Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: punkin on April 30, 2015, 09:42:09 PM

Title: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on April 30, 2015, 09:42:09 PM
Hello all,  :)

I'm new to trains...never had one, always wanted one and now getting ready to jump in. I'm very much looking forward to finally having a set. My dad had one when I was very very young and only recall this from old photos. I'm an old man now myself and something keeps telling me that I would like to give this a try.

I am looking at something very simple to start. I am torn between the Bachmann G scale 81395 4-4-0 or the 91602 4-6-0 "anniversary". I would very much like some opinions on which to get. They both look really great to me but based on the info below and keeping in mind I would like the better, most robust train...which would you choose? I do not intend to have a big set...maybe an engine, the tender, a passenger car or two and a caboose. Nothing more. Just enough to keep myself and the cat amused :)

I would like to say, please consider that I'm not looking to develop a grand scale anything. Just a little track in the middle of the room . I just want to get a nice quality train and explore where this might take me. I don't have a yard (I live in an appartment) and don't plan for anything grand.

I've read that these things need about 8' diameter to function properly and I think I may (just maybe) have a spot where I could make this fit. I would like to start with the smallest foot print possible. I don't yet have a grasp on all the lingo for tracks and curves and such so if someone could offer up what I might need for tracks that would be great. I do plan to put this down on my floor which has a really short closed loop and very dense carpet. Seriously this stuff feels like indoor/outdoor carpet with almost nothing for pad underneath so I really don't thing stability should be a problem. I do worry a little about some of the things I've heard where the trains and or tracks could wear and leave residue on the carpet but everything I've read on these concerns seem to relate to smaller scales.

I'll also need a power unit as I plan to avoid batteries. Again if you have an opinion or recommendation I welcome it.

I know I've asked for a lot here and being my first post probably not the best way to introduce myself but as I mentioned previously, something is drawing me to want to do this and I'm trying not to over think and eventually talk myself out of it. I am very inclinded to go the route of a G scale as small fiddly things are for younger folks, I'm on the fence regarding the two trains mentioned earlier and could really use some help figuring out a simple simple track layout and a power pack.

I thank each of you very VERY much for taking the time to read and consider a response to my lengthy post.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: uscgtanker on May 01, 2015, 09:44:17 AM
Hello new member in the grand scale of model railroading. We have all jumped on the flat car at one time and know what your going through. For what you are looking for on track will be easy to find and since your running inside cleaning won't be a big problem. The 2 locos you picked are up to you, do you want the style size and decoration of the 1:20.3 4-4-0 or the 4-6-0, price will vary between the 2. I love the larger scale of 1:20.3 narrow gauge that allow me to scratch build rolling stock that aren't available. Your power pack for track voltage you can get a simple little control from bachmann or go to trainmaster controls. For rolling stock a line of passenger cars and a caboose are a nice idea and you have plenty to pic from. A starter set would fit your needs well. I have a 60' oval of track that works well and 2 locos a climax and a 2-8-0 both have served me very well.

railroading is a great hobby and help mentally and physically, enjoy what you can do with the hobby. if you want to go more find a local large scale model club or some friends that are close by that love trains.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: zubi on May 01, 2015, 10:23:57 AM
Punkin, The engines will leave some residue if you run them a lot. But you do not need to worry if you just make an occasional test run... None of these locomotives you list is very robust. Personally, I would choose the 4-4-0, it is more detailed and more prototypical - which you may start to appreciate some time. Get a simple circle of track, the largest diameter possible and a simple DC power pack and have fun. This is how I got started, some 100 engines ago;-)... Best wishes from Tokyo, Zubi

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 01, 2015, 01:17:18 PM
Thanks very much to you both for taking the time to reply.

I may have understated how new and little I really know about this hobby. I realize that power supplies come in different sizes (amps and volts) but I don't know what would be required for my situation. Is there some specification I should be looking for?

