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I am debating on which engine to buy...I have it narrowed down to a few, but one of my all time favorites is the N&W J class.

I am looking at the Lionel 1931360  that had the stripe issue, but would take @MrMuffin'sTrains up on their offer to have it sent to Harry Heike for the restripe and weathering.

My other choice is the SUNSET Brass Norfolk & Western K-2A 4-8-2 Locomotive #133.

I think they are both beautiful models...

For those that have seen both or have both...which do you like best and why?  Or if there is another N&W streamlined engine that is a better choice...let me know.  

Thanks for any information.

 

Original Post

Owning the J and having spent a weekend running the K-2, personally I'd take the J. Get the stripe fixed and you're set. The K-2 while a beautiful locomotive, is limited by the Railsounds and features that are included. The other thing you have to take into account is the J is die cast while the K-2 is brass. The die cast will be more forgiving if it clips a scenery item or something else. The Legacy J was a reasonably well executed project with the exception of the stripe for which a solution has been offered. 

Notch 6 posted:

Owning the J and having spent a weekend running the K-2, personally I'd take the J. Get the stripe fixed and you're set. The K-2 while a beautiful locomotive, is limited by the Railsounds and features that are included. The other thing you have to take into account is the J is die cast while the K-2 is brass. The die cast will be more forgiving if it clips a scenery item or something else. The Legacy J was a reasonably well executed project with the exception of the stripe for which a solution has been offered. 

Thanks...that helps.  I didn't think about the railsounds.  I love listening to whistles and bells...not so much the crew talk.  Occasionally I do, but I assume the whistle on the Legacy is better?

I have not seen video of the Lionel yet...if anyone has a video please post it.

Here is a short video of the K-2 I found on Sunsets youtube channel.

 

I have not seen video of the Lionel yet...if anyone has a video please post it.

Here is a short video of the K-2 I found on Sunsets youtube channel.

Andy, 

If you use Facebook, check out my page Notch 6, I did a video at the end of October comparing the earlier Railsounds 5.0 J with the new J. You can hear both of them run and see the color difference in the stripe. 

Notch 6 posted:
 

I have not seen video of the Lionel yet...if anyone has a video please post it.

Here is a short video of the K-2 I found on Sunsets youtube channel.

Andy, 

If you use Facebook, check out my page Notch 6, I did a video at the end of October comparing the earlier Railsounds 5.0 J with the new J. You can hear both of them run and see the color difference in the stripe. 

Thanks Derek...watched the video.  Thanks for doing the comparison.  VERY informative.  Whistle sounds great.  I might be better off getting the Lionel and finding a different Sunset I like and upgrading it to ERR since the K-2 is from 2010/2011 or getting a newer Sunset.

The one thing I love is that Harry Heike will "fix" the stripe...and weather it.  I have wanted a weathered engine for a while, but have never done it, so I am apprehensive to try it on a $1300 engine.  I think I have until 2/20/20 to buy one for the free stripe fix and weathering that MrMuffins is offering.

roll_the_dice posted:
The one thing I love is that Harry Heike will "fix" the stripe...and weather it.  I have wanted a weathered engine for a while, but have never done it, so I am apprehensive to try it on a $1300 engine.  I think I have until 2/20/20 to buy one for the free stripe fix and weathering that MrMuffins is offering.

Might want to check with Pat's Trains @PATSTRAINS.  I heard he had some new Lionel Js.  

Last edited by MartyE
RJT posted:

You should seriously consider and look at the MTH Imperial J if budget is an issue. Beautiful locomotive and with great detail for a very reasonable price. I have 2 MTH J's the Imperial and the very first one MTH every produced.

Thanks RJ...I want an MTH engine since I just bought a TIU.  I will take a look at the J in them.  Do you have the model # of the one you have?  I have seen several over the years.  Budget is always a factor...I have never spent $1300 on an engine before...just getting back into the hobby a few years ago.  I only have 4 engines and 2 are for sale to help fund this venture...the most expensive engine I have is the 2012 Lionel 6-11334 Southern Crescent which is my Holy Grail of engines...the J is the second for iconic look to me.

Roll the Dice,

    If I were you I would go with one of the new Legacy J engines. Looks like Lionel has resolved the stripe issue (see thread on stripe at the top of the page) but you have I think till the end of February to apply for a RA so you will need to act fast if you have not purchased a Legacy J yet. The main selling point on the Legacy Js are the sounds Legacy engines sound great. I do not own a J but I own several Legacy engines and the sounds never disappoint.

