Bachmann moves into 7mm Narrow Gauge market

16 April 2024
Bachmann has announced its entry into the British 7mm Narrow Gauge market with a range of new products unveiled at the 2024 Statfold Model Railway Exhibition.

Bachmann has established the term NG7 Scale for its new range – as the models depict Narrow Gauge prototypes at a scale of 7mm:1ft. The initial offering includes locomotives and wagons, along with complementary buildings and accessories from Bachmann’s Scenecraft brand.

NG7 scale models are produced at a scale of 1:43.5, exactly the same as O Scale and O-16.5 Narrow Gauge, making NG7 products fully compatible with existing products for these familiar scales. Running on 16.5mm gauge track, proprietary narrow gauge track is already produced by Peco as part of their O-16.5 range, and NG7 models can also be used on standard OO/HO gauge track.

The new NG7 range is already at an advanced stage of development, with production completed and the launch products due to arrive in shops during Summer 2024. 

Engineering Prototypes of the locomotives and wagons were available for inspection during the Statfold event, while details of the initial liveries and variants to be offered will be revealed in the Summer 2024 British Railway Announcements, which premieres on Wednesday, May 1st.

New Quarry Hunslet

The first locomotive to join the range is the Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0 Saddle Tank Steam Locomotive and both open- and enclosed-cab locomotives will be produced. Built by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds, the first Quarry Hunslets were built for the Penrhyn Quarry – once the largest quarry in the world – but three years later in 1886 similar locomotives with a smaller wheelbase (3ft 3in. as opposed to 4ft) were delivered to the nearby Dinorwic Quarry.

The Dinorwic locomotives became known as the ‘Alice Class’ and further examples were built to the same basic design for Dinorwic and other quarries, including Penrhyn, with some differences along the way – each of which is accurately depicted in the Bachmann Narrow Gauge NG7 tooling.

The Bachmann Narrow Gauge NG7 Scale models build on the success of their smaller 009 Scale counterparts, but with enhancements afforded by the larger scale, including the implementation of a Next18 DCC decoder socket, a pre-fitted speaker and the provision of sound fitted variants alongside each standard release which will be announced in May.

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Three wagons will be available depicting those types used by the Dinorwic Quarry and all versions feature a diecast metal chassis, metal wheelsets with authentic spoke pattern, and NEM coupling pockets. The first type is a Flat Bed Slate Wagon, such wagons would have been used to transport slabs of slate from the rock face to dressing and finishing buildings and could also be employed to move other large, bulky items around the quarry.

The traditional Slate Wagon is next, with its basket-like sides, and these would have been used to move dressed slates around the quarry and to transhipment yards and docks. A Scenecraft load of dressed slates is included with each model. Last is the Coal Wagon, which features fully enclosed sides and would have transported coal from the docks to the quarry to power machinery and locomotives used within the quarry workings. Supplied with a Scenecraft coal load, the wagons would have been loaded with slate to travel to the docks and a pack of Scenecraft dressed slate loads is also available separately for those wishing to depict these workings.

A new coupling system has been devised for the NG7 range, designed to give users as many options as possible, while remaining authentic and as close to scale in appearance as possible.

Locomotives will be supplied with couplings that fit into NEM362 coupling pockets and the options include a chopper-style coupling, which is a miniaturisation of the type found in use on many of the heritage narrow gauge railways in the UK today. Another option is the hook and loop coupling as employed on Bachmann OO9 Scale models. Wagons will be supplied with a discreet pin and eye coupling which attaches to the model using a NEM355 coupling pocket, as successfully implemented on the equivalent OO9 scale models. To couple to locomotives, a pair of chopper-style couplings is supplied with each wagon, and these can be fitted to suit individual operational requirements.

To complement the Locomotives and Wagons, a trio of Scenecraft buildings have been produced in NG7 scale depicting a slate-built Engine Shed, Coal Store and Water Tower as found at Dinorwic Quarry. A pair of Narrow Gauge Engine Crew has also been produced, which will fit both the open- and enclosed-cab locomotives. Like all Scenecraft models, these NG7 products are hand-painted and fully finished, ready to be placed on a layout or diorama.

With production now complete, the fully finished models will be revealed in Bachmann’s Summer 2024 British Railway Announcements, when full details of liveries, variants, pricing and availability will be confirmed ahead of the launch of the range in Summer 2024.

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