If only one

In model railways as in life it’s fun to while away the time in the company of friends debating the best something or other:

“…the best blues album?”

“…the best sports car?”

“…the best Tom Waits album?”

What if the question wasn’t the best but, instead: “What if I could have only one..?” Is that list any different?

So, if I could have only one locomotive, what would that one be? I’ve long maintained the unwavering belief that, in my opinion, that the Atlas-Roco HO scale S2 diesels made in the 1990’s (earlier?) were the finest HO scale diesels ever made. In the decades since these models first hit the shelves the state of the art for model locomotives has changed and some very exciting models are now available. Amidst all this excitement, I just enjoy running those old Roco-powered models. They are tough. They are so well engineered and a joy to service. They are quiet and offer wonderful slow speed operating with no modification. Finally, they can pull. If I imposed a limit on myself I’d be very hard-pressed to go beyond these very models as an example of the only model diesel I would want or could ‘need’.

In other parts of the hobby it may not be as easy to maintain the list as singular items but I could adopt the same perspective. None of this is an allusion to any more than a thought over this afternoon’s tea and an idea that I’ve been reflecting on lately.

What do you think?



  1. I’d have to, if picking just one locomotive, go with a Spectrum 4-4-0. They run amazingly well for small steam, look great, and can be bashed into a number of prototypes from around the country easily.

    Other items, not so easy. It would be hard to limit things, other than maybe a caboose, to one in railroading!

    1. I have been thinking about a follow up post to carry the idea beyond just engines. You raise a very good point and it was one I wondered about.

      As for engines thanks for your suggestion. I’ve seen that 4-4-0 but never had the pleasure of operating one.



  2. Chris;
    It would have to be a BLI SW 8 – it is the only BLI locomotive I’ve ever bought (they build them so well). It ran like a dream out of the box, and all these many years later, it still does.

    Great thought by the way. Thanks for being creative and suggesting it.

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