The 6 Point Checklist For Choosing The Right Locomotive

A good quality locomotive is the key to avoiding frequent derailments and many other problems when operating a model railroad.

No one wants a locomotive that you have to push to get it going. They do not want a locomotive that suddenly speeds up and falls off he tracks.

A locomotive runs by drawing electricity from the track through its wheels. The wheels transfer the electricity to the motor, which then turns the gears to drive the engine.

A locomotive with poor pickup on the wheel, or a poor gear set with cause nothing but problems, even for the most experienced model railroader. The contact point where your locomotive wheel meets the rail is extremely small. That is why it does not take much in the way of dirt, dust, or debris to obstruct the wheel-to-rail contact. Dirt can build up, so it is important that you keep the wheels clean and free of accumulated dirt. If the wheels of your locomotive become dirty, they may not make good contact with the metal rails, and your train will stall. Remember, plastic wheels do not conduct electricity.

Here are 6 points to consider:

  1. Choose a locomotive that has a good quality motor.
  2. Choose one with plenty of metal wheels.
  3. Choose one with plenty of gears connected to the wheels.
  4. Choose a locomotive with a heavy metal frame.
  5. Choose one with flywheels.
  6. Buy a locomotive that will meet your requirements now and in the future. A low price may result in poor performance and quality.

If you want your train to run well, be prepared to pay good money for a good quality locomotive. Buy the best locomotive you can afford. Some hobby shops have test tracks where you can test drive a locomotive before you buy it.

Buy a high-performing workhorse and it will pay for itself in no time with the pleasure it gives you over many years.

2 Responses to “The 6 Point Checklist For Choosing The Right Locomotive”

  • Jim:

    Robert am going to take your list into my local hobby shop as i am about to buy my first loco. Thanks.


  • Ken Newmire:

    Is Bachman considered a worthy work horse? I have the DD40 UNION PACIFIC. It’s a really long engine but not sure if it has a flywheel or not. And believe it or not, it handles tight curves at high speed very well…

Leave a Reply