Bachmann and TCS: The ACS-64 Story

Bachmann and Train Control Systems teamed up to reproduce the Siemens ACS-64 in a beautifully-detailed and accurate-sounding HO-Scale model equipped with WOWSound and Keep-Alive®

John and J.D. from TCS headed to Amtrak's Ivy City Yard in Washington, DC last August to record the ACS-64 sounds you'll hear on the WOWSound decoders. Working with Amtrak officials was a breeze - they helped with everything on their end to secure the shoot date and available locomotives. We recorded several locomotives as they became available throughout the day.

Several challenges awaited the crew as they crawled around and through the locomotive to record the required sounds. Rain showers threatened to drown the entire project, but our crew dodged around the raindrops with microphones in tow. Catenary power also disappeared for a bit, but the Amtrak yard crews worked diligently - quickly restoring power and getting us up and recording again.

Through we ran out of time during the first engineers' shift, Amtrak officials graciously approved us to continue recording through a second shift, providing us the opportunity to perfectly capture the sounds of the Siemens ACS-64.

At the end of a long recording day, we headed home with a comprehensive library of sounds that you'll find on every Bachmann ACS-64. We are grateful for the excellent support of Amtrak throughout this process.

The much-awaited Bachmann ACS-64 is shipping now and will soon be available from retailers and hobby shops across the country! Make sure to find a home for this amazing model on your layout!

Check out all the cool behind-the-scenes photos from our recording trip below:


ACS-64 Locomotive


Amtrak Floor Tile

As we entered the offices at the Ivy City Shops in Washington D.C. we came across this beautiful inlaid floor tile (~1' x 2') celebrating the work they do here.

Hanging Out the Locomotive

 Though we started recording on engine #621 part way through the day we had to switch to engine #600. #621 was required for servicing in the shop.

Setting Up Recording

Here you can see JD from TCS in the cab setting up the recording equipment again.

The Catenary

How would you like to troubleshoot that wiring?

Here you see John and JD from TCS in the cab of the ACS-64.
Here you see JD and John from TCS in the cab of the ACS-64.


Interesting view of Pantograph

We were able to obtain clean recordings of the sounds of the pantograph going up and down from the service walkways. It was cool to hear the crack of the arc jump when the pantrographs engaged the wire. And oh yes, we got that sound included in the decoder as well!

Turntables still exist in modern locomotive facilities

Turntables still exist in modern locomotive facilities as evidenced by this beautiful one in the Ivy City yard.

Creature Comforts on ACS-64

In case you were curious about the inside of the ACS-64. Above left is the view from the cab down the center walkway through the belly of the ACS-64. The door at the far-end is the entrance to the other cab. Above right is the lavatory which is located along the hallway.

Airchime horns on ACS-64

Nathan Airchime horns atop the ACS-64.

Cab view from inside ACS-64

Cab view of the ACS-64 #600.

ACS-64: Salute the Veterans

We commend Amtrak's gracious salute to our Veterans with this commemorative locomotive.