Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Bachmann HO Schnabel car

Read this review from Model Railroader
Bachmann HO scale Schnabel car
Bachmann HO scale Schnabel car
This new HO ready-to-run car from Bachmann represents one of the largest freight cars in North America. Specialized freight cars like this huge Schnabel car are employed by railroads to carry extra-heavy and oversize loads. The empty car is a scale 169 feet long, and it expands to 200 feet with the transformer load that’s included. The cab roofs are a scale 15'-0" above the rails and the end platforms are 10'-3" wide.

The prototype. Data for the prototype car is scarce as it’s based on a Chinese Type D38 Schnabel car with 32 axles. Only one Chinese car was built, and it was the prototype for a superb model produced by Bachmann several years ago. This tooling was modified to add typical North American Schnabel car characteristics, but it isn’t an exact match to any specific prototype.
Both haves of the model can be locked together to simulate an empty move
Both haves of the model can be locked together to simulate an empty move.

The model is impressive, consisting of two virtually identical sections that carry a large power transformer load between them. Each half of the car has a pair of long, triangular beams that are attached to the load at the wide end. The narrow ends of these beams ride on a pivoting saddle mounted in front of the control cab on the main deck. A system of seven span bolsters transfer the weight down to eight heavy-duty roller bearing trucks that support each half of the car.

A small cab at each end houses the hydraulic controls that shift the load
A small cab at each end houses the hydraulic controls that shift the load.
The model has a variety of well done details, including hydraulic or air lines inside the beams, simulated machinery to operate the hydraulic equipment that shifts or raises the load, storage compartments, and operating cabs. All of the platforms have a realistic anti-skid texture and good-looking safety railings.

The rigid-frame acetal plastic trucks are free-rolling 125-ton Barber S-2 roller bearing types. The wheelsets have RP-25 contour scale 36" diameter metal wheels mounted on needlepoint axles with one side insulated. The wheelsets match the National Model Railroad Association’s Standards Gauge.

Each half of the car has a steel weight concealed underneath the main deck. This gives the combined model a total weight of 14 ounces, which is an ounce under the NMRA recommendation (one ounce plus 1⁄2 ounce per inch of length).

The car is fitted with Bachmann’s E-Z Mate couplers. However, both couplers on our model had a pronounced droop that made them about .020" low.

Our sample came neatly painted in dark red with black running gear and silver trucks. It has clear lettering and carries CEBX 801 reporting marks for the Alstom Power Corp.

Most Schnabel cars are designed to haul a specific product, usually related to the power-generating industry. Any time the car is moved, loaded or empty, a trained operator must travel with it. And most of its trips are done as special single-car moves.

Overall, despite its lack of a North American prototype, this Schnabel car model is well made and does capture the look and size of a typical heavy-duty hauler.
Price: $275

Bachmann Industries, Inc.
1400 E. Erie Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19124

Paint schemes: Red and black body, gray load and silver trucks (Alstom Power Corp.); blue and black body, gray load and black trucks; and gray and black body, oxide load and black trucks

Era: 1970s to date

  • Bachmann E-Z Mate couplers
  • Minimum radius: 22"
  • Oversize transformer load
  • RP-25 metal wheels in gauge
  • 16 125-ton Barber S-2 trucks
  • Weight: 14 ounces (without load)

Join the discussion

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Five compact track plans.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy