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In 1901, Frank Hornby applied for and received a patent for his Meccano construction toy idea. Manufacturing was moved to Guangdong province in China in 1995 to cut costs and improve quality because of competition from Dapol, Lima and Bachmann Industries. Bachmann Brothers was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA it is now owned by a Chinese company called the Kader Group. In 2001, Graham Farish was absorbed by Bachmann who were originally an American company, are now owned by Kader Industries of Hong Kong, China.
Product DescriptionThe perfect starter set, featuring everything the first-time modeler needs to get his layout up and running.
Richard writes: I have a previoue run Athearn FEF that has the older MRC sound and control system. Deidre Renee writes: Athearn have changed their decoder manufacture and now less than half of the sound options are now available.
Tuna writes: I have four Genesis steam locomotives - 844 FEF-3, 3958 Challenger, 4020 and 4024 Big Boys. A viewer writes: Model flanges are low, and will derail on less than perfect track work curves pulling a moderate consist. Charles Emerson writes: I have installed Soundtraxx decoders in a number of Athearn 2-8-2s and have found no problems installing a decoder and speaker in the tender.
Chuck Lehne writes: I have a 4-8-4 that went out of quarter and rebuilt it with a {no longer sold} Bowser drive and a powerful DC 71 open pole motor. Rainer Ilg writes: IA?m finish a model railroad and I bought three ho bachmann 260 dcc on board sound value and I run with the first loco only 50 feet and two wires betwen the loco to tender melted the plastic protection of the wire,and loco stop. Keith writes: I sent an early Bachmann 2-8-2 Mikado back for repair, which through a side rod which could not be fixed. Richard writes: The experience I have with Bachmann in general, has been with limited Ho steam and lots of On30 steam. David Colgan writes: I bought the "Overland Limited" basically just for the 4-8-4 steamer that came with it, the price was right and I planned on making a little money back on top of that consigning the powerpack and rolling stock and track.
Deidre Renee writes: I agree now that these models should be definately approached with caution. Ian Sach writes: The 4-6-0 10 wheeler (with sound) is a good looking & reasonably well finished loco with good weight but is a lousy puller. Robert DeWoody writes: I also have the 2-8-0 and I must say it is one of the best plastic HO steam locomotives I have come across.
Maxwell Holmquist writes: The J1a 4-8-4 runs well with passenger consists and 100+ cars of freight.
Charles Emerson writes: The Bachmann Plus 2-8-0s are really good engines, I would say better in the pulling respects than their Spectrum counterparts. A viewer writes: The 4-8-2 I purchased (new) looked very good but did not run as well as I hoped. David writes: I purchased a secondhand light 4-8-2 off ebay last year and this engine was quite a shocker. Scott Fanks writes: When I bought my EM-1 I thought with my track work the locomotive will at look great sitting in the engine area.
Brian writes: The Spectrum J Class engine I had also was designed with the split frame & Nylon axle tube problem I had with the older Bachmann style locos I mentioned above, but by that point the motor was much improved. Mike Peeso writes: I just purchased the URSA 2-10-2 and the front steering wheels keep derailing. Grant Padgett writes: I have a Bachmann Spectrum Pennsylvania K4 Pacific and it is well detailed and powerful for the money, it runs very well. Person in New York writes: I have two Spectrum locomotives, the Maryland and Pennslyvannia 4-6-0 which I have had for about a year, and the 80-Ton Shay which I have only had for a few days. Tom Turner writes: I purchased a Spectrum 2-8-0 (dcc & sound) Santa Fe #2528 that ran for a short time. Paul Pietrak writes: I have two Spectrum 4-6-0s one purchased 3 years ago and one just got last week.
AkronMike writes: I have approximately 12 - 14 spectrum engines dating back to the original 44T. Poop Dick writes: I own a spectrum 2-8-0 and a 2-10-0, the 2-8-0 is a little slow to start, it needs about 4 volts to get an abrupt start going. Yves Boisvert writes: I have 2 Spectrum, 4-8-4 Daylight and a 2-10-2, both have the same problem, the front pilot wheel makes contact with the cylider in curves.
