Product Review: Bachmann 85' Amfleet Phase IV Coach

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Herc Driver, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    For those who might be in the market for these coaches/cafe cars to complete their Amtrak fleet, consider this very unofficial product review. I just bought the coach and cafe/coach cars from my LHS and have been running them around the layout. Here's my overall impressions...(Disclaimer - I'm not connected in any way to Bachmann or any hobby store and get nothing for offering this review. To give you an idea of my running conditions...My layout is very small, with tight radius turns. Normally, all knuckle couplers will stay connected over the entire layout except for the fixed Concor couplers on passenger cars that sometimes decouple in the tight turns when pulled by a Kato engine.)

    Fit and finish - very good. The decals and painting is crisp and clean, no overspray, and uniform between the two different cars.

    They are a pretty close match to the real world coaches, with only minor variations noted. The coaches are very detailed on the exterior, beneath the passenger floor where the air conditioning fans and other systems are located. The interiors are evenly lighted and include red end of car lights that are illuminated at all times - and are located at both ends of the cars. The diaphrams are large enough to almost touch continuously but are far enough away to not derail the car when cornering tight radius track. The couplers are the rapido style, body mounted, and swing freely side to side with enough arc to allow running on tight 9.75" radius curves. (Granted that's really not prototypical and gives quite a bit of overhang when traversing the curves - but that's what's on my layout so I'm stuck with it.)

    The only negative I have so far is that there is quite a bit of drag on the wheel-sets due to metal touching the axles to pick up power for the interior lighting. One Kato P42 was easily able to pull two of these cars plus a Concor Amfleet Viewliner (a modified coupler car with a rapido on one end and a knuckle coupler on the other) but it took more power than usual to move the coaches compared to pulling Kato Superliner or Concor Viewliner (non lighted) cars. I added a second P42 and that easily overcame all drag from the Amfleet coaches - but again - one diesel can and will pull these Bachmann coaches. For comparison, the Concor 85' Viewliner car weighs 1 1/8 ounces whereas the Bachmann Amfleet 85' weighs 1 5/8 ounces. The Concor model rolls freely and the Bachmann does not due to the metal pickup strips for interior lighting. There is no side to side rolling movement when the cars are in motion as some of the Concor's do. I will one day swap out the extended shank rapido coupler for a compatible knuckle coupler at some later time.

    Overall, I'm very happy with these Bachmann Amfleet coaches - so much so - I just ordered another one to give me three. The pre-installed lighting is a nice feature, and they are nicely detailed. If you're trying to capture the latest in Amtrak service, these cars will do well.

    (When the Bachmann - Amtrak HHP-8 arrives in the mail that I have on order, I'll post a picture of the new Charlotte to Raleigh Amtrak service using these cars on my Ballantyne Branch.)
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Nice unofficial review...

    The Bachmann cars of this type, going all the way back to their original Metroliners in Penn Central paint (!) tend to have the drag problem that you describe, whether they are lighted or not.
  3. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    Waiting for photos.
  4. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Ah, my apologies for not getting the pictures posted yet...but I hope to tomorrow!
  5. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    Sure, np, hehe.
  6. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    OH NO...bad computer problems...spend whole day fighting to install new printer, wireless, tigers and bears oh my. I've got the pictures in the camera and just have to work out software to upload them. Arrrggghhhh I just love technology - it makes our lives so much easier.
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Here's those pictures I promised...

    Bachmann Amfleet Coach and HHP-8. Good looking coaches, too bad they don't roll easily. The HHP-8 is a strong litte engine, but can only pull three cars max. (It can pull longer 6 car consists of Concor or Kato coaches.) I'm still working on ways to decrease the axle/wheel set friction.

    Attached Files:

  8. darkcurves

    darkcurves Member

    The loco looks really cool with that cab light.

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