Compatibility of Bachmann Trains: A look into their Compatibility with Hornby, Lionel, Kato, and Atlas

Bachmann Trains is a model train brand and manufacturer founded in 1833. The company first started by selling fashioned ivory, horn, and tortoiseshell, but it expanded into train models in the 60s and the 70s. Right now, it has been loved by train enthusiasts and collectors for decades, and many beginner modelers might have started with a Bachmann starter set. Thus, this post will answer Bachmann train’s compatibility with other branded tracks.

Generally speaking, Bachmann trains can run on tracks made by other companies, provided that they are of the same scale and gauge. This is because the NMRA standards are being followed by manufacturers, which specify specific sizes of trains and tracks. However, there are some exceptions, such as the OO scale where Bachmann trains can also run smoothly.

This post will discuss the compatibility of Bachmann trains on other popular tracks such as Lionel, Atlas, Hornby, and Kato. Finally, we will dive into the scale rule you can use to judge if you can run your model on different tracks.

Can Bachmann Trains run on Other Branded Tracks?

Can Bachmann trains run on Lionel track?

Generally, Bachmann trains run on Lionel tracks. This is because most model manufacturers are following the NMRA standards. However, make sure that their scale is the same. For example, Lionel offers the S scale model, which is the 1:64 scale. This scale is bigger than the standard HO scale. Thus, it requires a different track to run.

The great thing about model trains is that they are standardized by the NMRA or the National Model Railroading Association. This association standardized the scale sizes and rails.

Furthermore, NMRA also recommends a standard weight for the model cars to run properly.

That’s why Bachmann trains can run on Lionel tracks. First, however, make sure that they are of the same scale.

While rare, Lionel offers the S scale model trains, which are in the 1:64 scale. This is way bigger than the two most popular scales, which are the HO and N scale.

Thus, if the track is made for the S scale model trains, there is a high chance that your HO Bachmann train wouldn’t run on the track since it won’t fit.

Another thing to note is if you’re into the O scale trains.

If you are into the O scale trains, Bachmann’s trains can run and are compatible with Lionel’s unique 3 rail tracks.

One of the biggest advantages of Lionel’s 3 rail track is the negative and the positive charge on the rails are separate. This means the likelihood of short circuits is hugely diminished. However, the disadvantage of staying on Lionel’s 3 rail track is it is not realistic.

In the real world, 3 rail tracks are not common. While electric trains can have a 3-rail track, the third rail is usually on the other side of the train where passengers can’t reach.

Also, a common beginner mistake is that they think the 3 rail track is for running both standard and narrow gauge trains. That is not true, and the tracks that offer standard and narrow gauge trains to run are different and are called dual gauge tracks.

The purpose of the 3-rail lionel tracks is to separate the positive from the negative charge when running the train since most modern model trains run on electricity. However, it is by no means a dual gauge track. Thus, you can’t run narrow gauge trains on these tracks.

Can Bachmann trains run on Atlas track?

Bachmann trains can run on Atlas tracks since the track sizes of both brands are the same. However, while the tracks are the same, that doesn’t mean that their prefab tracks can be put together since they use different mechanisms to attach the roadbeds.

You can run Bachmann trains on Atlas tracks simply because they are the same size.

This is also because of the NMRA standards which manufacturers follow.

However, while of the same size, Bachmann’s EZ track and Atlas True track can be hard to fit together.

This is because these tracks are prefab tracks. Prefab tracks mean they’ve attached a roadbed on these rails.

The problem is that they use different prefabs, making the rail height and how the rails attach differently.

Thus, it is better to stick to one brand on tracks, especially if you’re into prefab tracks.

However, if it is a traditional track, it is very versatile, and multiple model train brands can run on the track provided that the train is specific for the track scale and gauge.

I discussed the difference between scale and gauge in a separate article. If you’re interested, you can find it here: HO vs. OO scale and gauge.

Can Bachmann trains run on Hornby track?

Bachmann trains can run on Hornby tracks since Hornby tracks, which use the OO scale, is compatible with the HO scale. This means you can freely run Bachmann trains on Hornby tracks and Hornby trains on Bachmann tracks.

While I always specify the importance of scale and tracks, Hornby or other OO scale trains and tracks are an exemption.

OO scale trains can run on HO scale tracks. This is because of the history of the OO scale.

First, let me emphasize that the OO scale is different from the O scale. OO scale is the 1:76 scale, while the O scale is the 1:48 scale.

However, the OO scale and HO scale tracks use the same standard gauge, 16.5mm or 0.65 inches.

Historically, the OO scale was born because Hornby railways can’ fit the train motor into an HO scale locomotive. That’s why they decided to enlarge the body. However, while they increased the size of the train, the wheels didn’t change. That’s why the OO scale trains can run on HO tracks.

Thus, Bachmann trains can run on Hornby tracks since these tracks have the same size as the standard gauge.

Can Bachmann trains run on Kato track?

Bachmann trains can run on the Kato track since both of these manufacturers follow the NMRA standards. However, while they are compatible, combining prefab tracks of both Bachmann and Kato isn’t ideal because of the difference in the roadbed’s connector and height.

Kato is another popular track manufacturer that railroad modelers love. That’s why I included this in the post.

Bachmann trains can also run on the Kato track since they follow the NMRA standards.

However, like other prefab tracks, it is not ideal to connect prefab Bachmann, and Kato tracks since the roadbed’s connector and height are different.

But, if you already have a Kato track, you can run a Bachmann train with no issues.


In conclusion, Bachmann trains can run on tracks made by other companies as long as they follow NMRA standards. This makes them a versatile option for train enthusiasts of all experience levels. So if you’re looking for a great train set that will be compatible with most tracks, Bachmann is an excellent option.

Lastly, the scale rule applies to all except the OO scale, like Hornby, which also uses HO gauge tracks.

What’s next? Do you know about the compatibility of model train couplers? The coupler is that small thing that connects the train carts. While it is small, it is very important to know their compatibility with one another. If you are interested in knowing about couplers, feel free to check this post: What are HO Couplers? Are they compatible with other brands?

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