opinion wanted

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New Member
some of you long time model railroaders should be able to give me some sort of idea on bachmann products. just where do they stand in the model railroading scale. i'm sure their not the best but,,,, what i mean is on a scale from 1 to 10 what would their ratting be????
being new to this hobby all opinions are welcome. and for the money what would the best be????


Lazy Daydreamer
Actually there are two "Bachmanns" - the low-end, toylike trains (which I won't touch) and the Spectrum series which is better. Their diesels are not quite on a par with Athearn Genesis, LifeLike Proto2000, Kato, or Atlas; OTOH I've heard their steamers are pretty good but I have no firsthand experience with them (I'm a "diseasle" modeler).

As an example: I have a Spectrum HO scale C40-8, it runs well and the body shell is nicely tooled/detailed, but it sits ~1/16" higher than my Atlas CW40-8, so I can't really MU the two of them with each other - just doesn't look right.
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Been Nothin' Since Frisco
It depends.

First, let me say that I'll only be speaking of the HO scale products offered by Bachmann. It's not easy to make a blanket generalization about their entire catalog, but classifying the models by the product line can make it easier to rate them. They have a standard Bachmann branded line, a Silver Series, a Bachmann Plus line and a Spectrum Series line. Their Bachmann line is pretty much toy train set fare and is among the best in that category. So, considering the competition in the toy train set arena, I'd give them a 6 out of 10.

Their Silver line and their Bachmann Plus line are an attempt to compete with the manufacturers that dominate the level above toy train set stuff, but they are pretty much at the bottom of the barrel there. The diesels in the Bachmann Plus line are about the poorest can motor and flywheel equipped models available, lacking in both performance, detail, paint and fidelity to the prototype. Still, they are a step up from the train set line and not that bad, but virtually anything else you buy in this category will be better. 3 out of 10 against comparable products.

The Spectrum line, which is intended to compete with the Proto 2000 line by Walthers (formerly Life-Like, which is now owned by Walthers), the Master Series line from Atlas and the Genesis line from Athearn, is very hit or miss. They butchered nearly every diesel they modeled, in terms of detail proportion and fidelity to the prototype. Separately-applied items like handrails, cut levers and horns are oversized, flimsy or poorly color matched. But the worst thing of all is how poorly they all seem to operate. So, for the most part, the Spectrum diesels get a 1 out of 10.

The Spectrum steamers however, are another story. They are everything their diesels are not and range from 8 out of 10 to off the charts good.


I would agree totally with Ken. Bachmann Diesels are very low end. Bachmann Spectrum Diesels are better, but there are far better models out there. Bachmann Spectrum Steam engines are usually very nice. I don't own any myself, but many members of my train club do and love them. Especially the three-truck shay and the decapod.

If you like steam engines, give Bachmann Spectrum a look. If you like diesels, I would look elsewhere first.


the only thing ill touch bachmann are the silver series cars they look pretty good to me (for a life like, kato, atlas, walthers modeler) the new steam loco's look great but have not seen any operate. won't touch the diesels or n scale stuff.


Diesel Detail Freak
I love the way my Spectrum Dash 8-40C runs, though it is lacking in the, well looks...


Fun Lover
My Bachmann Spectrum GP-35 is noisy and poorly detailed.

My Spectrum Shay and 2-8-0 are among my favorite engines.


S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Their Spectrum series is very good. I have no experience with diseasals from any manufacturer so I can't comment on them. I have several of their steam locos and find them to be the best compromise of price, detail, runability, and reliability. I have a USRA 2-6-6-2, 4-8-2, 2-6-0, and the new 4-4-0 Richmond American. The 4-4-0 may be one of the most detailed small steam locos ever produced (you can even read the builder's name plate). The American comes with a lot of interchangeable parts (such as several Cow Catchers< 3 different add ons for the Tender to make it coal, oil, or wood) at least in the undecorated one that I bought. If you add a decoder to the DCC Ready models, be sure to remove the capacitors on their main board.

Avoid their "Standard" series like a plague!
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My Bachmann experience has only been with the steamers and has been very good. I will rate them for detail and performance the same as Ryan with an "8+". I have a Shay, 4-8-2, and a 2-8-0 that I have converted to DCC, two with Tsunami sound and the third, soon. I pulled the light boards out and hard-wired the decoders in. It is not hard to do and you don't have to worry about any problems from the board.
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Well-Known Member
Bachmann Freight Cars The Best

I don't own any Bachmann Engines but their Silver Series freight cars are the best rolling cars I own. The blackened brass axles and metal wheels do not wobble at all. The way that the trucks are fasten to the car body is far better than any other mfg. The easymate coupler are bad for helixs. They same to come uncoupled going up and down the grade but I replace them. For $13.00 you can't go wrong.



Active Member
This is a touchy subject, because it depends of your taste, and “taste” is a very personal thing.

I, for one, bought a Bachman FT years ago. The basic one. Nothing fancy. It was my first loco in over 10 years when I came back in the hobby.
Generally speaking, the details are not very good (it’s below P1K, P2K, Atlas, Kato etc. of course) but the pulling power of
it is amazing. It was cheap too! My P1K C-liner is the best puller, followed by the Bachman FT. I added a decoder too.
I kept it because (a) It pulls very well (b) is dependable, and (c) I used it on my fictious branch-line.

I had it painted in the MILW Road paint scheme (the fictious SL&C paint scheme) and added detail parts such as the
horns, and strobe. I’m very satisfy with the running quality of it and because of that, I planned to update (detail) it with
new fans, exhaust port, mars light etc..

In the end it’s up to you:

Does it make you happy? Does it fit in your budget? Do you want/need something that’s extremely accurate? Expensive?
Do you want to spend time upgrading the shell or do you prefer RTR? What is the purpose of your layout? Is accuracy in the
prototype important to you? What are your needs and wants?

Its all about having fun.

Hope this helps


Coal Shoveler
The Spectrum Steamers are great. The Spectrum diesels, well, the original run sucked. The newer ones, that are DCC-ready, are better. I have a couple that have Loksound decoders in them, and they seem to be OK.

I have one or two Silver Series freight cars, and they seem OK. They're both tank cars, and I thought they held up well with the Athearn blue box ones.


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