How are the Athearn Bombardier coaches?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by thedowneaster, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    I'm thinking about buying some athearn bombardier commuter cars in the future. I'm hoping if any of you own cars you would be willing to chime in with some of your experiences with them.

    I'm specifically interested in knowing...
    How well do they work in push-pull service? (similar to walthers horizon or better?)

    How difficult would they be to paint? Do you think the windows could easily be removed?

    If I can't find more Walthers MBTA cars I'm considering painting and lettering some of these up like the MBTA's bi-level kawasaki cars.

    Thanks for any input!
  2. I have a set of OLDER Sounder cars and a newer F59PHI. I haven't yet seen the new release of Bombardier cars, and I have no idea if there any different, if they've been re-tooled or anything of the like... But my experience is, they actually worked better on my old layout in the push position. When I'd run it engine first, the first coach behind the engine, no matter which of the 3 coaches it is, would be pron to de-rail over a switch. Now I'm not saying there bad runners, because it was only once in awhile it would do this, but it is an experience I've had.

    Painting... I've never repainted anything, but this seem pretty tough... Hard, thick plastic shell and well painted. Someone else on here will be able to give you a better answer.

    As for the windows, theres complete instructions from Athearn of how to take the cars apart, and included is a way to take the windows out, so shouldn't be to bad.

    Hope this helps some. Good luck in your project!

  3. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Thanks Ted,
    I appreciate your input! I'll update the forum with my project progress if I decide to go with the bombardier fleet.
  4. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I have one Bombadier cab car. Detailing is pretty good. It was an undec, and everything came apart pretty easy, unfortunatly, its still in the paint shop, waiting for a repaint. I had just finished painting and it fell off my paint stand, and smudged.....Shelved for a future rainy day.
  5. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I recently purchased the whole set painted in the New Mexico Railrunner scheme (very attractive, by the way, as well as of local interest). That is, one F59PHI loco, two coaches, and one cab car. These behave quite well on my layout, though the 22" curves a just a bit tight, making the accordion tubes between the coaches rub and snap a bit around the curves.

    As for painting, I have no idea. The detail and paint on these is so nice I had never considered touching.
  6. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Awesome...Thanks guys!
    Its great to hear some good reviews!
    I see an undec cab car over at like a good place to start.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If the diaphragms are too tight, you might see if there is a longer Kadee coupler that fits in the box. I know the #5 has long and short variants (plus high and low heads).
  8. lapuce033

    lapuce033 New Member

    Bombardier Bi-Levels

    I do have a set of the first run, The AMT ones (Agence Metropolitaine de Transport) Montreal, Canada. I did not run them often, they did run fin, but they did de-rail in sharper curves if running too fast, which is normal, but I intend to change the couplers to longer ones and see if it fixes the problem.

    Other then that they run well with the F59PH in push-pull.
  9. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Yes, that would be a good fix for the problem. Now - why didn't I thinka that?
  10. TA462

    TA462 New Member

    I have 16 of those cars in GO Transit's paint scheme. I usually only run them on my clubs layout at local train shows. Kids really like the GO Train and thats all you hear "look, its the GO train", lol. Our club layout has nice broad curves so I installed Kadee #5's in each one to give the cars nice close coupling. The paint is great on them and they are very nicely detailed. I'm going to add real working ditch lights in one of my cab cars for push mode. The first run of the cars that I bought the wheels had to be regauged, none where in spec but the last 2 runs were perfect right out of the box. I use Atlas GP40's in GO colours for loco's and I've never had any issues in push or pull mode on my club's layout, they will run all day in either direction and actually have at shows. On my home layout though the curves aren't as broad and I need to swap the couplers for slightly longer ones to prevent the diaphrams from binding up and derailing the cars. I've thought about maybe filing down the back of the diagram to give it more clearance but I'm not sure how the will look. The gap between the body and the diagram may look to big. I just picked up 3 more to paint up in one off advertising cars, GO has a few of these and the cars came apart very easily. The windows were a little difficult to get out but with a little prying the will break loose from the glue that holds them on. I used PineSol to strip off the old "Sounder" paint scheme and with lots of scrubbing the paint came off very easily. Once I get around to painting them I'll post a few pics.
  11. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    I got my Athearn Tri-Rail in both HO and N scale a couple of weeks ago. I noticed my HO Scale coaches coupler height is high compared to my other locos and wagons. Also noticed the couplers are made by Bachmann. I thought they come installed with McHenry couplers.

    How can i fix the coupler height? What is the correct height set by NMRA? Need to get one of those NMRA tools.

    Attached Files:

  12. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    I know absolutely nothing about your modern day cars, I'm in the 50's.
    On your tight radius curves you may want to stick something like toothpicks in the coupler pockets to limit the range of motion of the couplers. The natural tendancy would be for the couplers to swing away from the center of the radius when pushing, and imobilizing them may help. You may want to experiment with one couple at a time, either the pusher or the pushee. Since your cars are not uncoupled like freight cars, and only face one way in the train, you have complete control and can remove the toothpicks when you are running on larger radii.
    Also I assume these are body mounted couplers and not talgo. You could try the other method (body/talgo) if you really get serious about it.
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Dark curves, to check your coupler height, you can use an NMRA gauge, but I think a Kaddee coupler height gauge is a better choice. I have an 18 inch long 1x4 board with a coupler height gauge fastened down to each end of the section of track. That way, I can put a car or locomotive on the track and check both ends without having to turn the locomotive or car around. It not only checks coupler height, but also checks the uncoupling "hose" for the correct height. Just one caution, don't try to power up the track to try to use the power to move a locomotive. The Kaddee gauge is steel and will cause a direct short circuit.

    For anyone wanting to strip and repaint the cars, Athearn uses some of the most chemical resistant styrene in their rolling stock. You can use Scale Coat "Rinse Away", Pine Sol, Brake Fluid, or any other solvent used to remove paint on plastic rolling stock. It will not be damaged by the popular chemicals like Kato or Atlas.
  14. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    Thanks Russ!

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