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I've 3 sets of passenger cars, Walthers Santa Fe streamliners (11.75",) Bachman Santa Fe Heavyweight set (11") and the Rivorossi Santa Fe set (8.75").

Subjective observations:

The Walthers look nice, but are by far the most PIA cars I own.

The Rivorossi's roll and ride the smoothest and have the best detailed look overall.

The Bachmanns are lighted, look pretty good, work well,


Walthers - comes with metal wheels that squeak and the cars pull very hard, lub at your own risk. . . Hard to rail.

Bachmann - roll smooth, came with metal wheels. They just work.

Rivorossi - cannot remember if I changed the wheels from plastic to metal, just too long ago, but trucks and wheels are not a problem.


Walthers - PIA - MUST replace with Kadees, and the cars overall are temperamental from a coupler standpoint.

Bachmann a #5/148 coupler is too long and makes the gap between the cars too wide.

Rivorossi works and look great with #5s


Walthers lighting kit is expensive and tricky to install and the lights flicker and flash.

Bachmanns come with lights that are already installed but flicker and flash.

Rivorossi no light kit option I've found.


Walthers pulled with BLI E-6 A-B both are powered and it is required to go up my 2% grades.

Bachmans pulled with a BLI 4-8-4, nice train, but my 4-8-4 is my most nitpicky locomotive.

Rivorossi set pulled with a Bachmann 2-8-0 and love the 'local' effect, a very sweet little train. Sometimes I pull it with my MTH K-4 and while not as 'cute' a train, a very nice package too.

Regarding Athearn - I purchased an Athearn streamliner kit 30 years ago and was never able to make it look or work right so I have shunned that brand eversince. Probably not fair to them, but shows the impact of bad experiences on our outlook.

Joe Daddy

Copyright 2008



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