Need purchasing advice on Amfleet cars

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by LongIslandTom, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Purchasing Amfleet cars - Decision made, Photos posted!


    I recently re-discovered running Amtrak trains after 10 years of inactivity, when cleaning out the attic I found my old, old old HO Bachmann Amtrak set.. It was an E60CP with the notoriously unreliable pancake motor drive and three Amfleet cars. This is real old stuff with truck-mounted couplers and is pretty unreliable, so I decided to ditch the whole schmeer and buy updated equipment.

    I now have two Athearn AMD103 Gennies and they run beautifully with their flywheel-motored all-wheel drive mechanisms. But I have no good cars to go with them.

    I know Walthers makes some pretty good Amfleet cars, and Bachmann has recently retooled their Amfleet cars as well. So the questions for those in the know:

    - Which Amfleets should I buy, the Walthers or the new Bachmanns?

    - Which brand is more detailed?

    - Which brand is more reliable? (things like the couplers, wheelsets, operating characteristics, etc.)

    Thanks for any help!
  2. caliban

    caliban Member

    Hi Tom,

    I own a Walthers AMFLEET I food service car, an old Bachmann AMFLEET I coach and two new Bachmann silver AMFLEET I cars. I like the new Bachmann's, in my opinion they are the best detailled models. They have interior lighting and red marker lights, not very prototypical to have lit marker lights on all cars. If you want AMFLEET II, only Walthers have them.
  3. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Hey Tobias,

    Thanks for the info! Hopefully I can find a local hobby shop that has both so I can compare.. I can't wait to see one of my AMD103s hauling a nice short train of 3 Amfleets.
  4. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    The wheels on the Walthers cars always falling out drove me nuts. Mine finally got retired to my dad's huge curio cabinet with the Walthers P32-8 that came with them. He's an Amtrak Conductor anyway now, so he gave them a good home. Me, I used to be an Amcrap Conductor, and I don't need to be reminded all the time. :D
  5. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member


    I picked up some Horizon commuter cars from Walthers in NJ Transit paint back on Monday, and I gotta agree with you-- I can't say I'm impressed with the trucks..

    The wheelsets look like they are being held onto the truck with nothing more than a thin strip of flexible stamped metal screwed to the bolster, and it has a LOT of slop. I can twist the wheels in their seating wells every which way.

    I needed the Horizon cars though because I wanted some NJT action next to the Amtrak trains (and nobody else made the Horizons that I know of). But now that I've seen how these Walthers are, I think I'm going to go with the retooled Bachmann Amfleets.

    Wish me luck! :D
  6. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I have a lone Bachmann full dome that I like, but it is old and poor detailed, and a lone Walthers Superliner, that I love. BUT the Athearn Bombardier commuter cars are even better, but they don't quite fit in an Amtrak train. I'd say gto Walthers, BUT I have not seen the new Bachmann.
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I ordered 3 Amfleet coaches and 1 Amfleet cafe car.. They are the retooled Bachmanns.

    When I get those in the mail in a couple more days, I'll post a photo writeup on those and the Walthers Horizons I got. Stay tuned! :thumb:
  8. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    what did you do with the E60? That would be a really cool super detail/refit project. i've been trying to solve the problem of a better E60 drive for a while with little success. I think i'm getting sloe though. I'll need a new C44-9W chassis ( i broke my old spare one) and i'll borrow the grinder at my work to take some of the edges out. with that accomplished, i'd just need a way to fit the shell on the athearn frame. The wheel base is correct and everything. I cut the "tank" from the bottom of the E60 Chassis. after some grinding, i'll fit it over the C44's old tank, and glut it in place. the tabs on the tank should be able to still snap on to the shell, and that will hold it. Thats my plan. Get some new SNCF faivley pantographs from sommerfeldt and i'm done.
  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    IHP sells the correct 70 ton GSI trucks for less then $20 a pair.
  11. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Hey Green,

    Yep that E60CP is sitting on my dead line... It was the first HO scale loco I've ever owned so it's got some sentimental value yea. Anyway, I hear from some people who have done the rebuild to use either an Atlas U33C mechanism and frame or an Athearn 6-axle UBoat frame+mech. Yeah I'll also have to get those replacement pantographs because as we all know the Bachmann pantographs are usually the first part to get destroyed on these locos. :D

    I guess as I come across the parts I'll slowly rebuild that puppy. Of course once I finish up with that, I'll have to string up catenary and buy 1) Metroliners, 2) AEM7/ALP44 toasters, 3) HHP8's, 4) Acela trainsets, 5) GG1s.. LOL, the insanity..
  12. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I don't know about that U boat idea. you'd still need to do alot of grinding, cutting, and then you'd need extend the frame ( the only the single ended E60s will fit on the Uboat chassis) I'm not sure how you do that, lol. I tried soldering one chassis back together with no luck.

    I was origninally going to scratch build my catenary, which isn't to tough, but now that i have a job i can afford to order the Model Memories stuff, so I decided to make life easier and just do that, lol. I might still try to scratch buil a little just for fun though. I need to complete my article on scratch building catenary on my site! i wouldn't feel right just estimating the troubles with the rest of it! and i already built a jig for it all!

    lol, i was hoping i could scavenge your E60, but i guess not, lol. My E60 was my favorite electric (sorry GG1...) as i saw one when i was young (before i knew anything about trains), and it was the biggest locomotive i'd ever seen until i saw some SD80MACs a year ago. I remember every detail, and when i saw the bachmann model i had to have one. unfortunately i wasn't so good with my trains early on. and so it had been in a number of accidents i think that its time i get a new one. I was really upset when mine broke, lol.

    as for the other electrics, i have warnings for you with the metroliners.
    1. If you break or loose something, you are out of luck, you'll need a whole new metroliner for the parts. at train shows dummies are easy to find though. be careful with the harder to obtain power cars.
    2. the bottoms crumble. don't fidget with them, they will break. IHP did sell repalcements that didn't crumble but i don't think they are in stock anymore
    3. on the bottom of each truck there is a cover you screw on. on the powered variant, you need to make sure it is installed correctly. even though they look symmetrical, one end is slightly different then the other, which is enough to stop it from working.
    4. the motor almost lights on fire if your hasn't been run in a while. make sure you clean it.
    5. if the gears slip, check and make sure the washers are installed right. in my model, they actually left some washes in the model so that you can adjust the gear size. its a weird set up, i'll post a picture later
    Also, at the National Train Show, IHP plans to sell better Metroliner Shells of which i personally inspected. they are great, and i'd reccomend them when they come out. they are the more modern type metroliner, and the cafe variant. they also sell the other variety pantograph used on the metroliner. Its worth it to look into.

    I have both an AEM7 and ALP 44. those are nice models, definitely worth the money. its a shame they don't make them anymore.

    I have an Acela, which is also pretty good. it had perpetual bad luck as well however, and it ot shooved off my layout by a semi derailed AC4400CW. I need a new power set. its definitely good though.

    I need to buy the HHP8 sometime, I haven't gotten my hands on it. I know what i want for my birthday now!

    You mention GG1s, but what about the E33s? they are nice, i have a Conrail one. They are pretty good. I'm thinking about buying an IHP E40 (NH EP5). they have the accurate trucks and everything. I wonder if bachmann will make the E40, or maybe the E44 some time. Both would make good models, espescially the E40/EP5. the O scale EP5 apperently has done well!

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