Sunset 3rd Rail PRR Brill Doodle bug?

Looking at the SS PRR Doodle bug.  Overall thoughts of those who received one.  What is your impression of using this as a regular runner.  Frequent use.  How durable is the drive?  Looks similar the their RDC.  When were they made?  What did they sell for?  What are  they worth today in very good condition with very little usage?

Your input is appreciated.

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

Original Post

It is a specific model of the one on the Auburn and Allentown.   I think PRR had 2-3 more like this one.

I have one and the drive seems fine for home layout use.    I have not run mine a lot maybe a few hours tota.   It seems like it is just starting to break in.     If run for hours and hours at a tiime on a club layout, it might wear out as do most drives.

NJCB also imported a model of this same doodlebug.    I think the details on the NJCB are sharper and finer.   But they are are also more fragile and prone to cold solder joints (they fall off).    I had one of these before the SS and I became frustrated with doing constant little repairs.   

The details on the SS seem a little cruder maybe but not noticeable unless side by side.

As for price, I don't know.    I guess one at a show would be asking about 500 maybe more.   I think new when they came in they listed at about 600 or a little less.   You don't see too many for sale at shows, so I guess they would hold their price pretty well.   

It is a brass model, not plastic so was probably a pretty small run.


Shameless plug for the PRRT&HS Keystone Volume 50 #3. Everything you ever wanted to know about PRR motor cars.  And there were a ton of different ones.

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

Tom, the biggest flaw in the Sunset Brill is the huge headlight prominently mounted up front. It's way too large and mounted too high. The drive in the unit, the self-contained truck drive performs very well.

For the money, I think the NJCB version is the better model. One does need to fashion an interior for it. I purchased one years ago that had the original open frame motored truck drive replaced with a Wagner drive. It runs well as a single unit, but struggles pulling a lone P70 or B60 up any grade. Not unlike  the prototype. I will eventually put a stronger motor in it.

The prototype was the Brill Model 660, which also was available as an 880 with a larger power plant in the same car body. Rob's reference to the Keystone article is spot on. Everything you ever wanted to know about PRR rail motor cars.

I am John Galt !



Thanks for your observation.  Actually, I had a choice between the SS and a NJCB.  I ran them both on  DC.  The SS ran smoother and quieter, was much newer with a better paint job plus an interior.  IMO the headlight is kind of a nothing.  Heck,.  we all have treads and gauge too wide, frequently riding too high.  I just see this as another SS treat.  I saw the NJCB as another unnecessary project in my already too busy life. 

Plus, after having solder joints falling apart on some Precision, Oriental and Overland units I NEVER would ever knowingly buy  another problem child.  tt

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

I went with the Sunset doodlebug as to my eye the rivets on the NJCB model are course.  I replaced the oversized Sunset headlights with  scale sized ones from PSC. and installed a TSU2200 DCC sound decoder.  While the model ran smoothly at track speed it did not provide the smooth slow speed station starts I was looking for.  My suspicion is that the small HO sized truck mounted motor didn't have enough low end torque for starting a relatively heavy brass model.  Last year I worked with Quinton at Q Car Company and had him repower the original power truck with his below the floor interbank/ trolley drive.  The good news is that it solved the starting problem - the bad  news was that it needed more power to handle my steep 3% branch line grade.   Our solution was to power the dummy truck.  While it cost more than originally expected the gas electric runs beautifully and has become a crew favorite.

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

I ignored these when they came out, as Pennsy specific, but even with my lack of interest in that road, since it was Brill, did other road(s) use a twin or very similar Brill, that this could also have been or be lettered for, and if not, since even l knew the Pennsy ran a variety of gas electrics, one wonders why another version used by several roads. including Pennsy, but then appealing to a wider market , was not modeled? (True, the railroads modified the heck out of these, so with added on radiators, etc. they may not have long stayed factory identical....BUT that moment could have been caught)

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

I think this was a catalogue brill unit.    So other roads may well have had them.     someone described the brill model number, so a search might so something.

Another importer did 2-3 versions of earlier model brill gas-electrics.    You might do some searches for one of those too.    

Rule292 posted:

Shameless plug for the PRRT&HS Keystone Volume 50 #3. Everything you ever wanted to know about PRR motor cars.  And there were a ton of different ones.

Yes, that was a very well done article. There is at least one of those available currently on the big auction site. 


I built the American Standard Car Co. kit for the EMC-St. Louis Car Co. gas electric AFTER research turned up a Mopac doodlebug that was a twin for the kit, but not one on the list of roads included in the kit.  I am really pleased with it. So research for this Brill 550/660? may turn up a western road...RI or Q would be nice, that used it.  Need to go through Keilty books again. Given this was Third Rail, maybe the Sopac or ATSF used this Brill model.  While well known for gas electrics, l don't know that the California Western did, which would be great for those west of the Sierra.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Here's a simple side by side comparison:


I spotted one left in 3 Rail in the warehouse if anyone is interested. $699.95 + $30 S&H.

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Well, l cross-referenced the Keilty doodlebug books and could only find a Reading Brill 660 built a year before this Pa.  group of 5. I did not find any western roads using a Brill 660, BUT without factory photos of Brills from this period, l don't know if this car body is similar to other model Brills.   So outta luck, as this may be almost unique to the Pennsy. I did find that common Walthers CNW kit was a model of #9905, a St. Louis-EMC car, and Q and RI used similar cars, as well as did other roads.  RI owned all kinds of gas cars, but not a single Brill.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

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