Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Close Coupling Bachmann Baldwin RF16s (Sharks)

Greetings All,

It's official. I've succumbed to another model railroading disorder. Obsessive Draw Bar Installations or O.D.B.I. It seems I cannot look at any of my cab unit models with wide spaces between them without it bothering me to the point that they must be coupled closer. To achieve this goal I keep turning to my old friend the draw bar. 

The latest episode involves three sets of Bachmann RF16s. After putting an A-B-A NYC consist on the layout my eyes were immediately drawn to the gaps between the units. A probable catalyst for this is that there was a recently draw bar equipped A-B-A F7 consist also on the layout.

Let's take a look at my latest case of O.B.D.I.;

B&O A-B set of Bachmann RF16s using factory equipped knuckle couplers
Distance between units is about 3/4"
The solution; A draw bar! The below draw bar is from a P-1000 subway car set. Looks promising for this application!   
I've removed the couplers and covers. On the left I put two washers between the sleeve and draw bar to keep the draw bar from drooping too much. On the right I have inserted the factory screw back into the coupler box.                                                                   
With the draw bar attached. Much better!
 Space between units is now about 1/2"
 Why stop with the B&O! PRR RF16s now draw bar equipped
Installation is the same. I'll spray paint the washers down the road to make them almost invisible.
NYC A-B-A Sharks  swim close coupled over the Empire City viaduct.
Just enough clearance for the minimum 22" radius curves on the inside track.
Over on the East Side by Ralph's Grocery Warehouse the A-B-A set of Baldwin RF16s has a Baldwin S12 tagging along. The S12 is on it's way to the shop for it's 30 day inspection. I saw something similar to this in either a book or video so thought I'd give it a try here. 
Having S12 #9881 in the consist going for it's 30 day inspection allows me to mask my other model railroading disorder. 
Obsessive Track Cleaning Disorder!
  Thanks for Reading!!!


  1. I've slowly been leaning toward some low-end Bachmann items. What's been bringing me to the tipping point is close coupling and ease of DCC conversion -- I want the flexibility of being able to couple units any which way. So if Bachmann upgrades the sharks with 8-pin plugs and better coupler mounts, I'm in. But I have an SD40-2 I found for less than $50 on the web in line for work.

    1. The DCC on Board Sharks run well but only with other DCC on Board engines in my fleet. I run these units and all of the other cab units shown in this and prior posts in A-B-A, A-B-B-A or just A-A consists so the drwa bar works great for me. If I want to change it it's only a few minute procedure. I'll be keeping an eye out for your new SD40-2 project.

    2. Hi John, the Bachmann 2017 catalog has nothing listed for the sharks, so I guess you'll need to add a DCC board to it. I hear they're not that difficult to convert. All of my Bachmann engines came DCC ready, equipped, or DCC sound value. For the money, they run well.

  2. Get a little closer, don't be shy!

    Seeing all of the draw bar conversions, I'll be doing the same. Have some delrin stock that I can use.

  3. Very funny Tim! But very appropriate as well. No reasons these units should be kept so far apart!
    Good luck with your conversions!
    If you are posting about that or any other project on a blog send me the link.

  4. Will do. Might be a while as the train room is under construction. Need to start a blogspot blog...

  5. Greetings Sir John! The O.D.B.I. project seems to be coming along nicely. As always, all of your fleet not only runs well, but looks good too! The N.Y.C.T.L. maintenance division deserves a noce steak dinner!

    1. Typo in there.. is should be a 'nice' steak dinner..

    2. Thank you 1:1 Sir Neal! That steak dinner would definitely show the maintenance division that they are well appreciated here on the N.Y.C.T.L.! Good idea to improve company morale.

  6. What was that old ad? "The closer he gets the better you look!" Easy peasy conversions yield great looking results! Nice job!