Scott K writes: I have a Spectrum 4-8-2 Mountain with the factory-installed Tsunami sound decoder. Ernest Gatzke writes: I have a Spectrum 4-8-2 mountain type locomotive with a firebox that glows.
Randall Smith writes: The Bachmann Spectrum 3-truck Shay runs extremely well pulling 12 log wagons up a constant 4% grade in true shay style.
John Patton writes: I have a lot of Bachmann equipment such as the 3 truck 80 ton shay, a Russian Decapod, all by the "Spectrum" line.
Sam Dwire writes: As far as I can tell the Spectrum Line is far and away better than old Bachmann. Larry Skonieczka writes: Bachmann used to be one to stay away from, but lately they have been producing some very nice locomotives both in the Trainline and Silver Series lines. A viewer writes: Bachmann Spectrum have released an N&W auxiliary tender that matches the Life-Like Ys. Art Waite writes: Stumbled across this site and see that it is out-of-date for the most part.
Rob writes: I have found that the electrical connection between the tender trucks and body which relies on gravity to make the connection has been a weak spot on a few of my Bowser locomotives.
Bill K writes: It should be noted most Bowser kits date back to the 1950s if not older, some of them originally released by defunct manufacturers like Penn Line (H9, K4, I1) and Varney (Dockside, Old Lady 2-8-0 and the similar 4-6-0), they date to an era when being a modeler meant doing a lot of the assembly yourself, and you just about needed machinist skills to finish a kit properly. John Patton writes: I have built many Bowser Challengers, these locomotives take a lot of work but with the detail kit and a little work they look as good as brass locomotives, and will pull a house down the street!
RL Whiting writes: I have assembled over 7 different Bowser kits, from Mikados to the Bigboy.
Black #433 0-6-0 steam locomotive and Pennsylvania coal tender - approximately 9 inches in length.
Model railroading is a fun and enjoyable hobby for both young and old, and now you can have even more fun thanks to Amtrak's 40th Anniversary inspired HO scale model trains. A big thank you goes out to Philip Shaw, John Swanson and the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders Inc. Back last August, we received the preproduction samples of some of the model trains we had produced especially for our 40th Anniversary and that are currently available for sale in the Amtrak Online Storea€”and accomplished model railroader Howard Zane graciously allowed us to photograph these models on his phenomenally realistic model railroad. Youa€™ll notice our miniature version of the 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train, with P40 #822 and F40 #406 leading the crew car Pacific Bend, Display Cars and 40th Anniversary Store Car, as well as Heritage paint P42s number 66 in Phase II and number 156 in Phase I. We recreated a photo lineup with the three Heritage paint model locomotives similar to the full scale version we held on Amtraka€™s 40th birthday in Washington, D.C. We are still proud of the sneak peak at these awesome models, although some of the models had minor features that would not be the same as the production run. In addition to the Amtrak 40th Anniversary themed models shown here, we also worked exclusively with Walthers to bring you models of our single level equipment in the current Phase IVb paint scheme. The Exhibit Train pulls into its next stop with a sizeable crowd on the platform to welcome its arrival.
P40 822 leads the Exhibit train around a super elevated curve after emerging from a tunnel.
Modern trains have come a long way since the age of steam and heavy weight passenger cars (as seen in the foreground). The HO scale model Exhibit Train negotiates a sweeping a€?Sa€? curve before pulling into the depot. No matter where the Exhibit Train travels, people always stop what theya€™re doing to take a look.
The colors on these models were matched to the real thing to provide the highest level of accuracy. They span from early steam engines of the Victorian times to the modern high speed intercity express locomotives.
He formed the Meccano Ltd company based in Liverpool to produce his soon to be successful new product.
They lead to the adoption of 00 gauge as a broadly accepted modeling standard in Britain, whereas much of the rest of the world had adopted HO gauge. The former Hornby line was discontinued in favour of Tri-ang's less costly plastic designs. Hornby tried to become more profitable by producing licensed train sets to increase its appeal to a younger customer.