To Zubi,...I am a little concerned about your comment that neither of these trains is very robust. Would you say that these are particularly problematic? I'm not sure what I should be looking for so as to get  something of good reputation and quality. What types of concerns would you have with the two trains on my wish list?

Again, thank you very much for the welcome and advice.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: charon on May 01, 2015, 02:02:20 PM
I don't know what Zubi's talking about.
That 91602 4-6-0 is an excellent running, well made loco. I have one of the 4-6-0's I bought over 20 years ago and it still runs perfect.
Also, it will negotiate the 2'-0" radius track, no problem.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on May 01, 2015, 03:31:12 PM
Punkin, Welcome to the fun of Large scale railroading!!!   I have to agree with chuck,  I have both the 4-4-0 and the Anniversary 4-6-0.   Of the two the Anniversary 4-6-0 is far more robust than the 4-4-0.  I love them both but have had several issues with the 4-4-0, but none at all with any of my four Annie 4-6-0's.   The Annie is extremely robust and trouble free.  Either the version 5 or version six chassis are fine.

If I could have only one Bachmann Steam locomotive it would be the Annie 4-6-0.

Again welcome ;), but watch out you may get hooked and want more than one locomotive!!


Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 01, 2015, 05:35:45 PM
Thanks very much Bill and Charon. I was drawn to both of them as they look like very nice old wild wild west day trains. I thought the 4-4-0 because having fewer wheels would do a smaller track more easily but I like the looks of them both equally. I'm going to place my order this evening. I need to make the order before I change my mind...jump into the pool as they say.

I've heard this name "Annie" on different places in the Web. What does this mean? Is this the name of someone famous?

Now to determine track and power supply. I see that one of that track makers makes "L1, L2, L3" track. Seemingly has something to do with the profile of the metal part I think. Which would be recommended?

Again, thanks to everyone for the advice!

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: RkyGriz on May 01, 2015, 06:55:53 PM
Hi, Punkin:
 I've been doing this for over 10 years myself and there are many different models and makers to choose from. The Bachmann 4-4-0 is a real beauty, but it will not pull a lot of cars. The 4-6-0 Anniversary "Annie" Edition will pull more than 15 cars (my record is currently 17 mixed cars. Here's a link to one of my youtube videos so you can check it out if you'd like :
The Anniversary Edition 4-6-0 is very robust and well made. Plus, it's easy to lubricate and maintain and you'll not find a better loco in the price range. I own 4 of them myself, if that tells you anything. Best deals on them can be found on Ebay or even Craigslist. I paid under $100.00 for each of mine on Ebay, so that's probably your best bet. Just make sure that the seller is reputable by checking his feedback profile. Check out the pics carefully, as the Anniversary Edition 4-6-0 has metal drive rods, pipes, and fittings that a standard 4-6-0 lacks (plastic drive rods, less piping, and an overall lack of detail.)
Now, if you would prefer a 4-4-0, there's one currently available on Ebay that I would die to own. It is a Eureka and Palisade (a Nevada Narrow Gauge Rail Road ) and the seller says that it's New In Box. The current bid is $150.00 + $33.32 shipping, and it's beautiful.
All of my trains are run on Lionel G Scale brass  track. For power, I run all of my trains with an old (made 1987 and part of their G Scale starter sets) Lionel #4060 transformer which provides plenty of power for lights. It's more than adequate for my needs as ,like you are planning to do, I run all of my trains indoors and take them up and put them away when I'm done since my wife and I have pets.
Anyway, I hope this helped!

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 01, 2015, 07:56:20 PM
Hello RkyGriz,

This is very helpful. In my long drawn out research I did see your video several times before. I would like something very much like what you have there but maybe intially slightly smaller...I don't think I need that many cars...two or three cars would be great. I like your set up.

