Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Bachmann On30 -- Beware

8 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • 7 posts
Bachmann On30 -- Beware
Posted by allrsp on Thursday, August 16, 2012 6:17 PM

Beware:  Not sure if this is the right spot but from my point of view Bachmann On30 does not look good. Bought a new Cliamax about a mont ago. When I got around to it tried to run it. It would run backwards great would only run about an inch or two forward before it would stop.

Sent it back to Bachmann, I have had good luck with their warranty work in the past and had quick turn around.  Well after a little more than 6 weeks I get a call from Bachmann. Apparantly they are unable to repair or do not have parts they were not clear on that point.

In any case they did not have any to send out a replacement either. Ended up having to accept a On30 ( I hope) Porter 0-4-2T as a replacement engine.

By the way no Shays either.  So they are batting  "O" on the On30 .  Guess I shoudl have paid more attention to the posting about teh Bachmann On30 locomotives.

  • Member since
    January, 2008
  • From: Big Blackfoot River
  • 2,523 posts
Posted by Geared Steam on Thursday, August 16, 2012 6:32 PM

Beware of what? 

What other brand are you planning to buy in On30 if your not going to buy Bachmann?

Looking at their parts store, they seem to have all the critical parts

When I go to their online store, I can purchase an On30 Climax, so they are in stock.


"Americas Resourceful Railroad"

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Western, MA
  • 6,569 posts
Posted by richg1998 on Thursday, August 16, 2012 7:52 PM

This is a well known issue with On30 and HO versions. Surprised you just found out about it.

Bachmann site. There is a On30 forum and a parts page.

NWSL is suppose to be working on a replacement steel set for the On30 Climax.



  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: upstate NY
  • 9,103 posts
Posted by galaxy on Friday, August 17, 2012 4:03 AM

Hmm, and I was looking forward to {someday} building an under the tree layout with On30 trains to run!

Bachmann in HO has been good to me so far with 14 locos, no issues, no returns or repairs. I am surprised of problems With On30.

What you experienced can and does happen with any manufacturer, not just Bachmann, even the expensive brands of Locos.

Since Bachmann is the only supplier of On30 {that I know of}, you may be "Stuck" until they make more.

Some retailers or etailers may still have some left on the shelves. lists the climax and shays as "available" perhaps they are not.  Not sure who else carries On30. My other favorite suppliers of all things train MB Klien { } doesn't seem to.

At least Bachamnn offers a substitution, and not just a blatant "we cannot fix or repair" and you are left "out of luck".

Good luck with your Porter replacement!


-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: Colorado
  • 3,888 posts
Posted by fwright on Friday, August 17, 2012 8:56 AM

Good running geared steam model locomotives are surprisingly difficult for the plastic and die cast model manufacturers to make.  Nobody I know of has succeeded on the 1st run.  MDC, Rivarossi (AHM), and Bachmann have all tried.  All their 1st runs (and often subsequent, too) have had issues.

In Bachmann's case, the issues applied to both the Shay and Climax in both On30 and HO.  For the Shay, the tiny plastic gears on the line shafts that drive the wheels were not up to the load.  Kind of like using too soft a material for the worm in a conventional steam model drive.  The Climax had a complex drive with too many parts being too flexible.

NWSL came out with a set of steel gears for the Shay.  Fixing the Climax has not been as easy.

The second runs by Bachmann do have improved drives.

FWIW, the early Bachmann On30 Porter runs also had some problems (I don't recall what they were).  These too have been improved in later runs.  Bachmann does continually improve their products.

my thoughts, your choices

Fred W

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 9,513 posts
Posted by wjstix on Friday, August 17, 2012 9:31 AM

Bachmann isn't the only manufacturer of On30 products (check out Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette magazine) but they're the only one that mass produces On30 products and sells them at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, as with other manufacturers who have their work done in China, it can take a long time to straighten out any problems with their products.

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • 1,160 posts
Posted by stebbycentral on Friday, August 17, 2012 12:15 PM

It sounds like what you are all saying is "stay away from their geared steam".  And I would suggest, as someone previously posted, it has everything to do with reproducing the complicated mechanisms in plastic, as versus metal. 

In Bachman's defense, I have to say that I have a couple of their side-rod On30 locomotives that I have found to be absolutely bomb-proof.

I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

  • Member since
    January, 2008
  • From: Big Blackfoot River
  • 2,523 posts
Posted by Geared Steam on Friday, August 17, 2012 6:47 PM

Not me Big Smile I have them all, (HO) and learned how to repair (if needed) 

The second runs of the HO scale Shays and 3T Climax have given me no issues, and I run them, up 5-6% grades, often and have for years. 

No anti-Bachmann geared steam here.

"Americas Resourceful Railroad"

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • From: Seattle Area
  • 1,700 posts
Posted by Capt. Grimek on Friday, August 17, 2012 9:08 PM

What was the starting date for the second run of the HO Shays please?

Raised on the Erie Lackawanna Mainline- Supt. of the Black River Transfer & Terminal R.R.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!

Search the Community

Users Online

There are no community member online
Find us on Facebook