Do Williams by Bachmann GP9 diesel locomotives come with numbers in the number boards, specifically the Minneapolis and St. Louis model, #21454? I'm trying to determine if there are supposed to be numbers, or if there is just a clear plastic cover over the light bulb/lens part? Are no numbers standard, or did someone goof at the factory?


I just received a Williams M&STL GP9 that I mail ordered, and it has the clear plastic cover over the 4 number boards, and you can see the light bulb/lens piece behind it, but there are no numbers!

I emailed the dealer, and he said most Williams engines came with blank number boards. I bought the last M&STL GP9, so he is out of stock now. My older Williams engines are in storage, but I seem to remember them having numbers in the number boards.

Looking at the Williams by Bachmann catalog, it looks like at least some of the GP9 engines come with numbers in the number boards, but I don't know if that is something added by artists to the catalog, and I can't tell from the photo of the M&STL GP9 if it shows numbers as the image is small and fuzzy.

I searched, but haven't been able to find a good photo of the Williams M&STL GP9 that shows the number boards.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Original Post

hello trestrainfan


I can help you with this, i have a Williams/Bachmann Santa Fe GP-9 stock #21420

which i purchased in 2013. This engine has black painted over clear blank number

boards with white painted on numbers #2678. Its a really good runner but check the

gear boxes first before running them as mine didn't have any grease in it when i open

it up for first time. I hope this helps some what



Some of the older GP-9's made before Bachmann bought the Williams line might have nubers in the plastic. I think the newer Williams by Bachmann does not have numbers in the plastic so as to save money.


Lee Fritz

Philadelphia & Reading Railway, one of the first railroads in the USA, first to have a double track system in the USA.

Thank you all for your replies.


ReadingFan has the same model as I just purchased, and his has the clear number boards, so it looks like that is the way they come from the factory for WBB. So I'll be keeping it. I think all my older Williams and WBB engines have number boards with numbers. Too bad WBB stopped putting numbers in at least some of their engines.


I found a couple of photos online of real M&STL GP9 diesel engines, and they both show white letters on a black background. I've never done it before, but I think I should be able to pick up a sheet of the white decal paper and create the number board on my computer and print some number board decals.


Tiffany, I have the Santa Fe GP9, but mine is older and is Williams before they sold to Bachmann. It is a good engine. Thanks for the reminder about checking the grease. I've read a few posts on the forum about newer WBB locomotives not having adequate grease in the gear box.

FWIW, I've made number boards by printing white on black on plain #20 printer paper.  I glue this to the bare numberboard and then cover it with clearcoat.  It's easier, at least to me, than trying to get decals printed and stuck to the number boards.


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