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I've admired the Hudsons ever since riding the Royal Hudson in Canada a few years back. Since USATrains introduced their model I have lusted for it from afar...$2000 worth of afar.w/ sound included of course.However,I can't seem to let it go and forget about it. I am muddling about in indecision over the pros and cons of this product. Also,is it even the right choice for my track? Researching theArchives(all 79 pages) I noted several owners made no bones about it being their favorite engine ;looks good,pulls lots of cars all day long,mechanically depenable and a few other nice adjectives. On the other hand....yep...some common problems dim the halo somewhat ;trouble w/ lead truck derailing,sound system malfunction,smoke unit failure(many complaints),won't run through LGB1600 turnouts,8' minimum curves required(?),a checkered opinion of Charles Ro Supplys' service after sale(I've never purchased from them). So I wonder; are these still problems to deal with in 2008? As far as personal issuses are concerned,the turnout  and minimum curve diameter are troublesome.My track is all LGB with only 3 turnouts,most likely too small;oneparticular curve that runs behind a mountain w/ a waterfall is probably less than 4' radius  and can't be changed. My father in law ,Charles Kessler's,(diamondhead regular) K4 Pacific could not negotiate this curve. For the record my inventory is only (2)LGB F7A s and (1)B Unit  and a dozen or so assorted cars. My track is contained inside a stone retaining wall on a fairly small sloping  backyard making exspansion impractical if not impossible.To me ,considering  the MTH Hudson might be worth while. I'm not so sure I'd be happy with the smaller scale though;not even that it would solve my layout concerns.One more minor mindfart; Southern Pacific would look much better than New York Central for lettering on the engine in my rural western themed layout.  In conclusion I would appreciate any and all advice from all Hudson owners or other knowledgeable modelers. 
Thanks, rusty 
 

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Rusty,

It's a great engine. But nothing is trouble free. I do know that the smoke unit failures are due to an improper installation by USAT, and TAS (the makers of the smoke unit) know the fix, and it's simple. (wiring problem).

It likes wide curves and smooth trackwork. If you have curves too tight, don't buy this loco, you will be unhappy. With any large, long wheelbase locomotive, if your trackwork is not in good shape, you will have problems.

I have a K4, and it can take considerably sharper curves with it's blind center driver.

Forget it. You could buy an Aristo Pacific and detail it up, but it won't have the drivetrain nor pulling power. The MTH might be your other choice. My K4 runs all over my layout without a hitch, but min curve radius is 5'.

Regards, Greg
 

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My USA Hudson runs on a daily basis and has not had any problems. I have had it for almost 2 years now. I lube it on occasion and run it hard. It will pull more cars than most people would ever want to have tagged on behind it. It likes 8' diameter as the minimum as Charlie has said. It is not bothered by dirty track as it has many pickups. The sound is great and can be so loud that the wife or neighbors will complain. 

I have not had any problems related to wiring, smoke, sound, or mechanical at all. I don't know how many hours I have run the lady but she is elegant and I believe she will stay that way. I would buy a Big Boy from Charlie but my layout will not allow it. I run indoors on 8-10' diamater turns. Only some yards have smaller turns.

Today I will be at Charlie's and will drool over the Big Boy..... talk to the wife about it and then look at maybe getting another Hudson.

Art
 

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I bought my Hudson at the ECLST about three years ago. The engine is beautifull and runs like a champ. I did have problems, the Hudson does not like curves under 8' diameter. It does not appreciate uneven track work. I had to make sure all my track was good and level(not that that is a bad thing). I had to do some alterations on the front drivers and to the smoke unit. Once all that was done, the engine ran great. It is a real work of art. I would not recommend it for small layouts with tight curves. I think you would be really disappointed considering what you would have to spend and all.
 

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Just got back from Charlie Ro's shop and now have 2 Hudsons and love both of them. I could not take my eyes off of the Big Boy.... even ran it on the test stand, BUT it would be a Hanger Queen around here.... as my layout will not take it. Oh well maybe someday I will move to a large layout and there will still be Big Boy locos out there. I never like steam until I got the first Hudson...... Don't think I will purchase another one, but I did purchase some ore cars along with the second Hudson.......

Art
 
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i bought my 2 early last year, it was from the latest run of these engines a NYC and they have run flawless so far...:D
Nick
 

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I bought my Santafe Hudson when they first came out. It is beautiful and very smooth engine. I went through 2 smoke units. First one burnt up within 2 days. The secound one lasted a week, and it took the wiring harness with it, It fried. Then I put an Aristo unit in it and have had no other problems. It runs flawlessly, and very impressive looking, plus you won't stop it from pulling, unless you hold onto it. I would have more of them but one is enough, when I can buy 10 other engines for what it cost. Overall I would say its great, and if you have your heart set on it, get it.  Thanks :D
 

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I agree with what the others have said about radius limitation.  My layout is all 20 ft. diameter curves and it looks really nice on those curves.  It certainly will run on smaller diameters but looks best on the biggest ones.

I always covert my models to battery power and radio control.  Because I have yet to run into a smoke unit which is convincing in appearance and because they would run the batteries down quickly, I always pull them out and do without.  The Phoenix sound system produces superb sound and I always insist on including one.

Otherwise, the detail is superb and the loco runs really well.

Llyn
 

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I origionally purchased mine from San-Val waaaay back when they first came out......I let it sit on the shelf for about 2 and 1/2 years.

Took it to Marty's place about a year ago and and refell in love with it.

I use the Airwire system with it and it works superbly!  At first I placed a different brand R/C unit in it and I think that is why I lost that lov'in feeling with it...dropped an Airwire system in it and BOY!!! did it ever run great!

Turning on the lights are not a priority as much as tooting the horn and whistle are.

I use it for my USA passenger cars...I run them at night with the lights on as my wife was the one instrumental in me purchasing a set of USA passenger cars as she likes to watch the train make its' way around the perimeter of my fence!

My vote is to...go for it, you will love it..even more if you drop a Phoenix inside it to REALLY appreciate the complete pleasure it will bring you.

I don't know what your limiting radius is but mine is 5', so 10' diameter....with that it doesn't have ANY problems.

It still has the origional turbo smoke unit in it. I run with 18 volt Milwaukee batts and get about give or take 45min to 1 hour run time per batt...with smoke on.

Bubba

  

 
 

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I have only pulled my 3..but Marty has pulled 3 times that many passenger cars with my Hudson.
She is a heavy puller.

The only time I have seen her stall was when someone tried to take it up to Martys' high line that is 5% grade or more...besides that no way.

Hope this helps

Bubba
 

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Posted By llynrice on 02/19/2008 9:53 AM
I agree with what the others have said about radius limitation.  My layout is all 20 ft. diameter curves and it looks really nice on those curves.  It certainly will run on smaller diameters but looks best on the biggest ones.

I always covert my models to battery power and radio control.  Because I have yet to run into a smoke unit which is convincing in appearance and because they would run the batteries down quickly, I always pull them out and do without.  The Phoenix sound system produces superb sound and I always insist on including one.

Llyn
Great advice--the wider the curves the better. I can't have all 20 foot radius, but I try to stay at 12 or above. Battery power with Phoenix sound is definitely the way to go, but tha does mean no smoke due to the power draw.  I don't have one of these units as yet, but may eventually obtain one in the future to use with my Milwaukee Road set up.  
 

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If the cost were lower I would have considered buying one.  Its a good looking loco but I'll pass as much as I'd like to have one.  Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks to all who reponded to my post; it sounds like the Hudson is simply too big for my layout.Perhaps I should considera smaller engine that will run on 8'diameter curves. .......rusty
 
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