Bachmann (China) Alco 2-6-0 Mogul

Introduced: 2012

Bachmann's finely detailed Mogul model is based on an Alco prototype that was delivered to the GB&W in 1924. Internally, the chassis/mechanism is quite similar in design to the one employed in Bachmann's 4-6-0 model (released in 2011).

The locomotive shell is metal. And unlike the 4-6-0, the smokestack and domes are part of the main boiler casting and not separately applied detail pieces. The chassis is all metal and split-frame. Pickup is provided by all eight tender wheels and four of the six drivers (the forward pair being equipped with traction tires). The pilot truck is electrically neutral. Current is transferred from the engine to the tender by way of two stiff wires inside the plastic drawbar.

The forward two driver axles are geared (with the rear drivers being turned solely by the cranks). All gearing is plastic. The drivers are seated inside bearing blocks that sit in cutouts in the frame. Like the 4-6-0, the crank pins are either tiny hex bolts (rear drivers) or tiny screws (center drivers). As such, they will likely have the same tendancy to work themselves loose over time. Fixing them in place with a bit of Loctite would probably be a good idea should they ever do.

An LED board on the front of the chassis provides yellow lighting for the headlight. Said headlight is directional insofar as it dims when operating in reverse. Wheels are blackened and low-profile (no problems on code-55 track). The pilot coupler is an E-Z Mate (Bachmann's version of the McHenry coupler). The tender coupler is also an E-Z Mate (mounted to the tender chassis). Clear plastic shrouds wrapped around the chassis insulate it from the shell.

The tiny coreless 5-pole motor appears to be the same as the one used in the 4-6-0. As pictured below, a mini-flywheel / worm assembly is fixed to the driveshaft.

The 23' tender is all-new for this model. And like the 4-6-0 tender, this one does not have a pin/socket arrangement for the wiring harness. Rather, the wires providing motor and lighting control for the engine are soldered directly to the decoder board. Unlike the board in the 4-6-0 tender, there is no provision for snapping off the decoder and running under straight DC power (mainly 'cuz the entire board is the decoder). The tender chassis is metal, whereas the shell is plastic. Current collection is of the "low-friction" ilk. As delivered, there is no backup light. However, a couple of contacts on the back end of the decoder board (labeled "BL +/-") are provided should you want to add a light of your own.

This is a sweet running locomotive for the most part - smooth and quiet, perfect pickup, nimble throttle response, excellent slow-speed creep, and a very reasonable top-end speed. However, one problem I've run into with mine is a very slight verticle "buck" that appears to cause the forward drivers (the ones with the traction tires) to lose firm contact with the rails. The net result is slightly diminished pulling power (as compared to Bachmann's mechanically similar 4-6-0). Whereas my 4-6-0 can comfortably pull 20+ small freight cars on level track, my "as delivered" 2-6-0 spun its wheels with anything more than about 15 similar cars.

The prevailing theory re the bucking is that the axle centers on the offending drivers are off-center by a fraction of a millimeter (resulting in a slightly egg-shaped rotation). Fortunately, based on what I've read from others, not all 2-6-0's have this problem (IE, apparently I just got "lucky"). The obvious solution would be to simply return the offending loco to Bachmann for replacement. Or, if you're stubborn like me, you could try fixing it yourself.

Fortunately, the solution to the pulling power issue is pretty simple - I removed the driver bottom plate, pulled out the forward driverset and added small shims (tiny pieces of electrical tape) inside the frame cutouts where the forward driver bearing blocks seat. No, this didn't address the actual source of the problem (the bucking), but it did serve to keep the drivers in firm contact with the rails and now my 2-6-0 pulls just as well as my 4-6-0. And since the slight up-and-down movement is barely noticeable as the engine rolls along, I'm quite satisfied with the results.

Note - for those folks with access to a DCC system, changing the decoder setting for CV2 (vstart) from its default value of 10 to 0 makes for much better slow-speed control (in both DC and DCC modes).

Trivia - a Netherlands outfit called ATSF N Scale Models makes a conversion kit for the Bachmann 2-6-0 to turn it into an ATSF 2-6-0 (#9446) -

Features -

- DCC-equipped for speed, direction, and lighting
- Dual-mode NMRA-compliant decoder
- Precision can motor
- Die-cast boiler and chassis
- Blackened metal wheels / high quality traction tires
- Detailed backhead
- N scale RP25 wheel contours
- E-Z Mate Mark II coupler

Removing the engine shell is pretty easy. Start by disconnecting the handgrabs from the front of the shell, and then remove the screw on the bottom (back by the drawbar pegs). Lastly, spread the sides of the shell apart a bit (back by the cab) and then apply a bit of upward and forward pressure to pop the shell off. To remove the tender shell, simply stick a small screwdriver into the hole where the wires go and pry it up and off.

Grade: A

Spookshow Home