This manufacturing company has been around since 1833 but it was only in 1966 with the sudden popularity of N scale model railroading in the USA that Bachmann entered the Model railway market. To cut production costs Bachmann immediately closed the Poole facility and moved production to China. Bachmann is ranked #1 in model train locomotives, followed by Model Power, Walthers Trainline, Broadway Limited Imports, and 31 other manufacturers. I had troubles with it operating well in DC mode and sub par DCC performance compared to the Digitrax, QSI & Soundtrax systems. 4-6-6-4 by comparison is a beauty, strong puller, smooth running, the remote has roughly a six foot range (in my admittedly cluttered basement). It handles the 30" radius curves and the switches admirably and I have nothing but respect for these engines. Reason is that location of tender coupling pin is too far back, and the cab swing out on a 18" curve creates a significant torque on the loco that derails the front drivers over track imperfections.

It was a bit noisy but it was a pretty good puller, My big issue with it was the smoke unit. I have been successful in repairing a FEW of the older split gear drive axels by machining an axel with a thin shoulder that fits inside the gear ring. Because of the split frame technology in their steam engines they came up with Nylon tubes to form an insulated axle between the metal drive wheels on many of their steam engines. A USRA 0-6-0 that i got in a set broke after about two weeks, but I sent it in and it was repaired and is still running fine a year later. They sent me an email the next day and asked me if I wanted a new loco[of my choice] payed for the DCC fitted only I had a new one with 2 weeks of sending it to Bachann.
Remedied the problem by tweeking the pickups & cleaning with railcleaner fluid, and then adding a very small amount of "Inox" brand lubricant to each pickup - no problems since.
I am sick and tired of returning the same item and get a replacement with still more faults. I'm disappointed that it struggles with only four metal wheeled 40' boxcars & caboose attached on a 2.0% incline.
Poor electrical contact due to weak and loose main driver spring contacts was the reason I suspect. This engine is most likely the 2012 version (with glowing firebox and no traction tires) and it is often said to be a poor puller, but this engine proved the claims wrong. It ran a lot smoother & the wheels looked a lot better but it was still a ticking time bomb for the split axle problem & it almost looked to me like the nylon tubes were even THINNER than they were on the old ones. Bachmann was glad to replace it with a new one which took a while but this one has run well HOWEVER the lead truck derails, I have pretty wide curves and can run much larger locos such as a BLI 4-8-2 and 2-10-4 and an IHC 2-10-2 with no problems whatsoever so I don't think it's my track.
I'm very impressed with the extremely low noise level and the low speed performance, but it seems that the drive belt system (may have been changed since mine was made) makes it a risk to make the small 2-8-0 Consolidation pull more than the three included cars. Only thing is the spectrums don't start as quickly as other Bachmann DCC equipped locos but they sure run much smoother at slower speeds.
The 4-6-0 is a wonderful engine, highly detailed, and has handled 4 to 6 cars on a 4 percent grade.
I have never had a problem nor have I been dissapointed with their performance, like all equipment you must keep them tuned and oiled.
I don't know why this feature was added because most steam locomotives ran with the firebox doors closed.
The Spectrum series has always been above the rest and the equipment, sight wise, is equal to or in some cases exceeds the more expensive BLI, Trix and Marklin locomotives. By hardwiring the trucks directly to the tender body with small flexible wire this problem was eliminated.
If you take your time getting the running gear to work smoothly (it must be able to roll freely on it's own with out the motor installed) it will be quiet even with a DC71 motor installed. Although they're built just like the real thing, they require large radius curved track for the articulation, 30 inch radius at least. With these exclusive models, you can run your own 40th Anniversary Exhibit train, Northeast Regionals and other popular Amtrak trains! Head over to the Amtrak store pick yours up today, as there are limited quantities of these models and they will only be available through Amtrak. Hornby is the main company specialising in British model railways but others like Lima Marklin Peco Mainline Roco Graham Fraish and Bachmann are available.
