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A lot of issues.

I have one L1 67772, it does not see much use as small son likes tender engines, this loco has one main running issue and that is the short front pony truck movement, as a result it is sensitive to track 'anomalies' but it pulls well, just had it running last hour towing 13 Wrenn (therefore heavy) wagons round the upper level and did so perfectly but from time to time it will find faults on the track. Powerful and smooth mine is totally noiseless.I run Dc not DCC.

K3 I have 2 of these, they were a problem until I reset the back to backs, took a 1mm out of one of them then the derailments stopped and both have been pretty decent since then, quiet and pulls decently, not great but not bad.

J39 again I have 2 of these, biggest issue is the draw bar, any slight imperfection and the loco will leave the tender and train behind so it became a bit of a nuisance, I keep bringing them out and they still keep leaving stock behind but now I have ballasted with Gaugemaster roll the entire upper level that may have improved matters, a bit grindy, these locos are at the lower end of sophistication.

BR3 and BR4 no knowledge although I have a Fairburn which will have a shorter wheelbase, nice loco.

As to the B17 it should be good, some Hornby locos are outstanding namely;

Scot/Patriot, Black 5, B1, N15 and others, so the recent 4-6-0 type has been excellent B1 is a real belter and right now I place top of the pile for performance, I really love this model and hope Hornby can make a few more versions as there were 410 of them, Black 5 too is really good and must rate in second spot. (61162 from Gorton top link and 61349 last of Gorton built locos for instance)

On the whole Hornby on the middle and smaller locos has an edge for pulling power, they are a bit quieter and run very nicely, Hornby locos are more tolerant of bad track as they HAVE to work on Hornby setrack which is a bit more general toy like so they have easier back to back dimensions and I think wider tyres. The new drawbar is now better than the nasty small 4 wire plug affair and even some of the 4-4-0's are very good such as the Railroad D49, T9 is too small for a big motor so is a weak puller and the bogie pick up disintegrated on my Schools.

For me the biggest disappointment is the 'lack of spares' for even current locos such as the Schools (Haileybury), 9F, and the inability to supply replacement bodies even when the service department broke one in for repair!

Bachmann have a lot of issues too, mainly in recent years quality control faults from China, I guess little girls from a village somewhere have no idea about very much and so they have to be trained for everything (this is much needed away from USA/Europe as we take so much knowledge for granted) When setup correctly they are very good and some are nice indeed however a few issues here;

1. I have had a lot of worn rods, clearly a metallurgy spec defect, this may have passed now.
2. Some locos such as Austerity 8F bed iron, 9F spaceship etc can only work wide radius corners/points there is simply not enough lateral movement at the drive axle for them to be pinched up more so only for those with streamline points.
3. There are some poorer jobs such as the BR class 5, I have 4 older ones and a new one but this has taken to locking up the drive gear and runs a bit hot but usually it locks before getting too hot, older ones have weak motors.
4. Some of the 0-6-0's are a bit likely to rail climb if there is a small gap on a corner.
5. I have had some Bachmann locos emit real smoke such as the SDJR 7F (1 of 3) and another one? cannot recall.- ah yes a new V2
6. Some revised Bachmann models are much better the B1 and V2, both are now decent but the V2 is a good 'un except for the smoke issue replaced under warranty, the B1 too but it is just not as good as the Hornby.

So a B1 is a great buy from Hornby as is 4F, Q1, Scot, etc.

Just one other note, both suffer from weak Walshearts valve gear, most of my failures are now due to this issue, handle with care and ensure the con rod does not get kinked and then jam the valve gear when those with more powerful motors will put the gear apart. This may have influenced Bachmann as the new crop of models such as Wainright C, Robinson J11, Horwich 'Old Faithful', Robinson Director, Robinson O4, Midland 3F, Midland 4F, Fowler 2P, ALL have inside valve gear.

Finally some problems are self inflicted such as the awful drawbar still used by Bachmann on the Southern N class, father bought one lately, discovered the same problem I had and removed it and modified as I did. The big issue with B17 is not whether it will be any good, just as to whether any will ever appear on sale?

A bit of pot luck here because if you get a decent loco you will get great performance, shame I had a thread on all these matters which was shut down and gave details so you have to independently decide if I know what I am talking about or just made this up for your entertainment.
 

