Bachmann Spectrum On30 Model Trains


The Bachmann Spectrum On30 is a line of model trains produced by Bachmann Industries since 1998. The term On30 refers to a standard which is based on the US version of the O scale (a ratio of 1:48). This is coupled with a gauge width 16.5mm. These are essentially higher quality models of their previous products. These models are targeted more at enthusiasts instead of casual hobbyists.

The Spectrum line in general is popular due to the high quality of materials used in it’s manufacture, along with particular attention to detail. On several models metal details are attached to the body separately instead as part of the body mold. Coaches also contain highly detailed seats.

The first Bachmann Spectrum On30 model train was the 2-6-0 which was released for the Christmas Village market. Christmas Village model trains are those which can be seen in toy stores around Christmas time, usually running on a track through an ice covered city.  The 2-6-0 was an instant success, mainly due to the models’ affordability and high modification potential. This led to the firm starting mass production of a whole line of Spectrum On30 models, starting a market craze that has continued till today.

Taking cue from the success of the Spectrum On30 nearly all companies producing model trains have since released a series of On30 models. This is the reason why the Bachmann Spectrum On30 series is so highly regarded; they have the largest share of imitators on the market today.

The Bachmann Spectrum On30 series is popular because the narrow gauge provided by the On30 scale meant that the track can have much tighter turns than other scales, which is important to those of you with limited space and/or who want a portable set.

Since 2006, several Bachmann Spectrum On30 trains have continued the company’s slant towards DCC (Digital Command Control) systems, with nearly all the models compatibile with DCC, and some of the models already included with it. With this move, the company has made sure that the Bachmann Spectrum On30 models sold today will not become obsolete when the DCC system for that model is released.

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Laying HO Track – Tips and Techniques For A Solid Foundation

If you’ve decided to build a permanent layout, a solid foundation will serve you well. There are many variations on how to build benchwork and what to use for your roadbed. Ultimately you will have to decide on how to proceed. I’ll assume you are familiar with hand and power tools needed for construction. Always use proper safety equipment when using power tools.

Building Benchwork

Your benchwork, the foundation of your layout, can be built from 1×3 or 1×4 lumber, easily found at any home improvement store. The problem with this type of lumber is it may not be as straight as you want. An alternative is to purchase AC-grade plywood and rip it to 3 ½ strips, which will be stronger, and guaranteed straighter.

Sub-roadbed must be supported every 16”, even if you are using ¾ plywood, which will sag if the spacing between the joists is larger.

For more great tips on setting up your model railroad, just fill in your name and email and I’ll send them to you. As an added bonus, you get my detailed report on using DCC to control your trains. 

Materials For Roadbed

For your sub-roadbed, you can use good quality 3/4” plywood.

If you are going to have variations in elevation, you may want to use 2” extruded polystyrene insulation board, which you can get at any home improvement store. Cork can be used as your roadbed, since it will easily follow any variations in elevation. Make sure you use the proper adhesive to glue it to polystyrene insulation.

Alternatively, with a relatively level layout, you can cover the sub-roadbed with ½” Homasote sheets, which can be found at any home store or lumberyard. California Roadbed Company sells pre-cut strips of Homasote called “HomaBed” (www.homabed.com). Homabed is available for a large variety of scales and purposes.

For ultimate realism, your ballasted main line should be about 12 scale inches higher than your sidings. Use 1/4” Homabed for the main line, and 1/8” Homabed everywhere else to achieve this with HO scale.

Placing these on unbeveled 1/4” Homabed will lift the track a few more scale feed above the sub-roadbed.

Glue the Homasote and Homabed directly to the sub-roadbed. Homasote is excellent for sound deadening, and it accepts track spikes well. Homasote is stable in moist environments, your support structure is more likely to move around if the environment is moist.

Note that if you are using Homasote and planning on cutting it yourself, it is a very dusty process, and it will take a toll on your saw blade. You may want to have your lumberyard cut it for you.