He then used his surname Hornby to as a trading name to launch a line of clockwork O gauge trains in 1920. The railway sets based on Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express have been particularly profitable ventures.
In 1968 Bachmann launched its N gauge products and in 1970 it entered the HO scale toy train market. As demand decreased after the end of the war they decided to enter the model railway business. Bachmann improved the model range robustness by redesigning them as they reintroducing the entire range. That engine uses so much power that it shuts itself off and when you want an operational coupler for dubble-header operation, they only give you the parts and say "figure it out yourself because we don't want to put it on the manual" and some of the parts fall off. Now I am stuck with one Challenger that no matter what DCC system I buy it will not utilize all of the sound features either! Bachmann Locomotives and rolling stock are well weighted, accurately detailed and run well. It leaked often despite the fact that I only put in 3 drops and it smelled horrible compared to other smoke units (which hardly give off a smell). A fixture is used to center the broken axel and then drill out the center of the gear to accept the new axel and then pin the shoulder and axel together. Over time, they dry out & split at the wheel end where they're pressed onto the stubs on the inside of the wheels causing the running gear to go out of quarter & jam up. I have heard that the wheel wipers on some engines are delicate and problematic but the engines I have are fine performers.
Got an IHC pacific and the 2-10-4 (both with tenders) for a trade on a brand new Athearn Pullman car.
The only thing that differs from a spectrum is the detail and lack of a flywheel, other than that the mechanism is superb. The incline is on a 22" curve, which I know adds more to the actual percentage of incline, however, all my other locos including two Bachmann 2-8-0's, a Proto 0-8-0, & a Roundhouse 2-6-0 all handle 8 - 12 goods carriages up this incline with ease. These brass contacts are very thin and fragile, and I did not try to bend them into contact. My only problem is the fact that if I have it running for a REALLY long time, it makes a whirring noise. Its only drawbacks are when it gets going down a straight at speed its front sort of swivels about, giving the appearance of waddling. The 2-10-0 is fine, especially with a lenz BEMF decoder- but it does have wobbly drivers (ie the wheels move back and forth on their axles.
In terms of detail it rivals my brass Akane 4-6-2 Pacific and my super-detailed Mantua 2-8-2. They were opened by the fireman to shovel coal or rake the fire to even it out or to pull clinkers. Since last Xmas when I got it, various bits like the windows, the cowcatcher, a pipe, and a wire have either broken off or disconnected. Also, Standard Hobby Supply long ago stopped selling these kits, and I'm not sure SHS is still in business for that matter. I have also added wipers to the insulated tender wheels to add more pickup points for the locomotive side of the circuit. Hardest part I had was scrapping slots in the inside of the tender for a NCE D408SR decoder.
I've also built and rebuilt two PRR I-1s from Bowser and these will also pull a house as they are extremely heavy locomotives due to the cast metal boilers. You can even create your own fantasy consist and let your imagination run wilda€”another fun part of model railroading. Hornby was slow to realise the potential of plastic unlike some of its competitors who could produce cheaper but still good quality products like Triang-Rovex. Hornby decided to acquire it’s competitor Lima, an Italian model railway equipment manufacturer that had previously acquired Jouef, a French manufacturer. They started to sell British OO gauge railway layout track, wagons and other supporting items. I would like to see stronger Headlight performance and the red mars light is a nice touch but could also be brighter. Solution is to relocate tender draw bar pin to the loco trailing two wheel truck frame, which effectively causes the consist pulling force to be exerted much closer to the centerline of the loco, and eliminates the twisting torque.
Other than that it ran well until my father dropped some firewood on it while it was running under the Christmas tree. My On30 engines have been excellent with the only issues being with the geard Shay's having weak plastic beveled gears on the external drive shafts. It does not have the old style of plastic sleeves joining the axles together and it doesn't pick up power through the fram anymore either. The replacement had a piston rod that kept falling out so they sent me a full cylinder replacement set.
