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If you're seeking a set for a child...AND the set will stay at your house...you might even consider Roundhouse Live Steam. Totally wonderful company with factory in England. Probably not what your seeking...but something to keep in your back pocket in case! I think this is the kind of company you're looking to support.
Over 20 years ago, my dad got the live steam bug and set up a loop in the Livingroom of my mom's home (he lived there, but it was HER house). There were high ceilings which were painted white, and after a while, there was a dark oval stain on the ceiling over the track. He was in the doghouse for quite some time. I'd hold off on giving a kid an indoor live steam setup until he is able to wash or repaint the ceilings.....
 

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I am sure this comes up from time to time, but the industry also changes over time. I found some older posts about American made trains and many of them are defunct (some even recently). Is there anything still made in USA?

The reason I ask is I recently had a child and would like to buy a train set for his first Christmas. I had looked into Hartland Locomotive Works a few years back, but they have recently ceased and cannot find any dealers who still have products.

I am looking for either a set; or a combination of train cars, locomotive or track. I know being made in USA and not wanting things made in China is not for everyone, but its an earnest hope of mine to be able to find something.

All the best,

Krod
What scale are you primarily looking at? I still have a few LGB left that are either new or like new. I also have a full set of USA trains made in the USA. Its the work train set. I also have some HO that was made in Japan. Also 99% of my "O" scale is Lionel and it was all made in the USA prior to 1969. Any interest let me know. I don't check this board very often but you can email me here tommy 98466 at hotmail dot com. Drop the "at" and use @. Let me know.
 

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Oops, I thought I read this as a grandchild and not his own child. (That's why I mentioned keeping it at his house...i did not mean operating live steam in the house lol).

I suggested the RH live steam assuming he would be operating the train for the child to watch. Babies operate neither electric nor live steam.
 

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FYI, in the GREAT majority of ALL G Gauge locomotives the gears are made of some sort of plastic. Even LGB. Amongst the pool of all G Gauge locomotives, there are very few that actually have all metal gearing. Plastic gears are not bad. They are more robust than realized, but are indeed designed to be the wear point and (hopefully) the point of first failure. You would rather replace a worn/failed idler gear for less than $10, vs. a motor for $50+ wouldn't you? I have an LGB mogul from the mid eighties that still have all of the original gearing...... and other than the worm on the motor, the gearing is plastic.

With that said, my opinion of PIKO, I can't disagree about the lack of cosmetic details but that isn't a detractor. The internals from my experience are in line with LGB. Back to cosmetics..... if you stand back 5-10 feet a lot of the details get lost anyways. In addition, some of the highly detailed locomotives, the details easily break off with handling them. PIKO has a place in my book with their lack of details, and just in my opinion, it's not a bad thing. It just depends on what you are looking for..... is it something that is going to be handled a lot (put on and taken off the track a lot)? Are little ones going to be playing with it? If so, the PIKO would probably be better in that situation than the higher detailed stuff as there are less details to break off. PIKO's customer support in my experience has been top notch as well. I would not write them off so quickly. If you do end up getting a 0-6-0 or 2-6-0 PIKO, I would recommend adding quite a bit of weight to it though, as they come too light.

Edited to include a snapshot of my PIKO 2-6-0 in the garden. I think it has a place, and looks quite good (again, just my opinion) pulling that string of LGB coaches/caboose.
View attachment 62472
Great photo of your Piko !
Piko isn't bad.
Both of my Piko locomotives run and sound great.
I mostly find their lack of detail to be the biggest issue.
I prefer my train's to have a more realistic appearance,with lots of detail.
Which is one of the reasons that I'm such a fan of the Bachmann Anniversary 4-6-0.
And the newer versions (Version 6 ,and up) have all metal gearing.
We'll see how they last over the years.
And ,of course,there's their line of Spectrum cars ,and locomotives ( such as my beautiful Bachmann Spectrum South Pacific Coast 4-4-0).
Train Wheel Vehicle Steam engine Rolling stock

Matter of fact, I had to perform surgery on the Bachmann SPC 4-4-0 before I could run it due to a split gear, as I bought it used on Ebay.
The seller gave me a $40.00 discount after I notified them of the problem.
I ordered the part from Bachmann (2 parts. 1 additional as added insurance against a future broken gear),and fixed it myself.
So, I'm used to these G Scale locomotives having plastic gears.
As long as they last a long time,and I can get the parts from Piko, I'll keep the 2 Piko locos that I have.
I'm just a bit concerned about the longevity of the gears, and cost of replacement gears,because I've found that their parts aint cheap.
 

