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16  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Spectrum Low-Boiler 4-6-0 prototypes to model on: November 29, 2017, 02:45:07 PM
Hi Trainman, thanks for your reply. Your stock is greater than mine, in all categories. You probably know about this, but if not, may I recommend "Slow Trains Down South" vol 1 "Daily 'Cept Sunday" and vol 2 "Deep In Dixie" by Mallory Ferrell. As well as the atmospheric scenes, prototypes of all of the Spectrum small steam appear in the over 500 combined pages trundling through the weeds or gently simmering at obscure halts. It is organized by railroad, which is additionally helpful.

Best Regards,
17  Discussion Boards / HO / Spectrum Low-Boiler 4-6-0 prototypes to model on: November 28, 2017, 06:52:33 PM
Hi, I found these web pages with some great photos of 4-6-0s that the Spectrum model could easily fit:, They are all on the Louisville & Wadley (Georgia), showing L&W 4-6-0s #6 and #41, and two styles of L&W lettering, and also Wrightsville & Tennille #43 operating on the line. Some great shots of mixed trains, and the last pic on page 4 of #43 with a single coach / baggage. For me these are ideal scenes to try to capture in minimum space modelling, possibly fed from interchangable 3-ft or 4-ft casettes.

Also shown is W&T 2-8-0 #208, virtually a 2-8-0 version of the low-boiler 4-6-0. This is the sort of loco I have on these pages previously urged Bachmann to add to their small steam fleet before they simplified the 4-6-0. However, a model without the fussy and archaic detail would not be worthwhile, we already have one from Roundhouse. I have Ma & Pa Baldwin 2-8-0 #26 in brass by Aristocraft, and what I would have liked Bachmann to do was to have added that class, which was a Baldwin "off-the-shelf" design of wide application, to their Ma & Pa fleet, in the days before they decided to abandon high-end small steam models.

Fortunately I have a good stock of unlettered Spectrum Baldwin and Richmond 4-4-0s, low and high boiler 4-6-0s, and Russian Decapods, all great models full of character. Thank goodness for the Decapod, a truly characterful loco, only 10 inches long over couplers, that will fit on a small RR and be at home in a rural backwater. Let us hope that those molds never get "simplified" for the sake of shaving a few pennies off the price. Apart from loss of detail, one problem with moulding the pipework onto the boiler is that you cannot then move it to represent different locos more accurately. You can do that with a cleanly molded boiler and separate pipework.

Happy Modelling,

18  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Spectrum 4-6-0: Putting the low-boiler superstructure on the high boiler drive on: November 26, 2017, 12:29:42 PM
Wow, you are a braver man than me! Useful photo.

Best Regards,
19  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HELP! DCC loco gone crazy! on: November 26, 2017, 12:19:41 PM
Hi, in extremis you can remove the decoder from the loco and re-program it on the bench, which is where it was programmed in the first place. Google to find out how.

Good luck,
20  Discussion Boards / HO / Spectrum 4-6-0 question on: November 12, 2017, 03:20:13 PM
Hi, can anyone confirm whether the cabs for the "Low Boiler" and "High Boiler" 4-6-0 models are interchangable? I am wondering about fitting the spare "Wood" cab that comes with the undec low boiler model to the high boiler model.

21  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Ex-Spectrum Baldwin 2-8-0 and Southern #630 Question? on: July 18, 2017, 11:02:26 AM
Thanks. I know about the green one, I was hoping there might be a black one. #630 seems to have spent its entire life on branchline service, as did many others, and is unlikely to have seen green paint!. I have a pair of SOU ALCo Modern 2-6-0s of the "Sound Value" variety, and a with sound 2-8-0 would be a nice companion for them. I do have the NC&StL Spectrum 2-8-0 to keep them company for the moment. I know the 4-4-0 came out in green and black, but i prefer the big #s on the tender to the gold lining of either of those. Perhaps unjustifiably, the green 2-8-0 shouts "Train Set" to me!

The Southern USRA light 2-8-2 and 2-10-2 are nice models too. The 2-10-2 is no longer in the catalogue and is described as "Discontinued" in the spares section of this website, and as there seems no reason to discontinue a good-looking loco I am guessing it is being re-tooled with all the detail cast in, so those original bodies in the parts store may be valuable commodities!

