RAIL EXPRESS interviews Bachmann boss Graham Hubbard.
Graham Hubbard, MD of Bachmann Europe, and Philip Sutton, Editor
RAIL EXPRESS, discuss the recently launched exclusive flush-front
Class 37/5 project. Bachmann is keen to work with RE again in the
future to provide more bespoke models for the benefit of
detail conscious D&E era modellers.
Graham Hubbard admits Bachmann has been a victim of its own success in the past with over-optimistic schedules and too long a wish list. “There is increasing pressure for manufacturing slots in China now, and that means both generally and within our own parent company, Kader Industries, where we compete for space with other parts of the Bachmann family. This year we are revealing a programme that mixes innovation with consolidation, and the clear aim is to make sure all the product described in the 2008 catalogue will be available on model shop shelves within the next 18 months.”
The ‘N’ gauge market has been especially difficult, admits Graham, who explained that the Graham Farish brand is now finally up to full speed following the prolonged project to integrate and upgrade the original Grafar products. This is ably demonstrated by plans to launch a brand new Class 47, which is undoubtedly a sure-fire winner. This, and the new Class 108 DMU, will follow the Class 150, Voyager & Pioneer units which are progressing at great speed.
In ‘OO’, the eagerly anticipated Class 150 DMU has made a major move forward, having passed from the drawing and prototype stage into the tooling room. The 4-CEP, significantly delayed through the unavailability of accurate drawings and other necessary information, is also being given priority now that the company has undertaken several detailed surveys of the type.
New catalogue covers.
Graham also acknowledges that customers are demanding ever increasing detail and accuracy and confirms that the company is following a re-invigorated policy of product improvement. This will be most apparent in the Class 47 diesel where corrected bogie sideframes and underframe tanks and battery boxes are promised along with modifications such as flush cab fronts where necessary. The Class 37 is also to get improvements as initiated by and described in the RE Class 37/5 project (click link for separate story).
Bachmann has also identified considerable sales potential in the multiple unit and wagon arena, perhaps because it is obviously neglected by other manufacturers. It presses home it dominance this year with the introduction of another ‘first generation’ DMU in the form of the popular ‘Cravens’ Class 105, and perhaps, surprisingly, the Autoballaster wagon. It does not escape attention that the latter runs in semi-permanent five-wagon sets (both inner and outer/generator-fitted vehicles will be offered).
The Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) is clearly a project started with one eye for the future and, as such, brings much in the way of value for adaptation with its various types of equipment and payload. The back-to-back ‘master and slave’ units will feature a new concealed drive unit.
Graham also revealed that the company is now actively working on another NRM project (believed to be Steam-based) and was less than secretive about his wish to see the Aristocraft G scale Class 66 in the new, low-emission ‘five-door’ format. We might have to wait a little longer for Mk. 1 sleepers or TPOs, though!