Bachamnn Porter 0-4-0 Side Tank Locomotive history and Identification

Started by Loco Bill Canelos, July 19, 2012, 08:19:43 AM

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Loco Bill Canelos

Bachamnn Porter 0-4-0 Side Tank Locomotive History
By Loco Bill Canelos
Tracking the history Bachmann Porter 0-4-0 Side Tank locomotive has always been confusing with seeming duplicate product numbers.  Research to date( July 15th 2012) sheds new light on the 0-4-0's and ways to identify various versions.
Bachamnn made it's big move into Large Scale in 1989 with the release of several locomotive models, freight cars and sets.  Included was the side tank Porter 0-4-0 lettered for the fictional Coal Creek Lumber Company.  These were considered by Bachmann to be 1:22.5 models.
Bachamnn No               Road no     Released          Description
91041               CCL Co    1                 1989           0-4-0 Side Tank Porter Coal Creek Lumber Co
90017               CCL Co    Set              1990          Set with 91014 a log flat car and logging caboose
The loco was modeled after a basic Porter Locomotive Works design.  The model is a dead ringer to the prototype locomotive. In 1989 Bachamnn also offered a flat car and logging caboose also lettered for the Coal Creek Lumber Company as separate items.  In 1990 the three were combined in a set called "The Lumber Jack" Product 90017
Here is a picture of the CCL Co No 1 and the two cars offered in 1989 as separate items:

The locomotive was very nice and had plastic side rods and details.  The set remained in the catalog until 1992.  The locomotive 91041 was in the catalog  from 1989 until 1993.  The locomotive ran fairly well, but as with most short wheelbase locomotives often lost power when going slowly through switches.  Although no longer in the catalog the items continued to be sold until Bachman was out of stock.  All of these items are still seen on Ebay and other resale places and in some cases even as new old stock.
Bachamnn went on to develop new products and the Porters were left behind until 1997.
1997 was a big year for Bachamnn and the Porter Side Tank 0-4-0.  Three new sets were introduced with the 0-4-0 as the locomotive. The 0-4-0 was also offered separately in three different versions.
11396   ETL Co   1   1997   ~ Loco   0-4-0, Ely Thomas Lumber Co.
11397   WLC Co   11   1997   ~ Loco   0-4-0, West Side Lumber Co.
11398    UNDEC   21   1997   ~ Loco   0-4-0,  Painted unlettered

The sets included :
90029 1997 Paul Bunyan Logging Co.  with 0-4-0, a Skeleton log car and Paul Bunyan Logging caboose.
90030 1997 Clementine Mining Co. with 0-4-0,  a Clememtine Wood ore car and Bobber caboose.
90019 1997 Roustabout with an Emmett Kelly JR 0-4-0 Circus Flat car with cages and Bobber caboose.
All of the photos of the 0-4-0's in the 1997 catalog show them with plastic side rods. All were pictured with straight stacks except the Emmett Kelly Jr. 0-4-0 which has a diamond stack.  Even though the 1997 catalog shows all the 0-4-0 Porter side tank locomotive with plastic side rods, I have never seen one live or in hundreds of photos, that in fact have plastic side rods.  All have metal side rods, and were probably never made with the plastic ones.  It is now my belief that the catalog pictures are of the older 1989 version decorated in the new colors so that the catalog could meet printing deadlines. While I have no proof, I believe that the evidence backs this theory up so far, and it is something that Bachmann has done with other items and in one case a complete set, but that is another story.  This theory is further supported by what happened the next year.  
1998 was the the first year Bachamnn listed the new "Spectrum" line of locomotives separately from the Big Hauler line in the catalog, and to our surprise we see the Spectrum G Scale Porter Side Tank Locomotive on page 111, listed as a Spectrum model.  The other interesting fact is they have the same product numbers 11396,  11397, and 11398 as the ones in the 1997 catalog only now they show the premium features including metal siderods. The catalog stated it "returned to the Big Hauler Line" with "Spectrum features".  It seems even Bachmann was unsure of where it fit in the product line.  The picture shows the Clementine version, but all set and separately sold versions were the same except for the diamond stack Emmett Kelly Jr. version.

