Anyone Own A Tower 55 Loco?

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Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Too rich for my blood. I stick with Athearn locos. And an era that doesn't require the newer models like those offered by Tower55. Nothing against them - I just have no need for sound or the models they've made yet. Of course, an SW1 can change my mind real quick...
That's funny Ryan. I had no need for sound either... until I got one, then it was all over. Every unit has to have sound now. Sort of like not having a garage door opener or a dish washer until you get one and then have to go without it. Spoiled I am.

You said it.

My Dad is the Luddite of all Luddites. Refused to get cable for years. When he eventually got it, wondered how he missed out on C-Span all those years!


Update from Tower 55

Looks as though the GE ES44ACs will be out this fall/winter and the EMD SD70ACes in late 2007, early 2008. They are also releasing new models including more BNSF GE ES44DC H3 numbers, BNSF GE ES44DC #7695 (yellow BNSF H3), and UP GE ES44AC with new Building America logo position.

Another change I noticed is that prices are going up. They are now asking for $320 for a sound equiped locomotive and $285 for non-sound. This is due to "the decreased value of the US Dollar and to cover the cost of the upgrades and new molds to bring the many detail variations to life."

More information at

Looks like these are going to be some REALLY nice models with all the bugs from the first production worked out.
I'd love to have one, but the un reliability of the Manf. and not to mention the high price, drove me away. A non-sound locomotive should be a heck of alot less in price, seriously, 290 for non sound? What a rip-off... I think I'll go buy an Athearn Genesis SD45-2 on eBay for $120... WITH SOUND! (Ok, probably not, just making a point)


Diesel Detail Freak
T55 cannot import anything until the whole lawsuit over the Tower 55 name is finished. Otherwise they could be facing a larger lawsuit. The SD70ACe's are ready, they're just stuck...

Its a sad thing though, I honestly think Brian should have just said, "we'll just call it 'OMI Plastics'..."


Dcc~detail~diesel freak
I got 2 of the ES44AC's in the SP black widow scheme and have never had a single problem out of them and they were 1st runs. I did pick up 2 es44dc's off trainbay and repaint them for NS as I grew tired of waiting for T55 to release the NS units. I may stilll have to kitbash a SD70M-2 or 2 to satisfy my want of this unit as I wait for them.:rolleyes:
how about we just petition kato to make the sd70ACe, the gevo, and maybe the sd70mac w/ flared radiators
if everyone sends an email to kato, they might make them
I've got an ACe on order, hope to get it some day...

I'd rather see Athearn Genesis make ACe's and flares than Kato. Genesis looks way better than Kato and runs just as well IMO.


Active Member
what is the deal with the lawsuit? i've heard about it but never understood it fully.

any back to the engines. i saw a up gevo at the greenburgh show a while back. Remembered how it was supposed to be so nice. Looked at the one side and maybe its just small detail that bugged me. But the 2 large airtanks on the side were just moled as one with the fuel tank. Not like my blue box athearn that is 2 seperate small tanks that need to be attached to the large fuel tank.
based on what my local hobby shop said, i would be better off waiting 3 or 4 years for another manufacturer to make them, because T55 has great detail, but a sucky dcc system, a lower end motor for the price, and mainly, THE PRICE. Its up to $315 w/out sound.


Dcc~detail~diesel freak
The dcc decoder used in the T55 units is a Digitrax decoder. Special made just for the T55's. T55 puts the support of these on Digitrax and Digitraxs support leaves alot to be desired for them. They (digitrax) want you to send the entire loco to them for repair, not just the board and even still they only warrant them for 6 months.:eek:
So, all this aside, you'd be better off getting a loco without dcc/sound and just installing your own. But, it would only save you $35, so justify the cost of a self installed decoder with sound against $35 for factory installed with special sound of the Gevos'.:rolleyes:
I contacted a couple of other resin manufacturers and asked them about making the shells for the SD70M-2/ACE and haven't gotten a response, so basically T55 has them locked down. I even proposed just making the portion of the shell, the long hood, so it would fit onto a Athearn Genesis SD70MAC, on top of the walkway, to replace that portion of the long hood.


Diesel Detail Freak
The deal with the lawsuit, is some company claims they used the "tower 55" name first, and that they were not allowed to use it.
yup, tower hobbies, completely unrelated to model trains (i think they do model airplanes and stuff), and they dont even have the 55 in their name. It makes no sense, and tower 55, now t55, should just name themselves OMI plastic, and get it over with. They are just going to use it as an excuse to charge even more for the plastic models, already an outrageous $315.00 WITHOUT sound. Can someone else PLEASE make these, like athearn or kato.


Fleeing from Al
Yes, it was Tower Hobbies that filed the trademark infringement suit. And, yes, they don't sell any trains, just R/C stuff. But, if you'e going to protect your trademark, you have to sue to get firms not to use similar names. I never understood why OMI went with Tower 55 anyway. It's not like it was a well known name outside of DFW and OMI is a well respected name in brass trains. I would have stuck with the OMI brand name instead of trying to invent a new one.

Edit: Tower Hobbies does have a model train divison: I guess this why they decided to go after Tower 55.
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Active Member
what a joke. I dont like Omi or overland plastics. It sounds cheap and not model train related. If anything maybe change the brass division to Overland Brass and keep the regular Overland name for the plastic division. Or just have everything under 1 name. Does anyone think that the T55 division would eventually make rolling stock? is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.