    As far as the 3rd Rail K2 engine I am sure it is nice and the sounds are OK they are not Legacy. It is a very nice scale engine.

    I would stay away from MTH Rail King as they are not scale which is a big issue. Sooner or later you will put your Rail King engine next to a scale engine and wonder where the rest of your engine is. If MTH is to be considered go with Premier which are scale. But either MTH engine has MTH sounds which in my opinion are slightly off of the Legacy standard.

    Good luck with your choice.

JohnB

 

Some things to consider about the MTH Premier J is that you don't have to get a second hand paint job and the headlight bezel is painted correctly, but, the handrail stantions are not (at least on the above mentioned version #20-3133-1). It also has lubricator linkage that the Lionel version has never had. IMO, on the outside, the MTH is the better looking J. 
Then again, sound does matter and Lionel has 'em beat there!

Last edited by Big Jim
MartyE posted:
roll_the_dice posted:
The one thing I love is that Harry Heike will "fix" the stripe...and weather it.  I have wanted a weathered engine for a while, but have never done it, so I am apprehensive to try it on a $1300 engine.  I think I have until 2/20/20 to buy one for the free stripe fix and weathering that MrMuffins is offering.

Might want to check with Pat's Trains @PATSTRAINS.  I heard he had some new Lionel Js.  

Thanks Marty...I love Patstrains...I have ordered many item from him.  If I get the J I am intrigued by the weathering @MrMuffin'sTrains are offering for free.  That is a big part of the allure of this particular engine.

@JohnB  I have one Legacy engine and I love it...for the whistle and steam whistle effect.  So I agree...the Lionel J is the leader in the clubhouse for that reason.  Everything I am buying now is Scale...so no Railking for me.  I love the size and heft of the Scale offerings of everything.

@Big Jim I have seen reference to the bezel...which is correct...black or silver?  I don't mind the repaint of the Lionel...and it would be weathered too, so no big deal.  I actually kind of like how the stripe looks from factory though....but don't tell anyone.  Shhhhh

MR_P posted:

I see a new MTH Premier J for 750 + 35$ for shipping. See it in DA BAY.  # 20-3133-1

I think the MTH RK version new is going for about 450$ or so...

Thanks, I will definitely look at the Premier.  Thanks for the product #!  $750 definitely isn't bad...

Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to answer so far...these are definitely first world problems and I appreciate your help!

roll_the_dice posted:

@Big Jim I have seen reference to the bezel...which is correct...black or silver?  I don't mind the repaint of the Lionel...and it would be weathered too, so no big deal.  I actually kind of like how the stripe looks from factory though....but don't tell anyone.  Shhhhh

Here you go, this is what it should look like! NOT, like the way Lionel did it this time. I am a bit puzzled at this mistake, because, Lionel has done it right in the past!
Note that the handrail stantions are silver too.

IMGP1958

 

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scott.smith posted:

I have MTH and Lionel J's. I also have the Third Rail K. I have the new Lionel #600 with the wrong paint. If I were buying my first J; I would buy the new one coming out from MTH.

Scott Smith

Scott,

    You can get your Legacy J fixed:

         https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-j-stripe-resolution

    My friend has a MTH Premier J on order, will let you know about the sounds when it comes in.

JohnB 

roll_the_dice posted:

I am debating on which engine to buy..

My other choice is the SUNSET Brass Norfolk & Western K-2A 4-8-2 Locomotive #133.

Thanks for any information. 

No brainer. This is the ONLY K2a ever produced. They are beautiful and sound and run great. You can't swing a dead cat by the tail without hitting a J. They are everywhere, and everyone has made them many times. You should be able to get a J whenever, and wherever you want in the future. I cannot promise the same for the K2a. Get it while you can.

I have the Sunset K2a (#137) and three MTH J's (604, 605 (Unshrouded), and 611).

The Lionel 600 and/or 603 would have been wonderful to have, if they had been done correctly. The N&W J's were built in three groups. They were 600-604, 605-610, and 611-613. Early and late valve gear, streamlined and un-streamlined.  There were mechanical differences between the first and last J. The 600-603 had Laird valve gear and spoked pilot wheels. The 605-613 had Alligator valve gear and solid pilot wheels. Those are just two differences. A 600 or 603 isn't as simple as a 611 with a different number on the side.

