Bachmann has been in the N scale streetcar business since the early 1980s (what with their Brill Trolley and PCC Streamliner traction models). However, it wasn't until this release that they finally got it right. Yes, at long last, an N scale streetcar that's an actual model as opposed to a toy! Better still, a model that runs every bit as good as it looks.
The chassis consists of a metal base and a rounded plastic "hood" covering the guts (said hood being held to the lower chassis by a quartet of rectangular clips). The motor is extremely small (obviously). And being an enclosed "can", I really have no idea what the internal specs might be (although "three-pole" seems like a safe bet). The driveshaft is equipped with dual flywheels (very small ones, obviously). Small plastic ball-and-pin extensions on either end of the driveshaft spin worms inside of the truck towers. All four axles are geared and all gearing is plastic. All wheels are blackened and low-profile (no problems on Code-55 track). All wheels provide pickup (no traction tires). Pickup is provided by wheelback wipers. And although not a particularly optimal design, it seems to be reliable enough. Current is transferred from the trucks to bronze contacts on the bottom of the chassis via bronze wipers. Wires then transfer current from the chassis contacts to the decoder board (two per truck). Said decoder is held to the plastic hood by a couple of plastic hooks. Wires from the decoder transfer current to the motor. Tiny LEDs on the decoder board provide directional lighting.
Performance is virtually flawless (both DC and DCC). Throttle response is smooth, slow-speed creep is exceptional, and the top end is very reasonable. Pickup is perfect, allowing me to creep mine through insulated-frog turnouts at ridiculously slow speeds. Apart from a bit of an electronic "hum" at very low throttle settings, this model runs basically soundlessly. And amazingly enough, it can handle curves as sharp as 4.75" radius. All in all, a truly exceptional model.
- DCC-Equipped for speed, direction, and lighting
- Dual-mode NMRA-compliant decoder
- Precision can motor
- 8-wheel drive
- LED headlights and back-up lights
- Hidden drive train and electronics
- Photo-etched brass safety screen
- All new / distinctive prototype w/exit-only center door
- Superfine detailing through-out
To remove the shell, simply spread the sides apart and lift. The shell is pretty tightly fitted to the chassis, but it should pop off with just a modicum of effort.