MTH class J

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Wed Apr 1 21:21:01 EDT 2009

I¹m glad they are using Soundtraxx. The Spectrum J could pull 8 IHC
streamlined cars on my layout OK, but I doubt if it could handle 8 Walther¹s
or Rapido¹s ­ they seem to be heavier.


On 4/1/09 6:06 PM, "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at> wrote:

> Bob


> Regarding the Spectrum J; what is the pulling power on a flat straight track,

> and how much could they drag up your 1.6% ( 1:60 I think on this side of the

> Atlantic!) banks?


> I have one on order, and though I will have no line for a long while I have

> long term plans for an outdoor line , using Peco code 83 rail, and would like

> it to pull at least 8 up a 1.5% (1:75) grade.


> I see the new spectrum J's come with the Soundtraxx DCC system so they should

> at least sound good.


> Barry Reeves



>> > Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 10:38:12 -0400

>> > Subject: MTH class J

>> > To: nw-modeling-list at

>> > From: nw-modeling-list at

>> >

>> > Hello everyone,

>> >

>> > I just received my MTH class J locomotive and can share a few initial

>> > observations. It has many features that I haven't tried yet (including

>> > smoke, playable whistle, etc.), so I will mention some basics. I recently

>> > sold my Bachman Spectrum J's so the only comparison I will make there has

>> to

>> > do with operation. I have 2 BLI J's and 2 brass J's for comparison. The

>> > overall appearance is very good. BLI's drivers are totally black whereas

>> > the MTH has unpainted tires. Likewise for the pony trucks. I think the >>


>> > trailing truck and tender trucks have better detail than the BLI. The

>> paint

>> > is flatter on the MTH than the brass locos, and the BLI is the shiniest. I

>> > think the space between the loco and tender is too far on the MTH compared

>> > to BLI (and the brass have prototypical space if you can manage your curves

>> > that way). The headlight has a good slightly yellowish tint to it - looks

>> > realistic. The MTH has a beautiful coal load in the tender - piled high >>


>> > with lots of texture. The BLI coal pile is flat and with an obvious cast

>> > plastic appearance. At least they have coal. I haven't yet gotten around

>> > to putting coal in the tenders of my brass locos! Both the BLI and MTH

>> have

>> > a traction tire and spare driver set. This is where they both outperform

>> > the brass locos - more traction. In my situation, traction is the most

>> > critical element because I needed locos that could haul a 14-car Birmingham

>> > Special up a 1.6% grade, and the brass J's were not able to do that. After

>> > that, sound and operation are high on my list of attributes. Both brass

>> > locos have cams and were retrofitted with Soundtraxx DSD 150 (SP GS4)

>> > decoders. They perform superbly. In my estimation, nothing comes close to

>> > this combination. The brass locos can start up or come to a stop with

>> > ultimate realism, and the chuffing sound at speed is very realistic,

>> > coordinated exactly with the driver RPM's. This is a big plus for the MTH


>> > the exhaust matches the driver RPM at all speeds. This is not true for the

>> > BLI. Also, the overall sound package on the BLI ranks last. The whistle

>> is

>> > horribly raspy, and the exhaust sound at speed is ridiculous and has no

>> > relation to the RPM's of the drivers. The whistle sound of the MTH is

>> > better, but tends to sound a little bit like an automobile horn. The

>> > control of both the BLI and MTH is spasmodic. On the BLI's, you keep

>> > turning up the throttle, and then suddenly the train lurches forward. It

>> is

>> > very hard to make a smooth start. Likewise, the MTH does nothing at first,

>> > then jumps forward, and even worse, increases in huge increments at each

>> > click of a Digitrax throttle. Maybe this can be adjusted. The MTH also

>> > makes a grinding sound at speed which worries me - I will contact them

>> about

>> > that. The Bachman Spectrum locos ran very smoothly and quietly. I would

>> > have retrofitted them with Soundtraxx decoders, but they didn't have the

>> > pulling power, and of course had the bright red stripe instead of the N&W

>> > red as is the case on both the BLI and MTH. Personally, I like the

>> > lettering on the MTH better than the BLI, however it is more muted. Well,

>> > that's it for now. When I can work more with it, I will make another

>> > report. If anyone else has an MTH, please share your observations.

>> >

>> > Bob Folsom

>> > Clemson SC

>> >

>> >

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