Life-Like / Walthers (China) Alco DL-109

Introduced: 2006

This was the first new N scale locomotive to be released under the Life-Like banner after their acquisition by Walthers. And although a truly outstanding running (as well as looking) locomotive, it's complete lack of DCC support is a bit disappointing for a 2006 model.

Apart from its DCC-Hostility, the mechanism sports all of the other features one normally associates with "modern" diesel models - IE, split-frame / all-metal chassis, 5-pole / skew-wound "scale speed" motor, dual flywheels, low-friction drive, bi-directional LED lighting, all-wheel pickup (no traction tires), blackened / low-profile wheels, all-plastic gearing, etc. Four of the six axles are geared (the center axles on each truck are free rolling). The couplers are shell-mounted (a one-piece knuckle coupler on the front and an automatic/magnetic coupler on the back). Prior to the 2013 production run, the rear coupler was an Accurail. Starting with the 2013 production run, it was changed to Micro-Trains.

Performance is superb- smooth, quiet, responsive at all throttle levels, slow-speed creep to spare, etc. And given the heft of the thing, it can pull a ton. No, not exactly "state of the art" (what with the aforementioned lack of DCC support). But an outstanding locomotive nonetheless.

Note - Since the external differences between DL-105's, DL-107's and DL-109's are negligible, LL/Walthers uses this same model to stand in for all three.

To remove the shell, simply spread the sides apart and lift.

Grade: A

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