A close examination of the Porter side tank locomotives from 1989 and 1997 reveals the following visible differences, in 1989 they had plastic side rods,  and the builder's plates were blank. The 1997 version while almost identical in appearance included a decorated builders plate and metal side rods, and of course the all new improved mechanism with the equalized front axle.
Going through all the catalog pictures it seems that Bachamnn never corrected the pictures of the sets in the catalog which incorrectly shows the Porter's with plastic side rods and no detail on the builders plate.  The locomotives sold separately in the 1997 catalog incorrectly show 11396, 11397, and 11398 with the plastic sidrods, and lacking the builder's plate details, but the 1998 picture shows the new features correctly including the metal side rods.
I have come to the conclusion that the Porter pictures in the 1997 catalog were not correct and that the 1997 and 1998 locomotives were identical in every way and that there are no duplications of Product Numbers after all.  All Porters released in 1997 do have the metal side rods, builder's plate detail  and equalized axle.  None of the 1997 release Porters were advertised as being 1:20.3
The Paul Bunyan and Clementine sets were in the catalog in 1997 and 1998, while the Emmett Kelly set lasted from 1997 until 2000.  The 11396, 11397 and 11398 were in the 1997, 1998, and 2000 catalog.  After that there was nothing until the latest version 1:20.3 Spectrum Porter side tank locomotives were released in 2006.

2006 saw the introduction of the new 1:20.3 0-4-0 Side Tank Porter.
82596   CMC       1         2006   0-4-0 Side Tank Porter Colorado Mining Co
82597  MQ&M   1         2006   0-4-0 Side Tank Porter, Midwest Quarry & Mining Co.
82598  Undec None     2006  0-4-0 Side Tank Porter, Painted, Unlettered, Black w/ red & white trim
82599  Undec None     2006  0-4-0 Side Tank Porter, Painted, Unlettered, Black

The 825xx series 0-4-0's no longer have a builder's plate, the bell is now in front of the first dome and a generator has been added in front of the bell. In addition a three position polarity switch was added with a center off position and a hidden gear box.  It is visibly different  than all the earlier 0-4-0's and all four remain in the catalog from 2006 to 2012.
As a result of this recent in depth review I am modifying my data base to eliminate the duplication of product numbers for the 113xx series.  
To All,  Please review the above and report any error's you may see.
Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!

Gandy Dancer 1

Hi Bill-
Good work.  Thanks for doing the due dilligence on this.

I have a Clementine identical to the one you have pictured and what you describe is verified by my model.

Thanks again.


Wade Colyer

Hi Bill:

One typo, the second 82598 should be 82599. I have the 82598 and also have the 82099 Porter from the 82097, 82098 and 82099 series from 2003. They have the rounded tank but it looks like the same frame and wooden cab are used. Both were in the big Spectrum boxes.


PS. Nothing special about the obs. from the OSH set.


I have a questiona bout the earlier side-tank Porters.  I know that the later, larger ones have their boilers and side tanks molded in one piece.  Is that also true of the earlier ones?  I would like to kitbash an 0-4-0 with tender and no side tanks without having to fabricate the boiler.  Is the early Porter a viable candidate?

Joe Zullo

This one started life as a 11398    UNDEC   21   1997   ~ Loco   0-4-0,  Painted unlettered

I have done exactly as you want to do.....


Thank you, Joe!

No disrespect to your great work, but comparing pics suggests that the conversion was pretty easy.  No doubt your talent contributes to that appearance, but am I missing difficlties that you had to solve?

Joe Zullo

The most difficult part was removing and grinding the lower hump off the weight. Then I had to fabricate the walkway piece. I used a piece of 1/8" plywood from the hobby store. I removed the rear step and fabricated a new rear beam from oak so I could attach a hook to hook up the tender. I also added electrical pickups to the rear truck on the tender and routed that to a two pin plug/socket that goes to the motor through a switch so I can turn off the motor. Up front I added a modified cowcatcher from a Bachmann 4-6-0 and attached it to the existing step pilot. Hand rails on the boiler completed the conversion.


Thanks again!

Sounds doable with a minimum of fuss--important given my schedule.

Loco Bill Canelos

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!