PCM is starting off on the right track with the release of the Reading T1 4-8-4. You can get this locomotive in a sound version that operates on DC/DCC, and non-sound, DCC ready version. For those of you who choose the non-sound version you can upgrade to DCC with a NMRA standard eight-pin plug located in the tender. The tender shell just pops off (no hidden screws).
The T1 has fine detailing and even a firebox light. Like most new sound decoders the ESU unit that comes installed has the volume set to the max driving two speakers in the tender. Most users will want to lower the volume to really enjoy the sounds.
Another nice feature not only lets the user choose between the sound of a freight whistle and the sound of a passenger whistle but the looks of it as well. The freight whistle comes installed on the boiler while the passenger whistle comes extra in the box.
Pick-up shouldn’t be an issue with this split frame loco. Not only do all the drive wheels pick-up on both sides but the leading and trailing trucks have alternating pick-up like the tender. PCM included a set of drivers with traction tires if you want that extra bit of pulling power.
For those of you who may not know, PCM is a companion company of Broadway Limited with the same principals. Loco quality, operation and detail are very comparable.
The major difference is that PCM features the ESU’s LokSound sound decoder. The overal sounds were good but the chuff was disappointing. The LokSound also has a “load compensated” or BEMF motor drive that gives good low speed performance.
Those of you who have Broadway Ltd locos that are equipped with QSI will soon be able to get a similar feature, Regulated Throttle Control, by purchasing a chip upgrade.