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Great photo of you Piko !
Piko isn't bad.
Both of my Piko locomotives run and sound great.
I mostly find their lack of detail to be the biggest issue.
I prefer my train's to have a more realistic appearance,with lots of detail.
Which is one of the reasons that I'm such a fan of the Bachmann Anniversary 4-6-0.
And the newer versions (Version 6 ,and up) have all metal gearing.
We'll see how they last over the years.
And ,of course, their line of Spectrum cars ,and locomotives ( such as my beautiful Bachmann Spectrum South Pacific Coast 4-4-0). View attachment 62761
Matter of fact, I had to perform surgery on the Bachmann SPC 4-4-0 before I could run it due to a split gear, as I bought it used on Ebay.
The seller gave me a $40.00 discount after I notified them of the problem.
I ordered the part from Bachmann (2 parts. 1 additional as added insurance against a future broken gear),and fixed it myself.
So, I'm used to these G Scale locomotives having plastic gears.
As long as they last a long time,and I can get the parts from Piko, I'll keep the 2 Piko locos that I have.
I'm just a bit concerned about the longevity of the gears, and cost of replacement gears,because I've found that their parts aint cheap.
You must have better luck than I on the Bachmann 4-6-0's. Just curious, do you only run them indoors? I find they run decent indoors, but as soon as I get them outside I end up with issue after issue (exploding pilot trucks, derailing pilot trucks, failed/split center driver axle sleeves, metal driver rod screws backing out, plastic driver pins backing out, derailing tenders, etc. etc.). I've managed to tweak and fix all of these issues as they crop up, but they seem to be common place and not just for me. We have issues with them at the GRR I volunteer at (most recently, exploding pilot truck). I just repaired a friend of mines ETWNC 4-6-0 (the pilot exploded on it too) by retrofitting it with a newer drawbar style pilot I happened to come across recently. I have one 4-6-0 in my collection I will always keep as it is very sentimental to me, but I don't run it much outside because of the issues. Seems they like the perfectly level indoor tracks, but are way less forgiving of the outdoor environment (with elevation changes, debris on track, turnouts, etc.).

Version 6 with metal gears are almost impossible to come by (yes, except for buying the brand new ones that just came out for about $600). But even on the Bachmann's (Ver 5 and below) I haven't had any issues with the plastic gearing, it's always been issues with something else (as mentioned above). Anyways, as they say "your mileage may vary". The Annie and also your 4-4-0 are good looking locomotives, I will certainly give you that.
 

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Definitely a fair point, Jordan.

It's great news that the LATEST Big Hauler has a very improved gearbox/drivetrain.

But by far what is out there to be bought on the used market have all the issues Jordan mentions. By far the most common is the split axle gear.

Remember, no matter how much they cost new now, these are the same basic loco that were sold for $100 and under for the set at Christmas time.

But they are good "customizing/detailing fodder", can be found used inexpensively, and can be repaired. Are they super detailed? no, are they super high quality, no.

For ruggedness of drivetrains, the Piko seems to be superior. Details? Neither is a museum quality locomotive, I don't see a great difference.

