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New to railway modelling or just fancy a change? Tired of bad running jerky products and derailments? then take a look at the USA side of the market.

Lifelike Proto 1000 and 2000 products leave the UK competion standing, the same can be said for Athearn, Bachmann Spectrum, Broadway, Atlas, Intermountain and other quality USA products.

You take the Proto loco out of its box and place it on the track, its silent, it crawls pefectly, it hauls a lot of cars and its often very heavy. Most US diesel models have twin flywheels on skew wound 5 pole motors, this then drives all the wheels on which pick up is on every wheel. Often the plastic body shell sits around an entire diecast inner, this provides terrific weight on the axles - no need for traction tyres. All this together with optional sound on some locos makes for a quality performance. Detail too is to a very high level, often the loco comes with additional details to give variants on the original. Kadee style knuckle couplers will leave you amazed, real shunting can be done with the loco pushing the uncoupled car! Add to this the original factory packaging, the wealth of instructions and the protective inner box moulding and boy you have a different product to what we, in the UK market experience.

Proto and other rolling stock too is to the same high standard, as with the locos NMRA RP25 wheel profile is used, this fine profile runs far better than the UK or even the European variant, it will run on track that you may consider coarse ie hornby Dublo three rail.

The USA market is massive compared to the UK, however this has seen sustained quality and improvement over the years with no corners cut. Most stock (sadly) is from china but strangely even though the sources are similar or even the same possibly as Hornby and Bachmann UK, the build quality is better.

There's one thing for sure, even the most die hard UK modeller will be amazed at the overall quality of the US market trains, if ever they (the companies) decide to attack the UK market then the battle lines will be drawn for a tough fight. The quality of research done on the prototypes is immense, some locos like the Proto 2-8-8-2 Y3 comes fully equipped not only with a manual but a book detailing the original loco.

Warranty claims seem to be dealt with securly too, in my own experience I have had parts sent over in less than 10 days, try getting a UK part not in stock at your local shop that fast.

Well thats my summary of the Ho scale US stock, why not give it a go and see the difference that can be acheived by looking at the difference of similar priced US -UK models, you might just be suprised on what the £ in your pocket CAN buy!


Laurence Hogg




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