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Lionel O Gauge Trains

Lionel O Gauge Trains
When most Americans think of toy trains, they think of Lionel. Many a youngster has awakened on a Christmas morning to find a Lionel train running circles under the Christmas tree. Many of them have passed that tradition on to children and grandchildren. Lionel trains have been around for over 100 years, longer than the Ford Motor Company.
Lionel has made trains that fit any model railroaders needs – from toy trains, trains for hobbyists, and many are now collectible. Lionel trains from years ago are still able to be operated on today’s track, with today’s controllers. While specific Lionel train models are only made for a few years, they often are “re-cycled” with new paint schemes and upgrades.
While Lionel produces HO scale trains, there are more well known for their “O” scale trains (sometimes referred to as O-gauge). O gauge is 1:48, a 48 foot prototype locomotive would be 1 foot long at this scale (and in HO scale it would be about 6 inches long). Lionel trains are known for their size, weight and bulk.
The size and weight of a Lionel O gauge train means that it can be set up on a carpet or floor, and run reliably. It also means they can be handled by children without concern about damage. And, for the older model railroader, the larger size means it’s very easy to see what you are working on with these replicas.
Lionel makes several “sizes” of O gauge trains, all using the same track and controllers. The O-27 size is the smaller and least expensive, entry level model. Their slightly larger cousins are designated O gauge. Finally, there are the “Standard O” models. These are almost exact replicas of earlier models of trains, with better dimensions, performance and features.
Standard O are exact 1:48 scale, and are the largest of the Lionel locomotives. These locomotives have a longer wheelbase, which limits them to operating on 54-inch diameter curves and 0-72 switches. Remember this when looking for that perfect locomotive to add to your collection!
Lionel has also developed what they call “near-scale” models of some of the largest locomotives. This is the LionMaster series, which are designed with a wheelbase that can operate on the smaller 31-inch curves and O gauge turnouts (switches).
Stamped Steel Lionel Trains
Most toy trains made prior to World War II were constructed using stamped steel, and these are referred to as “tin plate” because they were plated to combat rust.
Lionel has recently been producing replicas of the stamped steel locomotives, rolling stock and accessories from that Pre-war era, and the company calls them “Lionel Classics” or sometimes “Lionel Standard Gauge.” These re-creations are marked, and have minor changes, so that the originals (more valuable) can be identified.
Lionel O-Gauge Track
Lionel track is characterized by its 3 rail design, where power is carried in the center rail. Standard curved track is available in radii of 42”, 54” and 72.” Lionel’s FasTrack has curve sections with radii of 36”, 48”, 60” and 70.”
A decent small layout can be constructed in a space about 4×6 foot.
O-Gauge Accessories
Lionel manufactures a complete line of O gauge accessories, from working bridges to coal cars to buildings to turntables to power packs (standard and DCC), and everything in between. Remote control uncoupling is available, track signals that work are available, and more are all available to make your model railroad as realistic as possible.

When most Americans think of toy trains, they think of Lionel. Many a youngster has awakened on a Christmas morning to find a Lionel train running circles under the Christmas tree. Many of them have passed that tradition on to children and grandchildren. Lionel trains have been around for over 100 years, longer than the Ford Motor Company.

Lionel has made trains that fit any model railroaders needs – from toy trains, trains for hobbyists, and many are now collectible. Lionel trains from years ago are still able to be operated on today’s track, with today’s controllers. While specific Lionel train models are only made for a few years, they often are “re-cycled” with new paint schemes and upgrades.

While Lionel produces HO scale trains, there are more well known for their “O” scale trains (sometimes referred to as O-gauge). O gauge is 1:48, a 48 foot prototype locomotive would be 1 foot long at this scale (and in HO scale it would be about 6 inches long). Lionel trains are known for their size, weight and bulk.

The size and weight of a Lionel O gauge train means that it can be set up on a carpet or floor, and run reliably. It also means they can be handled by children without concern about damage. And, for the older model railroader, the larger size means it’s very easy to see what you are working on with these replicas.

Lionel makes several “sizes” of O gauge trains, all using the same track and controllers. The O-27 size is the smaller and least expensive, entry level model. Their slightly larger cousins are designated O gauge. Finally, there are the “Standard O” models. These are almost exact replicas of earlier models of trains, with better dimensions, performance and features.

Standard O are exact 1:48 scale, and are the largest of the Lionel locomotives. These locomotives have a longer wheelbase, which limits them to operating on 54-inch diameter curves and 0-72 switches. Remember this when looking for that perfect locomotive to add to your collection!

Lionel has also developed what they call “near-scale” models of some of the largest locomotives. This is the LionMaster series, which are designed with a wheelbase that can operate on the smaller 31-inch curves and O gauge turnouts (switches).

Stamped Steel Lionel Trains

Most toy trains made prior to World War II were constructed using stamped steel, and these are referred to as “tin plate” because they were plated to combat rust.

Lionel has recently been producing replicas of the stamped steel locomotives, rolling stock and accessories from that Pre-war era, and the company calls them “Lionel Classics” or sometimes “Lionel Standard Gauge.” These re-creations are marked, and have minor changes, so that the originals (more valuable) can be identified.

Lionel O-Gauge Track

Lionel track is characterized by its 3 rail design, where power is carried in the center rail. Standard curved track is available in radii of 42”, 54” and 72.” Lionel’s FasTrack has curve sections with radii of 36”, 48”, 60” and 70.”

A decent small layout can be constructed in a space about 4×6 foot.

O-Gauge Accessories

Lionel manufactures a complete line of O gauge accessories, from working bridges to coal cars to buildings to turntables to power packs (standard and DCC), and everything in between. Remote control uncoupling is available, track signals that work are available, and more are all available to make your model railroad as realistic as possible.

Posted in Additional Articles, Lionel Trains | Tagged | 12 Comments