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Topics - jviss

I would love to know the history, the models and chronology, of trucks on Bachmann G Scale trains.

I just bought a few N.O.S. G Kit passenger coaches, and they came with passenger trucks, of course, and plastic wheels, with the knuckle couplers installed and the optional hook and loop couples. 

After researching these online I have come to the conclusion that these are identical to LGB 67380 trucks - I mean, like they came out of the same mold!  I'd like to know how that happened.

Also, I tried putting Bachmann metal wheels on them, the G81011 that comes on the Anniversary tenders, and the brake shoes rub, with too much friction to work.  The Bachmann J&S passenger trucks have metal wheels, and I was wondering if they were smaller diameter. 

Anyway, would love to know how many different trucks were made, and the chronology.


Large / 4-6-0 Annie Johnson Bar?
March 02, 2020, 06:42:53 PM
Hi Bach Man,

Just a nit, but I found, while looking for parts, that there's a part on the pilot of the locomotive that's sort of a guard rail, but Bachmann parts calls it a Johnson bar; it's not a Johnson bar!

It's part number 00H04 on the parts diagram.

Just thought I'd let you know.

Hello again, Bachmeisters,

I wonder what's the difference between the coach and the observation car.  Is it just the rear rail and drum head?  Does every road's observation car have a drum head?


Large / Bachmann G Kits - Passenger line
March 02, 2020, 03:12:42 PM
Well, this is interesting.  I just received three kits, two passenger coaches, 98905, and one combine, 98906.  One coach seems older than the others, and is further distinguished by having green clerestory glass and green light glass, while the others are red; and, it has black handrails and brake wheels while the others are gold.  (All of the kits have lighting and trucks with plastic wheels.)

I can't find anything on the boxes indicating what color the glass or rails are, and the part numbers on the enclosed parts list is the same, regardless of color. 

In addition, comparing the parts lists for the coach and combine, certain identical parts are numbered differently from the coach to combine, for example, the handrails, 8101 and 8102 on the coach, 8128 and 8129 on the combine.

(These parts lists with exploded views on the back aren't to be found on the Bachmann site, unless I'm just missing them.)

Can anyone shed any light on this?  Bach Man?  Loco Bill?
Large / 2-4-2 Columbia Parts Diagram?
February 22, 2020, 11:18:19 PM

I have just purchased a derelict 2-4-2 White Pass and Yukon Railway Baldwin Columbia engine and tender, which I'm pretty sure is the older generation version with the troublesome drivetrain.  (I haven't received it yet.)  It was a super bargain at $20, and I aim to put it into operation.

First stop, Bachman parts; darn, no new generation chassis available! 

Then I looked for a parts diagram, and I can't find one.  Does anyone know if a parts diagram is available?


Hi guys,

I purchased metal platform rails for my PRR passenger coaches; I have an observation car, a coach, and a combination car.  I purchased tow of these:

Rail - Gold (G Passenger Cars - Combine )

and one of these;

Jackson Sharp Rail - Gold (G Passenger Cars - Observation )

I received them, and they are really beautiful.  On one car, so far, I've removed the plastic rails, which were pressed-in and 'caught' due to a split pin with barbs.  The metal replacement rails, however, do not appear to have any feature to hold them in the holes.  Are they cemented in place, or am I perhaps missing something here?

Thanks much,

Large / Bachmann Steel Turnout Shorting
April 06, 2015, 09:06:03 AM
This is weird and unexpected.

I finally finished my first DCC conversion, a BBH 4-6-0 Anniversary model.  This is also the very first time I have run a DCC anything!

I have a layout on the floor, all Bachmann steel alloy track.  I have several turnouts.  When I run the locomotive very slowly over a left turnout, from the entry point to the left turnout side, the loco stops, with a short circuit indication and alarm from the booster.

Upon closer examination and some experimentation I found that the loco wheels, both the pilot truck wheels and the drivers, have a tendency to short the two rails that meet at the frog.

I changed out that turnout and experienced the same thing with a new one.

I had never noticed anything awry when running DC.  I also don't notice an issue with any of the other switches, of which there are currently three more; one more I'm traversing in the same way with no issue so far.

What to do?  Any ideas?



Turnout is: MANUAL TURNOUT - LEFT Item No. 94351
Large / Baldwin 4-6-0 Bash #2 - Suggestions?
April 03, 2015, 09:27:37 AM

So, I have but one type of locomotive on my railroad, the BBH Baldwin 4-6-0.  As some may recall I purchased two complete anniversary dummy units, in White Pass and Yukon livery.  I'm converting one now to DCC, adding a purchased anniversary chassis, and so on.

I'm thinking I'd like to do a radical bash on the second unit, converting it into a different type - number of drivers, pilots, etc.  Any and all suggestions are welcome! 


