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Just letting everyone know about my first purchase from "Trainz". I have read a lot of good reviews here on the forum about "Trainz", but have never been game enough to take the plunge and purchase anything from them.

It is a long way to get the item to me here "down-under" in Australia, and if there is something wrong/it doesn't work, it's a long way to get it back to Buford, Georgia. A lot of the locomotives they advertise for sale don't say if they are operational or not......just that they are "untested". A bit of a gamble for me.

Anyway, they had what appeared to be an almost brand new MTH RailKing 30-1156-1 "Pennsylvania" 2-8-8-2 USRA Mallet Steam Engine & Tender on their eBay store, and I have been looking to buy a big articulated steam engine for quite some time now. I had been unlucky in bidding on a couple of "Big Boy" loco's on the recent Cabin Fever MTH stock liquidation auction (you know who you are), but here was my chance to get a decent articulated loco that would run on my O 31 curves, without having to bid against fellow train lovers.

I've got to say it was the easiest sale I have undertaken in quite some time. The loco and tender came in their original polystyrene box and cardboard outer box, complete with a sealed packet of spare traction tyres, and a sealed bottle of MTH smoke fluid. The original owners manual and warranty card was also intact inside the box. The wheels and pick-up rollers on the loco (and on the tender) showed no signs of wear or ever being in contact with the rail tops. The paint finish was scratches or even any wear marks from being stored in the polystyrene box.

I opened the loco up to inspect the grease in the gearboxes, and to see how the wick in the smoke unit was, as this loco has some age on it now. Getting into the gearboxes was a little more difficult than first thought, but I managed to crack the code and come at them from underneath via the removal of the two trucks away from the motors. The smoke wick was brand new (pure white) with no signs of the heater element ever being turned on. There was no evidence of any smoke fluid ever being in the chamber bowl.

While I had the body off I installed a TVS in the red (+) wire nut, and onto the black (-) wire ground screw, and then oiled all the wheel bearings and drive rod assemblies. I also replaced a couple of the traction tyres, as they seemed a little loose/stretchy on the rim of two drive wheels, then I buttoned it up and took the body off the tender. Had a good look at the chrome plating on the back of the speaker......perfect, nothing to report there. Took the original MTH "white" battery out (bit of a trick as the circuit board had to be partially removed to access the two screws holding the plastic battery case to the frame), and replaced it with a spare BCR I had. Buttoned the tender up and put both units on the track.

Turned the transformer on to around 10 volts, waited 60 seconds for the BCR to charge, and then turned the transformer off and back on again, and...... the beast started to move slowly in the forward direction. Tried all of the ProtoSound 1 features (steam whistle, bell, crew talk, freight yard sounds, electric coupler etc) and everything worked fine, first time, and exactly as they should. Direction can be changed by hitting the "Direction" button on the transformer, and that wonderful "chuffing" sound that matches the speed of the loco!!!!!  This is a keeper!!!

All I can say is the loco is exactly what I thought it would be......and more. It navigates my tight O 31 Buco brass rail curves easily, and does not foul on any of the switch lanterns. I am one happy camper!!!!  Thank you Trainz for such a great experience, and I certainly haven't bought "a pig in a poke"!!! I can highly recommend Trainz as a place to get a decent deal.

Peter.......Buco Australia



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Yeah, ....I agree with Steve, it’s be nice if y’all could get there someplace in Australia for parts, and service?...or does everything have to come by boat & air?......and just out of curiosity, how long does it take to get something you purchased from somebody like Scott till the point it’s actually in your hands?....I’m glad your little 2-8-8-2 worked out well......If I order something from Scott, I usually have it in 2-3 days....being in NC ....unless he uses the not-so smart, smart post by fed ex .....If he uses that, I actually think it goes to Australia first, then to NC ...😉


"It is a long way to get the item to me here "down-under" in Australia, and if there is something wrong/it doesn't work, it's a long way to get it back to Buford, Georgia. A lot of the locomotives they advertise for sale don't say if they are operational or not......just that they are "untested". A bit of a gamble for me."


Glad it worked out well for you. I made a few purchases from TRAINZ a few years back and they used to have a certification sheet attesting the quality control steps they took to ensure the train worked. TOO BAD they a re now taking shortcuts   :-(

I have the protosound 2 version of that locomotive in B&O. Was my first O gauge articulated. Glad everything made it to you in good shape. You'll enjoy that hunk of iron.

When I got mine at first, I was running conventional. It seems the most limiting factor to low speed movement under transformer control isn't the locomotive, but the minimum voltage you get out of the transformer before it drops to zero volts  (I have post war transformers)

And pull . . . .  I have a number of operating cars. The RK Mountain I have will occasionally slip in a curve pulling them all. None of the other steamers I have can pull them all. This beast however, is a different story.

Nice to hear your experience, I've bought little stuff through Trainz, but have my first big ticket items coming the weekend (a Legacy Lionmaster Challenger). So your post makes me feel good about getting the shipment.

Enjoy and have fun with it!

Oh, one thing you can try to help keep tires from slipping, and can even be used to create an "emergency traction tire", is Bullfrog Snot. It can permanently replace traction tires in smaller gauges, but wears out too quickly on O gauge to be a permanent solution. But it will get you through until the new tires come. I was one of the original testers when I was working in N scale. Very good stuff.

