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I have both: detail-wise, the Hornby one is ahead by quite a way, with a detailed cab interior, opening cab doors (a gimmick in some of their other models but useful for an 08/09 as you can pose shunting staff in the open doorway), and separate slats to the radiator front. Both models have excellent mechanisms with large flywheels. There have been variations in the pickup arrangements on earlier releases, and both have pros and cons, but overall, both types are usually very good runners with low gearing and smooth motors and drive trains.

Hornby's versions are usually dearer when new, but if you buy second-hand, both types occasionally throw up bargains. Certain liveries seem to attract a premium, though. On the other hand, if you can get a cheaper one, you can always repaint it. This one is a repainted Hornby model I bought as a bargain bin item in a different livery, where i wanted a BR blue one.

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Part 2.

Both makes had minor problems on the early releases. So if looking for s/h:

Bachmann for some inexplicable reason had the pick up wipers running on the wheel tyres instead of the wheel backs. Happily it was easy enough to tweak them to run on the flange tops, problem solved. Definitely affects 32-110 to 113 inclusive. Subsequently sorted out, I have no idea when / which model no..

Hornby had tight bearings on the shaft carrying the flywheel and worm. These actually ran hot, binding on this shaft, significantly slowing the loco while making the loudest scream I have ever heard from a model mechanism. (I fixed three by carefully feeding brasso into the bearings, until I had polished out enough clearance to eliminate the binding, and then flushed out very carefully.) Subsequently sorted out, I have no idea of the model nos. affected, as I bought mine s/h unboxed as a 'screamer', and don't have the R numbers of the two others I fixed.

And finally, I knew there was some review content on this site, which includes photo comparisons of the Hornby and Bachmann. Sadly the other forums on which the relative merits were discussed at the time have all lost this content.

Yes, I have one of the early Bachmann style with the wheel-top pickups, which I tweaked as suggested.

I have two of the Hornby 09 "Dick Hardy" models, one bought cheaply and repainted (I wanted them with their high level SR pipework). Both suffered screaming bearings (but ran fine), which I traced to the layshaft half way down the gear chain. Opening up the lid over the gears and removing the motor allowed access to the layshafts, which were cleaned up, removing the thick grease which had congealed, then lubricated with a light oil. No more screaming, and they have continued running perfectly to this day.

Filing the groove across the centre axle on the keeper plate on the Bachmann models is a useful tip. I agree about the usefulness of having the floating axle for better pickup performance. I also hadn't noted the removable bits on the Bachmann model, so thanks for the tips on adding the extra weight. :)
 
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