MTH HO gauge News

As stated in the introduction MTH has for decades been known primarily for it's various types of O gauge railroad equipment and is the most firmly established brand in north america. More recently they introduced their line of 1/32 scale gauge 1 equipment and now they are expanding their range of HO products. A particular feature of the MTH ho locomotives is the 3rd generation Protosound control system which allow the model to be operated under traditional (analog) controller or either DCS or DCC digital control systems. Even with an old fashioned transformer/controller you will get the benefits of the very best sound and smoke systems available plus directional lighting but with many extra facilities like remote decoupling on diesel locomotives and a quillable whistle on steam (yes literally all the bells and whilstles that the prototype had) readily operated under MTH's digital system. The locomotives will move when powered by a 12 volt controller but for maximum speed and power require 16 volts. The Protosound 3 electronics are capable of taking a maximum of 24 volts. Please note that, unlike the Protosound 2 controllers used in gauges 1 and O, the Ho locomotives should not be fed with an ac supply.

Just in case it needed answering I can order up the "club cars" as well as the rarer "dealer limited promotional models" (up to the limit that a dealer may order). I am perfectly happy to ship these back across the atlantic if your local U.S. dealer has already ordered up to their limit.

For 2009 MTH are to be congratulated for announcing the UP 9000 series, the first time this has been available other than at an oriental brass price (and then without smoke or sound ~ save in the case of motor overload).

It is worth pointing out that the appearance of the production item can change (on a few occasions quite markedly) from the initial publicity and subsequent pre-production images. The most obvious examples have been with the european O gauge models, some examples of changes are given here.

UK customers please note : you now have the option of pre-paying VAT

[ If you are interested in any of the Hornby Hobbies brands, our french companion site can supply

Hornby, Rivarossi, Jouef, Lima, Arnold, Electroten along with Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi ]

News Update

March 2021

With the retirement of Mike Wolf only weeks away now a little more information has come out regarding the MTH product lines. As has been known for a couple of months Scale Trains has aquired the tooling for the Ho and S ranges but I now see that Atlas has bought some (but not all) of the Premier O gauge diesel locomotive, passenger and freight car tooling plus some of the O gauge accessories and the rights to include DCS protosound-3. The tooling that they have opted for is mainly of the more modern era ( but that leaves the steam locomotives plus the remaining bulk of the american rolling stock and accessories plus all the premier european products. I am happier for the hobby in general that Atlas took them over. From what I understand Atlas do not have sole rights to DCS and from what I hear a rump form of MTH may continue on with the remaining O gauge items. I have heard nothing regarding either gauge 1 or tinplate.

June 2020

Having just heard about Mr. Wolf's planned May 2021 retirement I am am not any wiser than the rest of you. I do know that there are plenty of best wishes and other comment within the usual forums so please get on to your favourite search engine if you want to scan through these.

July 2019
A new Ho catalogue has been announced and will be available in print as well as on-line. Various re-runs of the existing stable of locomotives steam and diesel though the GS-4 and Big Boylnow have the addition of a "smoking" whistle as per their larger equivalents, quite a feat in this scale though the placement on the Big Boy must have simplified things. I will also point out for those wedded to their "hand held electronics" that MTH provides two units for you, the DCS Wifi unit allows you to control a TIU whereas the less expensive DCS Wifi explorer will inject locomotive control signals on to a track that is powered separately. There is a free app to download which has only basic features (I reckon a DCS Commander Remote might be a better idea if all you want is to demonstrate a locomotive) a reasonable set of locomotive controls for $5 or full control over accessories plus the full gamut of 99 locomotives for $25. Either unit can receive commands from more than one hand-held. I personally prefer control with real levers (even if they use a computer to drive a TIU) but these two units do offer an alternative walk-around option with a potential range of 100 feet.

March 2019
Ok, not much to say other than I am implementing a category for electric locomotives as I think that the combined diesel and electric locomotive totals were becoming rather large. I may soon start adding some french text for those that prefer to read that rather than translate.

