engine on same DCS remote commander? Or would I need a 2nd unit. Not to run them both at the same time. Just want to avoid the resetting process. Boy what a pain that was just to get up and going with remote.

Then I guess best passenger cars would be the 70' ones... wish they had the full dome car thats shown in the 60' car set catalog.Daylights

 
 

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Would I be able to run engine on same DCS remote commander?

Yes, as long as the engine had never been added to a DCS Remote or DCS App, or had been factory reset after it had so been added.


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Yes, Hi-Rail the -1 model. My Premier Hudson smokes like a chimney, I have to turn it down and blast my air purifier sometimes, that be said the smoke is nice. I tend to be more giving with my smoke fluid on MTH engines, 15 drops doesn't really get the job done, 20- 25 is what I do on a new engine.

I also recommend getting the DCS companion. It will help you answer a lot of questions.

For those of you that have the Premier, whats the length of the engine, without the tender? Making up a test car by MTH measurement specs, to make sure my track is far enough away from the wall. As my diesel, comes close in some of the turns. Want to see if the SP will clear, or if im going to need to make adjustments. Cant find the length of the 2 parts by themselves.

Also, do any of you have track run like this? Im gunna call it s-curve. 2 sections of o-54 together. Will this cause any issues with the loco for being as long at it is?

Thanks.

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Thanks for doing that. What's the length of just the engine? When I get home, I'll complete my test.  So I'm currently in Illinois for work. Went by Mr. Muffins trains. A fully stocked store... but didn't have the engine in stock. Had the psngr car sets there though.   I was shown a diff engine for size comparison... man it's gonna be big! 

While I've decided to go mth, he did have some psngr cars by Lionel. They are heavier, and 2" longer. Another plus is knowing I can run up to 20 cars. But plan for now is to run 8-10.   

I would have bought the 70 foot 5 car set there... , but currently bidding on a set that's half the price on eBay.

Nick

The locomotive is 29 inches long: https://mthtrains.com/20-3300-1

PS2 or PS3 both will run under DCS. So either one is fine. My Premier GS4 was originally equipped with PS1, but was converted to PS2 by its previous owner. I paid a little over $400 for the locomotive. 

As far as a used factory PS2 locomotive it would go for a little more. Depending on how much use it has had I'd say about $600 on the high end. $700 seems like a bit much to me. Very few of the newer models hold a lot of value, especially when versions with better electronics come out.

Santa Fe, All the Way

Well the one I found, I asked the seller a question.. came across as being rude.. so I passed on it. But I did get a pair of the 70' cars for 100.00. Made a test run. Only had to open a few tunnels between rooms.  As you can see only one lights up.. I'll have to fix the other. If they were any longer, I'd have to adjust track for clearance in few spots.

On my road trip, train shop had some heavy lionel sp cars that were 2" longer than mth...

More overhang than I thought on 54.. can't believe these will run on a smaller radius...

I was guessing the engine, and tender together was 29"... I was trying to see what the engine, and tender lengths apart were... or if in fact the engine is 29" by itself.

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Thanks for that input.

  Keeping my eyes out for an engine. May just order a new one from a train house. And car sets. Had a nice 5 car deal I was bidding on, but ended while I was flying back to Houston.. ugh.

Then another setback, my 2 month old premier diesel died. So on its way to get fixed. 

But I did manage to get the one car lighting to work again. 

Tugboat15 posted:

  As you can see only one lights up.. I'll have to fix the other. If they were any longer, I'd have to adjust track for clearance in few spots.

On my road trip, train shop had some heavy lionel sp cars that were 2" longer than mth...

More overhang than I thought on 54.. can't believe these will run on a smaller radius...

20180920_215121

I'll look tonight, I don't recall the Lionel 18" cars being 2" longer than the MTH 18" cars coupler to coupler.

For the lights, might just be the spring contacts between the body and chassis.

Yep. It was the spring contacts. May add a pot in the cars to dim the lights.  Looked better with less light when I ran with an old engine on analog.. and not always at 18-20v as with dcs...

Idk on the track...   the cars on 54 have more overhang then I like... only stands out to me....I'm going to get some garages o72 curve sections from Mario's as 3 pc make a 90 degree turn. Ross also has sectional, but requires 4pc for a 90. 

Maybe I'm wrong on car length... but when  I was at store in Indiana, the Lionel SP cars length was 2" longer comared to mth.. and stated minimal o54 as mth say the smaller radius.. I think o42? 

Even I will go and look to see.

Lionel 6-83107 - Daylight 21" Passenger Car "Southern Pacific"

21" each. Min o-54

The mth set I got on ebay, 20-6623 are 18" each o42

Mth 2017 catalog, they are 19" each. Min o-42

Just going by what I saw at the store.. if Lionel makes a shorter 18" version.. I'm not aware.. I haven't really been all over their site. Info above from Mr. Muffins trains, place where I saw them at.

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