Gauge 1, 1:22.5-scale coach and combine
1400 East Erie Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19124
All plastic gauge-1 coach and combine; insulated metal wheelsets; truck-mounted working knuckle couplers; hook-and-loop couplers also supplied; track-powered interior lighting; interior details; sliding door on the combine
Pros: Attractive passenger stock; good paint and graphics; interior detail and lighting
Cons: Trucks not free rolling
Bachmann has re-released its Jackson & Sharp coaches in a Eureka & Palisade Railroad paint scheme. Sent for review were a coach and combine. Each has a yellow-ochre body, brown trucks, and a cream-colored roof. Lettering and ornaments are brown, with a little dark blue. Both cars have window glazing, with the exception of the non-opening end doors.
Underbody detail is limited and what is there is molded into the underside of the floor. There are black plastic truss rods, end rails, brake wheels, and smokejacks. Trucks are all plastic (except for the wheelsets) and carry Bachmann’s truck-mounted knuckle couplers. Hook-and-loop couplers are also supplied, and can be easily swapped out. Interior detail includes seats in both cars, and a partition between the baggage and passenger compartments on the combine.
Each car has interior illumination—two bulbs per car, up against the clerestory roof. Each bulb is encased in a sort of light-conducting strip made of pink plastic. When the lights are on, they cast a rosy glow over the interior of the car, reminiscent of some aspects of the Old West. I discovered there is an on-off switch under the floor of each car, for turning the lights off during daytime running.
The light bulbs are powered by track power, that being picked up via contacts on each of the wheels. These contacts are thin strips of spring copper that bear directly on the flanges of the wheels. While they conduct the electricity just fine, they also cause considerable drag on the wheels, causing the cars not to be free rolling. If you’re pulling a relatively short train with a strong engine, this may pose no difficulty.
However, a longer train and/or weaker engine could cause problems. One solution, which would also provide constant lighting, would be to convert the lighting to battery power and eliminate the wheel contacts.
These cars, with their attractive paint and ornate lettering and lining, definitely look the part. They are well proportioned and reasonably well detailed, and would make up an authentic narrow-gauge train.