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Very interesting re-reading my old thread, certainly I cleared out all my tender drives, split chassis and so on and then in 2013 I went DCC with my new railway layout with Roco Z21.

Some models that have come along since are really good, in terms of Hornby they are excellent such as B1, B17, B12/3, Black 5 (except shortage of X4026 motors) the L1 has had a front truck fix and has been Ok, my A2/2 has had front bogie wheels replaced with deeper flanges and is really good,
Meanwhile Bachmann are getting left behind, updates come through slowly I am waiting on the new V2 but the D11 Directors have been very good, O4 another good 'un and my 5 off SDJR 2-8-0's have been excellent the 9F is a champ - the one to beat.

Generally then both have upped the game but I give the better grade to Hornby as they have moved very steadily with better locos and Bachmann well the 10-12-D WD narrow gauge loco is how it's done and maybe the new Fairlee will be very good, as to Heljan - aaaahhhhhh!
 

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Graham it's all very well scrapping R1 but there are a lot of modellers who would give up including dare I say it - those terrorised into minimum space constraints by the house gremlin - who simply have minimum space and Hornby Railroad models will make the R1 even if they never use this on the Hornby TV programme. R2 is the standard for settrack points

Now just think all those people buying this R1/R2 railway are in fact keeping the larger product we buy alive because it is all turnover of funds with a well worked out product, bit silly looking at a P2 tackling R1 but hey if that's all you can do I'll take it well in fact in OO9.

So good luck to them and consider how fortunate we really are.
 

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Hey 34c you know that Heljan have bucked the trend, R1 will not work for the OO9 Lynton Manning Wardles, and as for the O2 well that needs a minimum of R4 on a few of them anyway.
So R3 is 505, R2 is 432 so the step is 73 thus R4 is 578 and R5 is 651, R6 is 724 but as above it is down to how much space you have!
 

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I think as per 34c that Hornby knowing better still keep older locos going far too long when really they need an upgrade now they can do a nice job as they prove with B1, Grange, Black 5, Royal Scot, Patriot and many others even if some of these could be somewhat better they still hold their own, the design resource to upgrade is probably limited as we see in the Hornby prog and I wonder if Hornby is rethinking it's 'made in China' policy, nothing political about a train set but China is trying hard to wreck their own economy and it's working, unemployment (aka Flexible working) is sweeping through China, the cost advantages of yesteryear are gone so I wonder if Hornby will join the exodus anytime soon.which will introduce upset and changes plus the need to setup elsewhere.
If I were Kohler I would stay with China for existing product but more newer models elsewhere, probably India but I do see this as the coming distraction, everyone else is leaving China as thousands of factories shut down, will Hornby be the last to go?
 

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Profit allows you to fund the next product but the other issue is transport costs getting product around the world isn't cheap and a shortage of containers doesn't help either, so getting to market matters and this has never been too well done by our suppliers
 

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Now what makes them cough is competition, the established manufacturers have a lot of advantages but new techniques may turn matters in their favour, the big boys will be watching and have to adopt the techniques and be willing to have a duplicate model to split the market and try to ensure the upstart company makes a loss on this particular line of models, as happened with the Adams 4-4-2t and is happening with other models, it gets mean when the big boys do this to each other so they'll just determine who gets to market first and the other will back down, the small guys can make all the GT3's and GCR A5's they want but a good BR5MT to replace the ancient Bachmann effort will get a reaction for sure and with other similar mainstream models.

It'll be fun to watch from the sidelines but there'll be a lot of activity at the manufacturers and they don't need to go off making Olympic tat and tourist tat, this is turning out to be a battle for a mature market where costs are rising but budgets of the purchasers are limited, tough times ahead for some of them.
 

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I think though we are forgetting the third player here - Peco, I suspect none of us buy more Hornby track and many other items after we switch to the Peco track although the box shifters still sell track and it never ceases to surprise that so many stick with Hornby and a very few with Bachman.

Meanwhile we have no idea what the mark up is and so if the manufacturers want to cut down the range there is a ready made partner and as this seems to not be happening it may be the profit margin on track must be quite decent, for me I like the idea it is British made and not Chinese
 
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