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Author Topic: Locomotive for Polar Express  (Read 10955 times)
phillfam10

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« on: January 21, 2008, 01:58:22 AM »

I am learning more and more as I read some of your posts as well as looking at other websites.  One thing I learned was that the Polar Express locomotive was modeled after the 2-8-4 Pere Marquette 1225.  I also learned that Bachmann created one of these, but am I right...only in HO scale?  I was wondering why they didn't do it on their Large scale version.  Instead they used the 4-6-0 that they use on tons of their sets.  Did they make, or do they plan to make the 1225 in large scale?
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Matthew (OV)


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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 09:02:26 AM »

Bachmann's large scale models are of narrow gauge trains.  The prototype (or "real") locomotives and cars of narrow gauge trains are much smaller than their standard gauge cousins.  They run on track that's only 3 feet between the rails (or sometimes even less) instead of the four feet eight and one half inches of the standard gauge trains that you see today.  Originally folks thought if you made the trains smaller, you could build and run a railroad more cheaply.  That wasn't exactly true, and most of the narrow gauge in this country was out of regular service by the middle of the 1900's, so depending on where you live you may have never seen one.

While your 4-6-0 may seem like a large locomotive when you hold it in your hands... a model of a standard gauge locomotive like the Pere Marquette 1225 would  be MUCH larger ... and would require a  whole lot of space just to turn around.  Look at this photo of a narrow gauge 4-4-0 with a standard gauge locomotive, and you'll see the difference:

http://www.ghostdepot.com/rg/images/rolling/locomotive/locomotive%20size%20comparison%20d2-4.jpg

Bachmann made the Polar Express version of their narrow gauge train so folks could have a "Polar Express" to run on their large scale layouts, and often, under their Christmas trees ...  a model of a locomotive like the 1225 would be so enormous that it would require a Christmas tree the size of the one in Rockefeller Center or even bigger for a circle of track (and that's WITH the modifications made to these models to allow them to take even sharper curves than their "real life" counterparts.)

Bachmann's new K-27 is a whole lot bigger than the 4-6-0 in the polar express set ... here's a link that has photos of the K-27 next to a model  standard gauge locomotive along the lines of the 1225 ... you can see how much larger it would be!

http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/8/tpage/1/view/Topic/postid/3680/Default.aspx

Matthew (OV)

« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 09:04:35 AM by Matthew (OV) » Logged
phillfam10

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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2008, 03:16:33 PM »

Thanks for the great explanation.  So if they made the 1225 in Standard scale, would the loco end up close to the same size as a Large scale narrow guage loco?  Does that make sense?

Also, I saw that Lionel made a battery operated version of the Polar Express in Large scale and used the 1225 as the prototype.  Did they "fudge" on the actual dimensions?
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altterrain


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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 02:38:44 PM »

I don't think there is a scale dimension in that particular toy. From what I have heard its seems to be smaller than 1/32.

-Brian
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scottychaos


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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 03:42:13 PM »

Thanks for the great explanation.  So if they made the 1225 in Standard scale, would the loco end up close to the same size as a Large scale narrow guage loco?  Does that make sense?


you mean "standard gauge" not "standard scale"  Wink

gauge is the distance between the rails.
scale is the proportion of the model to the prototype.

The "real" Polar express loco, Pere Marquette 1225:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=216562&nseq=1

is "standard gauge"..the gauge is 4 feet 8.5 inches.
(that is the distance between the rails.."gauge" always means the distance between the rails..nothing else)
If that loco was built to run on 45mm track, it would be 1/32 scale.
(a model of that actual loco does not exist in 1/32 scale)

The Bachmann Big Hauler is based on a real 3-foot gauge locomotive.
Tweetsie 12:

http://www.michaelscrip.com/tweetsie/12trestle.jpg

the distance between the rails of that prototype loco is 3-feet.
3-foot gauge.

Much smaller and much older than Pere Marquette 1225.
the Bachmann loco is in 1/22.5 scale, which roughly equals 3-foot gauge on 45mm track.(its actually meter gauge, but we wont go into that now! Wink

so the Bachmann "polar express" represents a narrow gauge locomotive and train..3-foot gauge.

the "real" polar express locomotive is standard gauge, MUCH larger, and really very different in style, era and overall look.

generally, yes, a 1/32 scale Pere Marquette 1225 would sort-of be close in size to the 1/22.5 Big Hauler...but its not really a valid comparision, since the two locomotives are so remarkably different.

