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Mainline rolling stock


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Hi everyone,

I have the chance to purchase some second had Mainline locomotives and rolling stock. However, these are from interstate and I am unable to view them. I have never seen this brand before, so I am wondering if you have any experience with it. What can I compare it too? Is it Hornby-like, less-so, better? Would love your responses. Shane

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Guest stuartp

Made by and later owned by Kader (i.e. Bachmann, massive over-simplification), they formed the basis of the modern Bachmann range. It depends which locos and rolling stock, but generally:

 

Locos - head and shoulders above Hornby of the same period in terms of appearance, not far off the fidelity of modern tooling (in most cases) but without the huge amount of separately fitted detail now seen. Dreadful mechanisms - a diecast split chassis with an integral Ringfield motor, known problems with wheels coming loose on axles causing self-destruction of the valve gear, and plastic slidebars (Jubilees and Scots for sure, don't know about the others). Bachmann do replacement chassis for some if you can find then, with the same diecast lump chassis but a nice can motor and worm drive, and stronger valve gear.

 

I've got three Jubilees, all on new chassis.

 

Coaches - their LMS CK and BTK were superb - beautifully moulded. Only downside is plastic wheels in plastic bogies but Bachmann metal coach wheels drop straight in (the current Bachmann LMS bogie is the Mainline one with metal wheels). They did some Mk1s too which don't compare with the current Bachmann ones but which gave Hornby a run for their money.

 

Wagons - again pitched somewhere between contemporary Hornby and modern Bachmann in terms of detail, but some interesting dimensional twiddling to fit generic chassis in places.

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This was the first Kader product representing UK prototype. You can compare it to the train set end of current Bachmann USA product. The steam loco mechanisms are split chassis, and at close to thirty years old even if unused are going to be pretty flaky; the plastics used for the gears and insulating sections of the half axle wheelsets embrittle and crack, there are no new spares. The loco bodies were decently tooled; add detail and they can look good. The rolling stock is typically 'chunky' by current standards, with some of the freight stock dimensionally compromised to fit on a standard underframe.

 

Bachmann's UK arm entered the market on their own account with the tooling from Mainline after that operation closed, and are still producing some coaches of similar design (Stanier, Thompson, Bulleid). The locos were issued rechassied with a better can motor powered split chassis, but this is now largely phased out in favour of a conventional chassis block with wiper pick up

 

 

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Dreadful mechanisms - a diecast split chassis with an integral Ringfield motor, known problems with wheels coming loose on axles causing self-destruction of the valve gear, and plastic slidebars (Jubilees and Scots for sure, don't know about the others).

 

Had those problems, die casting sometimes suffers from 'mazak rot' i.e. it can become very brittle and break!

 

N.B. It isn't actually a ringfield motor (as in Hornby) as it has two separate small magnets.

 

Keith

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Ditto all the above but I have a fair number of re-wheeled wagons since the price was right and after weathering, putting a spot of white on the brake handle, putting in loads they nicely fill up a long goods train. My Mk1's, again re-wheeled still dont look bad in a rake.

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As far as BR Mk1 coaches are concerned, Mainline first produced a Brake Second (BSK) and Second Open (SO) with obvious non-flush windows as their principal distraction. These coaches appeared in BR Maroon, SR Green, WR Brown and Cream, BR Blue and Grey and Network Southeast. Currently coaches from these two moulds are packaged with Bachmann's "Harry Potter" train sets. Following these Mainline produced a Restaurant Buffet (RB) to a higher standard, again in all the colours except NSE. Replica took over production and continued to use the same moulds but added two more, a First Open (FO) and a Brake Composite (BCK) to a standard that almost matches current Bachmann Mk1s. The RB, FO and BCK can be mixed in with Bachmann coaches in a train and none but the most fastidious observers would notice. The earlier BSK and SO would stand out with their recessed windows.

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I still haven't seen much to better the matted finish of the rooves on many of the coaches they produced, and I'm a real fan of the tankers series. Liveries were surprisingly accurate in many models even if they did stretch or shrink the chassis to siut, and they do seem to have used less 'license' as others may have.