Best Regards,
22  Discussion Boards / HO / Ex-Spectrum Baldwin 2-8-0 and Southern #630 Question? on: July 17, 2017, 06:04:44 PM
Hi, I have been looking at SOU 2-8-0 #630 on the Tennessee Valley Railroad. This loco was built by Richmond in 1904 but looks very like the old Spectrum, now standard line loco (except that #630's tender might be shorter and with higher raised coal sides). (see

I am wondering, was the Spectrum Connie ever issued for the SOU, or even as #630? If not, might I suggest that it ought to be!!!!!

23  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: my modern 4-4-0 steam runs fine on dc but stops frequently on dcc on: July 17, 2017, 05:52:39 PM
DCC is much more sensitive to interruptions of power or short circuits, e.g. when going through turnouts, than is DC. It may be a problem with your track, so checking your trackwork for dead-spots, etc., or fitting a "stay alive" element might help. I had a layout built with DC  but wired for conversion to DCC, i.e. all tracks live all the time. On DC there was a problem with two turnouts, one of which was a PECO small radius wye, and I think the other was a PECO small radius. Basically with my original DC controller GP7s and up ran through them fine even at slow speeds, but shorter switchers, e.g. EMD SWs and ALCo S-1-4 stalled unless run through really fast. But when I connected a DCC controller everything stalled on those turnouts.

Best of luck solving your issue,
24  Discussion Boards / HO / Question re the Sound Value ALCo 2-6-0 on: April 28, 2017, 01:13:16 PM
I have a pair of these locos with sound value, Southern #7080 (from a set) and #7082 (BAC #51815). These are great little locos but I have one question. Stationary or moving, both of them make a curious constant sizzling sound, like cross between a kettle simmering or bacon frying. This is not the loco frying - it stops when I mute the sound. But I do not have this sound on any of my other Tsunami locos, though these are my only "Sound Value" models. Is this normal, and what is it supposed to be? I spend some time around real steam engines, and they don't make this sound. It is a background noise, quite separate from the chuffs, blowers, etc. I am running them on DCC with an MRC Prodigy Advance 2.

I would be grateful for any enlightenment!

25  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO loco to tender cable in parts store question????? on: March 20, 2017, 07:55:47 PM
Hi, thanks for your reply. So far as I know this double-ended cable was only supplied with the Vandy tender when it was sold as a separate item, not when it came with, e.g., the Baldwin 2-8-0. Bachmann stopped selling the Vandy tender on its own some years ago.

The 2+4 socket is listed in the parts store under Universal HO Parts, but is sold out. 2+4 connector cables are also listed and are in stock, but they have a plug on one end only. If I cannot find what I need ready-made I can buy these and make it, but that is a waste.

Best Regards,
26  Discussion Boards / HO / HO loco to tender cable in parts store question????? on: March 12, 2017, 03:55:33 PM
Hi, when sold on its own the medium Vanderbilt tender came with a loco to tender cable set with plugs on both ends, so it could connect the Vandy tender, which had sockets, to a loco which also had sockets like the Spectrum 4-6-0. I have been searching the parts store for this cable but cannot find it. The parts store is organised by loco, which does not help in this case. Does anyone know where that cable is or the parts number, please?

27  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann's Spectrum 4-4-0s for the SAL - some notes on their history. on: February 11, 2017, 12:27:05 PM
Baldwin Modern 4-4-0

Spectrum 80129 - Baldwin 4-4-0 SAL #106  DCC & Tsunami Sound fitted.

Spectrum 80104 - Baldwin 4-4-0 SAL #108  DCC Fitted.

Both models: Steel cab, alternative pilot and tender trucks and wheels, cow-catcher, chimneys, and old-time boiler domes included as spares in sealed parts bags; only coal load for tender, no oil bunker, though you get an oil bunker as a spare in the undecorated Baldwin.

What were the origins of SAL 4-4-0s #106 and #108?

These two locos were built by Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1889 for the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railway. Their RI works #s were 2254 (#108) and 2282 (#106). Both locos were also named. #106 was “J.A. Hendrick” and #108 was “G.W. Glover”.

In 1895 the SA&M became the Georgia & Alabama Rly. 4-4-0s #106 and #108 are indicated by Prince to have kept their numbers and possibly their names right through three changes of company identity / ownership from 1899 to their renumbering in 1916.