Bachmann simply chose to use their Big Hauler to make a "Polar Express" set..just because they had the loco already made.
the Big Hauler 4-6-0 has absolutely no relation to the Pere Marquette 1225! the only thing they have in common is that they are both steam locomotives..  Wink

Scot
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 03:50:52 PM by scottychaos » Logged

scottychaos


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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 04:02:24 PM »


Also, I saw that Lionel made a battery operated version of the Polar Express in Large scale and used the 1225 as the prototype.  Did they "fudge" on the actual dimensions?

That Lionel loco also is not even remotely close to the real 1225.
just like Bachmann, its simply a loco they already had laying around!
they just slapped some "Polar Express" lettering on the loco and sent it out..

nothing wrong with that really...model train makers have been doing this for as long as model trains have existed...its just making the best possible use of the molds that already exist..
its good for all us..the more money the model train makers can bring in, the more new models they can come out with in the future..
they are just trying to make money..nothing wrong with that.

If you want an accurate model of the actual Pere Marquette 1225 ,
you will probably only find it in HO scale.

Scot
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the Bach-man
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 11:39:29 PM »

Dear Scotty,
 I personally worked with Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg on a "narrow gauge" version of the train, as that is what we had available in Large Scale. It was under his direction that the cars were painted green (you get this same idea in the vestibules in the movie) and he was quite happy with it. Some years later the movie was made and the producers used the Pere Marquette loco that was one of many doing Christmas Polar Express specials.  The book illustration looked to me like a Tyco Pacific on an eight driver chassis. The movie uses animated the shots of the PM loco, as well as the actors. It was at this point that licensing requirements changed and we elected to discontinue the LS version.
Have fun!
the Bach-man
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scottychaos


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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2008, 06:09:59 PM »

Dear Scotty,
 I personally worked with Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg on a "narrow gauge" version of the train, as that is what we had available in Large Scale. It was under his direction that the cars were painted green (you get this same idea in the vestibules in the movie) and he was quite happy with it. Some years later the movie was made and the producers used the Pere Marquette loco that was one of many doing Christmas Polar Express specials.  The book illustration looked to me like a Tyco Pacific on an eight driver chassis. The movie uses animated the shots of the PM loco, as well as the actors. It was at this point that licensing requirements changed and we elected to discontinue the LS version.
Have fun!
the Bach-man


Thanks Bach-man,
so the Bachmann narrow gauge version existed before the use of
Pere Marquette 1225 for the movie! interesting..
so really..there is no real "correct" version..Pere Marquette 1225 is just as "incorrect" as the Big Hauler (if compared to the original book)
or..both are perfectly "correct"..

thats the problem with trying to make a correct model of a fictional train!  Grin
the "correct" version simply can not exist...because the prototype never existed in the first place..so all models are perfectly fine and perfectly wrong at the the same time!

Scot



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the Bach-man
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2008, 11:31:04 PM »

Dear Scotty,
Exactly!
the Bach-man
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2008, 12:29:28 AM »

Bach-man, can I use your quote in the book?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 12:17:28 AM by the Bach-man » Logged

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
phillfam10

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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 04:51:33 PM »

Thanks for the great dialogue.  I agree with the statement that "really..there is no real "correct" version" since it is a fictional train.  You say that the illustrations that were in the book were closer to a Tyco Pacific?  I am wondering now...and I will need to go read and do a little research on this just for fun...but when and where was the setting for the Polar Express ?  I wonder what actual trains would have been in service in that area during that time period?  I guess it may be a moot point since the train supposedly came from the North Pole, but might be fun to speculate.

Thanks again for all of the information.

Davie
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Great Western

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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 05:42:47 PM »

Like Davie  I find that this is a very enjoyable and enlightening thread.

I recently saw the film for the first time and enjoyed every moment of it.

I suppose the locos that the D&RGW sold to White Pass are the nearest locos to get to the North Pole as far as the States is concerned. 
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Best wishes,    Alan
the Bach-man
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2008, 12:36:19 AM »

Dear Loco Bill,
Sure!
Best,
the Bach-man
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jbrew

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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 11:56:01 PM »

Is this train AC or DC? 
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Sleeping Bear

A genuine ALCOholic


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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2012, 12:11:36 AM »

Very interesting thread indeed.....to the best of my limeted knowledge....all B mann stuff is DC

    Later all ........S.B.
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