As has been said they really did push for quality and detail manufacturing in their day. Unfortunately the plastic material used in the axles/bushes meant that using certain oils over time often led to failure...yet beeswax or furniture polish I used on mine gave the wheels and axles much longer life. None of the models I ever sold had any history of failure...oddly enough only my subsequent Bachmann models have had axle splitting issues and needed repair, and by that time they'd changed mechanism/axle design and dimensions anyway.

Second hand?....Prices are very up and down, even mint boxed examples can disappoint, and i'm sure that a contributing factor as to why the locomotives don't command a very high re-sale value is because of worry about whether or not the axles/drive-lines have 'had it' or not...one cannot be sure of how anything has been used or stored over the time they've been around...but as for detail, better than anything else of it's age in the Uk RTR market, Wrenn or not. Still very collectable and long may it remain so, particularly the wagons.

 

Jules

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The Mainline SK and BSK were a bit low overall due to the sides being too shallow. They look quite wrong when coupled to Bachmann Mk. 1 coaches. On the other hand, they match the Bachmann Mk. 2 coaches pretty well and look OK (from a distance) when mixed with them in a (maroon) train. The roofs line up nicely. You can always flush-glaze them if the deep window recesses are a distraction.

 

The Replica FO and BG are only distantly related to the Mainline coaches. The proportions of the body sides and roofs are different and it seems unlikely that any part of the original mouldings was re-used or modified to produce the Replica vehicles. As LSWR says, the Replica coaches can be intermixed with Bachmann Mk. 1's without obvious discrepancies.

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I still snap up boxed Mainline wagons if they are around a fiver.

 

Some are very collectable (rarity?) and command reasonable prices £10-£15 possibly and some are cheaper - I have seen some at less than a fiver on S/H stalls.

 

Edit: Modelfair range between £5 and £15 today.

 

Keith

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I still snap up boxed Mainline wagons if they are around a fiver.

Personally I wouldn't pay that much for most of them, you can get 2nd hand Bachmann for that instead.

 

The mineral wagons were all on 17ft 6 underframes and so a foot overlength. They did have excellent printing for the time and the detail of the moulding was great so its a pity about the common underframe. Mind you 20 years later Bachmann did wooden and steel minerals properly!

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Personally I wouldn't pay that much for most of them, you can get 2nd hand Bachmann for that instead.

 

The mineral wagons were all on 17ft 6 underframes and so a foot overlength. They did have excellent printing for the time and the detail of the moulding was great so its a pity about the common underframe. Mind you 20 years later Bachmann did wooden and steel minerals properly!

 

If they are grey or bauxite 12t vans or tank wagons I'll buy them. Also Mainline 50ft BG's and MK1 buffets are tempting if the price is right.

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Do the Mainline planked wagons have the correct length chassis?

 

 

You'll have to be more specific than that..

 

 

I would guess he means the 5- and 7-plank private owners, in which case no, they have the same error as the 16 tonners

 

 

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Guest 40-something

I would guess he means the 5- and 7-plank private owners, in which case no, they have the same error as the 16 tonners

 

 

 

That was the ones! Should have made that more specific!!

 

Thanks for putting me straight!

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It would be more likely that the 5 plank was the right length, at least in 'Big 4'/BR liveries as these were general purpose opens (High). I suspect the Mainline one is a little generic but might, by chance, be close to something prototypical.

 

One thing that amused me in the old Mainline range was the Lowfit (1-plank). When this first came out it had the correct 'not to be loaded with containers' markings. When they later used it as a container wagon the restriction markings were omitted! :lol:

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It would be more likely that the 5 plank was the right length, at least in 'Big 4'/BR liveries as these were general purpose opens (High). I suspect the Mainline one is a little generic but might, by chance, be close to something prototypical.

 

One thing that amused me in the old Mainline range was the Lowfit (1-plank). When this first came out it had the correct 'not to be loaded with containers' markings. When they later used it as a container wagon the restriction markings were omitted! :lol:

 

The 5-plank is definitely a stretched RCH 5-plank though they did do it as an LMS dia 1666 http://www.mainlinerailways.org.uk/Catalogues/NewReleasesA/B.jpg but the door is far too narrow for that http://www.lmssociety.co.uk/topics/wagons.shtml

 

I think when I have seen a lowfit with a container on it it didn't have the branding tbh. Taking the branding off probably stops the pedantic kids question though ;).

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