YZ22 Class Hard Seat Car
The YZ22 cars were once the main type of passenger car in China with the first appearing in the mid 1950's. Production lasted almost 40 years and while the bulk have been retired and replaced with the larger 25B carriages, they can still be found in some parts of the country. They have a seating capactiy of 118 people (some exceptions) in a 2+3 seating arrangement with toilet/wash facilities and conductor compartment in the end of the cars. Some versions were airconditioned, however most were very basic with cooling provided by opening the windows.
Bachmann's first attempt at the YZ22 cars were released in August of 2003. They came about at a time when the Bachmann's range of models was starting to gain momentum and despite them being heavily criticised for their obvious short comings, were snapped up very quickly, as there was simply no other alternative. Bachmann cut the production short, releasing only four of ten planned road numbers and it would take over seven years for Bachmann to have another go. Due to all of this, and more below, I rate them 5/10 compared to 8/10 for the subsequent series.
The proportions of the car were a bit out of order, with the body riding far too high over the bogies, windows being the wrong shape and position. The bogies were particularly poor and further exhagerated the look. The car ends have an unfortunate line through the upper section where the roof casting sat.
(Second & Third Series)
Seven years later and Bachmann released a highly anticipated second attempt at the hard seat cars. This run was of very high quality and of equal standard to the other cars in the 22/23 class range. They were designed from the ground up with new tooling. In an effort to distinguish and perhaps even distance them from the first run, they were given a new production number series. The second run comprised of a total of nine variations, available with or without interior lighting. Four different variations of the green & yellow color scheme were made available. All versions had the early style saloon windows. A tenth type was produced in a solid silver color scheme as a collectors item, with no real prototype value.
The third production run was put on the market only a few weeks later. Once again nine variations were made with lighted or none-lighted versions available and again, all cars were slight variations of the common green & yellow livery. Also like the second run, another collectors car in solid gold was also made available. These cars were of the YW22B type and have more modern looking windows.
At the end of 2011, Bachmann graced us with two new versions of the hard seater cars. A total of four cars were produced in two liveries not previously available and were sold only in twin packs. They sold out very quickly. Both versions are YZ22's with the early style windows.
Bachmann passenger cars come in a foldable plastic clam shell which slides inside a thin cardboard box with display window. There are some aesthetic differences on the outer packaging between the first three and fourth series. The packaging for the twin pack in the third series was the same as the others, save for a cardboard sleeve.
The car body shells were cast from pre-colored plastic rather than painted. The end result was a color that was quite a way off with a blue/green color. The yellow lining & lettering at least was the usual sharp quality from previous Bachmann products. These cars included add on destination boards, a very nice touch.
Roof details were reasonable, but quite coarse compared to the future runs. A lot of the undercarriage components are very exposed compared to the look of the real cars. Bachmann decided to have the windows positioned in an open, partially open or closed position. An interesting idea, but perhaps not so good for people who model winter layouts! The windows themselves sit too high up the cars' body and for the most part are the wrong shape. As a result of their position, the upper yellow paint line above the window is too thin.
(Second & Third Series)
Details are very nice on these cars. The underframe is much improved. Colors are correct and even bureau specific, however it was quite common to find all the different variations of the green & yellow cars mixed in together on a single train. Roof details are more crisp and defined, and gone is the annoying gap in the car ends to accomodate the old style roof casting. The underframe detail is also much nicer and the cars ride at a much more acceptable height. Bogie detail and depth is much more impressive.
Only very minor details were added to these cars over the 2nd/3rd runs, with the most part being painted on in the form of numbered axles boxes, axle mounted generator belt, labels on select windows and "YingZuoChe" glass plates above the doors. The most significant upgrade went to the maroon and cream version with the very cool double air conditioner units and associated plumbing at the end of each end of the car.
These were amongst the last of Bachmann's passenger cars to have nice low flanges. They roll quite well and are nicely weighted.
(Second, Third & Fourth Series)
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. These cars were fitted with the now typical deep flanged wheels, however they will go through code 83 trackwork (and possibly 75) with no problems.
Lighting kits were available separately for the first series cars. They gave off a very yellow light. Untested in second, third and fourth series.
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.