I've finished the preliminary stage of my HCD layout. Right now I've got a P42 pulling a baggage car and three coaches, as well as an ES44AC for use on the local freight. The idea is a modern-era layout with a small town (hence the Amtrak commuter) and a brewery (ES44AC, tankers, grain hoppers, box cars, etc), with room for expansion in the future. I've been pretty happy with my Kato P42 and Kato coaches. I just got my FVM ES44AC, and I'm not as pleased. It's making a grinding/whining noise depending on speed, but it has gotten more quiet after some running time in forward and in reverse. I'm just not sure at this point. The ES44AC is a nice locomotive, don't get me wrong, but I think I bit off more than I can chew with such a large, modern loco. Given the track plan below (which will be the end result) I'm wondering if I should go back to my earlier idea of a transition-era layout (1950s) and pick up a Mikado and an FM H16-44 as well as a bunch of 40' box cars, etc. I do have a reserve on the new MT SW1500, not sure when mine will come in. It seems like I'm doomed to like non-popular roads (NYC, Conrail) for the eras I'm looking at. Keep pushing forward? Will more running quiet down my FVM ES44AC? Throw my hands up on the modern era and search for an FM H16-44 in black NYC?