Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

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Mountain
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Mountain » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:19 pm

Mainline were well ahead of their day regarding fine detail and even put some modern models to shame in this respect. If anything, several models were basically revamped Mainline models with newer designed chassis.
Now the aging mainline chassis often shows signs of their age. They are difficult to convert to DCC but not impossible. The main item to look out for are that the axles have not split or the con rods have not worn through. However, the axle issue isn't an issue any more as Peters Spares now make replacements for some of the Mainline locos, and no doubt they will eventually get round the few loco axles they dont yet make. This is excellent news.
At one time Bachmann used to sell complete chassis which would be a direct replacement for Mainline locos as many of Bachmanns locos were made using ex Mainline moulds with a few small revamps, though some have had redesigns since then. I fitted a Bachmann class 46 chassis to a Mainline class 45 body. Apart from a few internal ribs which the Mainline body had (As Bachmanns didnt have them on their bodies to make room for their both end drive mechanism) everything lined up perfectly.
It is untrue to say that Mainline locos were not up to today's standard as this is a bit like saying Lima locos are not up to today's Hornby Railroad range standard...
Mainline wheels were just as finescale as today's models wheels.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby D605Eagle » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:04 pm

I prefer the earlier Bachmann locos that were essentially mainline locos, or locos made in the same style with a heavy split chassis. I know most people hate that chassis, but I really like them, and I've never had an issue with the plating wearing off like some do. Modern Bachmann locos are amazingly detailed to look at, but try getting in them to service them! I think the mainline era was a perfect balance between simple ruggedness and fine detail. It is very annoying that Kadar used such pooh plastics for the axle centres though. Recently I've acquired several unused ones from about 2000 and all the plastic wheel centres have been split.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:22 pm

Peter's Spares have produced a few much in demand parts. Even if they don't currently do them it can only help if you inquire, unless people do there's no demand. I must be very fortunate, I've never had a split axle or wheel centre. Ran my original Mailine Collet goods 'till the bearings were shot, having fitted some wipers to bypass the worn away plating.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby D605Eagle » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:06 pm

superglue is your friend ;)
Its actually the bogie/pony wheel centres that are the hardest to fix. Fortunately Bachmann still have them in stock so replacements can be bought. Reaming them out just a little helps no end because they are far too tight.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Mike Parkes » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:41 pm

D605Eagle wrote:superglue is your friend ;)
Its actually the bogie/pony wheel centres that are the hardest to fix. Fortunately Bachmann still have them in stock so replacements can be bought. Reaming them out just a little helps no end because they are far too tight.

Warming them in hot water that has boiled is normally sufficient to allow the wheel pegs to be inserted.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby D605Eagle » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:27 pm

Mike Parkes wrote:
D605Eagle wrote:superglue is your friend ;)
Its actually the bogie/pony wheel centres that are the hardest to fix. Fortunately Bachmann still have them in stock so replacements can be bought. Reaming them out just a little helps no end because they are far too tight.

Warming them in hot water that has boiled is normally sufficient to allow the wheel pegs to be inserted.

Does it not split after time like the originals?

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Mike Parkes » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:46 pm

D605Eagle wrote:
Mike Parkes wrote:
D605Eagle wrote:superglue is your friend ;)
Its actually the bogie/pony wheel centres that are the hardest to fix. Fortunately Bachmann still have them in stock so replacements can be bought. Reaming them out just a little helps no end because they are far too tight.

Warming them in hot water that has boiled is normally sufficient to allow the wheel pegs to be inserted.

Does it not split after time like the originals?

No idea but then the originals lasted a long time and in many cases I do wonder if the wrong lubricant had been used - find it weird how the only locos I suffered the problem on where ones I let someone borrow.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:13 pm

I suspect poor choice of lubricants and the dreaded WD 40, were responsible for many of the problems, or at least hastened the onset of problems that wouldn't have come so soon.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby GWR_fan » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:13 pm

Mike Parkes wrote: No idea but then the originals lasted a long time and in many cases I do wonder if the wrong lubricant had been used - find it weird how the only locos I suffered the problem on where ones I let someone borrow.


