MTH class J

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Sat Apr 4 12:34:57 EDT 2009

Thanks to all who gave examples of pulling power of the Bachmann Spectrum J. Very m,uch appreciated.

Barry Reeves
Pinner UK
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 21:36:19 -0500
To: nw-modeling-list at
Subject: Re: RE: MTH class J
From: nw-modeling-list at

I have done a pulling capacity on the Bachmann J, non sound about 4 years old, on
my prior layout on level curved track. I pulled the equivalent of 14 cars. On my 1.5%
grade with 39" radius curves, I pulled 9 cars. These were weighted to NMRA standards.

Kurt S. Kramke

Apr 1, 2009 08:46:31 PM, nw-modeling-list at wrote:


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 MTH

> 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 and

> 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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