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Author Topic: Cudos to Bachmann  (Read 5304 times)
oldline2

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« on: March 12, 2017, 11:40:55 AM »

I have been model railroading since around 1955. My previous experience with Bachmann toy trains wasn't exactly a great experience. I have several Spectrum engines and Silver Series cars and really think they are high quality items but the toy train line certainly wasn't close to their quality. Yesterday the family went to a train show and my 5 year old Grandson won the door prize of a Bachmann Canyon Chief HO set. He was close to exploding during the 2 hour drive home wanting to run it. I was trying to think of how to console him when it broke trying to get it to run.

Much to my surprise he opened, assembled and had it running before I could unload the car. He and his younger brother have been running it with great joy and satisfaction since we got home. It has replaced dinosaurs as "the favorite toy" for him.

The track and trains are so much better than I remembered. This train is an excellent starter set and we are all very impressed with the entire set. He's going through the Bachmann site looking for stuff to add. I'm not sure if I can afford his "free train"! lol

I love it because this is close to the way I got started in this great hobby. I'm really happy for him.

Thank you, Bachmann for greatly improving the quality of your basic train equipment.
Roger
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Warflight

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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 01:57:29 PM »

I was a model railroader years back in the 80s, but left the hobby for a while (long story) but back then, I had a fondness for the "unique" that only Bachmann produced (like the John Bull) Back then, however, every shop I would go into, would warn me not to buy it... they would claim it was poorly made, or whatever... children's toys, and what have you.

I recently got back into the hobby (I still have some of my old trains from back in the 80s, but haven't located them yet... one is a Gandy Dancer from '88) and I started with buying the John Bull.

The way Bachmann has improved things is simply ASTOUNDING! I am so used to companies that have a product, and that's good enough for them... I'm not used to a company that has a product, and the says "how can we make it better?"

The more I look at what they offer, the more I love this company. Trains I loved as a kid, like the Silverton (I will never forget my ride on that train as a child) and classics like the Lafayette, of the Dewitt Clinton... nobody else is making these trains. I got all of my classics I wanted since I was younger, and now I've recently got my first Spectrum, and regardless of the series, I keep seeing better and better quality from Bachmann!

So yeah, I hear where you're coming from. Being able to share this hobby with the next generation is a WHOLE LOT easier when you can get basic sets that are going to last!

(Oh, and there is no such thing as a free train... I learned that one the hard way... because when it comes to model railroading... there's always more to add. We say we just need that ONE thing, but we all know it's never just ONE thing. Still, I gave up drinking for this hobby, and quite frankly... this is a FAR better addiction! MUCH more rewarding!)
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jbrock27

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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 08:00:37 PM »

I saw this (your) posting over on the MRR Forum today.  

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/261781.aspx

I believe you would make richG/Y/1998/lexxon proud to have taken him up on his suggestion to post here. Wink

What was mentioned over there about steel track is right on the $$ in my opinion but everything else positive that was said, I concur with. Smiley

Kid's lucky; have him pick out a lottery ticket (but you buy it to make it legit). Wink
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Ckrails

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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 11:34:24 AM »

From my experience, durability is all about good care and operating practices, even among the low-end equipment of the 1970s and 80s.  I've brought a number of Bachmann, Tyco and AHM locos back to life with simply a good cleaning, and it's just as fun watching them scoot around my layout as anything else.

A few months ago I acquired a nicely detailed 1980's consolidation with the pancake motor in an auction of a "grab bag" of HO stuff that appeared to be in decent shape.  I completely dissembled (including the motor), cleaned and lubed it, and it ran beautifully on DC.  Then just for fun, and against a dozen comments I read that said "don't waste your time", I {gasp} installed a $20 DCC decoder I had lying around, and now it runs even better.  But I also know that if I try to drag a dozen cars behind it, I'll be pushing my luck.

The old adage my dad used to tell me still applies -- take good care of your toys and they'll take good care of you!
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Warflight

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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 04:47:50 PM »

Part of my joy with this hobby, I have found, is doing exactly what other collectors would say is a waste of time!

I LOVE older engines, like the Norris 4-2-0 (I have all three that Bachmann ever made, one from 1986, and the other two from 2003, and 2013) and of course, it's not a set without a John Bull, and a Dewitt Clinton. Each and every one, I was told by the "serious" collectors was a waste of time... but a little TLC, and they run GREAT, even if they don't get a lot of track time!

Now, my opinions may change some day (I just got my first ever DCC equipped Spectrum engine today... a 4-4-0 Modern American Richmond DCC Southern in green, and it is BEAUTIFUL!) but as for the basics... the "set" trains... the "starters", and "nifty, but not expensive" engines... well, there will always be a place in my heart for them, and I will always buy when when one strikes my fancy!

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Warflight

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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 03:18:39 PM »

I consider myself a collector that likes to operate his equipment (annnndddd.. that came out WAY wrong)

I don't have a layout yet (and I stress the word "yet", as I'm collecting the things I need for my layout, I just need time, and space... I was thinking of maybe setting up a small layout at my photo studio in one of the unused corners of the place)

So my MO, right now, is I have some bookshelves in my study that I've laid EZ Track, and a couple of Hayes bumpers on each end, and I display my favorite, more visual appealing engines, and some cars on those shelves (in front of the books, but still easy to pull a book out) and my "ancient" engines feel right at home there.

