1:22.5 scale, gauge 1, animated cattle cars
1400 East Erie Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19124
Cattle car with openings through which horse or cow heads appear; opening doors; plastic construction; plastic arch-bar trucks; metal wheelsets; working, truck-mounted knuckle couplers installed; hook-and-loop couplers also supplied; two road names available
Pros: Well-constructed car; excellent paint and graphics; random cattle action
Cons: Animal heads, when extended, may interfere with very tight clearances
Bachmann, in their animated horse car, has created a bit of whimsy not often associated with a major large-scale manufacturer. The car harkens back to the animated accessories of the toy-train era of the 1950s and ’60s.
The narrow-gauge-proportioned cars are available in two liveries: D&RGW (black, with horses: #98701) and Burlington Route (red, with cows: #98702). Bachmann’s working, truck-mounted knuckle couplers are installed but traditional hook-and-loop couplers are also supplied. The cars appear to be based on Bachmann’s old 1:22.5-scale cattle car. However, there are two openings in each side of the cars, through which the animals’ heads can protrude.
Inside each car is a central pylon. Atop this, resting on a free-moving bearing, is a T-arm. At the ends of the arm are the animals. There is a single body (no legs) with two heads, pushmi-pullyu fashion, attached to each end of the arm. There is no mechanism that causes the animal heads to advance or retreat—the action simply relies on the irregular motion of the car as it traverses the track for actuation.
The action of the animals is quite smooth, owing to the bearing in the center. As a head emerges on one side of the car, its diagonally opposite number emerges from the other side. Likewise, the head at the other end of the body on the same side withdraws into the car, so everyone gets a turn to look out. The random action can be slow or fast, depending on the speed of the train, the smoothness of the track, and the number of curves to be traversed.
The only possible problem I can see with this car has to do with any tight clearances you may have on your line. When fully extended, an animal’s head can protrude as much as 11/4", so you’d need at least that much clearance between the side of the train and any structures or poles, or twice that much on parallel tracks if you’re running more than one of these cars. Aside from that, if this whimsical action car appeals to you, it is well made, free rolling, and should provide years of bovine or equine action on your railway.