Greg
 

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I only run my trains indoors as the weather in Northern Nevada is quite harsh on plastic.
Especially when it comes to damage from the sun,and summer heat.
Unfortunately, the Bachmann 4-6-0 Standard Edition (S.E.)has never been the most robust of G Scale locomotives.
It can not haul as many cars as the more robust Anniversary Edition A.E.) can.
With the exception of the old style pilot breaking from time to time,I've never had any real problems with the Anniversary Edition.
Here's a video of my second A.E. 4-6-0 hauling 15 cars on my indoor layout a few days after it was delivered:
It was a replacement from Bachmann for the first A.E. that I bought as I had returned my original D&RG 4-6-0 to them for cosmetic repairs, and this is what they sent to me back in December of 2012.
I retrofitted this locomotive with the new style pilot back in February of 2017 when it suffered a broken chassis plate.
It actually broke off right at the pilot.
I called Bachmann, and they were kind enough to sell me the new version pilot ,and chassis plate, for $40.00.
Today, this locomotive is the D&RGW #12 with a tender load made from real wood.
And I also have the matching South Pacific Coast 4-6-0 #22 to go with my little Spectrum 4-4-0.
Video here:
This one is a version 6 chassis with all metal gearing.
I practically stole it back in March of 2018 from an Ebay seller.
Brand new $225.00.Shipping included.
It is the only Bachmann Big Hauler 4-6-0 that I have ever bought brand new.
I don't know if Piko ,or LGB drive train gears are more robust than those found in the Bachmann 4-6-0(especially the newer ones with all metal gearing), and I must defer to Greg's far greater experience and judgement on that.
The one thing that I do like is that my Piko's run very well, with no problems, while the Bachmann 4-6-0 can be a bit cranky from time to time.
Especially if it's been a while between runs.
Or the track is dirty.
The LGB's and Piko's seem to handle dirty tracks better than their Bachmann counterparts do.
Here's a video of my Piko Camelback:
And,yup, these trains are far from museum pieces.
But I, as a person with a lifetime of building various models of planes,trains, ships,cars,etc., just like to have enough detail in these trains to keep them from looking too much like the toys that they really are.
And the same thing goes for the models I build.
That's why I'm kinda of stuck on detail.
Anyway, take it easy, and enjoy your trains, my friends!
Andrew
 

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Skates help on dirty track, that would explain your comparison. Nice idea, terrible looks, causes issues on turnouts.

The early Piko US "type" locos came with sintered steel wheels, which needed to be cleaned with an abrasive or wire wheel when new... and they rust more easily too, but much cheaper than nickel plated brass wheels which I prefer (or of course more expensive SS tires, or nickel silver wheels, which are rare in our hobby)
 

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All the Bachmann I have seen have only the rear axle driven by the motor. All LGB 2-6-0 moguls have front and rear axles driven by the motor. So I limit my Annie to no more than 4 cars, but I run 9 cars with my LGB Mogul. Never stripped the gear in my 20 year old mogul. Note all my cars have metal wheels, mostly the Charles Ro ones.
 

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Quite right, Greg.
I totally forgot about the skates .
I haven't run any trains for a while now.
Not even the On30's.
The last train I ran was 6 months ago. And it was the Thunderbolt Express that I had just converted to the Anniversary chassis that I had rebuilt for it.
The Piko's haven't been ran in well over a year.
I ran out of room to run them,so I'm working on making some more space so I can start running them again.
Hopefully before Christmas.
 

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You are also correct, Dan.
The older Bachmann 4-6-0's only have, if I remember correctly, 3 plastic gears in their gearboxes.
One large, one medium,and one small.
It's normally a good, solid setup .
Until the big gear breaks.
I find that my Annies will haul around 4-5 Bachmann J.S. passenger cars comfortably ,and 7 to 10 freight cars with no issues, either.
I usually run no more than 6-8 freight ,and 3-5 passenger cars (depending upon type, manufacturer, and weight) behind my Annies .
All of my cars have metal wheels made by various manufacturers such as LGB, USA Trains, Aristocraft, and Bachmann
It should be all good.
 

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In my opinion, the benefits of skates far outweigh the negatives. Operations over turnouts can be improved/fixed. In terms of looks, they aren't the first thing (or even second) that I notice. But I acknowledge that some are more sensitive to their looks, and certainly they are not prototypical in terms of looks. But the benefit of MUCH improved power pickup means that I have to clean my track MUCH less often which means I can run trains much MORE often. It's to the point that the locomotives in my collection that have power pickup sliders/skates/shoes are run much more often compared to those that do not have them.