Being very new and not even knowing what some the lingo being used means (who is "Annie"?), I'm thinking to go to a single retailer for a single purchase only that if I have any complications fewer points of contact. Also, I'm in no position to do any tinkering/experimentation since I have no idea what I'm doing. I've been browsing the web. The online store that seems to have a good variety and seemingly good rates is the trainworld people. I'm trying not to get others to do the homework for me so I'm trying to pick this up quickly. This is my shopping list which I think (and do dearly hope). If anyone would care to have a look to see if I'm missing anything I would be grateful. If I'm over spending on something I would even more appreciate the input.

Bachmann 4-6-0 (It looks very good to me and I like the color)

LGB Track (8' diameter...I surely hope so...I'm not so sure)

LGB Joiners (3 each)

LGB Track Clips (I think these are needed to hold the tracks together)

LBG Track Terminals (connectors to apply power to the rails)

LGB Power Supply (golly this part is expensive)

I surely hope this is all or more than what's required...I'm learning this isn't a poor man's hobby.

Thank you RkyGriz!

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: zubi on May 01, 2015, 08:41:55 PM
Punkin, great choice of LGB track and power supply! These are very robust products. You do not need joiners, as they are included with every piece of track, unless you have some specific use in mind. Best wishes from Tokyo, Zubi
PS Annie is short for Anniversary edition of the 4-6-0, they modified the loco chassis n-th time and added some detail, but the tender is still the original unimpressive moulding. The particular colour scheme you chose is not prototypical for this locomotive (which is one of the ET&NWC "Tweetsie" engines"). The bumble bee colour scheme was used on D&RGW C-16 #268 for 1949 Chicago Railroad Fair and later to mimic this scheme on C-18 #319, K-28 #473 and K-36 #483 for use in films. This was all for fun, not as a regular paint scheme, although #268 retained the yellow paint scheme later in service.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: RkyGriz on May 01, 2015, 08:50:56 PM
You're welcome. Great selections there. LGB is high quality track.It's good stuff,but I personally use Lionel brass track(with the Bachmann wired track terminals that are similar to the ones offered by LGB), as I like the way the bottom snaps together so it doesn't come apart. The Lionel track also has pins together (just like the o-27 track they make does) and I just purchased two 12 packs of them on Ebay for an amazing price of only $3.00 per pack with $2.80 shipping. The pins can be hard to find and are usually expensive. In fact, there's a guy who sells them on Ebay for $1.29 per pin! So $3.00 per 12 is dirt cheap.The Bumble Bee paint scheme is one of my favorites that I've thought about for a few years but have always decided against as I prefer my 3 basic black/white paint scheme locomotives, which are painted in a way which portrays early 20th century rail road colors more  realistically .  My 4th Bachmann is their Anniversary Edition Denver & Rio Grande #12. It's a beauty painted light blue and brown, and it's made to look like a late 19th century wood burner, and that works since most locomotives were brightly painted and festooned with brass back in the 1800's. Maybe some day. The LGB power source is a little pricey, buy , it's quality and quality is what you want for many years of enjoyment. I prefer Ebay for nearly all of my train needs myself, with the only exception being the Bachmann parts department for things that are either not available on Ebay or somebody has it for sale on Ebay, but they have priced it way above the actual price that you can buy it here for.
All in all, I think that you made some pretty good choices.
Anyway, I hope you will enjoy your purchases for many years to come. Welcome to the fun world of G Scale modeling!

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 01, 2015, 09:19:27 PM
I thank you,

I will research the lion track and see if I can get it at a better price. I was surprised at how expensive the power unit and tracks would be. I won't let this stop me though. If I were to commit to this shopping list, do you think this would get something in motion on the floor?

I realize that you're distant and only trying to help and certainly wouldn't think you accountable in any way, I just don't know about the incidentals and details of building a setup like this. Do you think my shopping list is reasonably complete?

Who is "Annie"?

And a kind thank you.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: Chuck N on May 01, 2015, 09:22:02 PM
As to engine one the 4-4-0 is a late 19th century locomotive, post civil war, the 4-6-0 is an early 20th century engine.  What era interests you?  

