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Home / News & Reviews / Product Reviews / Staff Reviews / Bachmann HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul

Bachmann HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul

By | June 14, 2012

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Bachmann HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul
Bachmann HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul
Bachmann HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul
The HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul from Bachmann is the company’s first steam engine equipped with the SoundTraxx Sound Value Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder. The Sound Value is an entry-level version of SoundTraxx’s Tsunami decoder, but the effects produced are just as strong and authentic as the full version. The engine’s details impressed, too. The model features lighting, wire grab irons, working valve gear, and E-Z Mate couplers.

A long pedigree. Though some rigid-frame locomotives with a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement were seen as early as 1852, the first true Moguls with pivoting lead trucks were built in 1866. The Mogul was designed as a general purpose engine, though its low drivers (56″ on early versions, 64″ later) and low top speed suited it better for hauling freight trains than for passenger duties.

Though it filled the same niche as the heftier 2-8-0 Consolidation, which was also developed in 1866, Moguls were nonetheless popular, perhaps in part due to their ease of maintenance. About 8,000 were built. Despite the development of larger and faster steam locomotives in ensuing years, Moguls were still being ordered by Class 1 railroads as late as 1924. Some railroads kept these plucky little engines on yard, industry, and light branchline duty until the end of steam.

Bachmann’s model is based on a prototype built by Alco for the Green Bay & Western in 1924. The Alco locomotive has a domed smokebox door, a tender with raised fuel bunker and Andrews trucks, a spoked “boiler tube” pilot, a slightly flared smokestack, and a single cross-compound air compressor mounted on the left side of the boiler.

The model features wire grab irons and handrails wire uncoupling levers and working blackened metal valve gear
The model features wire grab irons and handrails, wire uncoupling levers, and working blackened metal valve gear.
A handsome model. Though most steam engines being built in 1924 had heftier boilers and fireboxes for more power, the GB&W locomotive had an elegantly slim boiler. Drawings of this engine were published in the Model Railroader Cyclopedia: Vol. 1, Steam Locomotives (Kalmbach Publishing Co.). All the dimensions and details I checked matched those on the drawing, including the wheel diameters.

The model is offered in six road names. One of them isn’t the GB&W, which actually owned the prototype. Our sample was lettered for the New York Central. Locomotive no. 1908 was a NYC 2-6-0, but she was built in 1899 by Schenectady Locomotive Works, a predecessor of Alco. Even so, the model’s­ slim boiler, spoked pilot wheels, and Walschaerts valve gear makes it a passable stand-in for this earlier locomotive. Not so for the Pennsylvania RR version; the Pennsy never owned a 2-6-0 numbered 3236, and most PRR Moguls­ had distinctive Belpaire fireboxes, absent on this model.

The headlight and backup light can be dimmed using DCC function F7
The headlight and backup light can be dimmed using DCC function F7.
Bachmann’s Mogul is a handsome model. Formed wire handrails and working blackened metal valve gear are highlights. The headlight and backup lights are bright white light-emitting ­diodes. The cab features clear window glazing and a molded backhead.

The black paint is smooth and even. The white lettering on the cab and tender is crisp, straight, and opaque. The Alco builder’s plate on the smokebox is legible under magnification, as is the tiny locomotive number on the side of the headlight case.

The locomotive is equipped with plastic E-Z Mate Mark II magnetic knuckle couplers, which are mounted at the correct height. The blackened metal wheels are in gauge. The six drivers and all eight tender wheels pick up electricity. Part of the copper wipers stuck out slightly from behind the drivers on our sample; they should be easy to bend back into place.

HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul
Performance. The SoundTraxx Sound Value decoder in our locomotive is dual-mode, meaning the engine will run and make appropriate sounds when running on either direct current or DCC layouts. I tested it under DC first, using a Model Rectifier Corp. Tech 4 power pack.

As I increased the voltage to just over 5V, the lights blinked and the decoder began to make a sound reminiscent of a ticking clock. At 6V sound effects started and the engine zipped along at more than 19 scale mph. I could decrease the voltage after that point to slow the locomotive down to about 5 scale mph, but I couldn’t make it start at that speed. This would make slow-speed switching tricky.

Low speed performance in DC can be improved by programming configuration variables (CVs), but this requires a DCC system. A list of the decoder’s CVs is on the SoundTraxx website. I used our NCE Corp. PowerCab DCC system to increase the value of CV63, the Analog Mode Motor Start Voltage, from its default value of 20 to 48. At 5.5V the engine started to roll at 3.7 scale mph. (The figures in the table to the right are before reprogramming CV63.) I also easily programmed the locomotive’s long ­address to the cab number, 1908.

