UZ22 Class Mail Car
The UZ22 post cars were a once common site across China and are fast becoming a rare breed. They were used as a rolling post office, not only transporting mail between cities, but sorting and processing enroute as well. A single UZ car could often be found attached to the larger intercity trains. Small numbers of more modern types, such as UZ25K, began to replace the aging 22 series during the early to mid 2000's, but the UZ cars have mostly left Chinese rails as email has taken over and dedicated parcel trains traverse the country.
The UZ22 was the last common car required for a typical Chinese passenger train. Bachmann have produced a total of six different models, each with a unique livery. There are some gaps in the production numbers, and as with all Bachmann 22 series passenger cars, refer to whether or not the model comes with working lights or not (odd #'s = No lights, even #'s = with lights). Whether Bachmann produce the missing numbers remains to be seen.
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.
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 with wheel numbers printed on the axle boxes and the generator wheel also painted. Given that these cars have sliding doors and also the level of action at stations with sacks of mail and parcels being loaded and unloaded, it would have been nice to see this one have operating doors.
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.
Interior lighting is provided by a circuit board installed in the roof with small LED's. The LED color is a very nice peach/white color which looks fantastic and illuminates the interior very nicely. it may be a touch on the bright side, but this can be diffused easily enough. (How they got this one so right and the newer KD25K/G's so wrong is an absolute mystery to me!) Pick up is provided by a wheel wiper system.
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.