Older traction tires can get stiff, and when they do they get too slippery. BF snot will help them stick. I'm experimenting with a Mikado Jr. this year. Both sides will get a *very* thin layer of snot as I'm going to test it as a non slip surface for the tires. On one side I'll put the tire on while its wet, on the other side, I'll let it dry and then put the tire on. Then I'll run it for a while first. Next hook up enough cars to make the drivers slip and see what happens.

Last edited by Quietman

In my experience you can always save a few dollars buying the item from their website vs the auction site.  Many items are double listed.

In my last purchase (due to arrive today), I put stuff in the cart and started the checkout process to get a shipping cost.  It was late, so I slept on it.

The next morning I received an email,  "Still thinking about it?  Here's $5 to help you decide".

I have always had good luck with Trains.

Have Fun!



I have been buying from Scott at Trainz since 2005 and had very good experiences. The few times it was not accurate the Customer service very quickly issued a return label and refunded all my money if not repairable. I have purchased over a 100 items through the years.

I am glad you got the Locomotive you wanted and in the shape you got.

Happy engineering!!

Buco, I'm glad your reported about your transaction, shipping, and the quality of the engine you bought from Trainz!  I only ever made one purchase from Trainz, and that was at the York TCA Meet a few years ago.  There, I was able to visually inspect the engine and try it out on a test track!  I'm glad you were rewarded by taking the chance buying second hand from Georgia and having it shipped to you in Australia!! 

These "little" 2-8-8-2's are not only fair, if compressed, representations of the USRA 2-8-8-2 Heavy Mallet, they are great project fodder. They seem to be mechanically solid. I have, over the past decade or two, "resto-modded" 3 of them, one freelance, and the other two following a particular prototype.

Glad it worked out.

Hello gentlemen: It is Sunday (midday) here "down-under", and I am just getting around to replying to all of your inquiries.

Firstly, thank you all for the great response to my post, really put a smile on my face this morning. OK, now down to business:

ChiTown Steve & harmonyards: "O" gauge trains are almost non-existent here in Australia. There was an effort to get Australian boys interested in 3 rail "O" gauge back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, with "Hornby" from England, and our own manufacturer "Ferris", but they died a natural death. I cannot ever remember hearing about Lionel, or Ives, or American Flyer trains growing up here in the 1950's and 60's.

There are no hobby shops anywhere in Australia that carry "O" gauge loco's, passenger cars, or freight cars, the best we have is a store in Melbourne (Victoria) that sells some "O" gauge "Woodland Scenics" products (bought a couple of 2% rises from them recently). Anything I want in "O" gauge must come from the States, or from Europe (Switzerland).

There is no one I am aware of that is an agent or a service repairer, or carries any spare parts for Lionel, MTH, Atlas, or Williams by Bachmann.....we are all on our own here!!  Everything has to come from you guys!!!

In the matter of finding someone else here who has "O" gauge trains, and trying to combine an order, it doesn't really make that much difference to the cost, as it is calculated by weight.....cause everything gets flown-in to Australia from the rest of the world. Only things that get transported on boats is stuff that comes from Asia/China.....say no more!!!! To us Australians, weight is everything!!!!

rattler21: I found their listing on Global eBay, and it was not an auction, but a "buy it now". I sat on the listing for about a week, and noticed there were a couple of other people watching this same loco. I did as much research as I could on this MTH model, and was fairly convinced it did not come with any "inherent" manufacturer problems (unlike some of the early MTH RailKing Diesel loco's I also have in my collection).

Trainz had this loco listed for $307.52 US ($420.66 Aus) and this was well within my budget. The cost to ship it out to me here in Queensland, Australia (Gold Coast to be exact...Google it!!) was $98.64 US ($134.93 Aus), and this was a bit of a deciding factor.

Added to the bill was the "all important" eBay import duty of 10% on the loco and the shipping, as a total.....go figure, how can someone add a tax to a postage charge that already has the tax component built-in to it?????   And to make matters worse, we Australians don't have to pay any import/sales tax on second-hand goods, if their value is under $1,000.00 Australian dollars!!!!! Sorry for the rant.

Anyway, in the end it still was a good deal, especially now, as it is fully operational, and I don't have to spend anything on it to get it up and running.

Don Winslow: I have included a couple of photos of the Buco track system, and how I can make my own sections of track using the spare parts that were, until just this year, available from a specialist hobby shop in Switzerland. They had purchased all of the left-over track stock from the Buco company when it went into liquidation, firstly in 1957, and again in the late 1960's and 1970's. I hope you enjoy.



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@Buco posted:

Hello gentlemen: It is Sunday (midday)Trainz had this loco listed for $307.52 US ($420.66 Aus) and this was well within my budget. The cost to ship it out to me here in Queensland, Australia (Gold Coast to be exact...Google it!!) was $98.64 US ($134.93 Aus), and this was a bit of a deciding factor.

The $98.64 is quite close to the postage on four GGD heavyweight passenger cars(one package) we sent to Melbourne a couple of years ago.  John

Well, I know this doesn't happen all the time, but when I dealt with Trainz about a year or so ago online, I bid on two separate occasions , once for a 3rd rail J1e Hudson and then the second time for an S1 Niagara. Both items where advertised as used and the bids reflected that, but when I received the items, a couple of days apart, to my surprise they were both new in the packaging! Now that is something I couldn't believe! So I have no problem with them.

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