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Time to another some motive power to a new freight train. Since my layout is 50's themed, I want to add a RS-3 diesel model to a new freight consist. Looking for a Reading road name but can't find one. May have to custom paint but first need to purchase the loco. Looked at the Lionel and both old and new designs look to be very cheaply made . MTH didn't seem to offer much, Williams had a few and Weaver shows them in their 2013 catalog. Who makes a good quality RS-3?


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I have both a Weaver one (First edition with the tower chain drive) and an MTH one. Living near Schenectady the former home of Alco, i also have 3 PA's (AA,AA,AB), 1 FA (AA), and 1 RS1.

Back to the RS3's -- the Weaver one is the most accurate and true to scale, and if it's an early one (fixed pilot) with new gears on the drive (from P&D) it's a great runner at nice slow speeds, AND can often be found at train shows or on eBay for $60 - $100. Newer issue Weaver RS3's have vertical motors (China Drive) and swiveling pilots if that's your thing.

The MTH ones IMO are of better quality than either the Lionel, WBB or K-Line ones and next to Weaver are the most accurate ones.

I've added TMCC to both of mine, and RailSounds to the MTH one; at the time i did the Weaver one (over a dozen or so years ago) there wasn't enough room in the body for a sound board and speaker, and no room in the fuel tank for the speaker with the driveshaft running through it.

Hope this helps.



Last edited by modeltrainsparts


The pic doesn't show up on your post.



I also have the Atlas RS-1 (close enough to an RS-3) and it's a great model. My only complaint is that I run conventional and getting the battery in the tank under the frame where it is stored is a real PITA. I run without it. I have an MTH RS-3 on order and await delivery so I can't comment on the quality yet.

Originally Posted by Bob Severin:
Originally Posted by Lehigh74:

I have a few MTH RS3s.  Two D&H (issued in 2011) and a Reading (issued in 2005).  The Reading is 30-2609-1.  They are Railking and not supper detailed, but I like them.

Does the supper detailed include mashed potatoes?  Not nit-picking mind you.  

OK.  They aren't super detailed either.

The original Chain drive weavers were the best running.    The single motor drive avoided the two motors fighting and jerking like they do in most 2 motor diesels especially at low speeds for switching.    I like the chain drives, they are smooth and if properly setup, very quiet and powerful.


As to quality, you need to define what quality means to you.   To me it is being as close as possible to prototype dimensions and shape.   I am not worried about how many accoutrements it has tacked on, those are features and can be added later.   If the base model is not right, then why bother with all the other stuff.  


If you are running on very tight curves, you probably need pilots attached to the truck rather than fixed pilots.  


As to RS1 vs RS3 they look very very different to me.   The RS1 has much more squared off hoods and overhangs on the cab roofs.   It basically looks like an Alco S series switcher with a short hood added.   The RS3 has more rounded hoods and the cab roof curves into the sides with no overhang.    the RS3 is postwar loco, while the RS1 was released in 1939 I think.


The prototype RS1 used 1000 HP 539 prime mover.   The RS3 used a 544 1600 HP prime mover.    The RS1 was the forerunner for all the road switcher type locos by all builders.

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