Update January 10, 2008 with solution.
The Triplex is stunning but there may be a problem with the forward engine?
We just received a single MTH Triplex and we are not sure if this is a lead item for dealers or the start of production shipments.
The locomotive is excellent in every way that a user would want. Crisp and plentiful detail, very smooth running and speed control, realistic sound, meticulous painting and an operating smoke unit are all top shelf and will please many users.
Naturally when the loco arrived we were anxious to test it immediately and we did. Just opening the box we were impressed with the air of quality the locomotive exhibits.
Within a few moments of running on our test layout we immediately noticed something that alarmed us. The forward engine’s two rear axles lift off the rails even upon a minor transition from a level grade to an incline, see photo. Going forward the Triplex managed to stay on the rails but in reverse derailment was inevitable. It was obvious what the problem had to be … the forward truck did not have enough pivotal play to allow it to pitch up and down.
We took the loco off the layout and confirmed our suspicions that there was indeed negligible free play for the truck to pitch up and down. How could this be for such a fine locomotive? We can only hope that our unit is the exception rather than the rule! While we could have disassembled the loco to check further, we decided to contact MTH to make them aware of our findings. We have had no response yet but it is the Holiday season. We are very eager to either see more of the Triplexes or hear from MTH. If this problem is present throughout the initial production run then MTH may have many disappointed customers if a simple fix is not available.
As soon as we have more info we will post it.
Note: The Triplex and the PRR K4 use MTH’s DCS technology which is not completely compatible with DCC. Most of the locomotive’s features can be operated on DCC but generally programming is limited to the address. We feel that if MTH wants to be a major player in the DCC community then they should offer DCC versions of their fine locomotives and stop trying to force the DCC community to use their DCS technology.