The History of Bachmann Model Trains

The History of Bachmann Trains

A very interesting history and a simply great manufacture. Lets dive in to the history of this groundbreaking company.

Being one of the most recent entries to the market of model railroading, Bachmann trains have become the leader in volume sales of model trains all around the world.

Bachmann trains might not have the long term presence that other train manufactures have, for example, Lionel Trains, who have been in the market for almost one hundred years. However, what they lack in history and nostalgia, they more than make up for with price, quality and ease of use.

When I say recent entry to the model railroad market, I mean it in relationship with other manufacturers who have sold model trains for far longer. Nevertheless, Bachmann trains have been around since 1968, so there might be model train fans out there for whom there have always been Bachmann trains.

Another thing to consider is even if Bachmann trains have been around for around 45 years, what would become Bachmann industries was founded in 1833 by Henry Carlisle. Back then, it didn’t sell Bachmann trains. It sold Spanish combs. And they were made of materials that are forbidden today: ivory and tortoiseshell.

In 1899, it was merged with a rival company and the Bachmann family took over. The Bachmann family expanded the production lines to include optical frames and sunglasses, which had a tremendous success with the American government during the first half of the 20th century. The name of the company was established as Bachmann Bros.

Starting in 1940, they again expanded their line to include small figures. Some of these were meant for decoration, while others had an educational value, like the reproductions of animals.

Some early railway modelers started using Bachmann’s figures to decorate and set up their model train layouts. Seeing that there was a market for their products, Bachmann started to develop more accessories at model train scales. By the 60s, Bachmann realized the potential of the model train market and in 1968, Bachmann trains started being produced.

The company has gone through several changes since then. It was bought in 1981 by a company from Hong Kong called Kader Industries, who dropped the old name and changed it to Bachmann Industries.

Bachman trains are now produced in China, in order to reduce costs. This makes Bachmann trains some of the cheapest trains in the world. Although there are Bachmann trains for every level of train modeling skill, the focus of the company is in trains that are easy to use and designed for the modelers who are new to the hobby.

Some people say that Bachmann trains are for the amateurs. Others say that Lionel trains are classier and better. I think you should take a look at both of them and forget about their history or place of manufacture. Then, buy the one that you like the best. It’s all about having fun anyway.

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)


  1. Angelica
    2 years ago

    I have lots of Lionel Trains, all boxed and stored, since I don’t have much space to dplisay them. In the stuff stored, there are similar freight cars and locomotives to what is shown on this page. Most of what I have was made by Lionel back in the Late 20 s and early 30 s. I still have both 2-rail and 3-rail track for all of it.The structures, which came with those trains, have largely gone by the way side, and what is left, has largely gotten so dilapidated, that I would not use them on a layout.I also have S scale, HO scale, and TT scale, and N scale; in cars, loco, track, power systems; with every thing still in storage.Most of what I have in storage came from buying estates, and then auctioning off what I didn’t want, and storing what I did want.Some I bought, and some I got as a kid for Xmas. And some I found at Flea Markets, Train Shows, or found at Garage or Yard sales.And I still go looking for trains, track, and structures every weekend; plus I go to hobby shows and train swap meets.Some one, one day, will get every thing I got. Not sure who, but who gets it will have the time of their life.I even have some bench work in storage, with sections already built up and scenery, track, buildings added, and every thing wired.


  2. Michael Cerza
    2 years ago

    Bachmann trains are not the only trains manufactured in China. Many others are as well including Lionel mentioned in the article above. Bachmann trains are marketed in many regions of the world, and in Europe, they have Bachmann Branchline and Lilliput trains that are stunning, highly detailed models of Euro trains. Bachmann is known for marketing trains in all popular scales such as HO, N. On30, G, and recently purchased Williams compete in the O gauge scale with their Williams by Bachmann offerings. The great thing about Bachmann is the constant improvement in products and detailing at an affordable price. They are the most affordable trains on the market, representing great value, quality and innovations for the model railroad industry. They are the industry leader and should be for many years to come.

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