I think Bachmann would be wise to install traction tyres on the middle drivers - I will be applying some Bullfrogsnot or equivalent in order to fix the problem. These are simply awesome and I cant think of another mnfg that can match them for quality and cost. The newer standard line locomotives (the ones with decoders) run very well but don't look as good as they could. Unfortunately the 2-8-2 has a rotten bind and runs like a brick, even with a top line decoder.
I usually use it for a helper with my converted Rivarossi 4-6-6-4 Challenger as these 2 models are in Western Maryland livery, with this said, the Russian Decapod, runs VERY well with the Rivarossi 4-6-6-4.
The former Tri-ang Hornby was sold to Dunbee-Combex-Marx, becoming Hornby Railways in 1972. Originally the OO railway locomotives were powered by an 2 pole DC electric motor which was an unconventional choice. British made Graham Farish models is sought more by model railway collectors because it is 'older' and 'British'. Overall I really like Athearn's quality for the money and would highly consider them in my purchasing decisions.
It is price, which drives our hobby and some items are toy's and some are realistic minitures.

The older ones, like mine, were a Santa-Fe design, while the current UP 4-8-4 they offer is just a Niagara without smoke deflectors! Later I received in the post a full set of three spare trucks and another two full cylinder assemblies. Also, I had main gear problems with a 2-8-0 - sent back to Bachmann, replaced chassis & drivers, same problem as before - returned to BACHMANN & replaced again. My only issues with it are that the headlight is too dim and the led itself is too small, I guess this can be changed by the owner anyway. I have the 4-8-2 drag a 40 car train around the layout and i even put a video on youtube of my shay pulling what i believe was 23 passenger cars. It's nice that I can find customization parts for the locomtive, since I'm modeling a specific engine (Strasburg #90).
I test ran them at a locale club and put a load behind them (6 hoppers) and it started to smell like a belt was burning, took them home and sure enough there is a belt from the motor to another gear that drives the engine.
Some will say the K4 doesnt pull well, but neither did the real one, thats why the PRR double headed them on crack passenger trains.
As for the shay, it is a wonderful loco, very strong, has pulled ten cars on a flat surfce with ease.
Since the frog is only about an inch and a half at most and the loco picks up on both the loco and the tender, this should run ok.Any one with the same problem? Will probably need to strip down completely, re-quarter (or put away forever depending on how much time I have). I have built them all and have various versions of them including the original 1948 Mountain (with brass tender) and the wooden semi-vanderbuilt tender and the later generic rare brass tender by Bowser. By 1976 Hornby was facing challenges from Palitoy and Airfix, both of which were producing high quality detailed models.
In 2007 Bachmann purchased the Williams Electric Trains company, which has allowed the company to expand into the O scale market. The company suffered at first from faults with some of its models due to its uses of impure mazac which is an alloy of Magnesium, Aluminum, Zinc and Copper similar to Zamak.
New model railway enthusiast generally prefer the more robust and detailed Chinese-built models.
No more Atherin car kits to be had but I have 45 freight cars and a passenger train that I seldom use. For HO steam power, I have preferred BLI and MTH as my first choice, however Athearn has improved their product to keep pace and is generally less expensive with good performance.
I can live without working smoke, it leaves an oil residue on the engine and track, and we know oil on the track isnt a good thing in HO scale. I have not had trouble with mine yet but I am also very cerefull in how I run my shay's and maintain them prudently. I think quality control still needs tightening as both these problems involved badly inserted worm gearing and plastic main axle drive cogs.
No one seems to have mentioned that the Challenger and Big Boy had an inadequate connection between tender and loco--let alone the fact that Bowser did not produce a proper tender for either. As said many a time here, take your time building these locomotives as they will run like Swiss watches if the time is taken. Detail on the models was upgraded to make the product line more attractive to adult hobbyists. This acquisition also included the Rivarossi line of HO-scale products, also originally from Italy, and the Arnold brand of N-scale products. Because of dwindling interest in model railroading, the Brothers decided, in 1981, to sell to their manufacturer, the Chinese Kader Group. The way to tell these two types apart is that UK built models have a yellow sticker on the ends of the box and models built in China have a white sticker on the end.
