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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently being splashed in the 'Engine Shed', EP of the new 9F tooling.

But oh dear, I can see a readily discernable dimensional error in the photographs, and I expect this represents what is to be produced, as what are definitely new components which necessarily match the incorrect dimensions are shown.

The driven axle centres should all be spaced at the same dimension; the model doesn't replicate this. (Hornby have probably perpetuated the incorrect driven wheel base from their previous model.) For me this is a 'once seen, cannot be ignored' defect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
...especially as Bachmann seem to be getting decent chassis with brass bearings...
Specific to the Bachmann 9F, my four specimens have been galloping around the layout for 15 years now, pulling trains of up to 2.5kg, and keep in mind I operate daily if possible. Still run equally smoothly compared to the brass bearing models I use. I reckon that the light plastic compatible greases now available do the job of wear reduction much better than the oil of the past, when significant wear was observable in mazak chassis block axle holes.
Re the driving wheel spacing think that is common to most OO 9Fs due to the overscale flanges...
Until we can persuade more manufacturers to take up the 0.6mm flange depth that Heljan have been using, we are stuck with the need for compromise when wheels are closely spaced, to enable the flanges of adjacent wheelsets to clear. Bachmann opted for equidistant axle spacing on their 9F, the compromise an extra 0.5mm, so a 2mm overlength coupled wheelbase. I have yet to read a single complaint about this, let alone a review that picked this up; but what is evident is equidistant axle spacing as on the prototype, a better compromise in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for the information on the Bachmann 9F, I will see about regreasing mine. It definitely looks a lot better than the Hornby one.
You have reminded me that a purchase of lube needs to be on my shopping list.

Bachmann's 9F was a definite 'knockout' effort, recognising that the Hornby 9F model as it then existed was very popular, and taken overall was a success. The drive was significantly better than what was by then the norm in their UK steam range, a larger motor with a flywheel, and plenty of weight for traction installed in the roomy interior. As for the detail, I felt it was worth the money for the brake fit alone (anyone doubting just try it by DIY with metal brake gear). And of course the essential BR1F tender for BR(ER) deployment, something Hornby had never bothered with.


There are aspects that could be improved, some easy by DIY, others more difficult; the big one in my view the representation of the frame top edges, which the new Hornby tooling looks to have. But that's no good when a clear dimensional error immediately adjacent is on view. The most exquisitely produced Nine pound note is always WRONG!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No! The problem with Heljan flanges is they derail when going over any slight hump and eight coupled chassis just cantilever of the tracks. Good running is far more important than a small inaccuracy...
I am solidly in agreement about the importance of reliable running, and operate Heljan 2-8-0's. They would have been swiftly returned if they didn't stay on the rails, but have proved completely reliable.

I would suggest that 'slight humps' in the track are a potential problem for any rail vehicle, and really should be rectified as a priority.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
These minor humps are totally in scale with the prototype and with track laid on concrete rectifying is difficult no other models in my fleet of over 500 cause problems including kit built loco with scale wheels. The problem only occurs at a couple of locations one when coming off a canted high speed track curve in a cast concrete tunnel,...and another on a curved point 5ft radius where as many Peco points do over time distort slightly raising the area around the frog...
This additional detail puts a different perspective on the problem, as it's a couple of identified locations where the combination of rigid chassis and shallower flanges is unable to accommodate the transitions in rail level on curves. So you know what the problem is, but the construction precludes action.

My Heljan 2-8-0s are currently 'route restricted' to the slow lines due to occasional inability to handle one of the cant transitions on the fast lines, but this will be fixable by extending the transition. Knowing what the limitations are, enables the problem to be eliminated.

...the Heljan locos are not to the agreed RP25 wheel standard...
My focus is all on the benefits of a shallower flange for better scale models, particularly of steam locos with closely grouped drivers where 'dimensional fiddling' is currently necessary - sometimes done well, sometimes badly - which a flange 0.6mm deep pretty much eliminates. There's quite a lot I don't like about the Heljan steam loco construction, but I cannot fault the resulting superior appearance of the wheels compared to most RTR OO.

The lack of a 'native' wheel profile and dimension standard for RTR OO is a bugbear, but (with occasional lapses) the approach of using the RP25-110 as the basis works well. I believe we are about to see another test of this shallower (0.6mm) flange on a steam loco, as the few Accurascale wagons I have purchased offer this: waiting to see if this is carried through to the GW Manor they have announced.

...The APT ran around my layout at 170 MPH scale speed for 3 Hours without derailment the garden layout is a great test track for how stock should run. If its only one piece of stock that causes a problem the problem is the stock if several locos cause a problem its the track. Many other modellers have complained about similar problems with Heljan steam locos.
Now this is exciting! There are altogether too few railway modellers active on forums that really operate their model railways, and this limits the information on longevity and reliability of mechanisms and vehicle running gear when put to the test of significant use. I look forward to reading more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
... I now ignore the railways range, simply too pricey...
Welcome aboard. Since you are willing to look at s/h, I would suggest you keep an open mind toward potentially good deals.

We are now about twenty-five years past the time Bachmann ceased introducing models with their split chassis mechanisms, which proved to have high wear out and fragility: and moved to much superior solid chassis block, wiper pick up mechanism construction for steam models; and the centre motor with drive to both bogies for post-steam traction. Hornby 'got with the programme' in 2000, and since then there has been a tidal wave of good productions from both these manufacturers, now joined by Heljan, Dapol, ViTrains(briefly), DJM(AVOID!) Rapido, RealTrack. Oxford Rail, SLW, Kernow, Hattons, Rails of Sheffield, KRModels, and there's more to come...

