I love this N Scale Con-Cor 01-008764 Union Pacific GM Aerotrain set. Check out the sequence in the video, how the engine revs up, the lights flicker on and become brighter, the red MARS light goes out, and this train rides off into the future. This is straight out of the box. I am not using DCC.
I’m using the Kato Sound Box and 2nd Generation Diesel sound card for this video. I have it hooked up to a set of computer speakers with subwoofer, and I think it sounds great. The Sound Box lets you control the start voltage of the locomotive, so you can make the lights come on before the train moves, and stuff like that. I don’t know if that pretty lighting sequence that you just saw would happen without the Kato Sound Box, because I haven’t tried it. Certainly the lights and sound enhance the experience.
But I digress…
I think this set looks great and performs well under optimal circumstances, but it is finicky compared to some of my other rolling stock. Like the prototype, the two wheel trucks make for a rough ride, so you will need good track work to run this train, and a generous minimum turn radius.
This set can barely make it around an 11″ radius curve going forward, and definitely not in reverse because just like the prototype, the Observation Car is too light, and it derails every time. So, you’d better not plan a skinny layout if you want to run this train. Con-Cor will send you some weights for free, that you can glue into the roof of the Observation Car. You have to insulate the metal weights from the wiring below, and adding weight to the top of the car seems less ideal than adding it to the bottom, but you can try it and see if it solves any problems you may have with keeping the Observation Car from derailing. However, the best ways to give this train set a smooth ride are to use flex track to minimize the number of track joints, and to give it a fairly generous minimum turn radius. I am opting not to buy the additional car set because I think the original set requires enough effort to get around my track.
It’s worth noting that some of the lines that used these trains did not add any lettering to the sides of the passenger cars. The model train sets from Con-Cor accurately reflect those lines that had custom lettering on the passenger cars or not.
This is a fun set to own if you are into the mid-century modern look, and also because this train has a place in history, as a vision for the future, which didn’t quite work out. It has very nice details, like lights in every car and diaphragms that actually work, the MARS lights and the backup light. The set comes with a generous amount of information about the history of the train, and the people at Con-Cor are nice to deal with. There is also a lot of great information on the internet about these trains.