The G&A became part of the Seaboard on 1 July 1900. The pair were designated SAL Class D1 and E17 at different times - I don't know the dates. They retained their previous #s until August 1916, when #106 became #128 and #108 became #129.

SAL #129, ex-#108 only lasted three more years, and was retired on 31 March 1919 at Jacksonville, Florida.

SAL #128, ex-#106 lasted almost to the end of the 4-4-0 type on the SAL, and was retired in October 1928, also at Jacksonville.

I cannot make definitive comments on how close the Spectrum models are to the real #106 and 108, as I have not found any photos of either engine. However, one thing is clear, whilst Bachmann have used the same boiler casting for their Richmond and Baldwin 4-4-0s, and so their #106 and #108 models are much the same size as their Richmond #159, the real #106 and #108 were much smaller engines. This is not surprising as they were built ten years earlier than #159. Specifically:

#106 + #108 had 63” drivers, engine weight 94,800 lbs, max axle load 31,200lb (estimated), and could run on 52lb per yard rail. They had 140 psi boilers and could produce 13,101 lbs tractive effort.  They had 73,000 lb tenders with 3,000 gal water capacity.

#159 + #160 had 69” drivers, engine weight 122,800 lbs, max axle load 37,450 lbs, and required minimum 62lb per yard rail. They had 185 psi boilers and could produce 20,675 lbs tractive effort.  They had 95,800 lb tenders with 4,200 gal water capacity.

Original source for the above data is the SAL locomotive diagrams, and much fuller info can be found here:

So what else can be said for the modeller about the originals in the absence of photos?

They were built for the SA&M in 1889, two years before it reached Alabama, and I think it possible that they were built as wood burners. There is a photo on page 81 of “Seaboard Air Line Railway – Steam Boats, Locomotives, and History” by Richard E Prince that shows SA&M Baldwin 2-6-0 #101, also built 1889, and it has a huge hopper chimney. This looks like a builders photo, and there is no fuel visible in the tender, but it looks like a wood burner to me!

Would they have stayed as wood burners, and if so, for how long? There are two builders photos of a 4-4-0 and a 4-6-0 built in 1896 for the G&A which have straight stovepipe chimneys but no fuel in their tenders to absolutely confirm their fuel, and there is a photo of a 4-6-0 built in 1898 for the G&A which has a stovepipe chimney and a tender heaped with coal. The implication is that the SA&M switched to coal, at least for its main line, in the early to mid-1890s. By then this pair would have already become small locos with comparatively limited power, and so may have gone to branch line duties rather than been modernised to burn coal.

As they both retired in Florida there is a distinct possibility that even if they were converted to coal in the 1890s they were converted back to wood-burners in later life. However, Bachmann do not supply a wood fuel option with any of their Baldwin models and the wood load and railings from their Richmond do not fit without modification as the tenders are different and have different shaped coal spaces.

Maybe builders photos exist in the archives of the Rhode Island Locomotive Works if those survive. And maybe photos exist in local collections around the Savannah – Montgomery line or around Jacksonville?

Finally for your railroad, this pair carried the numbers on the Spectrum models from first building in 1889, but in SAL lettering from July 1900 to August 1916. Thus with those #s they only overlapped Spectrum “Richmond” 4-4-0 SAL #159 for about 10 months, from 23 October 1915 when it received the #159 to August 1916 when #106 + #108 became #128 + #129.

A curious point about the various re-numberings is that I have not found any other locos that took up the vacant #s 106 and 108 in 1916, so they were not renumbered to make way for other locos. The only benefit seems to be that their new #s, 128 & 129, were adjacent, so it may have been done for class reasons.

Overall verdict – whilst it is not possible to verify the accuracy of these models as #106 and 108, they are very typical of lots of SAL 4-4-0s carrying 100 series #s between 1900-30. There is also plenty of licence to fit coal or wood fuel loads, or even oil, as the SAL did have some oil burners in Florida, seemingly to avoid lawsuits when sparks from its woodburners set fire to crops and buildings.

28  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann's Spectrum 4-4-0s for the SAL - some notes on their history. on: February 05, 2017, 05:14:13 PM
No, I am sure not. I have traced and extracted info on two out of several hundred locos from 16 pages of tables and several chapters of text, and interpreted two photographs. I have also summarised information that is widely available in the public domain, namely the dates when the SAL and other RRs re-organised. I have not quoted text or presented information in the way it was presented in its sources.