Then, whenever the mood strikes me (or I get a new engine) I set up some EZ track on a table, or wherever, and run the new loco, and usually run the rest on display, because otherwise, what's the point? These are electric trains. Not those static pewter ones that the Franklin Mint did 20 years ago! I mean, HO scale, five times the cost of a high end electric, made of unpainted pewter, and didn't run? Now THAT was some pointless collectables... well... other than the magazine ads for those back in the 80s got me into the hobby the first time! I though, looking at those things "I can do better with electric, have better detail, and watch them run, for less money!"

I may call myself a collector of model trains, but, I also don't kid myself. The "investment" these are, is counted in joy... they are meant to be played with, not kept MIB. I open them, I run them, I admire them, and I putzy around with them. Hell, first thing I did with the Pegasus cars, was to paint the trucks, and detail the wheels into a brassy look, so they look more like the paintings of the original, and stand out a bit more than the black plastic did. (I saw a Youtube video where some guy took one of these "cheap", and I use the word "cheap" loosely, as they aren't the Bachmann Norris engines of the 80s, and he converted it to DCC with sound, and it was AMAZING!)

The thing is, though, sometimes the engine you want, was never made as a high end engine. The only way to get a John Bull, is to get the cheap one, and I wanted a John Bull. To run my rails, and to sit on my shelf, and though some would say it's a waste of time to fiddle with it, to me, it's the ONLY one on the market, past of present, and so... fiddle with it I shall!

And like the original poster here said... a bit of TLC, and these babies last.

It also helps, that Bachmann isn't a company that phones it in. Issues that "bargain" engines from the past had, they tend to fix, upgrade, and make better.

My Bachmann Gandy Dancer from 1988 died after it's second run... (it was worth it to me to fix) but a Bachmann Gandy Dancer today, is like the energizer bunny.... it keeps going, and going (and has so much BETTER speed control... I mean, the 1988 one, before the repairs, had two modes... stop, and faster than a diesel... like there was something in those two wee guy's coffee!)

Basically, what I'm saying is, there is no one way to enjoy this hobby, and if someone is enjoying putting effort into something others would scoff at, then that is part of their joy of the hobby!

(Oh yeah, and today's John Bull is less prone to jumping track like the 80s ones did, plus, they now have that little pocket under the stack for an extra weight to go into, to keep that guide down! Oh, and never run those cheapies at more than 3/4 speed... hell, my ancient guys, I never run faster than half speed, because it's better on the motors, and it's scale accurate!)

MAN, that was a mouthful!
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Terry Toenges


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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 04:12:31 PM »

You have all the symptoms. You're hooked.  Grin
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Warflight

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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 05:43:48 PM »

You have all the symptoms. You're hooked.  ;D

RIGHT!?!

I have been hooked on worse things... though... not usually as expensive!

But never as satisfying!
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oldline2

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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 06:53:08 PM »

Well, my Grandsons have both been trying to run the wheels off the train set the older one received as a door prize. The thrill is still there and they keep getting me to pull up the Bachmann site to check and see what else is available. Unfortunately, I need to sell the farm, my tractor and all the equipment to fund this new project! So I have done the best I could and donated one of my wonderful WM Russian Decapods to the roster along with about 8 more cars for them to pull. The older boy loves the "steamy" and gave the F-7A to his younger brother. I'm very pleased with the care they are both taking with the trains and was really worried the Dec wouldn't survive long but it's holding on well and the only problem has been the s crew on the pilot coupler backed out. Not bad!

Again..........THANKS Bachmann!
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Warflight

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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 07:07:21 PM »

That is FANTASTIC! I grew up on a farm myself, but we raised goats, so I never had to sell equipment for my hobbies (though, I would trade kid goats to the Arab traders for school clothes when I was a teen...)

Your grandkids... they are what is going to keep this hobby going long after the rest of us are gone. Nurture that! Encourage that! It's a mitzva!
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oldline2

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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2017, 07:19:46 PM »

Thanks!! I'm lucky to have such good and enthusiastic Grandsons. The older one sticks to me like glue. He asks great questions and always jumps in to help do things. He's particularly good with animals and he's really into power tools. Sure hope he stays like that as I age! He looks at my brass engines with lust in his eyes...........I FULLY UNDERSTAND! He's particularly fond on my Sunset N&W J's!

I just ordered a Bachmann 44596 track set as they have both said the circle of track was not enough. I'll get them to help me make the 4x8 platform in April and we'll put the train set on it. Then In June we'll set up the new Bachmann track set for their birthdays. Ought to make their heads explode! lol
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Warflight

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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 07:57:01 PM »

That sounds amazing. I was just reading about "puzzle tracks" in the Bachmann EZ track book I recently got... basically it's a bunch of straight track, switches, uncoupler magnets, and bumpers... and you put an engine in the middle, and random cars on each spur, and you have to use the engine to put the cars in specific places... usually by putting car names, and locations on two sets of index cards, which you draw out of a shuffled pile to see what cars you need to put where.

It looks like a simple setup (the setup they had in the book took up a 1 foot by 4 foot shelf) that could be hours of fun for kids and adults alike... (though, these types of setups are probably old hat for most of the folks here)
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oldline2

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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 10:07:34 AM »

Those small switching layouts can be fun. John Allen did his "Timesaver" many years ago and I think that started it all.

At the train show where Jed won his Bachmann set they had an N scale layout like that. It worked really well and both boys took to it right away. The engine was a  smooth running U-boat and the cars all had Micro-Trains couplers and they had magnets for uncoupling. They had a blast and really followed the guys instructions on what to put where and all. Pretty neat. Naturally they both told me I needed to build one for them.
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Warflight

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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 02:14:28 PM »

Ah, yep! "The Time Saver" is the one they had the instructions for in that book!
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