Large / Baldwin 4-6-0 Drawings?
March 29, 2015, 09:47:02 AM
Where can I find the drawings for the prototype of the Baldwin 4-6-0 locomotive modeled by Bachmann?  I'm talking about free, online, ideally, but I might pay for a really nice, large size hard copy.  I've started searching, but so far I'm coning up dry.



p.s. why does the bulletin board think that 'drawings' is misspelt in the title but not in the body of the message?
I'm planning a conversion to DCC and I have hit an issue.  I want a programming track that's a spur: a switch form the main line, and and double-gapped spur that's wired to the Prog A and B terminals so I can drive a loco onto it for service mode programming.  Despite the vendor's manual showing just this, their tech support people advise strongly against it, saying "[y]ou can easily damage the program circuit if you have the main track set to Rail A and Rail B and the siding set for the program circuit and the loco creates a bridge between the two circuits." 

So, I'm thinking of a design that would obviate this danger, and I need to know over how long a track distance a Bachmann loco or track-powered car will short the rails - which I've called the "shorting length" in the title of the post.

Clearly a wheel bridging a gap will short the rail, but if this could be mitigated in some way, what's the next distance?  On my BBH 4-6-0's, the leading truck picks up power, as do the drivers, so it would be from the leading wheel to the last driver - I don't have one handy to measure now, but you get the idea.  For a passenger coach with track powered lighting, and both trucks fitted with pickups it would be first axel to last, right?

Any ideas?


I thought folks might be interested in this project, and maybe even help me out of tight spots, and sourcing components, and so forth.

I purchased an Anniversary 4-6-0 dummy loco and tender; actually, two sets.  They are White Pass and Yukon, and both are number 14 (unfortunately).  They are beautiful.  I was really amazed at the beauty of detail and execution, never having had an Anniv. unit before.  Now I have these two, plus a complete Anniversary D&RGW "Bumble Bee."

The dummy units are complete outside, but empty inside, literally nothing is present that is not visible externally. 

I am going DCC.  I purchased a Tsunami TSU-1000, and I will find out if it can handle the 4-6-0 on level track.  I think it will. 

I was fortunate in that Bachmann parts is selling generation 5, Anniversary chassis on sale this month (and last) for a very reasonable price. 
I have purchased two, both with Walscherts valve gear.  The dummies have the much more simple Stephenson valve gear (or no valve gear, as far as I can tell); so I have choices.

I have separated the chassis and shell, and lost a piece of piping in the process - part number MCT31 (right side).  Oh well! 

I have removed the connecting rods, disassembled the drivers, and am preparing to swap the wheels and wheel covers to the working chassis. 

I found a speaker that will fit the tender.  I will likely fabricate clamps to secure it.

I need:

LED bulbs for head and tail lights;
a weight for the chassis;
connectors and wire, for the internal connections, and the loco to tender connection.

I also need to decide if I'll swap the leading truck wheels, or swap trucks and pickups and wiring.

Comments appreciated!


I know there's an NMRA standard for decoder connectors and color codes, but I feel large scale gets short shrift from the NMRA.  For example, that only standard I can find covering large scale in-loco wiring with DCC is for motor and track connections only, unlike the HO scale 8-contact standard.

I'm venturing into adding decoders and rewiring some things, and I'd like to do it in an easy, reversible, modular, sensible way.  For example, my generation 3 BBH Pennsylvania 4-6-0 headlight and smoke unit wiring was connector-ized to the chassis via a pair of .025" square pins and mating connector shell and receptacles.  Great, that's a start! 

I would like to able to switch from DCC to analog, swap decoders, etc., via a good connector system.

I would sincerely appreciate your views and experience on this.


I am going DCC, and have a string of three Pennsylvania passenger coaches I'd like to convert to DCC track lighting. 

To start, I have a coach and an observation car that came in a set, and a combination baggage coach car that I purchased separately.  All are 9V battery, incandescent lit.  The first two have plastic wheels, the last metal wheels.  All of the trucks have the provision for the spring-loaded electrical pickups, but they are unpopulated.

I have considered a few options. 

1. Electrical pick-up.  The easiest thing to do would be to purchase (eBay) a few sets of the brush, tube, spring contact sets for these trucks.  I wonder if I should do both trucks of each car?

2. I've considered wiring just one coach with contacts and a decoder, and wiring them together with what would look like brake hoses.  This way, one set of contacts and one decoder for the three coaches.

3. Decoder choice: I was thinking that I can use something like the Digitrax TL1.  I am brand-new to DCC, and I'm in a bit of a fog over this.  It says that the TL1 can be turned on/off using  F0, F1, F2, F3, or F4.  Can I set the address of this decoder to the same address as the mobile/sound decoder in the locomotive so that I don't have to switch addresses on the throttle to turn the lights on and off?  Is there a "standard" function number for coach lights?

