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In-Box Review
Video Review included
N scale
Old Time 2-6-0
N RTR Old Time 2-6-0, C&O #426
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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COUPLER STYLE: McHenry Scale Knuckle
SCALE: 1/160
ROADNAME: Chesapeake & Ohio
ERA: 1880 - 1930

Athearn N is proud to offer a mainstay of railroading's golden age in it's premium line of N scale models. This diminutive workhorse is capable of providing the power and performance to capture this rich era of railroad history. Each locomotive is decorated with colorful paint schemes that were common in this age.

Key Features

• Fully assembled and ready for your layout
• Separately applied engine handrails, bell, whistle and safety valves
• Headlight and smoke stack castings correct to the era
• Clear window glazing in the cab
• Coined metal drive rods
• Geared for scale operation
• Die-cast split frame chassis with all drivers providing electrical pick-up
• Rear driver mounted traction tires for maximum tractive effort
• Tender mounted motor
• McHenry N scale couplers installed


1. Baltimore & Ohio
2. Chesapeake & Ohio
3. Denver & Rio Grande Western
4. Pennsylvania Railroad
5. Santa Fe
6. Southern Railway
7. Virginia & Truckee

2-6-0 "Mogul" Type Locomotives
The first North American example of this type of locomotive was built for the Louisiana & Nashville Railroad [sic] in 1864. At the time it was the largest locomotive and got its name from the Mohammedan Empire (India). More than 11,000 Moguls were built between 1860 and 1910. They were generally used on freight trains but had enough speed to occasionally pull a light passenger train. [1]

Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-0 "Mogul" Type Locomotives?
I have not found any information that Chesapeake & Ohio proper used 2-6-0 types. Two C&O subsidiaries did, Virginia Air Line and Columbus, and Hocking Valley & Toledo.

Virginia Air Line Class 13: Data from American Engineering & Railroad Journal, Vol LXVIII, #2 (February 1894), pp. 71-74. The AERJ explains that this design was one of five shown by Pittsburgh at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Pittsburgh Rumary list (supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive collection) shows that one of the 3 was produced in April 1893 (works #1451) and two more (works #1489-1490) were produced in November 1893. [2]

The Virginia Air Line was built to get around the loading-gauge limitations of many of the Blue Ridge tunnels on the C & O. Chartered in 1906 and opened in October 1908, the VAL linked the Piedmont subdivision with the Rivanna subdivision of the James River Line. Lindsay, Virginia was the junction at the Piedmont end and Strathmore joined the VAL and the Rivanna sub. This pair of Moguls seem small to be carrying bigger loads than could fit through any tunnel; indeed, they were small 2-6-0s for their time, period. But they obviously served the mixed-traffic trains that made up the rest of the schedule. No. 427 left service in 1935, 428 in 1946. [3]

C.H.V.&T. Class E-5 Data from C&O 9-1936 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive collection. Works numbers were 32830-32831 in June 1908. [4]

With that in mind, what might be the statistics for this locomotive? There are differences in specifications between the E-5 and Class 13. Going strictly by the engine number I used the E-5 information:

• Valve Gear, Stephenson
• Overall Wheelbase, engine & tender, 48.67'
• Total Engine and Tender Weight, 237800 lbs.
• Tender Water Capacity, 6000 gal.
• Tender Fuel Capacity, 10 ton
• Driver Diameter, 56”
• Boiler Pressure, 180 psi
• Cylinders, 19" x 26"
• Tractive Effort, 25644 lbs.
• Factor of Adhesion, 4.07
• Firebox Area, 144 sq. ft.
• Grate Area, 25.90 sq. ft. [5]

N RTR Old Time 2-6-0, C&O #425

Athearn N packs this model in a cradle. A thin plastic sheet protects the model from scuffing against the cradle. It is held inside a clear hard plastic case with a top held on by tabs. The model is ready to run straight out of the box.

The locomotive and tender are fully assembled and connected with a drawbar and driveshaft. You have a diecast boiler and a styrene cab shell secured upon a die-cast underframe. The tender is plastic. The motor is mounted in the tender. It transmits power to the engine drivers via a shaft.

This model has a single connecting rod for all of the drivers. Prototype steam loco manufacturers found this to be flaw, and it does not work well on model steam locos, either. However, this model does not mind. Attached to the rods is a representation of Stephenson valve gear and slide valve cylinders. The pilot truck wheels and metal drivers are blackened with nickel tires. It has traction tires on the rear drivers.

The boiler has piping and appliances cast on. Proportionally this model looks a bit too 'speedy' for the era: relatively long boiler with a low roofed cab. The woodworking of the cab is prototypical.

