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February 4, 2009 - M.T.H. Electric Trains is pleased to announce that the fifth and sixth steam locomotives in the companyメs HO product line will debut in the firm's 2009 Volume 1 Catalog slated for distribution in early February. Faithfully recreated in all-metal die-cast construction, both locomotives will be produced in a variety of versions in differing, prototypically correct cab numbers.

Norfolk & Western J-Class Northern

A visit to the Norfolk & Western in the early 1950s was like a scene from Jurassic Park: prehistoric beasts romping in their natural mountain habitat. At a time when other roads were letting their remaining steam engines rot away and giving them minimal service in dirty, dingy, soon-to-close facilities, the N&W was still running a first-class steam operation and even building new power. With its main line through some of the nationメs richest coalfields, it was still betting on the future of steam; as late as 1955, the N&W didnメt roster a single diesel. The majority of traffic was handled by what N&W fans call the モholy trinity of steamヤ: the massive Y6 2-8-8-2; the articulated greyhound Class A; and the N&Wメs glamour girl, the streamlined Class J.

The Class J 4-8-4 was an engine of quiet superlatives. Handsome, powerful (5100 hp), and, as a test on the Pennsylvania Railroad proved, capable of hauling 15 cars at 110 mph, it was designed and styled not by one of the big three builders (ALCo, Baldwin, and Lima) or a famous designer like Raymond Loewy or Henry Dreyfuss, but by the N&Wメs home-grown team of designers and craftsmen at the roadメs Roanoke, Virginia shops. For power and quick acceleration through mountainous territory, and to make room for the largest possible boiler, they equipped the streamlined J with 70ヤ drivers ラ unusually small for a 4-8-4 and fully 10ヤ smaller than the Southern Pacificメs Daylight GS-4 of the same wheel arrangement.

Built in several groups between 1941 and 1950, a mere fourteen Jメs were able to handle 80% of the N&Wメs passenger traffic, because their designers addressed one of steam powerメs key weaknesses: down time for maintenance and repairs. Equipped with Timken roller bearings on all axles and rods, Timken-designed lightweight pistons and rods, and an automatic lubrication system that reached more than 200 points including the bell bearings, the Js were designed to go a quarter-million miles between scheduled shop visits. Like a race car, they were engineered for quick pit stops: in less than an hour, a J could be fully serviced, lubricated, filled with coal and water and ready for its next dash over the roadメs 676-mile main line between Norfolk and Cincinnati, hauling the deluxe daylight Powhatan Arrow or the overnight Pocahontas.

New for 2009, our N&W J will be more fun to operate than any previous version of this magnificent locomotive, with its N&W whistle, passenger station announcements, synchronized chuff and puffing smoke, and speed control so smooth you wonメt spill the water in the diner. For more information on our superbly detailed model and its prototype, including surviving J No. 611. Operates on 18" radius curves.

N&W Class-J Detail Photos

No. 611






No. 600










Union Pacific 4-12-2 9000




For much of the twentieth century, the Union Pacific had a love affair with massive, bigger-than-life locomotives. Some examples, like the Challenger and Big Boy, were great successes, while others like the gas turbines and DD40AX モCentennialヤ diesel were noble failures. One of the UPメs earliest and most successful big engines was the 9000-class 4-12-2, which boasted the longest rigid wheelbase of any American steam locomotive. Designed for fast freight service, the eighty-eight 9000-class engines were built by Alco in 1926-30, during a period when low-speed モdragヤ freight service ラ the norm on American railroads for decades ラ was being largely supplanted by freight trains running at passenger speeds. The 9000s could haul a mile-long train at 50 mph, twice the speed of the Mallet articulateds they replaced.

Known as a モUnion Pacificヤ type for their wheel arrangement unique to the U.P., the 9000s were also the most successful three-cylinder rod locomotives ever built in the United States. The third cylinder was placed between the two outside cylinders and drove a rod connected to the second axle, which was shaped like a crankshaft rather than a straight axle. A pair of hinged rods driven off the outer cylinders, and clearly visible on the pilot deck in front of the cylinders, operated the third cylinderメs valve gear ラ a design borrowed from English locomotives like the Flying Scotsman, and known as Gresley valve gear.

The rest of the middle cylinderメs machinery, however, was not so visible or accessible, and tended to receive less than the optimal amount of attention from shop crews. Despite the maintenance headaches of the third cylinder, however, the 4-12-2s proved versatile and dependable. When faster and more powerful Challengers and Big Boys replaced them as the UPメs premier freight engine, the 9000s became the principal freight power on the Nebraska division, where they served until early 1956. Engine No. 9000 was saved from the scrapper and resides today at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, CA.

New for 2009, the UP 9000-class joins the other historic locomotives that have graced the M.T.H lineup. Featuring incredibly smooth operation as slow as 3 scale miles per hour and a correct six puffs and chuffs per driver revolution, our die-cast 4-12-2 boasts the wealth of added-on details you expect in an M.T.H. model ラ including operating third-cylinder Gresley valve gear on the pilot. Operates on 22" radius curves.

4-12-2 Detail Photos






Unlike other HO sound-equipped locomotives currently on the market, M.T.H.メs steam locomotives include synchronized puffing smoke timed to drive wheel revolutions for an incredibly realistic operating experience. First appearing in M.T.H.メs O Gauge locomotives in 2000, each M.T.H. HO steam locomotive features a prototypically correct four chuffs/puffs per each drive wheel revolution.

Digital steam engine sound features including whistle, bell, chuffing, squeaking brakes, authentic Doppler, passenger station announcements, air let-off, air pump, blow down, pop-off, injector and dozens more are included in each engine ヨ a variety unmatched in HO today. In addition, every engine features 120 speed steps, each in scale one-mile-per-hour increments for a true prototypical operating experience.

M.T.H.'s steam and diesel locomotives are completely compatible with most 16 volt or higher analog DC power supplies. Under analog operation, on both steam and diesel models, the user retains direction control, directional lighting, squeaking brakes and speed control, on steam locomotives users also have access to synchronized puffing smoke and digital chuffing (synchronized to driver revolution and smoke puffing) while diesel engines get diesel engine roar.

When operated in command mode using M.T.H.メs DCS Digital Command System (DCS), operators will have access to hundreds of features and sounds, including crossing signals, a user controlled モquillableヤ steam whistle or diesel horn that simulates an engineerメs differing pressure on the whistle pull cord for seamless whistle or horn pitches.

The steam engine's die-cast metal boiler and tender house the electronics and a powerful precision 12 Volt Balanced 5-Pole Flywheel Equipped Motor. Intricately detailed, the boiler and tender shells feature additional detail elements ensuring an accurate reproduction of the real-life prototype. Additional features include sprung drivers, (2) Kadeeᆴ compatible couplers, prototypical Rule 21 lighting, interchangeable RP25 drivers with traction tires for added pulling strength, detailed cab interior, detailed tender undercarriage and even a tender to boiler deck plate.

Anticipated delivery for the J-Class is slated for March 2009 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $449.95 The 4-12-2 is slated to arrive in May 2009 and carries a manufacturered suggested retail price of $549.95. Both locomotives will be distributed through the M.T.H. Authorized Retailer Network.

More information on the steam engine models can be found by visiting our MODELS Page.


Both locomotives can be ordered through any M.T.H. Authorized Retailer.