November 2016
The main news this time round is that the combination of recent large and rapid exchange rate movements, coupled to establishing an outpost in France has made me consider whether pricing everything in Sterling is sensible. Sterling certainly seemed best when the majority of customers wanted to pay in that fashion and it was the currency that I used day to day but now I am faced with the possibility of two sets of foreign exchange conversion fees. Since MTH naturally wants to be paid in US dollars it just makes sense to sell their products in that currency, this should at least lead to numeric price stability with relatively minor exchange rate effects on postage (postage will continue to be added based on a best guess basis since I do not have the weight and volume data to automate this).

Customers in the UK (or indeed others outside the EC sales tax net) who prefer (or have) to do their own import clearance please contact me as I will still be spending time in Jersey and could post from there with pricing reduced to reflect the local sales tax.

If you see an item priced in dollars then please assume that it represents a price with VAT / TVA paid.

June 2015

Following the re-jig of MTH's website and the temporary loss of links to the pages on their site this site has been altered slightly in that a "Common items" category has been added to the left hand frame. This is intended to be a repository of all those items which might be used by one or more of MTH's product ranges, such as the DCS and analogue controllers, tools and smoke oil, apparel, miscellaneous items, documents and spare parts. It has to be said that some spares are probably "product range specific" as are a number of the catalogues in the documents category. The intention from this end is that each MTH item should find a single suitable page to be listed on. I hope that you will find the rearrangement more of a blessing than a nuisance.    

August 2013

During 2013 MTH introduced their Ho 3-rail series of locomotives (normally assigned = "-5" suffix) with the updated Protosound 3e+ decoder. This decoder has all the features of the normal PS3 decoder but adds ac analogue capability and also Märklin Command Control and Motorola type 1 and 2 digital capability. The Locomotives are fitted with NEM 340 type wheel profiles and NEM 360/362 type coupler pockets. The centre contact is by means of a skate so that Märklin stud contact track can be used. The insulated axles on the normal MTH Ho rolling stock may also be used on 3-rail.

November 2012

MTH have now gone to print with their first 2013 catalog(ue) , several old friends are back on the lists, the 2-8-0 is new and the range of freight cars continues to expand .

October 2011

A new locomotive design for MTH in Ho is the popular EMD GP-35, in 8 liveries each with the option of 2-rail or 3-rail DCS Protosound 3 (with DCC decode capability on all the major commands) or 2-rail DCC ready. If MTH keeps to schedule this will be available at the start of 2012, only a few months away. The Alco FA-1 has already started shipping. Continental Modeller have also published their reviews of the Big Boy and 4500 "baby" turbine.

September 2011

A new branch of Ho products for MTH is their newly announced line of factory weathered models. The initial products selected are the UP SD70 and the 4500 hp "baby" turbine with tender along with the N&W 5 car passenger coach set and accompanying J class locomotive. If the images are anything to go by the appearance is realistic without going overboard on the grime.

July 2011

MTH now provides an update on the Alco PA locomotives with an accompanying video, as is usual with all their recents news pages. The first liveries should start being shipped in a month or two.

May 2011

MTH have now announced that the Pennsy GG-1 will be produced later this year with the usual liveries and in both 2 and 3 rail versions. As with the Little Joe and Bi-polar models these will all have the Protosound 3 controller with the powered pantograph mechanism rather than the having option of "DCC ready". Given the desire to have the powered pantographs and couplers, and with the main DCC commands covered by the Ho DCS decoder, I can understand why. In the meantime should you want one of the very rare DAP models (only two models per dealer) then this years Ho offering is an "M&M" version of the moving display action car.

November 2010

The 2010 Vol.3 catalogue features the Milwaukee Bi-polar giving MTH another opportunity to show off their motorized pantographs in a very distinctive and famous locomotive design. Several old favorites return in the form of Challengers and the triplex plus the Big Boy gets a second outing in the original 4000 - 4019 production form with condenser piping at the pilot handrails. The DCS Commander has now been shipping for a while and whilst it is does not have all the features of the TIU it is a lot cheaper, not too bulky, can easily be fed from the likes of a laptop type psu and does not need a bridge rectifier on the output to protect old dc models. The prefix code 81- is used to distinguish imaginary paintschemes where a road did not operate that particular item or livery (so for example the Virginian lettering on the Erie triplex outline is now an "81-") and the -5 suffix on locomotives denotes that it is a 3 rail version. Whilst we all know that MTH grew up on 3-rail the Ho world has, with the notable hold out of Märklin, been solidly behind 2 rail for the last 50 years. Since even Märklin had to acknowledge the tide of 2 rail with their Hamo and Trix lines it is interesting that MTH reckons that this project is worthwhile.

