I have a fever:  I want a PRR K4, and am at a loss as to which I should look for.

Here are my particulars:

1.  I do NOT want to invest $1000+ on another engine.  I probably have too many already for my 12 X 20 layout.

2.  I have mostly 060+ curves, but one section of 048.  I also (mistake) made some tunnel portals that are too small and too low-  (so for example- I had to trim the corners off a CC 773's cab to prevent clipping them on a curve).

3.  I run a ZW-L so plenty of power, and (just) installed a TMCC system, so only want a CC, TMCC or Legacy  K4.  

BUT there are still too many K4 choices!  What say you?  What is a good compromise?

 

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It depends: Do you run Legacy, TMCC, DCS, or conventional?  Also, is the rest of your rolling stock and scenery scale-sized, or "traditional" O gauge.  There are several good choices- choose the version that best complements the trains and layout you already have!

That being said... I know you have some LionChief Plus locos.  I was really hoping Lionel would reissue it's "semi-scale" K4 (check out 6-38089 for example) as a new addition to the LionChief Plus line.  @Dave Olson Maybe in 2020 they will!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

One of the first TMCC offerings, Odyssey Speed Control.   Scale is not right, but a good running locomotive.   Slideshow. 

There were two different numbers, (also 5385), of this Lionel offering. ??Double header??  Note the optical tether,  innovative technology, at the time.  Too big, Too long??  K-Line K-4,  by Lionel, may be a better, closer to scale model??.   Over the 20 or so years since this model was introduces,  the 1:1 K-4, (1361), has been a point of discussion, as attempts, to rebuild, and operate it, again, have all ended in different degrees of failure.   

I have mostly "traditional" cars, but with some 40- 50 ft. Scale cars mixed in.  I run conventional AND (lately) TMCC.  I have one Legacy (F7 Set), and three (so far) TMCC engines.

The limits are one segment of 048 curve, and tunnel entries that are too small, such that the back cab overhang of my CC my "scale" 773 made contact, so I had to trim those corners.  I don't care much about "collecting"- by the time anything I own would appreciate in value, I'll be a distant memory.

I run and weather everything, and don't mind making concessions to avoid rebuilding the entries and tunnels.

I really like my newly-acquired TMCC Cab1 system, and just can't get my head around $1200- 1400 for a locomotive.  I honestly have never looked too far into anything except Lionel's K4s, and have no intention of using two control systems (DCC and Lionel), although I have one conventional MTH engine that I like very much.  Partly to decipher all the various models of Lionel K4, I compiled a spreadsheet listing them w/ features.  Attached.

 

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Lionel K4 since 2000
Mike Wyatt posted:

I have mostly "traditional" cars, but with some 40- 50 ft. Scale cars mixed in.  I run conventional AND (lately) TMCC.  I have one Legacy (F7 Set), and three (so far) TMCC engines.

The limits are one segment of 048 curve, and tunnel entries that are too small, such that the back cab overhang of my CC my "scale" 773 made contact, so I had to trim those corners.  I don't care much about "collecting"- by the time anything I own would appreciate in value, I'll be a distant memory.

I run and weather everything, and don't mind making concessions to avoid rebuilding the entries and tunnels.

I really like my newly-acquired TMCC Cab1 system, and just can't get my head around $1200- 1400 for a locomotive.  I honestly have never looked too far into anything except Lionel's K4s, and have no intention of using two control systems (DCC and Lionel), although I have one conventional MTH engine that I like very much.  Partly to decipher all the various models of Lionel K4, I compiled a spreadsheet listing them w/ features.  Attached.

 

Just my two cents.  When I swung back to O-gauge in the mid-80's bought scale diesels and many Rail-King steam.  After seeing the scale steam sold off all but one RK and bought nothing but scale for the size and detail.

I have four K4's.  Only my Weaver K4 Torpedo MFG requires large dia in this case O72 curves.  My one Williams and two MTH Premier MFG required only O31.

