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Bachmann China SY 2-8-2

Prototype Information

The SY 2-8-2's were the smallest of the three major standard class of steam locomotives in modern China. They were used heavily in industry and mining and were well liked amongst crews for their easy operation and maintenance. Many survived well into the 2000's and used in industry and mining and some are still in use as of writing (2016).

You may find photos of the real SY locomotives by clicking here.

Model Production Summary

Release Date Production Number Production Run Scale Road #s Bureau
September 2003 CS00201 1st HO (1:87) 1742 Shanghai #5 steel works
" " CS00202 " " " " 142 Susquehanna (USA)
" " CS00203 " " " " 0540 Fuxin Coal Administration
" " 83201 " " " " n/a Undecorated (US details)
February 2012 CS00204 2nd " " 1530 Mudanjiang Locomotive Works
" " CS00205 " " " " 1770 Diaobingshan / Tiefa
September 2015 CS00206 3rd " " 1029 Chengde Steelworks
" " CS00207 " " " " 1183 Diaobingshan / Tiefa

Model Review - 1st Production Run

The SY's were released in late 2003, months after the proposed release date - which seems to have become a continuing trend from Bachmann! There has only been one production run to date with 4 versions, two Chinese and two US, in what appears to have been a bit of an ultimately failed probe into the US market, given that it took a very long time for them to sell out there. I think many of the US versions were retrofitted with decoders to improve sales some time in 2008. The Chinese versions sold a little quicker, but certainly far longer than the QJ's ever took.

The SY's are very highly detailed models with hundreds of seperately applied parts in plastic and brass. The lettering and lining is very nice, although I find the 'red' areas to be very orange (wheels/pilots). The main flaw I can find is that there is no all-weather cab, unlike the real SY's which are completely enclosed with cab doors and flexible cover between the cab and the tender. On the model, there is a corridor section mounted to the tender which leads to nowhere and is probably designed this way owing to the complexity of the drawbar system, however if the QJ's and SY's can do it...

The SY's are highly responsive machines with a very slow starting speed and a top end speed that would rival the Shanghai airport Maglev train (outrageously quick). The motor is most likely geared so high in order to compensate for it's very light weight. Unfortunately being such a small engine, it's hard to imagine where any extra weight over the drivers could have gone without making the main body shell metal instead of plastic. On level trackage, the model should capably haul 10 - 15 freight cars, on even a 1% grade, this drops dramatically. On the 3% grade, it will haul perhaps 2 or 3 before the wheels start slipping.


Wheel pick up comes from the tender axles and the driving wheels on the locomotive. Current is fed to the circuit board in the tender, which is fed back to the motor and headlight in the locomotive via wires. The board in the tender has an 8 pin plug for a decoder, however disassembling said tender is a pretty complex proceedure. The LED's on the US versions have a very yellow hue, which looks nothing like a real headlight, but is better than the two Chinese models which have a bizarre orange/green color.

Coupler Conversion
The SY's can take Kadee #5/#58/#158's (or #53/153 for close coupling) on the front, and an NEM style Kadee #17 on the rear.

Other Notes
A very nice looking steam locomotive with some very poor performace qualities.

Review Summary

The Good News

The Bad News
Very highly detailed No encloded cab
Smooth and responsive Very light weight, little traction
Undecorated version allows for endless possibilities Tender dissasembly is a nightmare

Model Review - 2nd & 3rd Production Run

Coming soon!

Model Photos

Model image above shows some custom changes to the stock model;
- Bachmann EZ-Mate couplers have been replaced with Kadees

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