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Brand New 15 Year Old Train

Started by VincentMassi, May 23, 2018, 12:49:15 PM

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Yesterday I bought an unused, still in the unopened box, Bachman "The Frontiersman" Rock Island HO set. It has a 2-8-0 loco with working headlight, and is attached to the tender with two sets of wires. It includes three other cars. Inside is an order form for the 2003 Bachman catalog.

Knowing that the oil in unused locos turns to wax, I spent over an hour "helping" it around another track  until it could run on its own. It runs without help, even when pulling all its cars. But it hesitates at certain spots, even though I have cleaned those spots and other locos go over them with no problems.

I set up its own track and power unit today and it runs well, but still hesitates at certain spots. My other locos go over those same spots with no problems, but I cleaned those spots, anyway. There are no Bachman supplies here in Mexico. Should I lubricate the loco? If so, is light sewing machine oil okay?

It will not run unless connected to the tender. Since there is no horn or whistle, what do the two sets of connecting wires do?

It's a great train and well worth what I paid for it. All suggestions are appreciated.



Be careful of oils intended for a different purpose.  Some oils will attack plastic. Don't know about sewing machine oil.

As far as hesitation:  New locomotives, straight from the factory, still require some cleaning of the wheels to ensure good current pick up from the rails.  Also, make sure the bronze pick up brushes are clean, especially the brass colored tabs that touch the axles on the tender wheels.  They pick up current, too.

Finally, make sure the plug-in wires, from the tender, are completely seated in their sockets in the locomotive.




Modern sewing machine oil is safe for plastics. They almost have to be, since newer sewing machines are made with so much of the stuff.

And yes, you should definately lubricate the loco. Breaking loose old 'gunk' may have gotten it running, but fresh lube should smooth out operation. And will save wear and tear down the road. A toothpick is handy for getting oil to the axles and running gear.

If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.


If you feel it is in your ability, take it apart and clean everything.  Examine all parts you can.  Then put it back together with fresh grease and oil.


Thanks for all the replies!

It turns out that the tender picks up the electricity from the track. I carefully cleaned the tender wheels and axles with rubbing alcohol, and it now runs great.


It will not run unless connected to the tender. Since there is no horn or whistle, what do the two sets of connecting wires do?  Unless I overlooked this question, it was not answered. This locomotive is DCC ready.  There nothing is connected to the motor unless the tender is connected.  wires from the locomotive go back to a pc board in the tender and from there they go to the motor, headlight, backup light, and ect.


Did Bachmann offer DCC-ready engines 15 years ago?


Quote from: bbmiroku on May 25, 2018, 08:33:38 PM
Did Bachmann offer DCC-ready engines 15 years ago?

I cannot find anything in this set that mentions DCC, so I doubt that this one is DCC ready.


They wouldn't necessarily have said the locomotive was DCC ready in the instructions. But changes were made in the locomotives wiring  years ago to make conversion to DCC easier. I have a Thomas I picked up about 2004 that has the same pc board in the wiring. When I converted it to DCC all I did was replace the pc board with a decoder.
Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA