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True Line Trains HO scale F-M C-Liner diesels

Reviewed in the January 2007 issue
True Line Trains HO F-M C-Liner diesels
True Line Trains HO F-M C-Liner diesels
This interesting HO scale first-generation Fairbanks-Morse passenger cab diesel locomotive is a smooth-running model that rides on five axles in an unusual B-A1A wheel arrangement. It comes ready-to-run, includes a Digital Command Control (DCC) plug, and has reversing headlights. It's also the first locomotive model under the True Line Trains brand.
The motor and mechanical components are recessed into the heavy die-cast frame. There's plenty of space inside to add a DCC sound system.
The prototype for this model is part of FM's Consolidation Line of cab diesels introduced in 1950. Known as C-Liners, these locomotives had a common 56'-6" carbody that was offered in 14
versions with several different diesel engine sizes and a wide variety of options.

This HO locomotive is a replica of the FM CPA16-5 passenger cab units built for the Canadian National Ry. in January 1955. Its CPA16-5 model number indicates the loco-motive is a C-Liner, Passenger version, A unit, with 1600 hp, riding on 5 axles. Only six A units and six matching CPB16-5 Bs were built by FM's Canadian licensee, the Canadian Locomotive Co. The A units were numbered 6700-6705 and Bs were 6800-6805.

Our sample C-Liner appears to be a first cousin to the Life-Like Canada B-B C-Liner that was reviewed in the June 2000 MR. It closely matches prototype plans for the passenger C-Liner published in the Model Railroader Cyclopedia: Vol. 1, Diesel Locomotives.
The model has a cleanly molded one-piece plastic body shell with factory applied details, including handrails, m.u. cables on the pilot, air horns, cab sunshades, a radio antenna, roof-mounted bell, and steam generator stacks. The numerous cast louvers and grills are especially well done.

The chassis follows the Proto 1000 design with modifications for the six-wheel rear truck. It has a heavy, rectangular die-cast metal frame with sidewalls nearly 1/8" thick. An isolated can motor is mounted on its side, and the printed-circuit (PC) board sits on top.

Both trucks have snap-together acetal plastic construction, and all five axles are driven (the prototype had only four powered axles). Each truck includes concealed pickups so all of the wheels collect current. Flexible wires connect the pickups to the PC board. The sideframes are well-detailed and accurate.

McHenry magnetic knuckle couplers are mounted at the correct height on both ends.

Both of our samples came accurately painted in appropriate CN liveries with clean separations between the colors. All of the lettering was clear and sharp.
Performance. Our sample C-Liners seemed a little stiff at first but smoothed out after a few minutes. Both started moving on 3 volts at 5.8 scale mph and delivered a smooth and powerful performance that topped out at 98 mph - nearly perfect for a passenger locomotive.

At the same time they produced 4½ ounces of drawbar pull, equivalent to about 63 free-rolling freight cars or 21 passenger cars on straight and level track. Excellent!

Future versions. While the first release of C-Liners includes only Canadian prototypes, the standardized FM body styling makes them useful for many other railroads. True Line Trains has announced production of many U.S. road names, including Long Island; New York Central; New York, New Haven & Hartford; and undecorated. Several road numbers are available in each version.

Models with factory-installed QSI sound and DCC decoders are also in production.

These new FM diesels are an impressive first product to introduce the True Line Trains brand. - J.D.H.
HO FM passenger diesel
Price: FM CPA-16-5,
DC versions, $169 each

True Line Trains
Canadian Hobbycraft Ltd.
140 Applewood Crescent
Concord, Ontario, L4K 4E2

Plastic and metal ready-to-
run diesel locomotive
Road name: Canadian National original and 1961 schemes with several numbers each
HO FM diesel features
Can motor with dual flywheels
Die-cast metal underframe
Directional headlight
Drawbar pull: 4.5 ounces
Individually applied grab irons
McHenry magnetic knuckle couplers (correct height)
Minimum radius: 18"
Multiple-unit hoses
NMRA 8-pin DCC plug
RP-25 contour nickel-silver wheels, mounted in gauge
10-wheel drive and electrical pickup with all wheels

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Two great beginner layouts.

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