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John Armstrong, the great track planner, on Turn of the Nineteenth Century Motive Power from John Armstrong on Creative Layout Design:
"Motive Power was just beginning an era of rapid growth in size and variety that would foster some false starts, such as compound cylinders and 2-4-2 wheel arrangements, as well as the evolution of "modern" features which would endure - piston valves, wide fireboxes, and "monkey motion" outside valve gear. With the usual exceptions, it was still a period of relativity clean-lined, uncluttered locomotives, whether they be the last of the 2-6-0's or the first fleet of Atlantics or daring 2-10-2's and six-coupled Mallets. The proud trunk line of 1900 could have 2-8-0's and 4-6-0's as its newest, first line power and - without apology - lots of venerable 4-4-0's still in service."
Reproducing the Golden Age of Steam
Turn of the Nineteenth Century steam was a transition from the gaudiness of the earlier period to the dreariness of the USRA. It was still thought locomotives should have a degree of elegance.
The mid-1960's Model Railroaders were laced with the wonderful images of railroads by Paul Larsen, Gordon Odegard and Don Rechenburg. Who couldn't love the Portage Hill and Communipaw Railway series in 1962? Turn of the Nineteenth Century steam was totally missing in 1962 though. Now there is a glimmer of light, there is steam available.
The 4-4-0 was one of the most successful inventions in railroad history. It's three point suspension allowed traversing rough frontier track.
The Bachmann 4-4-0 has an odd driver configuration with the rear driver pushed forward. It is based on the Maryland and Pennsylvania #4
The Roundhouse/Athearn 4-4-0 is a generic 1885-1890 loco similar to a B&O M-60
IHC makes a OO/HO 4-4-0 with a dreadful drive. It can be merged with the Roundhouse/Athearn 4-4-0 drive to make an 1885-1890 4-4-0. Here is our under construction model.
Bachmann's 62" driver ten-wheeler, what could be better than an elegant loco that runs well and looks great. Just needs TOC details to be perfect.
IHC made this neat little Mogul that can be made into a credible early 1900's loco. John Pryke has an article in the August 2008 Model Railroader to make a New Haven loco.
Athearn/Roundhouse has a Mogul based on the 4-4-0 with an extra driver. The 66" drivers are atypical but can be replaced with smaller driver. There is also the old MDC version with 52" drivers.
Athearn/Roundhouse's new 2-8-0 is a real improvement over the old MDC version. It is the ubiquitous freight locomotive form the 1880's to the mid-1890's.
The Bachmann 2-8-0 is a bit large for 1905 for my taste. It looks really good with the Bachmann Decapod tender.
1905 modelers really need a Consolidation about 10% smaller with 57" drivers.
The Bachmann Decapod is a really good 1905 loco with only slight modifications, like this one by Roger Travis.
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Put sound in the old Roundhouse "Oldtime" locomotives
If you buy the new Athearn/Roundhouse locomotives with the MRC sound you will eventually have to install a new decoder. MRC decoders are really crap. I suggest a mini-Tsunami and a 1.1 inch (28mm) diameter speaker.