May 2010

Well things are certainly growing on the HO front. The 2010 Vol.2 catalog features two new famous mallet locomotives (UP Big Boy and SP's AC-6 and AC-8 variants), UP's 4500 HP turbine powerhouse, electrics in the form of Milwaukee's Little Joe (complete with motorized pantographs). Newly announced diesels in the iconic forms of the EMD F7 (6 road offerings) and the Alco FA (5 roads) and PA (7 roads) join the previously announced SD-70 (which I think now has some 21 liveries to choose from). Added to all this are extra freight in the form of gondolas and 4-bay hoppers to accompany the wood side reefers, twin bay hoppers and PS1 boxcars. A new DC-300 "analogue" controller is listed for those that want something that will pump out more than the traditional UK/euro OO/Ho 12 volt unit and the DCS Remote Commander been announced with a compact i/r handset and (yes finally) MTH has also announced that it will produce Ho track which is seperable from the roadbed. I also mention that the diesel and electric locomotives are now being listed as orderable either with the Protosound 3 controller (DCS/DCC and analogue capabilities) or as cheaper "DCC ready" versions. It is a fair guess that the installed base of DCC users prompted the development of DCC compatability within Protosound 3 but for those that either do not want or need all the digital features or have a stash of DCC decoders you at least have the choice. If you do like smoke and sound then I point out that MTH are fitting motors smoke and sound units to the diesel B units as well as the A's. Not bad going as far as I'm concerned.

October 2009

With deliveries of HO locomotives keeping much more closely to the original MTH schedule Mikados, Mohawks and now the Union Pacific are available off the shelf. Continental Modeller has just reviewed the Mikado and they have been sent other sample locomotives which I hope will feature in future reviews.

June 2009

MTH certainly seem to have woken up on the HO front, their 2009 v2 catalog(ue) lists Challengers (UP black, grey/yellow and grey/silver, DRGW and Clinchfield schemes), NYC 20th Century and Empire State streamlined Hudsons, sets of coaches for both these locomotives (and with both paint schemes in the case of the 20th Century), Powhatan Arrow passenger stock for the previously announced N&W J, sets of UP reefers and sets of twin bay hoppers in 8 road names. The illustrations that I have seen, which I take to be of pre-production models, suggest that they exceed the standard of Rivarossi for external detail and will better the current G1 and O gauge models in terms of a hidden electronic connection at the drawbar and dual DCS/DCC compatibility in addition to traditional analog dc operation. I do not know whether this means that Gauge 1 production projects will slow down but if HO makes MTH a faster growing company then I'm all in favor. Further to the models shown in the catalogue the website also mentions the Nickel Plate Berkshire (either Nickel Plate Road or Pere Marquette lettering) with a re-run of the 4449 SP Daylight (should you have missed that one).

February 2009

If you have visited the site prior to 2009 then you will be aware that the Ho and O gauge versions are based on the same format and pages as those for gauge 1. At the end of 2008 it was becoming obvious that the interest in MTH O gauge and Ho warranted sections of their own rather than just a supplementary page on the original site. It is possible that these new pages may either incorrectly refer to gauge 1 within the text or alternatively link to the corresponding page for a different scale. If so then mea culpa, please use your common sense, if you wish to point out the errors that I have made then by all means let me know and I will add them on to the list of corrections that are needed.

If you have an interest in other gauges

MTH O gauge (famous for their Railking, Premier and Tinplate ranges)

MTH (and other) Gauge 1 Yes Gauge 1 is stocked.

Phone: 44 (0)1534 485113
Fax: 44 (0)1534 742046 

or of course you can always try