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Discussion Starter #1
I plan to have intermodal on my new layout. I've been looking online for what well cars and containers are available.

It seems the containers have "pegs" to fit into holes in the wells and I presume into the top of the bottom container(s) as well. I plan to use 20' and 40' containers in maxi 1 articulated cars. (Maybe some 48' on top too, not sure if that's prototypical yet)

Can someone tell me if I buy one brand (let's say Athearn) of well cars do I need to buy Athearn containers or are all cars and containers compatible?

As always, thanks for helping out a beginner!
 

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I plan to use 20' and 40' containers in maxi 1 articulated cars. (Maybe some 48' on top too, not sure if that's prototypical yet)
Just a note on this point - yes!

Longer containers have connecting points at the standard 40' length, so 40'-53' containers can pretty much be stacked in any combination.

Containers do not have connecting points in the center so 20' containers can not be stacked on top of longer containers and will always be in the bottom of wells.


Can someone tell me if I buy one brand (let's say Athearn) of well cars do I need to buy Athearn containers or are all cars and containers compatible?
There *may* be some slight compatibility issues here and there but most brands *should* work together if they're dimensionally accurate and any issues should be very minor and easily tweaked. Stay away from Con-Cor containers though as for some unknown reason whoever designed them made them with pegs that stick *up* on top of the containers - which both looks stupid and makes them incompatible with other brands.
 

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So far I use Athearn and Walthers intermodals exclusively, so I don't have a gauge on Kato or Atlas, etc.
I only advise that you stay away from Con-Cor.

As far as I know, no two brands will mate with each other without some p.i.t.a. reworking with pins or holes.
For instance, Athearn has round pins & holes, and Walthers are oval. There is no 'Standard'.

Both Athearn and Walthers containers and well cars are good quality. However I prefer Walthers well cars, because they're mostly metal, which adds weight, and tends to stabilize both loaded cars and empties. Athearn cars are lightweight plastic, and can tend to wobble when empty. Walthers well cars are also slightly better detailed, although Athearn cars are pretty well detailed too.
My major issue is with the cost of containers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So far I use Athearn and Walthers intermodals exclusively, so I don't have a gauge on Kato or Atlas, etc.
I only advise that you stay away from Con-Cor.

As far as I know, no two brands will mate with each other without some p.i.t.a. reworking with pins or holes.
For instance, Athearn has round pins & holes, and Walthers are oval. There is no 'Standard'.

Both Athearn and Walthers containers and well cars are good quality. However I prefer Walthers well cars, because they're mostly metal, which adds weight, and tends to stabilize both loaded cars and empties. Athearn cars are lightweight plastic, and can tend to wobble when empty. Walthers well cars are also slightly better detailed, although Athearn cars are pretty well detailed too.
My major issue is with the cost of containers.
Thanks for the info. I'm surprised to hear Walthers are mostly metal and Athearn plastic because the Athearn cars I found online were about $130 for a 5 unit car and the Walthers Mainline 5 unit were $100.

I could not find any Walthers Proto 3 or 5 unit cars.

Thoughts?
 

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Thanks for the info.
I could not find any Walthers Proto 3 or 5 unit cars.
Thoughts?
Walthers Proto well cars are hard to find. Their Mainline well cars are great, (excellent detail) and more prevalent. Like Proto's, they have ProtoMax couplers.
Amazon has Walthers Mainline 40' 5-car set for $112 plus shipping.
 

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I have four sets of the A-Line Thrall 40 foot five-cars. The bodies are plastic, well detailed and decaled, with some metal weights at the ends of the cars.

You would be better off adding weight to the inside of the bottom containers than worrying about the weight of the car itself. Open up a container and glue/tape some weights (lead shot, etc) to increase the weight of the entire well car.

As mentioned by others, it’s the price of the containers that is the killer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Walthers Proto well cars are hard to find. Their Mainline well cars are great, (excellent detail) and more prevalent. Like Proto's, they have ProtoMax couplers.
Amazon has Walthers Mainline 40' 5-car set for $112 plus shipping.
:) I just found them on Amazon, yup, $112!

