KD25G/K Class Generator Car
KD cars (Kongtiaofadianche - or air-conditioning generator cars) are found on almost all airconditioned passenger trains. There are three classes - 25G, 25K and 25T, typically reffering to the speed rating of the train. Each car has three diesel generators and they output 380volts AC, enough to supply electricity to the HVAC systems and auxiliary power. The 25K models were built between 1996 and 2003, while the 25G variants started in 2001 and are still being produced to this day. A 25T version has also been produced, although not made by Bachmann (sort of!).
These are Bachmann China's latest model for their passenger trains, which is ironically my first review of the passenger cars! (All the others will come soon!) The KD's fill a huge gap for modern passenger trains and are a very welcome addition. Indeed, if you run 25K, G or T rolling stock - you should have one of these in the consist. They are plastic bodied carriages with a separate roof and floor. Compared to the other Bachmann passenger cars, these are substantially more expensive, probably in an effort to recoup production costs. On the plus side however, they are by far Bachmann's best passenger car to date.
Packaging is the face-lifted cardboard carton with display window with the typical foldable plastic clamshell, lined with foam pieces to protect the model. Inside the box is the warranty information, schematics, QC label and detail parts to be added by the owner.
True, to keeping in line with their drive for higher quality models, Bachmann have truly knocked this one out of the park and set a new bench mark for passenger cars. Generally speaking, I'd never been so impressed by a passenger car as these. They now use superb color coded brass steps and ladders. The under carriage detail is amazing, as are the car ends.
Roof and side details vary between versions. The most obvious differences are the roof vents - either round or square type - and a different style side louvres and air intakes.
Bogie detail is absolutely superb, each class with its own type. The white/blue version (CP01809/10) has T type bogies and I'm starting to question whether or not this should be a 25T KD, rather than the purported 25K.
The interior is brilliant. Each car has diesel generators with excellent details and colored appropriately. Optional add-on parts include destination boards and four arm chairs to be installed inside the car.
These cars are shorter than the other passenger cars, yet heavier - just like the real thing! They roll very well, and the lighted version doesn't offer much resistance with the wheel pickups than their unlit cousins.
The lighting units in these cars are VERY disappointing. just when I thought Bachmann had cracked it in getting the right color in their most recent YW22's and CA23's, they come along and put in an absolutely AWFUL deep orange color LED. All of the KD cars I have seen in service use fluorescent tubes - almost a white light, so there must have been a big sale on orange LED's that week. Thelights are powered by taking electricity from the wheels via a brush style copper pick up on each axle.
Bachmann EZ-mates are fitted to the models which should be replaced at the earliest opportunity if you don't like huge air gaps between cars. Bachmann have included their usual semi-permanent drawbars which work well enough, yet are a pain to attach and detach. While I usually advocate the use of KD couplers, on my passenger fleet, I use a Kadee coupler at each end of a rake of cars (type 362 NEM) and Fleischmann 6515's throughout the rest of the train. These couplers offer a spot on length and flawless operation between the cars around corners. I find the KD's don't work well with certain types of cars and are a bit too short for my liking.