Bachmann Steam Locomotive Buying Guide

Like if this guide is helpful
Bachmann Steam Locomotive Buying Guide

Bachmann trains have a rich and storied history that will come as a surprise to even the most ardent train enthusiast. The company initially produced hair accessories and combs for upmarket clientele. It would not be long before Bachmann would embrace the changing face of society and start diversifying.

After the conclusion of the 2nd world war Walter handed the company to his nephews J.C and B.H Crowther. They would take the plastics company in a new direction and entered the field of model trains. It would be the smartest business decision in the company’s history, as Plasticville USA would become a national bestseller. eBay provides products from all eras in the company’s history and has models that appeal to both vintage and modern model train buyers.

Bachmann Locomotive Scale

Bachmann locomotives adhere to the industry standard scale system. This is a measurement system that is used by all model train manufacturers and helps buyer’s identify the size of a model locomotive. Before buying a Bachmann locomotive from eBay, buyers should familiarise themselves with the scale system and understand its importance. No model train enthusiast should purchase a train that is the wrong size; Bachmann produces the following size trains.

  • N Scale – The smallest train that Bachmann offer and the most popular. They are built for use on larger tracks and rail setups. Incorporating scenery when using trains of this scale is advised and can add to the model train experience.
  • HO Scale – Bachmann offer the largest amount of their trains in the HO scale. Those new to railroading may get the most success using trains of this scale, as they are a great introduction to model railways in general.
  • G Scale – Applicable for use both indoors and outdoors, they are the largest scale of train that Bachmann produce in series form. They are noteworthy for being robust and highly resistant to damage.
  • Large Scale – Usually only available in limited numbers or upon special request. They require a large amount of space to operate in and carry a higher than average price tag.

The scale system was put in place for a reason and will help buyers avoid purchasing the wrong size trains for their railroad setups. Placing a large train in a small environment limits its run time, whilst placing a small train in a large environment results in a model being overworked. Bachmann constructs trains of all sizes and eBay has them readily available for purchase at affordable prices.

Modern Bachmann Locomotives

Bachmann as a brand remain at the forefront of model train innovation and continue to release new locomotives regularly. This is an issue to railroad traditionalists but their loyal customer base appreciates the fact that the company is moving with the times. They offer versatility and can be altered to suit any railroad setup both in design and appearance. However buying modern Bachmann locomotives still requires a sharp eye in order to spot any possible running faults.

  • Maintenance – Modern Bachmann trains have complicated interior mechanics and present more issues than vintage models. Discuss the interior condition of a model prior to purchase and if possible request close up photographs.
  • Mass Production – Resale value of modern trains is where they are detracted the most. They are mass-produced and this makes them a dime a dozen in the online auction environment. Purchasing them as an investment is not advised.
  • Weight – Modern trains are constructed from light materials that offer increased speed and aerodynamics. The improved performance on the track is unquestionable. However this means derailing is a high possibility and countless trains have been written off due to damage from crashes.

There are arguments both for and against the use of modern trains; it is an argument that will seemingly go on forever amongst collectors. However in terms of price, speed and availability they are unmatched. Modern Bachmann locomotives are not faultless so keep the above in mind when browsing what eBay has on offer.

Vintage Bachmann Locomotives

Vintage Bachmann locomotives are considered the premier models in any model railroader’s collection. Bachmann have been making locomotive trains for almost 100 years and show no signs of slowing down. It is the earlier models that command the highest prices and the term vintage has genuine meaning in model train circles. Those that fall into the “pre-war” category are highly sought after and garner a lot of attention when listed online. However there are pitfalls to watch out for when buying such models and shoppers should look out for the following.

  • Paintwork – Vintage trains often show the effects of time and this is most evident in their paintwork. In some instances trains can require full cosmetic restoration, hobby shops offer such services but they come at a price.
  • Inner Workings – It is what keeps a Bachmann train up and running. The inner parts of vintage train are not indestructible and generally do not wear particularly well. Full interior restoration is not always possible so ask the seller about how long the train has remained idle prior to purchase.
  • Box – If buying a vintage Bachmann train for collection purposes, shoppers should pay close attention to the condition of its box (if it has one). They provide buyers with an indication of how a model train has been stored.

The most sought after Bachmann trains are from the 1940s or earlier. There are collectors who deal specifically in such models and are willing to pay large sums of money for them at auction. Vintage collectors believe that they are superior to their modern counterparts. However what form of Bachmann train is best is entirely subjective.

How to Clean Bachmann Locomotives

Cleaning a Bachmann locomotive is a simple yet essential process. The models they have produced are highly detailed and durable but require work to remain looking at their best. In order to keep them looking in showcase condition buyers will need some typical household cleaning supplies.

  • The exterior of a train will need polishing, avoid chemical based cleaners and stick to a standard polish. They will keep your Bachmann locomotive looking like new and prevent paint peeling off.
  • The wheels of a train are different to the rest of a model and require more focused attention. For a deep clean use a standard electrical cleaner on the pick-ups to dislodge any dirt or grime. Users can also place wheel cleaning stations around the track to help stay on top of such matter.

Staying on top of the cleaning process ensures that the lifespan of a Bachmann train extends long past its warranty. When purchasing a used Bachmann locomotive ask the seller how they have cleaned the model train in question. It is also worth asking how many times the train has been put through the cleaning process.

How to Buy Bachmann Steam Locomotives on eBay

Be observant when reading item listings and always take customs and delivery charges into consideration when calculating costs. Talk to the seller if you are having trouble coming to a final figure and they will be sure to help out with such concerns.

  • eBay has its own seller feedback system in place and can be used as a guide when investigating a seller’s reputation. Return policies are offered by some users of the site and are worth enquiring about.
  • In order to find Bachmann model trains enter the toys and games section then select the model railroads and trains sub-category.
  • Hobbyists and collectors use eBay shops as a means to sell Bachmann locomotives and other model trains. They are set up regularly by sellers and are great places to find Bachmann related bargains. To view the current crop of eBay shops select the eBay shops link at the bottom of the home page.
  • Buying Bachmann trains (either modern or vintage) is not difficult and eBay has made the process simple. Use the site’s search options to find a Bachmann locomotive of choice.
  • Shoppers should then place a bid, make a best offer or immediately purchase the item via buy it now. Use PayPal to complete the transaction to ensure that the buyer protection program covers the order.
  • It is advised that buyers educate themselves on how eBay and PayPal go about protecting users so shoppers understand their rights as customers.


In the world of model trains and brand competition there is one name that stands tall above the rest. Bachmann have proven time and time again that their range of products is the best on the market.

  • From humble beginnings they have risen to prominence by consistently fulfilling fans needs for the most up to date model trains. They also continue to respect the company’s rich history by paying homage to model locomotives of the past.
  • Purchasing model trains used to be a mundane task that involved paying expensive prices at a local hoppy store. With the advent of online shopping and more importantly the online auction house, buyers have a new way of obtaining Bachmann locomotives at affordable prices.

Using this guide, eBay, their trusted sellers and Bachmann means finding your next model locomotive is only a few clicks away.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides