RW22 Class Soft Sleeper Car
China's passenger trains typically comprise of seating cars or sleeper cars and bot are available in soft or hard sleeper format. In the 1980's - 1990's, the RW22 was the most luxurious way to travel. The carriage has eight four-berth roomettes with a lockable door on each. They are usually positioned between the dining car and hard sleeper class and are usually limited to one or two per train.
Another addition to the 22/23 class passenger range was introduced in mid 2009. These are of the usual build quality we've come to enjoy from Bachmann. The construction method is a one piece body with a clip in roof and underframe. The couplers are on a swing system, like the old Roco system, which ensures close coupling cars around corners (coupler upgrade is recommended - see below). The interior is a one piece casting.
Nine versions have been made, with five liveries (four of which are quite similar), although there are 18 product #'s available - half with lights, half without (odd #'s = No lights, even #'s = with lights). Hopefully we can see a rerun of these in liveries that were previously missed. Although CP01317/18 was officially released in May, it didn't become available for a few months after that.
Bachmann passenger cars come in a foldable plastic clam shell which slides inside a thin cardboard box with display window.
These cars have a generous amount of detail, much of it in the roof and undercarriage, with very nice roof vents, piping etc. Paint work is very nicely applied and the lettering and lining is razor sharp. Bogie details are OK, although missing the extra painted details later 22/23 cars enjoyed. Toilet room windows are cloudy.
The lighted version is more resistant to the unlit version due to the wheel brush electrical pickup system, however the effect is minimal. Those who operate more than 10 cars may see a noticeable difference. They do sport the typical deep flanges on the wheels, however they will go through code 83 trackwork (and possibly 75) with no problems.
The RW22's are fitted with a circuit board with a series of small LED's. The color is that of an extreme orange, not prototypical in my eyes at all.
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.