The engine’s performance under DCC was stellar. Air compressor sounds started upon applying track power. At speed step 1, the locomotive rolled steadily at just under 5 scale mph. At speed step 28, the engine reached a scale speed of almost 76 mph, about the same as the prototype’s rated top speed. Its performance when set to 128 speed steps was even smoother, chuffing along at only 1.6 scale mph at speed step 1.

For such a small engine, the Mogul mustered a respectable drawbar pull. The model can pull the equivalent to 18 HO freight cars or six HO passenger cars on straight and level track.

Sound effects. The Sound Value decoder doesn’t feature as many CVs as a full Tsunami. Most of the CVs omitted involve advanced sound features, such as the equalizer and reverb effects.

The Sound Value decoder features most of the user-triggered sound effects as the full Tsunami. F1 triggers a realistic sounding bell, F2 starts and stops a continuous steam whistle, and F3 gives a short toot. F4 toggles a steam blowdown sound. F7 dims the lights, while F8 mutes the sounds (useful for when the locomotive is parked at the roundhouse).

In both DC and DCC, there are four exhaust “chuffs” per wheel revolution. Like other SoundTraxx decoders, these effects can be fine-tuned to be in better synch with the wheel revolution at specific speed ranges.

These user-triggered sounds, as well as the engine chuffs and air compressor, were clear, robust, and realistic. The speaker, pointing downward in the tender, was free of buzzes or rattles.

A welcome arrival. Modelers of the mid-steam era have been waiting a long time for a high-quality, economical, sound decoder-equipped HO scale steam engine like this one. Here’s to hoping Bachmann offers it in more road names. I also look forward to the next steam locomotive in Bachmann’s Sound Value line. How about a Consolidation?

Price: $125 (direct-current model), $195 (with Digital Command Control and sound)

Bachmann Industries
1400 E. Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19124

Road names: New York Central; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Boston & Maine; Canadian National; Pennsylvania RR; and Union Pacific.


  • Blackened metal wheels and working valve gear
  • Clear cab window glazing
  • Directional light-emitting-diode lighting
  • Dual-mode Digital Command Control sound decoder (available)
  • E-Z Mate Mark II knuckle couplers
  • Weight: 7 ounces (engine only), 9 ounces (engine and tender)
  • Wire grab irons and uncoupling levers

25 thoughts on “Bachmann HO scale 2-6-0 Mogul

  1. The comments about China and getting what you paid for are right on the mark. I would gladly pay double for half as many engines if they were made in the USA. However, I know that will not occur soon, if ever again.
    Nonetheless, this is a nice model at an acceptable price point, so having bought one I can recommend it. Bachmann, give me Middletown & Unionville lettering and I'll buy another!

  2. I have recently purchased one of 2-6-0 Moguls and works out perfectly for my branch line operations. Sounds good and runs smoothly. Being a AT&SF man it would be nice if Bachmann would install sound decoders in thier what few other Santa Fe steam locomotives.

  3. I have owned this Mogul since December and am very pleased with it. It runs very smoothly on DCC or DC. Since I liked it I went ahead and bought their Alco diesel switcher also and am similarly pleased with it.

  4. This is one model that I would like to have because the review is excellent and thorough. Reviews like this are exactly what a prospective buyer like me needs. Continue the excellent testing and reporting.
    So, is Bachmann really backing out of the steam loco market? I certainly hope not. I have two Bachmann steamers and hope that they will continue producing them. I also agree that easy-to-make improvements would go a long way in improving their performance. As for finding a Bachmann 4-6-2 Pacific, Jim Shirreffs might search for model 84103 on any of the auction sites such as eBay and Amazon. I have a Bachmann Pennsy Pacific that I acquired that way and found it to be perfectly satisfactory

  5. I plan to purchase the New York Central because I model the old B&A here in New England and the NYC ran on this line also. I agree with others who asked for a Consolidation, they ran here also. But, I may be pushing up daisies before I see the Tank locomotives that ran here from Boston to Worcester on the old B&A main line, now CSX and Amtrak. The tank locomotives were 2-6-2T and 4-6-2T, so Mr. Bachman, are you up to the challenge? I know modelers in New Zealand and Australia that want them, so how about that customer base?