As to track, go with the largest diameter curves you can.  As time goes on you will acquire more engines and cars.  You may want a larger engine and it might not like less than 8' or 10' diameter curves.  Better to buy larger curves now than buy track twice when you out grow your original curves.  Been there, done that.

The Annie is an upgraded version, top of the line, an upgraded Big Hauler.  More metal in the drive train.

As to power supply.  A starter set power supply is minimal.  It may work or may not.  It will depend on the diameter, any grades, and the number of cars you are pulling.  Most starter set power supplies have less than 1 amp output.  I figure, when determining the power needs, 1 amp per motor.  Sound, lights (engine and cars) add to the power needed. Again go for the highest output you can afford.  I would suggest a minimum of 5amps, 10 or more would be better.  I have a train that pulls 7 amps.  Two F3 diesels (two motors each) and 6 passenger cars lighted (0.5 amps per car).  Sound also adds to your power needs.


Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 01, 2015, 09:58:31 PM
Thank you Chuck N,

You sound like a very experienced train person. I like the look of both trains and didn't realize they were from different eras. I know nothing about the history of them but I will try to learn more. Only a few days ago did I realize what the 4-4-0 meants (4 wheels up front and 4 wheels in the middle and 0 wheels in the back). This kept me busy for many days. A tender is where they put the coal, wood and water. They both look like wild wild west trains to me and I do like that steam engine period. I really like the big simple mechanical things.

I'm sure many of the more experienced struggle with the folks like me that don't know what we're looking at. I appreciate the history and the hobby but I'm not sophisticated in this area. I didn't want one of the trains that look very unrealistic and toy like but I don't think I'm ready for a replica/restoration and exact detail thing quite yet.

My space for this is rather small. I think 8 ft. diameter will be a challange but I will make it work.

As to the power supply recommendation, thank you very much. I will look for something with a bit of energy. I stuggle with this as many of the seller sights don't give all of the specifications. But again, I do thank you.

Have a good evening.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: RkyGriz on May 02, 2015, 12:30:39 AM
Annie is a contraction of the word "Anniversary" hence Annie is the nickname given to these locomotives. Get it? Anyway, the 8 foot radius track is perfect for these locomotives. Contrary to what anyone else says, it's been my experience that these 4-6-0 locomotives need a curve diameter radius of at least 5 feet. Their wheels scrape on anything less than a 5 foot radius. I have three different diameter tracks:
Lionel 4 foot radius brass tracks which are perfect for my 2 Lionel and 1 Hartland Locomotive works 4-4-0 to run on all day. The Bachmann 4-6-0's are too large for this smaller diameter track and they have a tendency to scrape on the inside rails and there is always brass scrapings on the underside of my 4-6-0 locomotives. They perform the same on the 4 foot steel alloy track supplied in all Bachmann starter sets and ,in my opinion, the Bachmann steel alloy tracks are junk and I immediately sell them on Ebay after buying a complete starter set.
Lionel 5 foot radius brass tracks which handles all of my locomotives with minimal scraping of  the 4-6-0 wheels on the inside rails.
American Mail Line (AML) 8 foot radius solid Aluminum rail  track. Light weight, solid aluminum rails are a big advantage. They're easy to clean and they are also less expensive than solid brass track .  I've owned mine for over 2 years and I have never seen any scrapings from them on the underside  of my 4-6-0 locomotives. This track also transfers power very well and I haven't had any issues. They're currently on back order  and the cost is $85.50 with free shipping. I'm getting ready to order their 1 foot aluminum straight tracks which cost $32.50 for 12 pieces and free shipping. Check it out here if you're interested:
Notice that it's considerably less expensive than most other brands and it's usable indoors. It would work great for you since you're only planning to build an indoor layout. It would also be an excellent choice if you are concerned about the cost.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: Chuck N on May 02, 2015, 07:45:58 AM
My recommendation if you think you want aluminum rails is to do some checking on other large scale forum sites.  i use There are as many detractors and there are supporters.  Yes, it is inexpensive, but some have reported electrical conductivity problems--rail to rail and rail to engine.

