Atlas (China) Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66 Train Master

Introduced: 2000, 2003 (scale speed motor version) and 2024 (DCC-Sound version)

There was little hope that this locomotive would ever be produced in N scale. But as luck would have it, Paul Graf (venerable Atlas employee) decided to pick it as his 10th Anniversary (with Atlas) "present". And judging by its subsequent success, a "Paul's Anniversary Loco" might just become an annual tradition down Atlas way.

The mechanism sports all the features one normally associates with "modern" Atlas diesels - IE, split-frame / all-metal chassis, 5-pole / skew-wound motor with dual flywheels, low-friction drive, bi-directional LED lighting, all-wheel drive and pickup (no traction tires), blackened / low-profile wheels, shell-mounted Accumate couplers, all-plastic gearing, etc. The chassis is fully DCC-Ready (and, as pictured above, available with factory-installed decoder). The shell features painted safety rails and etched metal grills.

Performance is perfect in every way - smooth, quiet, flawless pickup and throttle response, exceptional pulling power, etc.

Starting with the 2003 release, this model came with "golden white" LEDs and Atlas's "scale speed" motor. It also came in a new shell variant - "Ends with large number boards and a single headlight".

Atlas released all-new Trainmaster models in 2024. These were available either DCC-Ready or with factory-installed ESU LokSound decoders -

These models were redesigned along the lines of the Atlas SD7/9 re-release of the previous year. Rather than using the old split-frame chassis to transfer current to the main PC board, the chassis is now essentially one big hunk of metal with wires from the trucks transferring current directly to the board. Additional wires from the board transfer current to the motor contacts. LEDs mounted to either end of the board provide directional lighting. The drivetrain components drop inside of the chassis and a separate metal lid screwed to the top holds everything in place. The main PC board is screwed to the top of the chassis lid. The main PC board comes with a preinstalled speaker on all models. The DCC interface is designated as "E24" and is (unfortunately) proprietary to ESU. The upshot there is that swapping in some other brand of decoder is not going to be a simple operation.

Everything else (trucks, shell, etc) look to be the same as on the previous version. The only noteworthy difference is that the arm on the piece of light-conducting plastic for the headlight is much longer on the previous version and does not work with the new version (it gets hung up on the decoder). So, if you want to swap shells between the two versions, leave that particular part with the chassis from whence it came.

Performance on this new version is outstanding in every way and every bit the equal of the previous version. The sound feature is particularly impressive.

Shell Removal -

Shell removal is pretty simple - just take hold of the fuel tank with one hand and the shell with the other, then just sort of wiggle it up and off. If that doesn't work, insert a couple of screwdrivers (or toothpicks or whatever) between the shell and chassis to free the shell from the chassis bumps that hold it in place.

Grade: A

Reviewed: 12/2000 Model Railroader ("The new Atlas H-24-66 Train Master runs well, features nice detail, and is available with or without a Lenz DCC decoder... The Atlas model has an injection-molded plastic shell with separate cab, walkway, and handrails. Most details are molded in place, except for the horns, number boards, and clear plastic headlights and windshield glazing. The separate etched-metal grills covering the fans at the end of the long hood are great. These screens were a key spotting characteristic on the real engines, with the fans clearly visible behind the screens. A problem on the model, however, is that the fans and grill are the same color, making it almost impossible to see the fans... The handrails are also nice, as they're not only molded in the appropriate color, but also have the corner and end handrails and stanchions appropriately colored. The model compares favorably with prototype drawings... The model's only discrepency is the length of the long hood, which is about a scale 9" too short on the model.

"Mechanically the Train Master is similar to other recent Atlas locomotives. A heavy cast split-frame chassis fits around the motor, twin flywheels, and drive shafts. A five-pole, skew-wound motor powers the model. Drive shafts from each end of the motor turn brass worms above each truck, where acetal plastic gears transfer power to all axles. All wheels were in gauge according to an NMRA standards gauge, and all pick up electricity. The trucks can be easily popped out of the frame if needed. A circuit board atop the chassis holds the headlights and the diodes that provide directional lighting. The lamps aren't bright enough to noticed below 6 volts. Decoder-equipped models have this board replaced with one containing the DCC decoder circuitry.

"Our sample ran well throughout its speed range, with fairly smooth starts. Its .9 ounces of drawball pull should equal about 22 free-rolling cars on straight, level track. As with most N scale locomotives, you'll be using the lower half of the throttle range. Plastic Accumate automatic knuckle couplers are mounted in draft-gear boxes at each end of the shell. Modelers wishing to swap these for MT couplers can substitute no. 1015/1056 couplers. Our CP sample was nearly painted. The striping and lettering were also nicely done, including the scale 2"-tall footboard warnings on each end, which were sharp and legible. The Train Master is a fine model, and N scalers should welcome the availability of this all-new locomotive. CP, Central RR of NJ, EL, PRR, SP, Undec. $99.95 ($134.95 with decoder)")

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