Open letter to Bachmann Trains regarding their on30 locomotives

  • by: Arthur Lunn
  • recipient: Bachmann Trains/Mr. Lee Riley, president

Mr. Lee Riley

Bachmann Trains

1400 East Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19124 USA

Dear Mr. Riley,


We are active members of the On30 modeling community. We informally represent a growing body of modelers who have expressed concern about quality problems with Bachmann products. While we enthusiastically support Bachmann’s significant contributions to the expanding On30 modeling community, we feel strongly that ongoing problems with quality issues must be addressed in a substantial way.


The most central issue expressed by many modelers is the problem with cracked gears.  In some cases, replacement parts are not available to modelers. In other cases, as with the On30 Shay and Climax locomotives, they are available only at cost to customers when in stock.  Each of us has a set of locomotives sitting on the shelf because of these problems. While the Bachmann warranty may cover part or all of the cost of repairing this problem, in many cases we have modified the locomotive’s appearance and are reluctant to ship it off for a replacement that may encounter the same problem in a few weeks or months.


We respectfully ask Bachmann to do the following:


1.  Publicly acknowledge on your website that there has been a recurring problem with cracked gears across different product lines, including On30 locomotives (e.g., Shay, Climax, Davenport 0-4-0, White Railbus, Rail Truck, etc.). This problem has created much dissatisfaction and frustration among your highest-spending customers. Many of these modelers feel the problem has been ignored or dismissed by Bachmann.


2.  Provide the On30 community with a description that explains how this problem is being solved; this would greatly increase customer confidence in future products such as the pending Heisler release. Greater transparency on this issue would go a long way to restoring goodwill among Bachmann’s best On30 customers. It will also help ensure newcomers to the hobby find their first experiences with your products to be positive, expanding your market for future sales.


3.  Provide replacement parts (gears and/or gearsets on axles) at no charge to customers who return their defective parts for replacement. If modelers were to pay shipping to return the parts, Bachmann should pay to ship the new parts to the customer.



Thank you for your attention and consideration regarding this important matter. A response to this letter is requested, either from you or the Bachmann customer service representative.





-  On30 Modelers community

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