It is ideal for live steam and battery, but the problems have come with track power.

Aluminum metal is an excellent conductor,  the problem comes when the metal is exposed to air.  aluminum metal loves oxygen.  Aluminum oxide forms almost instantly.  That is why soldering and welding it requires special procedures.  Aluminum oxide is an insulator.


Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: Chastity on May 02, 2015, 01:32:06 PM
Various track materials have their pluses and mines.  Aluminum is relatively inexpensive but as pointed out the oxide is non-conductive.  It is also softer material and stepping on it can put a kink or dent in it.  Again as pointed out, very popular for battery and live steam.

Brass in a pretty good all around compromise between conductivity and cleaning. 

If you are not into cleaning track much then stainless steel is probably the best.  Virtually no cleaning involved.  It is overall less conductive than the above materials so long runs require more feeders.  It is also very robust rail.

The Aniversary or Annies are good starters and will squeeze around something less that 8ft diameter.  I still have one stuffed away someplace in the closet.  Poor thing, but I have no doubt it would still run. 

On a different note, America and the UK primarily use what is called the Whyte system for designation of steam locomotives.

Thus a 4-6-0 would be a four wheel lead truck, six driven wheels and no trailing wheels.

In Europe this would be a 2-C-0.  They count the axles with numbers being non-driven and letters being driven axles.

Bachmann's excellent out of production mallet (named after the inventor) is a 2-6-6-2T in Whyte system.  That translates to two wheel lead, six driving wheels with their own set of cylinders, another six drive wheels with their own set of cylinders, a two wheel trailing truck and no tender.  All the water and fuel being carried in Tanks (thus the T for Tank) on the locomotive.  Some authors to indicate that the locomotive is articulated (can bend) use a + to indicate where that is located so in the above example it would be 2-6+6-2T.

Get started, have fun and in no time you will burning digits with live steam!

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: RkyGriz on May 02, 2015, 04:54:03 PM
I personally prefer brass track and I mostly mentioned the aluminum track to save him money and because he said that he's only planning on running his trains indoors. My experience with the AML (Accucraft) solid aluminum rail track has been positive. I ,too, researched the use of aluminum track on the internet and I read posts about them at, among other websites, but my conclusion was that the oxidation problems were prevalent when the track was set up outdoors and exposed to more humid environments than where I live( I don't know why I said it was good for outdoor use earlier. I guess that I wasn't paying enough attention to what I was typing! Oh,well. I fixed that!). Indoors, they've worked out just fine and haven't shown any sign of oxidization so far . They get that grease-like metal residue on them just the same as the brass tracks do but they are easy to clean with a Scotch Brite pad. The brass track on the other hand often requires light sanding to remove tarnish, as a Scotch Brite pad isn't quite rough enough to remove the tarnish from it. I don't think that the aluminum track is suitable for outside use due to oxidization problems which have a negative effect on conductivity but in my experience, they are just fine for indoor use with electric locomotives. I've even accidentally stepped on the tracks a few times without damaging them and I weigh around 200 pounds.
Of course, I live in a dry environment (Nevada) and I can see the potential for problems with rails made from this type of material if you live somewhere that's much more humid, such as the mid-west or east coast ,since the humidity out there is horrible and gets into everything. So brass or stainless steel (although stainless steel rusts and is harder to clean than brass is)would probably be the better way to go if you live somewhere with constant high humidity.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 04, 2015, 06:04:16 PM
I would like to say thanks once again to each of you for your advice. After much planning, I have placed an orde for what I'm hoping will be complete enough to get something happening.

