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I have been looking at getting the Lionel Legacy light Mikado for some time now but it is rated for 0-54 curves and I have 0-42 as my max curves. Their website says the heavy Mikado runs on 0-42 min. ( ) yet their light Mikado says 0-54 min. ( ).

Is there something I am missing that would cause the light version to need wider curves? Or is this like the Legacy J-3a Hudson's where they said that 0-54 was min on every engine (even though that wasn't the case as the PT tender required 0-54 and the normal tender could do 0-42)? I do not want to make a thousand dollar gamble if I can help it.

Thanks in advance for the help!


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Reading this forum over several years it seems like there are a lot of variables involved in determining minimum curve.  It seems all O gauge products, probably even high end items, have made compromises to run on tighter curves.  Draw bar length, step placement, roof overhang, number and placement of driver flanges, to name a few.  Probably the only way to find out what the real minimum curve is for a specific item is to buy it and try it.  Or, someone on the forum already has it and can test for you.

Last edited by CAPPilot

I would stick to O54 unless someone here confirms they actually have the same engine and run it themselves on O42 curves. 

My guess as to why the catalogue in 2017 lists O54 and not O42/O54 is because Lionel doesn't make track with O42 curves and by 2017 they were no longer testing their products on other track systems in order to not take away potential business from their Fastrack line.   Again, I'm just guessing here.   Usually, in this situation it's because of the size of the tender.  One version will have a larger tender or one with more wheels which can't handle the smaller diameter curves, but from the catalogue pics it looks like the same sized tender. 

One thing I found confusing is there is obviously a misprint in the length of the engines.   The heavy version is listed at 30" long while the light version is listed at 20.75" long. 

Hopefully, someone here has this engine and the ability to test it on O42 curves.  


 EDIT:  I see as I was typing my post others posted they have the same engine.

Last edited by Greg Houser

It should do 042. The only determining factor is drawbar length so unless this particular engine has a very short drawbar then it will do 042. The K-Line version which the Lionel one is based on will do 031. Sometimes the coupler mount design (example the 2 truck shays) will determine minimum diameter but I doubt this one is any different.



Norton posted:

Lionel's light and heavy Mikados use the same frame. The only difference is the shell. 


A while back I had a similar question, but in regards to the Heavy Mikado.  Someone had both and yes, the only difference was the shell.  If you look back far enough, Lionel once listed O36 for the Mikados as the min curve.  The Mikados in general have seen many different ratings, depending on if you looked at the box, the catalog, or the website.  The three have not always been in unison for the Mikados.  I have the 1st run Legacy Heavy Mikado, and it has a lot of runtime on O36 FasTrack, and I mean a lot.  That included O36 switches going to parallel spurs, so a very tight S curve.  I had no problems with it doing it, as long as I was going slow into that spur.  As for the O36 loop, I ran that at normal track speeds and never had her come off.  My layout is now O45 min Atlas track, and I still have not had any issues with her on any part she has run on.  I like the Lionel scale Mikados for that reason, one of the few 'big' steam that can still do tight curves.

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