There are two types of copyright law in the US. Criminal copyright laws prohibit the unacknowledged use of another’s intellectual property for the purpose of financial gain. That is clearly not the case here.

Civil copyright laws are broader and depend on the type of material. The material here would come under the category "Compilations of facts and the sweat of the brow doctrine". Under this "Mere facts are not copyrightable. However, compilations of facts may be copyrightable material. Copyright protection in compilations is limited to the selection and arrangement of facts, not to the facts themselves."

29  Discussion Boards / HO / Bachmann's Spectrum 4-4-0s for the SAL - some notes on their history. on: February 05, 2017, 01:36:11 PM
Spectrum 83408 "Richmond" 4-4-0 SAL #159 (wood cab) (coal, oil, or wood load for tender)
DCC Fitted.

A while ago I did a note here about the actual locos represented by the Bachmann Spectrum 4-4-0 models. I have now gone through the tables at the rear of "Seaboard Air Line Railway – Steam Boats, Locomotives, and History" by Richard E Prince to find more precise info on their origins, lives and fates.


After the SAL absorbed several subsidiary lines in 1900 it owned 154 4-4-0 locomotives, mostly inherited from these RRs, so there were considerable differences between them. Many had started life as mainline passenger engines, but by WW1 they had been displaced and were employed on branch line and local services. The last two SAL 4-4-0s, #101 and #166, were retired from the SAL proper on 31 December 1936.

Many of the 4-4-0s operating on the SAL in Florida before WW1 burned wood, which was available and cheaper than bringing in coal. As older Florida engines were retired some coal-burning 4-4-0s from elsewhere migrated to Florida and were converted to wood-burners, but whether before or after arrival I don't know. By then technical advances had moved the spark arrestors from the chimney to the smoke-box, thereby eliminating the characteristic bulbous chimney of earlier wood burning locos and making them hard to distinguish from coal burning locos, so the Spectrum 4-4-0s are fine to represent them. Wood-burners began to disappear from the SAL in Florida after WW1, but I have not found when they finally went.

SAL 4-4-0 #159 + #160 (Only #159 has been used by Bachmann, for their “Richmond Modern” 4-4-0. There is a photo of sister #160 at Savannah in 1919 on page 133 of “Seaboard Air Line Railway – Steam Boats, Locomotives, and History” by Richard E Prince.)

In 1898 the Florida Central & Peninsular Railway ordered two new 4-4-0s for mainline passenger service, FC&P #73 & #74. They were built by The Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works at Paterson, New Jersey in December 1898. Works numbers were 2415 and 2416.  There is what looks like a builder’s photo of FC&PRR #73 on page 79 of "Seaboard Air Line Railway – Steam Boats, Locomotives, and History" by Richard E Prince.

The SAL absorbed the FC&P on 1 July 1900 and re-numbered all of the FC&P locomotives into its 300 series, at which time FC&P #73 and #74 became SAL #354 and #355 respectively. At the same time the SAL allocated SAL #354 and #355 to class E6. Before WW1 the SAL began renumbering its locos by wheel arrangement, and the surviving 4-4-0s were given the 100 series. SAL #354 was renumbered to SAL #159 on 23 October 1915, and SAL #355 was re-numbered to SAL #160 on 3 November 1915. They were both retired on 31 October 1930, #159 at Arcadia, Florida and #160 at Savannah, Georgia, so they had drifted apart in their later days.

As #159 ended its days at Arcadia it is tempting to believe that it may have been a wood burner. It depends on whether it was originally built or converted to burn wood, and if so whether the SAL would have bothered to convert such an old engine back to burn coal after WW1 or left it to burn wood until retirement in 1930. In the builders photo of #73 the tender is empty, so it is not possible to say if it was originally built for wood or for coal. Other FC&P 4-4-0s photographed in service around 1900 definitely have wood in their tenders, but they also have metal rails around their tender tops like those that come with the Bachmann wood load. #73 does not have these rails in the photo, but nor do the other FC&P 4-4-0 builders photos, so they may have been fitted after delivery.