4. I've already converted one of the coaches to LED lights, using a strip of LEDs:

They are kinda bright running directly off the 9V battery, and a bit too "cool," I think.  I assume these wooden coaches had oil or incandescent lamps, and would be much warmer, but I'm no expert on the prototype.  I will dim them when I install the decoder, which brings up an interesting question: what's the voltage of a function output?  What type of output is it?



I am the recent new, proud owner of an Anniversary D&RGW "Bumble Bee" 4'6-0 locomotive.  I'm using it on a relatively large, indoor, steel sectional track layout (over 100' of steel track).  I am powering it with an MRC Trainpower 6200 which is rated, in Mode I 0 to 18.5VDC and 18VAC for accessories to 60A max.  I'm not using any accessories.  I've seen much higher voltages, though, at full throttle, up to 24V or so.

When driving the train forward, the light on the tender flickers.  Does anyone know why this might occur?  I was thinking that the only way that's possible is if the power pack is controlling output using pulse width modulation, and the output is making negative excursions. 


I searched in large and couldn't find anything on this topic.  

What I'd like is a slow motion, DCC controlled switch machine for the Bachmann steel turnouts.  Ideally it would be designed specifically for these turnouts and snap right on.  

I don't have an "under the layout" option, because my "layout" is sectional track on the floor.  

I'm in the process of reading up and researching G scale track layout, wiring, DCC, and more, so please excuse me for my dumb questions.  I don't think what I seek is available, but maybe the experts here can guide me.



Large / HO Decoders in G Scale Trains
March 10, 2015, 01:00:33 AM
I am looking around at DCC systems, and decoders in particular, for my Bachmann Big Hauler Railroad.  I really like the Soundtraxx decoder, the TSU-1000, P/N 826116, for my 4-6-0 locomotives.  

I just measured over 3 Amps stall current for my new Anniversary loco chassis!  This decoder is rated at 1 Amp.  However, I never see more than about 800 mA in normal operation.

I thought for a while about building a current follower, but then a simpler solution occurred to me.  Why not put a 1A circuit breaker in the motor circuit?    BAD IDEA!  See reply umber 12, below.

A 1A, resettable C.B. can be had for about $7., quantity one.  It can handle up to 35 Volts, and trips in from 4.5 to 28 seconds.  Sounds ideal, to me; I'm assuming the TSU-1000 has about 50% margin and that the damage would be thermally-related, so 4.5 to 28s at stall currents should protect the decoder.

Has anyone tried this?
Apologies if this has been covered before, my search mojo is waning lately.

Running the Big Hauler with my grandson Sunday, just lounging on the floor and eye-balling them, it seems to me the scale of these pieces vary.  I'm sure there are experts here who know, and I would love to learn what we have.

My inventory:

Big Hauler PRR set, circa ~1994
4-6-0 loco, gen. 3, with tender
passenger coach
observation car w/ drumhead

(Big Hauler Emmett Kelly, Jr., set, about the same vintage, but not the subject of this post)

Purchased separately:
Item No. 93114 'G' Four Wheel Caboose (Pennsylvania)
Item No. 98214 'G' 3 Bay Hopper Car (Pennsylvania)
Item No. 93814 'G' 8-Wheel Center Cupola Wood Caboose (Pennsylvania)
Item No. 97197 'G' Combine w/Lights (PRR Tuscan Red)
Item No. 93253 Doublemint Gum Bill Board Reefer
Item No. 93938 Open Streetcar United Traction Co.
Item No. 993433 Single Dome Tank Car (Dad's Rootbeer)

It seems the passenger cars are a different scale - maybe 1:24 or even 1:29?  The reefer also looks small.  Or maybe the cabooses and engine are bigger.  

I assumed that all were 1:22.5, but now it looks odd to me.  Maybe it's just my lack of knowledge of real railroads.


I have Bachmann steel track with nylon "blades" to join rails, and some with steel.  I prefer the steel.  Does Bachmann make both, or has one superseded the other?  Are just the steel blades available?


Large / Scratch-built Large Scale Track
February 28, 2015, 09:09:47 AM
Greetings, first post and return from long (18+ year) hiatus from model railroading. 

I have a question: how common is it for someone to scratch-build large scale track.  The concept appeals to me, 'though I'm not sure I'd ever undertake it, except perhaps for display purposes.  I'm curious as to technique, and where one would find components: rail, tie plates, tie stock, joint bars, nuts and bolts, spikes, etc.; and what techniques one would employ for accurate and long-lasting installations; and what techniques one would employ for four-season, outdoor roadbed to support this. 

Thanks in advance!

jv (John)