Saturday, 10 March 2012

American Freight Cars 2: Additions

Since I started this blog I have been acquiring new freight cars for the layout. Xmas and birthdays have happened over the period, so I think I've been lucky to acquire the following:

This is the absolutely lovely ExactRail Milwaukee horizontal long rib single door box car. The trucks on this, and its sister below, are brilliant. They do everything the Kadee ones do, without any compromise with the coil springs. Only down side is that they are plastic, not metal, but I can live with that.

So the ExactRail trucks are going to be my new go-to trucks for all new car additions where possible. Now I will have to find out what they sell.

My second ExactRail model, and another steam era classic signature freight car, this time a B&O M-53 Wagontop box car. Again this car came out of the box with Kadee 58 scale couplers, cut levers, and all I had to do was replace the Code-110 wheels with Code-88. I was lucky in that I had eight so called 1.015 NWSL axles that were actually 1.005 (give or take) that fitted into the ExactRail trucks. A serendipitous win-win situation for me.

Another Kadee PS-1 boxcar, making it a total of five that I have, but the good thing is that each car has variant doors to match the prototype, which is really nice. Then in most cases it is just a matter of replacing wheels and painting the trucks. In this case I had a photograph of a C&NW PS-1 with red painted trucks, so I decided to match my model to it.

Missed from the first time around one of my original Kadee PS-1 purchases, showing the variation in the doors from the car above.

I converted all my original Kadee PS-1s to the new scale Kadee 58 scale couplers by the simple expedient of snapping out the old coupler boxes, gluing the stirrup step mouldings back into place and tapping for a standard Kadee draft box.

I've since found that Kadee provide an upgrade route that would have saved me all this trouble. So I have ordered some of the Kadee upgrade kits for my old cars, as they come with the nicer looking scale coupler boxes, and my original four models will be upgraded in due course.

A Kadee PS-2 covered hopper. I have a picture of this car in one of my books, so even though the repack date is too modern for me (it will be changed), this car will fit right in. I intend to make this my next weathering project. This model came with Kadees new ASF Ride Control HGC trucks.

These look lovely, but quite frankly I don't like the way they compensate the truck, as it works by splitting the transom at the truck pivot point. This means that if you want to have non-sloppy trucks, then you lose the compensation from the restricting movement, because split transom will be unable to move when screwed in firmly.

This is a Tichy Train Group PRR War G-30 Emergency gondola, and by golly it is light. Too light for consistently reliable running given its length. I'm going to have to give this one some serious thought, and no, putting a load in is not an answer. Or at least not a complete answer, as I like to be able to run empties. Cut levers need to be added to finish this off.

My Proto 2000 Mather stock car bought mostly on a whim after seeing a photo of some C&NW stock cars in one of my North Shore Line books. So I had to have one. Dead cute model though. Cut levers are missing and while you can't see it here, the coupler boxes are horrible big clunky things, but probably best left alone.

Finally, an InterMountain Caswell GA-7 gondola. Again cut levers are missing, which for me separates first rank models from second rank. Whereas cast on ladders etc makes a model very much third rank, and as such something I would only buy on the expectation of having to carve off all the cast on detail before it would see use on my layout. Call me fussy like that.


  1. Those Proto Mather stock cars coupler boxes can be removed with a knife, be careful. Then clean up the remainder with a file and replace with a better box.

  2. I'll have another look at the model when I next get around to it, which means not before the alternative wheel sets arrive, as it is one of the cars I'm contemplating changing the undersize axles out of.

  3. One way to successfully weight the Tichy gon is a thin steel weight (about 20 swg should do)that covers the whole floor, then add a dummy floor above it. It won't detract from the visible depth of the empty car. You can load it with a lighter removeable load.