MTH keeps rolling out the HO offerings at a feverish pace. The Bi-Polar is an unusual offering of an early electric locomotives that saw service on the Milwaukee Road railroad in both freight and passenger service.
The Bi-Polars were built by General Electric and entered service on the Milwaukee Road in 1919. The locomotive got its name from the design of the traction motors. There were twelve motors in all, each having only two field poles, hence the term, “Bi-Polar”. Also dubbed the “Silent Locomotive”, the Bi-Polar’s motors had their armatures mounted directly to each of the twelve driving axles. This meant no gears in the drive mechanism, providing for nearly noiseless operation.
The Bi-Polar had an unusual design layout as well. The locomotive body consisted of three sections. A small center section contained a boiler that created steam for heating passenger cars. The two larger outer sections contained the crew cabs as well as electrical equipment needed to operate the locomotive.
There were a total of five Bi-Polars built. They remained in service for over 40 years, eventually retiring in 1960.
The Bi-Polar pictured here is one of several paint schemes offered by MTH. It has fantastic detail, remotely operated couplers, and pantographs that automatically raise and lower based on the direction the locomotive is traveling. These features were also offered on MTH’s Little Joe electric locomotive. Although this was dubbed the “Silent Locomotive” in real life, the MTH version borrows all of the sounds from the Little Joe, which makes it anything but silent. The noises are too loud and un-prototypical, but can be remedied somewhat by lowering the volume.
As with all of the MTH products I’ve purchased, the Bi-Polar is an exceptionally smooth runner. The model is equipped with MTH’s Proto Sound 3.0, based on their proprietary DCS control system. The locomotive will also run just fine on DCC, with some limitations, like advanced consisting. Not a major problem with this particular locomotive, since the prototype was designed to be able to pull trains singly, hence, no multiple unit controls. These were very strong, powerful locomotives.
I will have video posted shortly.
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Originally posted 2015-05-03 12:08:49.
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