RZ22 Class Soft Seat Car
China's passenger trains typically comprise of seating cars or sleeper cars and both are available in soft or hard format. In the 1980's - 1990's, the RZ22 was the most luxurious way to travel during daylight. The RZ22's have 2+2 club seating with comfortable chairs.
Only very select services used these cars and were very rare compared to hard seaters. Most daylight trains were short enough to make hard seat style adequate, not to mention a lot cheaper. It is assumed all have long been retired from service for a number of years.
The RZ cars were released in mid 2009, around the same time as the CA23 Dining cars. 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 although I still recommend a coupler upgrade - see below). The interior is a one piece casting.
Eight versions have been produced, with each of those available with or without interior lighting. All versions are of the green and gold variety, although there are four slight variations being either in green or dark green and with either yellow or pale yellow lining and lettering, as per prototype. The RZ22 introduced the lighter green color with rich yellow lining and lettering color scheme into the Bachmann range.
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 of the later 22/23 cars. WC room windows are cloudy.
The lighted version is more roll-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 lit versions RZ22's are fitted with a circuit board with a series of small LED's.
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 bring the gaps closer together, yet are a pain to attach and detach. While I usually advocate the use of KD couplers, on my passenger fleet, I prefer a Kadee coupler at each end of a rake of cars (type 362 NEM) and Fleischmann 6515's throughout the rest of the train. The Fleishmann couplers offer a superb connection and provide flawless operation between the cars around corners. They are also well built and designed and very easy to couple/uncouple. I find the Kadee's don't work as well with certain types of passenger cars which can prove troublesome when blending different types of passenger cars.