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3081 Pennsylvania Combine Car

Please read introduction in Module: 17 if you have not already done so. Just click here  

Bachmann Passenger Cars




By comparison with LGB's passenger car range that offered by Bachmann Industries in the Large Scale environment is now decidedly sparse - in fact surprisingly so given the size of their model train activities in general.

The reasons for this are a little unclear but possibly reflect the the development of passenger carrying traffic in the USA and the introduction of diesel powered locomotives.

Once again the focus is very much on passenger cars from the first eras of railroading much the same style of car as the Jackson-Sharp prototypes offered by LGB i.e from the turn of the last century (late 1890’s to early 1990’s). Previous catalogues for the 1990's show a wide range of liveries including Santa Fe, Union pacific, B&O, ET&WNC, White Pass & Yukon, Pennsylvania RR, and Denver & Rio Grande, sold as separate items but in recent years Bachmann seem to have rationalised their production in this area.



Aside from their smaller "Branchline" range of OO scale products purely based on British prototypes Bachmann's foray into European passenger cars is confined to the short wheelbase compartment coaches featured in the "Thomas the Tank Engine" animations of the famous book series written by the Rev. Awdry.  

"Thomas" has two such coaches - one named 'Annie' and the other 'Clarabel'.They are both identical 2-axle coaches apart from the names and the end face-panel expressions.


The larger "Emily" 4-2-2 Stirling inspired Tender Locomotive also has a passenger coach and brake coach with 3-axles and clerestory roofs (or 'rooves' when I went to school.)There is also a Christmas liveried version of the passenger coach but this is only available as a set with Thomas himself.

Unlike rolling stock manufactured by other major large-scale railways bachmann rolling stock is fitted with metal wheels These Thomas sets of coaches come with attractive metal spoked wheels.

90071 Annie (8).JPG

Annie 97001

97002 CLARIBEL (5).JPG

Clarabel  97002


Emily Passenger Coach 97003


Emily Passenger Brake Coach 97004


Christmas Passenger Coach 


Bachmann has been selling Passenger Cars as separate items since 1989, no doubt in order to compete with LGB and decided to also major on old-time wood-sided coaches loosely base on the Jackson-Sharp cars in use from the early 1870's right up to the 1950's. These cars are nominally 1:22.5 scale but are selectively compressed so may not necessarily be an accurate representation of the original coaches, particularly in regard to length and window arrangements. For example early images show that the prototype had 14 or even 16 windows whereas the Bachmann reproductions only feature 12 windows and are slightly shorter - possibly to enable them to navigate the tight 600mm radius curves.

This practice is fairly common and most of their competitors, including LGB, have been known to use this convention from time to time and there Jackson-Sharp Passenger Coaches also incorporate 12 windows. I believe the same is true of Piko's equivalent cars which, by general consensus, range from 1:27 - 1:29 scale.

These cars look fine when used with the majority of Bachmann's standard locomotives but when paired with the latest 1:20.3 scale Moguls for example can look a bit under-sized although this can be rather subjective. If you are a bit of a perfectionist (the term "rivet counter" is sometimes used for this condition) you may wish to use more accurate 1:20.3 passenger cars like those supplied by AMS (a division of Accucraft) which are longer, higher and wider as befits the larger scale.

When comparing cars from different manufacturers also check for coupling height as the 1:22.5 versions usually come with truck-mounted couplers whilst cars to the more accurate scale of 1:20.3 tend to be body-mounted.

Virtually all of Bachmann Passenger cars now come lighted - the exceptions being Full Baggage Cars (as per prototype) and the Lake Bennett and Lake Spirit Passenger Cars supplied with the White Pass & Yukon Train Set. This feature used to be provided by a battery compartment beneath the floor which had to be turned on and off with a tiny switch. More recently the cars incorporate a pick up from the metal wheels (but make sure these are insulated) and the lights only work when the train is in motion.

In fact the great thing about Bachmann rolling stock is that they are invariably supplied with metal wheels unlike the competition. These cost appreciably more than the plastic variety and if you should ever need to buy metal wheels to change out the cheap plastic variety you will discover that Bachmann offers much better value for money in this respect.

A comparison of Bachmann's range of old-style cars will reveal extensive use of common parts to provide the Passenger, Observation, Combine and Baggage variants. This helps to keep costs down although at today's' prices (around £85+ a car) the cost of a complete rake can soon mount up.

If you are interested in comparing cars from different manufacturers I would recommend that you join visit the "G Scale Central" or "Large Scale Central" where enthusiasts often discuss comparative dimensions, etc. 


Here is a gallery of some of Bachmann's Passenger cars released over the years. Apart from paint schemes and the improved lighting feature the basic design does not appear to have changed that much over the years. Bachmann rarely acknowledge the exact scale of their nominal 1:22.5 ratio "Large-Scale" offerings but on average these particular passenger cars are thought to be nearer to 1:24 scale and about 6' short compared with the prototype Denver & Rio Grande Western car.


The following gallery covers just a few of the old-style wood-sided cars falling into this category:

my 89791.4 BEST.jpg
DSCF1538 (1).jpg
90076 (5).JPG
97301 Union Pacific Observation Car.jpg
97243 B&O Royal Blue Line Passenger Car.

Many of these cars can now be hard to find (and some only come as part of a Starter Set) but the good news is that in their most recent catalogues Bachmann are including a wider range of Classic Cars as separate purchase items to match the 2-6-0 Mogul Locomotives released in 2016. They all come with track powered interior lighting picked up by thin strips of copper  that press directly onto the flanges of the insulated metal wheelsets, truck-mounted working knuckle couplers (LGB style hook-and-loop couplers are also included for you to change out if required, interior details (seating etc.), glazed windows, clerestory roof and attractive paint schemes (the Grizzly Flats and Eureka & Palisade Railroad versions are especially ornate). the disappointing news is that some of these liveries already appear to be sold at at the manufacturer so if you would like to buy I suggest that you contact your local distributor without delay ad see if they still have your item(s) in stock.














































97103 Combine - painted Unlettered - Oli
97105 Combine - Grizzly Flats.jpg
89399 Resized.jpg
97205 Coach - Grizzly Flats.jpg
97106 Combine - Denver & Rio Grande.jpg
97206 - Coach - Denver & Rio Grande.jpg
97206 - Coach - Denver & Rio Grande.jpg
97107 Combine - Eureka & Palisade.jpg
97207 - Coach - Eureka & Palisade.jpg

You can see these 1:22.5 cars in action by clicking on this video (courtesy of Bachmann Trains) which shows these coaches being pulled by the recently introduced matching 2-6-0 Steam Engines which, although built to a scale of 1:20.3, seem to go quite well with together.



























At the time of writing Bachmann have no passenger car products for use on Standard Gauge layouts and there is little reason to believe that they will introduce them in the foreseeable future but you never know. It was thought that Bachmann might offer the old style wood-sided passenger cars in 1:20.3 scale to match their other freight rolling stock offerings but the company now appear to have withdrawn from this market virtually altogether which is a great shame as their accurate representations in Fn3 gained much approbation.

That just about sums up the Bachmann Passenger Car range. For the Piko range of coaches please go on to the next module.

Copyright © John Prescott 2014

All rights reserved

Copyright © John Prescott 2014

All rights reserved

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