Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Maine Central 564 - Good and Bad

I wrapped up the majority of the work on my 1970s version of Maine Central EMD GP7 #564. This unit was painted in a simplified green scheme used on a few locomotives starting in the late 1960s. It contrasts nicely with the harvest gold units that comprised the bulk of the MEC locomotive fleet of the day.

MEC 564 leads a short ballast extra through the White Mountains of New Hampshire in 1973. NERAIL photo by Jim Wright. 

Ted Houghton's image from provides a well lit side view of 564.
My model uses an Atlas GP7. I actually painted and decaled it (Microscale) a few years ago, but it has sat waiting for completion as other projects took priority. I found a need to get another MEC loco on the layout, so I pulled this unit out for finishing.

Added details include the front hood mount bell, the side mounted air horn and a winterization hatch. There are a few other details I can add, including a speed recorder and the correct MU stands, bt not having these on hand, they will have to wait.

The Microscale set is not the best representation of this paint scheme however, as it is a little too yellowish, and it also lacks the ring around the Pine Tree herald.

MEC 564 idles in St. Johnsbury

One thing that stands out nice on this unit is the Harvest Gold painted pilots.

I used mainly powders for weathering providing a good covering of rust, dust and soot.
However, not all was good unfortunately. I previously posted a picture of this unit showing the iPhone 4 speaker situated above the Tsunami decoder. The sound is great and after a little programming and adjusting the EQ, it sounds really nice.

That is until it stops making sound, or starts playing random horn sounds. Seems something is not right with the decoder. I tried a factory reset, and get the same results. It runs fine for a while, but sooner or later the sound cuts out, or the whole decoder cuts out and the loco stops. It is possible I damaged something doing the install, although this would be the first bad install after a couple dozen.

So it seems the remedy will be to carefully pop the shell back off and replace the decoder. It is ashame as I had it nicely speed matched with the Atlas factory-painted Harvest Gold GP7 565 shown above. As this was the last of the sound decoders I had on hand, the question now will be whether to go to Tsunami 2, to LokSound, as I would like to give them a try. Guess I'll have something to pick up next weekend at the Springfield show!


Shannon Crabtree said...

That's a great looking scheme Mike! Never seen it before. Sorry about the decoder. Sounds like a bad one. Give Soundtraxx a call. Their customer service is top notch. Might get a Tsunami 2 instead. The T2's are an excellent choice...

Greg said...


Absolutely love the Tsunami2 sound, just installed two into Athearn SD45-2s.

There is a recent podcast out from MRH which features George from Soundtraxx, really good listen.


Mike McNamara said...

Thanks Shannon and Greg. I have been able to run the loco more successfully the last 2 days, but I still do not get proper headlight functions, so I know something is wrong. Reaching out to Soundtraxx is a good idea. Perhaps I'll take the loco up to Springfield next week and stop by the Soundtraxx booth.

I did listen to that podcast - good info on the new 2 series decoders, I agree. I'll most likely pick one up next week, but also want to try out a LokSound.