If you're spending $1K+ for a model, make sure it is an accurate representation of the prototype. Otherwise, as mentioned earlier go ahead and pickup a MTH RailKing Imperial J. Not scale, but nice detailing and very affordable.

If I had to choose just one, I'd keep my brass K2a. FWIW, the K2a has no issues with "the stripe". For now, I'm hanging on to all four. Add my Sunset N&W K3 to the mix, and make that five.

Last edited by Gilly@N&W

Definitely get the MTH Premier J.  I run the PS-1 version, no. 611, on my layout but have other J locomotive nos. as well from MTH.  In their HO line of locomotives, MTH made the J with the prototypical correct rounded tender deck for locomotive numbers 600-610.  The flat tender deck is correct for only locomotive numbers 611-613.  MTH Premier J no. 611, 20-3024-1 - PS1, has given me hours of flawless operation.  My only recommendation is that MTH instal traction tires on both the front and rear set of drivers like Williams Electric Trains did on their scale Hudsons. The Williams scale Hudson has excellent pulling power but MTH Premier J (20-3024-1) is slowed significantly on level track with eight heavyweights.

Last edited by The Portland Rose
scott.smith posted:

I am not particularly happy about the decal fix. Over the long term I wonder how they will look.

Which is exactly why I returned mine to my dealer.  I felt that without a factory paint job I wouldn't be happy.  This is in no way a comment on Harry's work but I was unsure that I wouldn't have been satisfied so back it went.  I personally felt that the situation could have been handled better and was too long in coming.  In the end Lionel did make good on it for those who kept or returned the engine so I do give them credit for that. 

That being said, I have moved on and already replaced the J with new service from the PRR.

MartyE posted:
scott.smith posted:

I am not particularly happy about the decal fix. Over the long term I wonder how they will look.

Which is exactly why I returned mine to my dealer.  I felt that without a factory paint job I wouldn't be happy.  This is in no way a comment on Harry's work but I was unsure that I wouldn't have been satisfied so back it went.  I personally felt that the situation could have been handled better and was too long in coming.  In the end Lionel did make good on it for those who kept or returned the engine so I do give them credit for that. 

That being said, I have moved on and already replaced the J with new service from the PRR.

Marty,

     E8s? I have liked them since I saw the catalog. Unfortunately I already have the 5 stripe PRR E8s and have been holding out for a PRR Legacy T1. I cannot understand why Lionel has not done one since the last TMCC one 20 years ago. They have already re-run Berkshire, Hudsons etc.

JohnB 

JohnB posted:

Marty,

     E8s? I have liked them since I saw the catalog. Unfortunately I already have the 5 stripe PRR E8s and have been holding out for a PRR Legacy T1. I cannot understand why Lionel has not done one since the last TMCC one 20 years ago. They have already re-run Berkshire, Hudsons etc.

JohnB 

F7s.  Powered A, Powered B, SUper Bass B, Dummy A.  Whichever J the OP chooses, he has the option of getting the Lionel model corrected by Harry or a fine model by MTH.

Last edited by MartyE
Gilly@N&W posted:
roll_the_dice posted:

I am debating on which engine to buy..

My other choice is the SUNSET Brass Norfolk & Western K-2A 4-8-2 Locomotive #133.

Thanks for any information. 

No brainer. This is the ONLY K2a ever produced. They are beautiful and sound and run great. You can't swing a dead cat by the tail without hitting a J. They are everywhere, and everyone has made them many times. You should be able to get a J whenever, and wherever you want in the future. I cannot promise the same for the K2a. Get it while you can.

I have the Sunset K2a (#137) and three MTH J's (604, 605 (Unshrouded), and 611).

The Lionel 600 and/or 603 would have been wonderful to have, if they had been done correctly. The N&W J's were built in three groups. They were 600-604, 605-610, and 611-613. Early and late valve gear, streamlined and un-streamlined.  There were mechanical differences between the first and last J. The 600-603 had Laird valve gear and spoked pilot wheels. The 605-613 had Alligator valve gear and solid pilot wheels. Those are just two differences. A 600 or 603 isn't as simple as a 611 with a different number on the side.

If you're spending $1K+ for a model, make sure it is an accurate representation of the prototype. Otherwise, as mentioned earlier go ahead and pickup a MTH RailKing Imperial J. Not scale, but nice detailing and very affordable.

If I had to choose just one, I'd keep my brass K2a. FWIW, the K2a has no issues with "the stripe". For now, I'm hanging on to all four. Add my Sunset N&W K3 to the mix, and make that five.