  6. My search on the internet shows that PRR obtained Moguls of this basic design (class F27s) from the Vandalia Railroad. However, they were given numbers in the 88xx range, so this PRR mogul would be more properly numbered 8836, not 3236. This could fairly easily be renumbered but Bachmann should have put a correct number on there in the first place.

  7. If Bachmann stops manufacture of many steam locomotives, WHO will step into this niche market to fill the void? Sadly, I don't see how this will be avoided because many if not most of the "new" modelers today, especially the younger set, want Diesel so the Steam market is shrinking.

  8. I'm in agreement with Mr. France from California. Prices are way too high. And then we have to wait for 'who knows how long' to recieve an order for something like a 4-6-2 Pacific which used to be available in any hobby shop not that long ago.
    I ask you this any way to run a railroad?

  9. This is a great looking, running and sounding locomotive. I was able to purchase it on sale for less than $160….a really good bargain.

  10. I bought this loco from Micro Mark for 89.95….can't beat that for a loco with sound. I'm re lettering for a freelance road so by letting Micro Mark choose the road name, they knock 10 bucks off and then I had a 10% off coupon from one of their flyers on top of that. Have only gotten to test run it but it sure seems like a winner at the price I got it. How about a Connie and a Mikado??!!

  11. Great value! The sound selection is less than the full Tsunami but most adequate for most of us. Detail is a bit less but for the money ($109) one can't complain…

  12. Great value! almost unbelieveble for what you get…my first one had the sound quit. Bachmann replaced it quickly under waranty and the new one has been working fine. I hope they do this on other models…it is a winner!

  13. I am a bit confused by these reviews. I have one of these and it will only pull 6 cars weighed to NMRA weigh specs. So I am assuming this is with 18 cars out of the box? I do like the engine but was a bit disappointed when it wouldn't pull at least 8 cars which is the longest train I run on my layout

  14. The 2-6-0 is one of the fundemental locomotives of the transcontinental era & I believe Bachmann stole this cake in a very good way. I have seen locomotives from the 1800's in action & I have to say that, according to this video, Bachmann gave the feel of late 19th century railroading to life.

  15. I've seen one complaint about the lack of rivet detail on the cab sides and roof. Seems silly they didn't include that simple molded on detail, but the price seems right. I'll eventually re-letter for a custom roadname, so I may try those rivet decals MicroMark sells. And there's always Bullfrog Snot if it doesn't handle grades (2 – 2.5 % max) well. What I'd like to see next is a Harriman style or other non-Belpaire 4-4-2 Atlantic from the 1910-1925 era – the passenger companion to the 2-6-0 freight dragger.

  16. Love the the train runs really smooth but the sound quit within thirty days and was replaced by Micro-Mark with a new train. Sad to say the sound failed on this one also and is now being repaired by Bachmann under there one year warranty. Both sound systems failed within one hour running time.

  17. The Ho sound scale version has QC problems with metal finishing to the axle journals that makes Not ALL the drive wheels make full contact to the rail,unevenness wobbling drive. 2 new ones SO FAR BAD THEY show wheel wear on front and rear drivers ,none on center,checked with straight edge across drivers each side and you can put a 10 thousands feeler gauge between the center driver and the straight edge , Fix?Disassemble and file down casting burrs on front and rear axle journals until even with center driver,Bachmann does not fix ,they will just give you another bad one if you are as lucky as I WAS,They sound and look good but cannot pull more than 1 quality box (metal wheels),up a realistic 1 1/2 percent grade,along with that the wheels are out of gauge and too far in ,banging in switches,NEW product line looks good sounds good ,but Same old Bachmann,Quality has nothing to do with price ,Looks GOOD ,sounds good,BUILT TO LAST NOT! GRADE E on this one so far until I get one that does not need this fix When Brand New!You can put lipstick on a pig ,but you know it still a PIG!

  18. Thank you Model Railroader! After reading this review and watching the video, I purchased this Bachmann Mogul. It arrived today and I just got done trying it out, it was everything you said it would be! It sounded great and ran like a dream! Very smooth, no hesitation and the sound was clear and out of the box was at the perfect volume. I was ready to give up on Bachmann due to some recent "dud' s" but I'm glad I gave it one more chance!

  19. I have one of these. Bought it two years ago. It was terrible, sent it back and got one just as bad so gave up on it. It won't run through code 100 Atlas snap switches and it will definitely not run on code 83 track. I give it a big thumbs down!

  20. I have a Bachmann mogul and it's a good running steam engine. I believe Bachmann has hit a home run with their budget sound and DCC as I also have some of their RS3's with budget sound and DCC.

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