My #159 came in the old Spectrum “big black box”, with coal in the tender but complete with alternate wood load or oil tank for the tender. It came fitted with a medium slatted “cow catcher”, but a with larger one and a smaller solid plow in a bag. Unlike the Baldwin 4-4-0 it does not come with a set of alternative pilot and tender trucks or wheels, or a choice of chimneys.

In the photo of #160, dated 1919 and so eleven years before retirement, it is hard to tell what the fuel is. There is no coal or wood showing over the tender top, and there might be an oil bunker or that might be part of something behind the loco. However, all the other photos of SAL 4-4-0s in Georgia and Alabama in the 1920s and 1930s show tenders heaped with coal. That includes #173, also photographed at Savannah in 1919, and I am guessing the SAL would not have operated a mix of fuels in the same section.

So how does the Spectrum model compare with the 1898 (#73) and 1919 (#160) photos of the originals? I will start at the front:

#73 has a large slatted cow-catcher, available in the spares bag. #160 appears to have the smaller version as fitted to the model, so both can be matched;

#73 has spoked pilot wheels. #160 has solid pilot wheels, as does my model. But I have seen one on ebay with spoked pilot wheels, and they are available from the Baldwin 4-4-0 spares if needed.

#73 has a large, square headlight mounted on the smokebox. #160 has a smaller round electric light, close to but maybe slightly smaller than the model, so we are close enough for post WW1 days;

#73 has a straight chimney, distinctly taller than either dome, and virtually identical to the model. By 1919 #160 has acquired a shorter, flared chimney, the same height as #1 dome. The model does not match the latter, but the chimney is a separate part attached with a screw so it can be changed. The spare chimneys in the Baldwin 4-4-0 are the right shape but too tall, but could be shortened;

#73 and #160 have identical, tapered boilers and the model looks very similar;

#73 has smooth but slightly less modern domes than the model, but not as ancient as the ringed domes on the Spectrum Baldwin. #160 has more modern domes, still not the perfectly smooth bell-shape of the model, but close enough. The dome covers are removable parts, and so could be modified by the purist, or even replaced, and again I assume are interchangeable with the older varieties supplied with the Baldwin;

#73 has a wood cab as on the model. #160 still has a wood cab in 1919, though it has acquired full-length sun-shades above the windows. It is tempting to assume that the SAL did not bother to replace the cab before scrapping in 1930. The cab lettering on #160 is consistent with Bachmann’s lettering on #160 in terms of location and style. So the cab on the model is fine.

#73 has a tender virtually identical to the tender with Bachmann’s Baldwin 4-4-0 rather than their Richmond. #160 has a modified or newer tender which now had raised sheeting beside the coal space which makes it closer to the Richmond, though there seems to be no outward flare at the top as on the model.  My verdict – close enough. Style, size and placement of tender numerals on #160 match those on Bachmann’s  #159.

#73 has tender trucks which match those on Bachmann’s Richmond. The tender trucks on #160 are completely different, nor do they match either of the alternatives supplied with Bachmann’s Baldwin.

The tender of Bachmann’s #159 is fitted with chains to restrict the swing of the trucks on tight curves and in the event of derailment. #73 has no such fittings. #160 has what might be tethers, but they are differently arranged and independent to each truck.

Overall verdict – Spectrum #159 will do fine and can justify the wood load.

All the above means that SAL #160 is still available to Bachmann for this model, as indeed are #354 and #355.

I will post a note on "Baldwin" 4-4-0s #106 and #108 when I have finished it.

30  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Spectrum Southern 4-6-0 #1004, 1006 Prototype Question on: January 26, 2017, 11:20:05 AM
Hi, I have not yet taken the chains out of the bag for #1004 to inspect them, but:

On my Ma & Pa #6 (which is a "Richmond" with their Richmond tender, which is not quite the same as their small Baldwin tender) Bachmann have inserted a metal pin with an eye into the outer ends of the truck side-frames, and the ends of the chain are attached to those eyes, so the last link on the actual chain is a normal sized link.

On my #1004 the tender truck sideframes have small hooks on top of each end of each sideframe. I am not sure if these are plastic or metal, and if plastic they will be fragile and as they are open hooks I can see the chains frequently falling out, but... Remember that the prototype purpose of the chains is to restrict the swing of the trucks and to do that they must be attached to the trucks at their outer ends.

Best Regards,
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