Bachmann HO scale test weight car

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Price: $39
Bachmann Trains
1400 East Erie Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Era: 1930s to present

Road names: Burlington Northern, Baltimore & Ohio, Canadian National, and Union Pacific. Also available painted black but unlettered.

Comments: Used for calibrating track scales, test weight cars (also called scale test cars) provide a vital function for railroads and rail-served businesses. Bachmann Trains has released an accurately detailed HO scale test weight car, based on a design that’s been used for several decades.

Test weight cars were simply spotted on track scales to ensure the scale’s accuracy. These cars usually don’t have train brakes, just a simple hand brake, so the car weight doesn’t change as the brake pads wear down. A test weight car would be placed at the rear of a freight train ahead of the caboose or last car (or cars, depending on a specific railroad’s rulebook) equipped with train brakes.

The Bachmann model matches a prototype drawing of an 80,000-pound scale test weight car published in the September 1960 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.

Our review sample is decorated for Burlington Northern no. 979006. The model’s details and lettering match prototype photos, including the handling instructions on the placards.

The Bachmann model has a die-cast metal body with molded grab irons, running board, side hatches, and other details. The handrail, placards, and brake staff and brake wheel are separately applied flexible plastic parts.

The chemically blackened, scale 36" diameter wheels are correctly gauged. The E-Z Mate Mark II knuckle couplers are mounted at the correct height.

The car weighs 2.5 ounces, which is .5 ounce heavier than National Model Railroad Association RP-20.1. The test weight car rolled freely during a run on our staff layout.

This car would make an eye-catching addition to an HO freight train and would be a fun way to enhance operation of a grain elevator or other track-scale-equipped industry on a model railroad

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