So except for the Weaver Torpedo the other three will most easily handle the O48 curves.  NOW clearances is another matter.  So if you have clearance problems the die is cast.

Ron

Mike Wyatt posted:

I have a fever:  I want a PRR K4, and am at a loss as to which I should look for.

Here are my particulars:

1.  I do NOT want to invest $1000+ on another engine.  I probably have too many already for my 12 X 20 layout.

2.  I have mostly 060+ curves, but one section of 048.  I also (mistake) made some tunnel portals that are too small and too low-  (so for example- I had to trim the corners off a CC 773's cab to prevent clipping them on a curve).

3.  I run a ZW-L so plenty of power, and (just) installed a TMCC system, so only want a CC, TMCC or Legacy  K4.  

BUT there are still too many K4 choices!  What say you?  What is a good compromise?

 

On the height of things, I ripped the pantograph off my new GG1 about a year or so ago on a signal arm, and I raised the height of signals and replaced bridges to the height of about 6 to 7 inches clearance. I managed to fix that myself luckily.  For the most part, I am good now at about 7 inches. One of the frustrating things was Lionel bringing out that new Fastrack bridge with the around 5 inch clearance. And the Lionel video excusing the height by saying that it's high enough for everything they manufacture when it wasn't. I spent several hours removing the 4 trusses from it and cutting off the lower section, touching up the cut, and putting them back. Looks good but Lionel needed to do it, not me. BTW, the MTH bridges are decent at about 6 1/8 in above the top of the rails.

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

Mike Wyatt posted:

I have mostly "traditional" cars, but with some 40- 50 ft. Scale cars mixed in.  I run conventional AND (lately) TMCC.  I have one Legacy (F7 Set), and three (so far) TMCC engines.

The limits are one segment of 048 curve, and tunnel entries that are too small, such that the back cab overhang of my CC my "scale" 773 made contact, so I had to trim those corners.  I don't care much about "collecting"- by the time anything I own would appreciate in value, I'll be a distant memory.

I run and weather everything, and don't mind making concessions to avoid rebuilding the entries and tunnels.

I really like my newly-acquired TMCC Cab1 system, and just can't get my head around $1200- 1400 for a locomotive.  I honestly have never looked too far into anything except Lionel's K4s, and have no intention of using two control systems (DCC and Lionel), although I have one conventional MTH engine that I like very much.  Partly to decipher all the various models of Lionel K4, I compiled a spreadsheet listing them w/ features.  Attached.

 

Mike,

I have 2 Williams brass PRR K4s locomotives that I had converted to TMCC.  They have TrainAmerica boards, EOB, and RS4 sound.  With ERR boards now available through 3rd Rail, I would look for these locomotives again.  They were rugged, smooth running conventional engines and are now even better under TMCC.  They run reliably on O31 curves and look pretty good doing it.  They should be available for $300-400.  Figure in $200-300 for TMCC / sound / electro-coupler boards and installation and you are looking at a great running locomotive for under $700.  They are not as well detailed as some of the newer offerings, but they are also more robust.

1160136026_5hZYJ-L

I have two.  I bought a non-scale front coupler for one of them and I can double-head them.  I can also run 1 as a pusher.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Does it have to be a K4s? MTH has made scale-sized versions of the PRR G5s 4-6-0 with PS1, 2 and 3. The lack of a trailing truck and shorter cab overhang minimizes clearance problems. They run on O-31. I have been running the PS1 version pictured below for about 20 years.

MELGAR

MELGAR_PRR_G5S_5740_05

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People keep trying to sell him on MTH and conventional, I think he clearly stated he only wants a command controlled TMCC or Legacy model.

My choice would the the Legacy K4, I bought mine used for $550, it has whistle smoke, IR sensor, and of course the great Legacy sound and control.

Dennis Holler posted:

They are out there, I just picked up an MTH 20-3018 K4 for $99 that runs and sounds perfect. Also bought a Lionel legacy Polar K4 for a great price off this forum. They are out there!

Great acquisition.  You can afford to gut it, install TMCC, and have both a great looking and great performing locomotive.  

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

My problem is I have about 5 brass williams, the mth K4, and a handfull of others that could all use the ERR/sound/superchuffer etc upgrades! Got to start with one of em certainly!  I just got the legacy Polar road K4 for less than $300 and it is in great shape everything works. Paid $550 for the red legacy K4 on a blowout black friday a few years ago. Both are candidates for some green paint in my eyes but they are nice locos. Do you get the 10 wire harness from mth directly? Need to nail down what other components I need to get besides the boards to start one of these.

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

Yep, I get the tethers and mating connectors from MTH parts.  I'd buy the Legacy Polar RR locomotive for $300 anytime of the week!

I have a RailKing K4s that i bought new when it first came out, added a Digital Dynamics Equalizer when it came out and then added ERR cruise and Railsounds when it first came out. Then sold the original MTH electronics to help recover some of the costs. I love it, and only wish that MTH would offer a RailKing E6 Atlantic in either RailKing or better yet RailKing Imperial of similar proportions.

jackson, CEO, Not-So-Great Eastern RR, aka The Never Done Line

          Division of the Southern Adirondack Railway Cartel

 

 

Dennis,

     Here is a video of my 2 Legacy K4s coming out of the yard double headed. The first K4 is #1330 a standard post war model that Lionel had in the 2012 catalog. I purchased this one from a forum member off the buy/sell forum. The 2nd K4 #3880 started life as a Polar K4. If you look real close at the builders plates it says "Polar RR #25". The one crazy thing about the Polar K4 was when I blew the whistle the steam smoke came out of the dome sideways, Lionel did not include a whistle shield used by the PRR so the steam would blow straight up and not blind the engineer. Don't know why they excluded a .25c part but it bugged me so I purchased a whistle shield made by Precision Scale and glued it to the boiler. Works just like #1330. The Legacy K4s are hard to find but well worth the trouble as the smoke, sound and operations are top notch and worth the effort. Oh by the way the Legacy K4 and the Kline K4 are both identical less the Legacy electronics. The Kline K4 #1361 handled 031 and 048 curves with no problem. I would thing the Lionel K4 would do as well. I never ran them on my home layout only at the club so I am just guessing.

JohnB

Thanks JohnB, Yes, I definitely love both my Legacy K4's and the #460 E6 (11224). Having them is providing most of the push or interest in upgrading my Williams Brass K4's.  Besides, you can never really have too many scale K4's, I realized I'm up to 10, 2 Lionel, 4 Williams, 1 MTH, and 3 ancient Scale-craft not to mention another pile of semi-scale  and postwar versions.....

Will have to look up whether PRR ever numbered a K4 as #25, I know they did have some low numbers so it is possible. Here's ,my Williams streamlined and std prewar K4,  Williams L1, MTH first premier K4 and the Lionel 11319 and 11224 (E6) in the lower pic.  I guess the one thing that might be true is if you can't find a Lionel Legacy K4,  you should be able to purchase and upgrade either a Williams Brass or possibly one of the earlier MTH Scale K4's for the same or slightly less money if you are lucky.  I haven't seen many of the recent Lionel Legacy K4's listed anywhere for less than $500, my Polar k4 being an exception.  You have to look hard for those, and be ready to JUMP on it when you see it.  Don't wait five minutes if the deal is that good.  I've paid, $60, $79, $139, and $225 for my four Williams Brass K4's, found the MTH for $99 and the Polar K4 for less than $300. So that is 6 scale K4's for less than the list price of a single new Legacy K4... They are out there .  Shake the bushes and Pounce!

F13107DD-8CB8-4B2A-807B-7CB9C24488D6IMG_1805

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

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