Given that many unused/mint models suffer from split gears and insulating muffs, then one may assume that the initial choice of lubricant from the factory was a culprit, or perhaps the use of cheap recycled plastic or maybe engineering tolerances lead to the numerous failures. Your response implies that your locomotives were able to avoid the previous three scenarios and it was only the incorrect usage of unsuitable lubricants post sale by others that is the cause of your failures.

Bachmann went through an extended period of split/cracked gears, insulating muffs and expanding plastic wheel centres that were not only found on split chassis locomotives but also on later release locomotives in the early 2000's that were common across all gauges from "N" to largescale. Hornby had a period of split/cracked gears from around 2003 - 2005, coinciding with the plastic problems Bachmann was also experiencing and I believe from the same manufacturer, Sanda Kan. I recall at the time the reason put forward was the use of poor quality recycled plastic.

If an unsuitable lubricant was the cause or poor quality plastic used or stress cracking due tight engineering tolerances then I would summise that as Bachmann have been producing trains since around the 1960's then surely the long production time would have instilled in them some basic knowledge as to what works and what does not.

I know that many misguided individuals still view WD40 and sewing machine oil as plastic compatible so failure as a result of usage of these would be anticipated, however, as the manufacturer has the manufacturing expertise to produce quality reliable items then the failures we have seen over the last twenty or so years are unacceptable.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:44 pm

About 30 years ago the company I was with was suffering a sudden rash of failures in a previously trouble free item. The failure was a plastic sleeve spindle which cracked and jammed in its plastic bearings, the odd thing being that no new ones had been made for about 5years and as far as we could tell all the failures were on assemblies changed when the machines concerned were refurbished, or on ones that we had replaced in the field due to other component failures. The only explanation that made any sense came from someone who'd had experience of plastics production. His theory was that these failed units had been sealed in plastic bags about five years previously, as soon as they left the assembly line, and that plasticisers had not had chance to evaporate before being sealed in the bags. Both the units replaced during refurbishment and those fitted in the field would have spent similar lengths of time sealed up. Something similar might explain the failures that we have seen on models in mint condition having spent their lives in the manufacturers packaging.
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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby D605Eagle » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:24 am

I have several that have split in parts that aren't lubricated that have never been used. A late 1990s Bachmann A4, all the three pony and cartazzi wheel axle centres have split, yet they are free of lubricant. The central drive wheel set is fine, but the two outer driven ones had also split, but they have grease on them. The driven wheels are easily repaired with superglue, but the pony and cartazzi require replacements. I did used to think it was the grease and the last outing of the ex mainline Patriot from about 2011 I bought new, the first thing I did was clean away all the grease and then applied RC helicopter gearbox grease in it's place (plastic friendly). It's just like the A4 now, split axle centres with the exception of the gear drive centre wheel. I think it was just crap plastic they used.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Bigmet » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:12 am

It was a cheap short life mechanism design by intention in my opinion. The US market was where Kader principally built their model railway trade, and is very much a throw away culture. When something better comes along, the old is dumped, most likely in the bin.

I recall Graham Hubbard when heading Bachmann UK reported saying as much in a published interview. So he didn't actually directly state ''we are all done with that style of mechanism, it will not be supported, move on to the new models', but for anyone reading it was clear enough a message.

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Re: Mainline - Cheap for a reason?

Postby Mountain » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:06 am

Something I'd also point out with Mainline, that their bogie diesels like the class 56 and 45 dont suffer the split axle issues as they dont have the split chassis designs. They are more conventionally made but use similar motors with single end drive. They still pull well though assuming one has a decent set of traction tyres on them. The only small downside to them (And it is small) is their top speed is a little too fast. Other then that, and as long as it is all still working correctly, they make very good bargain buys, and are reasonably easy to hard wire for DCC.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.


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