I'm leaning to Walthers Mainline. I have found many Walthers containers.

One last question for anyone who owns these 5 and or 3 unit cars;
How long are they in inches (if you use the metric system but know scale feet that'll work too). I'm trying to figure out what combination of 3, 5 unit cars will fit in my staging.

Thanks for all the help, guys!
 

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These are Athearn cars. They're 48 footers.
Detailing is very good, but they're featherweights.
I advise that you set up container loads the way you like them, and then attach them together with rubber cement. They'll be fairly easy to separate, yet won't tend to rattle apart on a train.

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You would be better off adding weight to the inside of the bottom containers than worrying about the weight of the car itself. Open up a container and glue/tape some weights (lead shot, etc) to increase the weight of the entire well car.
IMO, it's easier to glue snipped lengths of solder in the car underbodies. Getting containers apart isn't all that easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
One reason I'm leaning toward Walthers is because they're metal and a little heavier. Adding weight to the container is only going to help when the car is loaded. The containers must be off loaded too for realistic operations.

I bought one covered hopper that was woefully underweight and would not run well until I added some weight...easier with covered hoppers than well cars I imagine
 

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One more thing about Athearn cars...
They all come with McHenry couplers, which are junk.
Walthers Proto and current Mainline come with ProtoMax couplers, which are as good as Kadees
 

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Discussion Starter #13
One more thing about Athearn cars...
They all come with McHenry couplers, which are junk.
Walthers Proto and current Mainline come with ProtoMax couplers, which are as good as Kadees
Yes, excellent point. I didn't know about the Athearn but I read in the description that the Walthers Mainline had the Protomax. I've changed all my cars to Kadee Whiskers except for the Walthers Proto cars which came with Protomax.
 

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ScaleTrains also offers containers, and at comparable prices.
Although I don't have any, they look superb, and are finely detailed.
I'm not sure however, what their mating arrangement is, or if they're compatible with other brands.
 

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BTW, you can get round mating pins to mate with oval holes much more readily than vice versa.
Round-pin cans can be pushed onto oval holes, but the other way around isn't possible without some drilling and trial-fitting.
 

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I use a small file and exacto knife to trim down the oval pins to round. Also, containers are pretty expensive so I by them used on ebay or at train shows. Never pay more than a couple bucks for 40' ers or $1 for a 20'er.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So far I use Athearn and Walthers intermodals exclusively, so I don't have a gauge on Kato or Atlas, etc.
I only advise that you stay away from Con-Cor.

As far as I know, no two brands will mate with each other without some p.i.t.a. reworking with pins or holes.
For instance, Athearn has round pins & holes, and Walthers are oval. There is no 'Standard'.

Both Athearn and Walthers containers and well cars are good quality. However I prefer Walthers well cars, because they're mostly metal, which adds weight, and tends to stabilize both loaded cars and empties. Athearn cars are lightweight plastic, and can tend to wobble when empty. Walthers well cars are also slightly better detailed, although Athearn cars are pretty well detailed too.
My major issue is with the cost of containers.
Late Starter, sounds like you may own a Walthers Mainline 5 unit car. If so I'd appreciate it if you throw a tape on it and let me know how long they are if you get a chance...wondering how many I can fit in my staging.

No hurry since I haven't even started building the layout yet :laugh:

Thanks
 

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Late Starter, sounds like you may own a Walthers Mainline 5 unit car. If so I'd appreciate it if you throw a tape on it and let me know how long they are if you get a chance...wondering how many I can fit in my staging.

No hurry since I haven't even started building the layout yet :laugh:

Thanks
Nope, sorry, I don't have a Walthers 3 or 5 well set...
But I do have individual cars, and I can measure them knuckle-to-knuckle.
That may give you somewhat of an idea.
Right now I'm out of state. Will do when I get back, or someone else may chime in.
 
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