Sunday, November 20, 2011
Spectrum Passenger Cars
Passenger equipment continues to be tested and evaluated on the lower level tracks. During testing several Bachmann Spectrum passenger cars were found to have some questionable operating characteristics. These cars have been around for about 15 years and employed a swinging coupler box that attached to the truck via a metal linkage inside the car body. In theory this would allow the coupler box to pivot on turns which would allow the car to negotiate curves with a radius as tight as 18". The weakness in the system on the early releases, which came with the old style horn hook couplers, was that the coupler box would droop causing knuckle couplers to be prone to disconnecting. In order to have reliable coupling and operating characteristics I removed these swinging coupler box assemblies from the cars and body mounted good old Kadee #5s. The body mounted #5s were mostly right on target with the Kadee coupler height gauge and those that were not were easily adjusted with a small washer to two. The downside of the body mounted coupler was the cars no longer handle the 18" radius curves. The good news was that the cars can easily handle 22" radius curves. It should also be noted that later releases of these cars with Bachmann knuckle couplers had a more stable mechanism and did not routinely require the removal of the assembly for reliable operation.