Only reason I have it is I rode the 3985 in 1992 and 1995 and the purpose of the engine is not to haul passengers. Athearn's Big Boy uses a plastic body while I understand, BLI uses a Diecast body for heavier traction. Fill the axel with the mixture and shove the three components together removing the excess mixture that press out in the cracks. I have found Bachmann the most affordable for the quality of detail but research before you buy; They tend to be "hot and cold".
I'm disappointed with the quality, runs OK now, but took a while, & I'm not happy with the extra postage costs I incurred from Australia to USA. Some of the Western Maryland Engines are used on the Western Maryland layout at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum. It would often derail on curves while pulling a heavy load or when pushing the train in reverse. On the other end of the spectrum there was the Spectrum N&W 4-8-4 I purchased that could barely move itself, and that was only on straight and level track. The second one I have is one of the newer Spectrums with the power pickup in the tender and runs really good. I finally got thru to bachmann and I am told I will need to pay a fee,plus parts & shipping. You cannot back up one of those locos with any tender as such because the swing of the long loco will derail the tender on curves that are any but the most broad. I will buy more of these in the future for I love the process of building of these locomotives!
By 1980 the market was extremely tough and Dunbee-Combex-Marx was liquidated, placing Hornby in receivership. In November 2006, Hornby Hobbies acquired Airfix and Humbrol paints for the sum of ?2.6 million. The company name was changed to Bachmann Industries and the new owners started to expand the brand worldwide. These springs are longer and heavier so they limit the travel of the wheel and the bearing doesn't jam. Ive had this locomotive pull around 20 cars all with different types of trucks from smooth running to toy trains. However, the view seems to be (also my experience) is that if you want a H0 smoking, the MTH trains are the best.
I also have what was supposed to be a 2-10-4 Texas PRR, but for some reason has a UP tender on it.
Special modifications can be made, and I have done so along with special versions of Bowser K4s and others for clients.
In 1980 Hornby became Hornby Hobbies and in 1981 a management buyout saw the company back on a sound footing.
It is also part of the strategy to take over other failing companies in Europe and put them under one single name for example the British model railway company Graham Farish.
I am lucky that there are several very nice guys in my area that have great layouts and are very eager to help.
In my opinion, b oth Athearn and BLI offer great models of these engines so look at price and customer support in your consideration. I haven't found mine to be noisy at low speeds, unlike Bachmann Mountains, its just that they are so light they won't pull anything worth a damn up a grade.
Replacing the NMRA coupler was a pain, I had to shear off the orignal "coupler box" on the tender and drill, shim, and mount a Kadee coupler (with a screw).
Most of the manufacturers, including Bachman,have adapted the McHenry Kadee knock off couplers. Needless to say I returned it, saved up an extra $100 and purchased the MTH HO scale N&W 4-8-4. It was a little more expensive than my BLI Blueline 2-8-2 but the BLI didn't come with an engine decoder (only sound), so add that cost and the BLI was more expensive. In May 2008, Hornby announced the acquisition of Corgi Classics Limited, one of the world's oldest makers of collectable die-cast models of trucks, buses, cars and airplanes.
They are very inferior to the Kadees, won't stay coupled on long trains, and the knuckels break easily. I bought one and am very happy with the MTH Penn- K4; also enjoyed the sound system of MTH's K-4 (and this was heard by using my existing Spectrum power box).
I have a Bowser K4 with every conceivable detail and with a can motor that makes the loco run as quietly and smoothly as any plastic loco.
If you intend replacing the gears I suggest removing the small cradles that support the drive shafts. The only addition I had to make was to change the trucks and adding lighting to the passanger cars. I same some other Spectrum locos that seem OK - at least for now, but I will not buy another Spectrum. Also, the universal joints don't have enough lateral movement which requires some trimming of plastic inside the joint. I also have various Penn Line built and unbuilt kits and once owned a Penn Line Crusader which I sold for $2000 to a very happy buyer.
It will be listed as ( Nates HO N&W 611 "J" class ) in my opinion, it's the most beautiful passanger train of all time.

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