On the Inspection Track: Details
First, the engine. We’ll start our walkaround at the front with what differentiates classes of steam locomotives from each other, the wheel configuration. A Mogul is a 2-6-0 per the Whyte notation. The leading (pilot) truck features cast spoke detail. Next are the six 62-inch drivers. They are properly blackened except for the tires. This may not be of concern as some railroads accentuated these rims with white or silver paint. A basic Stephenson valve gear sprouts from the rear of the simple cylinder chest. Both plastic and metal parts make up the valve gear. It looks smooth when operating. This is all set in and upon a metal frame. The firebox is festooned with rivets.

This Mogul features a road pilot with an oversized McHenry knuckle coupler. Above and behind it is a simplistic pilot deck (‘campground’ in hobo-speak). It lacks tread detail, a train line and air brake hoses, and coupler cut bar.

The smokebox front is sharply detailed with a variety of molded accessories. I see a slight gap between the smokebox front plate and the smokebox body. The smokebox is painted in silver graphite. Atop is a headlight of an early oil fired style with a single micro bulb giving a bright white glow. No wires to the headlamp can be seen due to the tight fit of the headlight to the smokebox top. No marker lamps are present but handrails are. Raising forth from the smokebox is a classy capped smoke stack. Rounding out the engine’s face is the number plate.

The boiler is a cast metal shell with separately applied steam and sand domes. No flash, ejector marks, sink holes nor seam lines are apparent. Railings and grabs are wire and separately applied. Surface detail includes raised detail for the boiler bands, steps, piping, and fasteners. The engineer side has the prominent air pump. I identified 3 individual parts applied to the boiler:

• Bell
• Whistle
• Pop-offs

The bell and headlight are a bit askew.

The cab does not feature a folding deck between it and the tender, nor grab irons, handles, arm rests or sunshades. The “interior” features a molded backhead with basic detail such as firebox door, gauges, and rivets. Neither the “hogger” nor fireman have seats due to the small tight fit. No crew is provided and there isn’t any room to put a full figure in it anyway.

Second, the tender. This is a typical tender of the era. It is made to represent a coal or oil load. This model represents a coal burner. The coal is not realistic looking. Aside from the rivet detail this tender is fairly plain, lacking scale ladders and steps, though with molded hand rails on the flanks. The chassis is not detailed. Like the engine pilot deck the rear of the tender sports no air or train lines. And where's the tender light? Depending on the era often one was not installed.

Supporting all of this is a pair of four axle trucks. The wheels are shiny but hidden by the trucks. The trucks lack side detail.

This decorated Chesapeake & Ohio locomotive features crisp, sharp opaque lettering on the tender and the cab sides. I cannot find any information whether C&O used this flashy livery in the era this engine represents. Most likely not after the turn of the century. Some railroads continued luxuriant livery, notably Chicago & Alton's Alton Limited. This model is quite pretty all the same.

The paint is smooth. The graphite paint of the firebox and smokebox is smooth and thin. It looks good.

Mogul in Motion
While this is a fine N scale model for static display, how does she move? Steam loco models, on account of all of those rods and valve gearing, tend to be balkier than diesels. That said, straight out of the box, I ran this model back and forth across Bachmann Easytrack with my power pack is a 30 year-old MRC type with a pulse function. Without pulse the model lurched ahead at a minimum of probably 10 mph. With pulse the slowest I could move her is about a scale 5 mph. Almost any model will run smoother after a break-in period, and a bit of extra lubrication works wonders, too.

To what standard do we judge this model? Steam locomotives were usually quite unique to the railroad that used them. Their appearance could vary considerably after a few major shoppings. One of the givens of steam locomotive modeling is that if you want a particular steam loco, you need references for that locomotive during a particular period of time. This model is a standard design that Athearn N tweaks with different stacks and headlights to be close enough for a 2-6-0 of a popular railroad. As such it is a good model of a standard c.1880 steam loco, something that has been sorely lacking in ready-to-run offerings.

So how about it as a model? I think it is good. In pulse it creeps along acceptably. The non-pulse minimum speed is disappointing. Yet, the mechanism and drive are smooth. The decorating is good. The separately applied detail parts enhance the model.

Yes, these generic models do afford us the opportunity to model the era of the Industrial Revolution through the Golden Era, without spending your life savings on a brass model. They offer the opportunity to detail to more closely model a specific engine. The price is good. Recommended.

[1] - [5] SteamLocomotive.com, 2-6-0 "Mogul" Type Locomotives, http://www.steamlocomotive.com/mogul

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Runs well. Good finish. Separate parts.
Lows: Little detail on the tender.
Verdict: This generic model affords N scalers the opportunity to model the era of the Industrial Revolution through the Golden Era, without spending your life savings on a brass model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: ATH11898
  Suggested Retail: $129.98
  Related Link: N RTR Old Time 2-8-0
  PUBLISHED: Oct 07, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Athearn!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


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