I ended up ordering the 4-6-0 only because the range of selection wasnt there for me in the 4-4-0 version. The 4-4-0s I could afford didn't come in color schemes that I really cared for.
I ordered a 5' radius LGB track which I hope I won't end up regretting. If it becomes a problem I'll have to revisit but I was hoping to avoid moving furniture.
I ordered a lubrication kit, the wire hook up kit, brass joiners, the plastic clips to keep the tracks tight and a power supply.[/li][/list]

Now, the matter of the power supply was difficult for me. I know a lot of people were recommendeing the 10 Amp unit but that was simply too large for my needs and frankly a bit expensive for my initial jump into the hobby. Frank at Trainworld also talked me out of the 1 Amp units but steered me to what I believe to be a 3 Amp unit which is Made by MRC. It's the 9900 model. He seemed to think that with my train, the number of cars I planned to have and the size of the track that this supply would work well. I should say that he was very friendly and very helpful. He said that they had everything in stock and would be boxing it up tomorrow morning. The train will ship seperately he says because it's a big and long box.

I hope I ordered everything I need to get started. Wish me luck!  ;D

As I said previously, thanks to you all for your help and patience with an old newbie.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: charon on May 04, 2015, 06:18:08 PM
I have been buying from Trainworld for 20 years and have never had a problem with them.
The 3 amp transformer you ordered should be just right for your layout.
Have fun.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 11, 2015, 07:17:18 PM
Well everyone, my train as arrived. I couldn't be more pleased. This is about as much fun someone could have without drawing unwanted attention  ;D

Not much for instructions...all that came with it was a parts breakdown. No operation or care instructions but I did get it going. Took me forever to realize that the sound part needed a battery. I had no idea just how big this thing was going to be! Runs great, nice and quiet, very smooth and looks very very nice. I wish I could figure out how to share a photo.

I can already sense that shopping for more tracks is in my not too distant future. The 5' circle works really well. The train doesn't seem to mind but surely wouldn't want anything smaller.

The coal man stands on the coal car really nicely but I can't figure out where the driver is supposed to sit. The cab has the engine in side making it a very tight fit. Surely this wasn't how it was done in the old days...that seems like it would have been very warm.

Well, I'm off to drive the train. Thanks to you all for the advice. I'm really pleased and I didn't have to wait because I missed something in the order. The list was complete and it all seems like really good stuff  ;D

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: RkyGriz on May 11, 2015, 09:09:50 PM
Hey, Punkin: Check this out! It's a brand new video of 2 of my Bachmann's double heading. This was done with my 5 foot circle in our garage yesterday. !t's approximately 8ft.X10ft. Get yourself some straight tracks to match the track that you bought and have a blast with it!

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: punkin on May 11, 2015, 10:13:56 PM
Hello RkyGriz,

That is fantastic. I really like the passenger cars. I must get one or two to round out my set. I also like the wood burning train you have there. That box of wood behind the engine looks neat.

I don't have a lot of room for straight tracks as you do there but now that I get an idea of the size of the tracks I do see where I have some possibilities to possibly travel along the walls. I can't get over how expensive the tracks are but I do think more track is in order before getting more cars. If the train were much longer on this little circle it will just look odd.

I really wish I had done this a long time ago. I still can't get over how big these things are. The sun has gone down and now with the light more visible on the train very neat indeed.

Again thanks for the inspiring video.

Title: Re: New to Trains
Post by: RkyGriz on May 12, 2015, 01:04:17 AM
When it comes to getting yourself some passenger cars, just get yourself one or two. Three if you decide you have enough room. You don't need a lot to enjoy yourself.
I'm glad you liked the video.   The wood load in the tender of the lead engine is real. I built it out of nearly 300 1 1/8 inch wood sticks  over a styrofoam base. It is all held together with hot glue. It only took me a couple of hours to get it that way. It was a fun project and I have another wood burner that i'm going to be doing that to some day in the near future. They will look pretty cool together. I may even add some Denver & Rio Grande Western passenger cars to the number 12, eventually. I'm looking for the green ones with yellow lettering. I found one on Ebay, but it's $116.00 with shipping and I'm going to wait until I find cheaper ones or maybe do what Chuck did and custom build them out of Bachmann cars with decals bought from the guy in Arizona. We'll see.
Anyway, keep us posted on your progress!