Fans of big Pennsy power will be excited by the Broadway Limited Q2 PRR 4-4-6-4. The loco is part of the “Hybrid” family of locomotives and is just as impressive as the previous offerings. With exceptional attention to detail and heavy weight for increased pulling power it is available in a variety of road numbers and a prototype and “as delivered” version.
The most impressive feature about this model is the superbly quiet operating mechanism; it runs silky smooth. With the sound muted you can barely tell it’s running. We did have to beef up the spring underneath the pilot truck because it had a tendency to derail through switches and over rail joints. The fix using a conical type CMX skid pad spring was easily performed and yielded great results.
The factory equipped Paragon 2 sound module is loud almost to a fault. Certain sounds do overdrive the speakers causing nasty distortion. There are CVs provided for adjusting the volumes which does work but only when programmed on the mainline. We were eventually able to get the sound to behave the way we wanted it to by adjusting the CVs for individual volumes.
Note: Program track programming shows a hard short (due to the smoke unit which can be turned off via a switch that we had a hard time locating). This is not a problem as all main line programming operations were performed quickly and easily.
We would have preferred that a little more attention was paid to the sound decoder portion of the loco. The statement that there are playable whistles is questionable as the 3 whistles available are only marginally playable. While BLI attempted to render prototype whistles their effort is mared by a noticeable looping sound in the digital output. The chuff sound, while full bodied, lacks definition and staccato, and at high speeds sounds a little mushy.
On the whole this loco is really a great looking, heavy hauling, smooth running “iron horse”!