I got up this morning to some great information!  Thanks everyone.

Great thought Gilly!  I have been looking at and for the Sunset K2 for a while.  I found one last year...didn't pull the trigger and it sold.  Now another has popped up and I keep looking at it and watching video.  I have also wanted a brass engine since I was a kid running HO.  Sunset are low number producer so the chance of finding more or another run is slimmer than Lionel or MTH.

The leader in the clubhouse is the K2 for that logical reasoning!  Thanks

For non-N&W wonks, the K2a and J were very different engines.

The K2a:

  • was built by Baldwin in 1923. J's were designed and built by N&W
  • originally were not streamlined. They received shrouding to match the J's
  • was a 4-8-2, the J is 4-8-4
  • was 6' (scale) shorter than the J
  • had a riveted vs the J's welded tender
  • feed water pumps were on the Fireman's side and covered with a distinctive shroud
  • did not have the roller bearing side rods like the J
  • none survived the scrapper's torch
Last edited by Gilly@N&W

There might be a better, more economical way.  The OP is contemplating 2-rail, although he has not mentioned N&W on the2-rail forum.

Williams made a credible “J” in 2-rail, and apparently the used price of these beauties is below $400 at the moment.  Mine had a badly out-of-balance flywheel and very wide tender truck sideframes, but other than that it fulfills my desire for a “J” and was easily fixed.

bob2 posted:

There might be a better, more economical way.  The OP is contemplating 2-rail, although he has not mentioned N&W on the2-rail forum.

Williams made a credible “J” in 2-rail, and apparently the used price of these beauties is below $400 at the moment.  Mine had a badly out-of-balance flywheel and very wide tender truck sideframes, but other than that it fulfills my desire for a “J” and was easily fixed.

I am contemplating trying out 2 rail O scale.  I haven't mentioned the NW on the 2 rail side because I wouldn't jump into an expensive engine right off the bat.  Just like I bought used 3 rail non Command loco for my first.  More likely something I would add a DCC decoder in or a nice used 2 rail engine with DCC already installed...in the $300-350 range.

I admit I like the way 2 rail track looks because I was an HO & N guy for a long time, but I like the variety that 3 rail brings to the equipment. 

I will definitely look at the J by Williams in 2 rail.  Thanks for the heads up. 

I honestly know nothing about 2 rail...that is why I am investigating.  Since I am not heavily vested in 3 rail yet, (4 Engines and 10-15 pieces of rolling stock), I thought I should see what 2 rail is about before building a layout.  

turbgine posted:

If sound is important to you the Lionel "Hooter" whistle on their "J's" is the best in the industry. The older generic Railsounds and the MTH whistle do not even come close. The MTH probably smokes better and using the DCS remote is great, but for the sound you can't beat the Lionel J's.

The 3rd Rail model does come with a generic Railsounds board. However, the Lionel spare parts site still lists the #961RS4001A Railsounds board. This is for the 6-38026 Lionel TMCC N&W Class J Cab #606. It has the sound file with the "correct" N&W whistle. I changed within a few weeks of receiving my K2a. Both are Railsounds 4. It is a simple board swap in the tender.

IMG_5336IMG_5337IMG_5338IMG_5340

Here are some pictures of the repainted and weathered J done by Harry.... I have had seven done so far, and the customers that received them have been very pleased. Lionel is giving us till the end of February to get any repaints paid for by them ordered. All that said, we have had customers that just wanted the weathering and not the repaint; and others that have been fine with them as they shipped. Sort of like pizza - individual tastes rule....

Nassau is going a big sale on his remaining J's this weekend, and we modified our website to offer the same unadvertised sale pricing, after you adjust his price for our free shipping. Not sure how many he has left - we have 4.

  • Lionel 1931340 - Legacy J Class Steam Locomotive "Norfolk & Western" #600 - 1 Left 
  • Lionel 1931360 - Legacy J Class Steam Locomotive "Norfolk & Western" #611 (c1982) - 2 Left
  • Lionel 1931380 - Legacy J Class Steam Locomotive "American Freedom Train" #611 - 1 Left
  • MTH 30-1789-1 - 4-8-4 Imperial "J" Northern Steam Engine "Norfolk & Western" w/ PS3 #611 - 1 of these left too -  Sale Priced at $449.96

 

 

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Last edited by MrMuffin'sTrains

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