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Atlas' Series of N Scale FM Train Masters Review (N Scale)

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In 1953, Fairbanks-Morse introduced the H24-66 diesel locomotive. In order to gain the desired exposure for its 2400 horsepower leviathan, the company constructed four units to demonstrate the new locomotive's awesome power. Numbered TM-1, TM-2, TM-3 and TM-4, the units toured numerous systems. The TM-1 and TM-2 were assigned to prospective customers in the east while the TM-3 and TM-4 headed west. A total of 127 Train Masters were sold, including those purchased by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific. The TM-1 and TM-2 were eventually acquired by Wabash and the TM-3 and TM-4 were added to Southern Pacific's roster. Unfortunately, railroads were not prepared for so much horsepower packed into a single locomotive and EMD's Geeps and Alco RS units sold in much greater numbers.


Despite its limited appeal on prototype rails, the Train Master has always been very popular within the rail enthusiast community, due in large part to Lionel's outstanding near scale O gauge model which was introduced almost simultaneously with its prototype. To this day, Lionel's 1954 interpretation of the TM still compares respectably in size and detail with contemporary offerings. Some of my earliest railfan recollections are of Jersey Central TM's pulling seemingly endless strings of communter coaches down the New York & Long Branch Railroad in during the 1960's. These memories coupled with my fondness for the Lionel locomotive have made the TM a long standing favorite of mine.


My affinity for the H24-66 recently resulted in an effort to begin building a collection of TM models in N scale. Fortunately, Atlas offers a range of meticulously detailed and painted H24-66's. During the production run of the prototype, subtle changes were made in the appearance of the locomotive and the Atlas models are accurately appointed for each road name. When looking at the models, it is remarkable to consider so much detail can be included on such a small model. Paint is expertly applied and the overall effect is stunning. Road names offered to date include the FM demonstrators, SP, VGN, PRR, CNJ, Wabash, RDG, CN, CP, DL&W, EL and N&W. In some cases, multiple paint schemes are offered for a single road. Pulling power is awesome for N scale. It is unmatched by any single unit locomotive I have personally operated.


The list price for the Atlas N Train Master is $134.95 with a DCC decoder installed and 99.95 for the DCC ready version; however, I have met with great success on eBay. My cost of acquisition for pieces in mint or like new condition has averaged approximately 50% of the retail price, including shipping.


Take a look at the Atlas N Train Master at your next train show or during your next trip to your favorite train store. You won't be disappointed.





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