Again, just my opinion! But I tend to lean towards good reliable operations as being the priority, with looks being second. Hey, this IS actually truly what prototypical is, isn't it? 🙃

Anyways, I know I've steered the thread far off the original topic. But good discussion here..... now let's go play with and enjoy our trains (Andrew, knock those cobwebs off of your trains!).... afterall that's why we're all in this hobby for, eh?

PS. Andrew, great video of your Camelback. I've thought a time or two about buying one of those. Very unique interesting looking locomotive. Still on my radar, I may end up with one at some point! Would love to have one in the Blue Comet livery.
 

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Skates are a liability I don't need. But I also tend to reliable operations, I just started with stainless steel track and have no issues. If I had brass track, and living 1 mile from the ocean as I do, I might have to have skates.

Luckily I made a test loop of track, USAT, Aristo, and LGB.

If I ran trains, and then came back the next day, they stuttered a bit. Wait 2 days and I had to clean the track, even with a 4 axle loco with skates.

I determined no track cleaning (removing oxide) for me, and invested. Best thing I ever did for my location and desire to have fun.

Greg
 

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Yeah. At first I thought the camelbacks looked funny, too. But then I saw this one on Ebay a couple of years ago.
It was up in Vancouver,B.C. and was being sold by a young lady on behalf of her uncle.
The Buy it Now price was $400.00 plus some $30.00 shipping.
U.S.
So, I decided to "watch" it just to see if it would sell.
It didn't.
Even though there were many watchers, no one seemed to want it.
After a couple of weeks went by, she reduced the price by $50.00.
It still didn't sell.
Weeks went by, and she reduced the price several times.
Finally, it hit $147.00 U.S. plus the cost of shipping,which remained the same.
It was a great deal, so I grabbed it.
It arrived about a week later, and it's been trouble free ever since.
Maybe I'll run it first when I get the space cleared to set up my G's again...
 

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Yeah. At first I thought the camelbacks looked funny, too. But then I saw this one on Ebay a couple of years ago.
It was up in Vancouver,B.C. and was being sold by a young lady on behalf of her uncle.
The Buy it Now price was $400.00 plus some $30.00 shipping.
U.S.
So, I decided to "watch" it just to see if it would sell.
It didn't.
Even though there were many watchers, no one seemed to want it.
After a couple of weeks went by, she reduced the price by $50.00.
It still didn't sell.
Weeks went by, and she reduced the price several times.
Finally, it hit $147.00 U.S. plus the cost of shipping,which remained the same.
It was a great deal, so I grabbed it.
It arrived about a week later, and it's been trouble free ever since.
Maybe I'll run it first when I get the space cleared to set up my G's again...
Wow, that's an incredible price!! Especially for ebay. Those deals are tough to come by there.
 

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They're usually anywhere between $500-$600.00 brand new.
Even Trainworld.com wants $559.99. Plus shipping.
I have to hand it them for their great prices on most things.
Earlier this year I bought a Bachmann On30 4-6-0 from Trainworldcom.
It's DCC ready for $69.99,with shipping being $9.99. Everyone else was selling it for well over $100.00.
I installed a MRC Loco Genie DCC with sound system.,which was only $45.00 on trainsetsonly.com.
So, there are a lot of good deals .
It's finding them that's not easy !
 

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There is a Blue Comet version available on Ebay right now.
Sadly,it is missing its' tender.
And the seller still wants $300.00 for it !
Very pretty,though.
 

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Although the USA Trains products are now made in China...Bummer !
Andrew
That is not technically correct. ;) that suggests USA Trains products used to made in the USA, but are now made in China, that is wrong. Correction:
1. USA Trains "American series" rolling stock has always been, and still is, made in the USA.
2. Everything else they make, their "Ultiimate series", which includes all their 1/29 scale rolling stock and all their locomotives, has always been, and still is, made in China.
Scot
 
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