The end result is that the earlier productions regularly appear s/h as owners sell them on, usually to replace with 'the latest', and sometimes it can be had at a good price. Near half my loco fleet is s/h for good savings, and none of it introduced later than 1997...
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I dipped my toe in the water with 1x Bachman version as the weathering looked very well done in deed - cost was £93 from Totally Trains at Ally Pally back in 2008
There's weird, the table formatting didn't want to be deleted!

I am looking forward to the opportunity of hoovering up a s/h unused Bach 9F, when the mindless herd transfer their affection to the new Hornby release. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
...one has to do without the brake detail on the Hornby ones.
And at time of release in 2006, also without a very smooth running and effective loco drive thanks to the Bachmann model's weight and a flywheel, the very common BR1F tender, and the three tender types offered on a scale length underfram, scale overall width, consistent driven axle spacing, much superior glazing and applied detail fit.

It's taken Hornby quite a while to decide on a competing model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
...The wheel base is increased in length in order to retain all flanges (later Hornby ?)
Not Hornby, always gone for the variation in coupled axle centres; and appear to be perpetuating this in the new model as it is visible in the EP that's been shown, with new moulded parts for the brake gear made to fit the variable axle spacing.
... Bachmann opted for equidistant axle spacing on their 9F, the compromise an extra 0.5mm, so a 2mm overlength coupled wheelbase. I have yet to read a single complaint about this, let alone a review that picked this up; but what is evident is equidistant axle spacing as on the prototype, a better compromise in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Usually it has been the front and rear axles moved out a bit, increasing the wheelbase length...
Hornby did that with the outer axles but also had the 2nd, 3rd and 4th coupled axles more closely grouped, using the space the unflanged wheelset allows. See it in their publicity:
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Do you know when we might see one?
No more than Hornby do! The current state of play in supply from China Inc. is such that I now believe it when I see it on sale...
...I have quite a few Heljan locos and have been impressed by their smaller flanges. I've never had any derailment issues with any of them.
I think we need to be careful of blaming manufacturers for our track laying workmanship (or lack of)...
How much I agree! My standard suggestion to anyone who asks is determine your capability by experiment. Use the stock in the trains you intend to run, making all the moves you expect to perform, on the most demanding track formations that the layout requires. Find out by this method what the limits imposed by your track laying skills might be, and adhere to these - if a truly reliable operating layout is your aim.
...our transitions should be right on the absolute minimum for the prototype which scales out at around 26cm - roughly the length of a coach. During that length, cant (in the vertical plane) must be 'unwound'. Our models don't have the benefit of flexible suspension, so a transition anything less than the length of a coach will cause a problem...
I now plan to use near double that cant transition, 0.5m based on experiment. This was directly caused by the introduction of close coupling mechanisms on the Bachmann and Hornby coaches. When performing a dead slow propelling move, between the side buffers or gangway faceplates making contact and very little slack in 'roll' in the 'rigid bar' couplings, extra distance was required to ensure no wheelset was ever lifted off the rail head. Essentially the transition is spread over a pair of vehicles, because they have reduced flexibility in roll relative to each other, when compared to a pair of coaches with conventional couplings which do near enough nothing to restrain roll between vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Latest on the 9F. Reported that Hornby have corrected the coupled wheelbase to equidistant spacing of axle centres, and a recent photograph of a painted production sample confirms. So if that is the case I will be buying a BR black BR1F tender example when available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Forgot to add the 'interesting comparison' that will arise when I have the Hornby 9F in my mitts. Will it manage a closer to scale coupled wheelbase than the Bachmann 9F?

I was all over the Bachmann 9F to see how they had managed the 'trick' of equidistant coupled axle spacing despite scale for nominal 5' diameter wheels and well overscale OO flanges, and quickly found it: instead of a true scale 86.67mm (= 21'8") wb, the first three specimens I looked over were 89mm (= 22'3"); Bachmann had 'nudged' the axle spacings out by 0.58mm. Didn't see a single criticism of this at the time, so appearancewise it 'passed'.

I'll be measuring the Hornby P2 wb when I have one. The closely related Peppercorn A2 in Bachmann's range is 'adjusted' in the wheelbase department, and to a greater extent than on the 9F, but nobody seems to mind. (Bachmann were smart on the yet more difficult GNR atlantic, modelled it with the driving wheel tyres close to maximum wear condition, enabling the coupled wheelbase to be very near scale, and thereby secured a fine appearance.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Me too I'll have one as well. meanwhile Sams trains he (Sam) slags off the Bachmann 9F as having a terrible mechanism, wonder if he is on a Margate payroll?
Nah, he's simply on his own planet. Maybe I just got lucky with my four examples which have performed perfectly from out of the box for over 15 years near daily operation hauling trains weighing 2+ kg on a 1 in 80 ruling gradient layout? But the very large number of posts from many others online, of the same opinion, suggests all is well on our planet.

Not to say the Bachmann model is perfect; Hornby have the opportunity to produce a superior model, but for those of us that operate models intensively the verdict will be dependent on the same reliable performance from the new Hornby model. Wonderfully accurate but unreliable, not robust, poor traction, will not cut it. If Hornby match their Britannia -accurate, robust, reliable and with good traction - then they will have a winner.
 
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