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Discussion Starter #61 (Edited)
A tale of 3 Box cars. (ok one is a cattle car)
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First up the Lionel car.

Construction;
Has a metal base or deck.
Screwed in trucks (as stated these can be tuned)
Metal axles
Detail is pretty good with exception of molded in walk deck up top (don't know proper term)

Performance;
Rolls real smooth
Hooks up to just about anything. (Only ROCO sometimes will sometimes won't and Marklin nothing will hook up to that)
Has the least amount of wobble up top.
Has never derailed
This is the stablest of all cars...not just these three.

This car was purchased by dad because this same car came in his Lionel "sears" set when he was a boy...circa 78-79 maybe?

It is missing the brake wheel, anyone know where to get a replacement? Intermountain maybe? Yes we know the step is missing, we have the piece and will glue it back on.
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Next up the Bachmann, this was the one missing axle that we have since repaired with ROCO axle.

Construction;
Plastic base or deck.
Plastic pin holds in Truck, "has fallen out once"
Plastic axles.
Really nice detail with raised walkway and paint Scheme (why it was purchased)

Performance;
Rolls smooth
hooks up to most cars ok,
seems to have no real issues, but we've not run it much yet.
It does have more wobble to it than Lionel.

Based on construction and pics can any of you tell if this is older or newer style?

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Next up Roundhouse,

Construction:
Metal base or deck.
Screw in trucks
Metal Axles
Couplers separately mounted (can see the plus to this)
Nice attention to detail with raised walkway

Performance;
picky about hookups
Rolls smooth.
Is rather wobbly, much more so than Lionel.
Never any derailment that we can remember
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So what puts the Lionel so low on the list? Comparing it to these two, it seems on par with them. Each has their good and bad vs each other. It seems.
Lionel performs the best
Roundhouse has better construction
Bachmann is in middle of both in both aspects.
Educate us on what we are missing here.
 

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Discussion Starter #62
A tale of two Model Power box cars.

Can definitely tell different manufactures on these two, but curious enough came in identical looking packages so maybe our theory on that is wrong.

Both seem to be on low end of scale.

Construction is similar but,
Trucks and couplers are completely different.
White car has plain base.
Napa has detailed base.
White car has molded in brake wheel
Napa has separate brake wheel
White has a more real look to it
Napa has a cheap plastic look to it.

The real difference is performance. Napa car wobbles all the time no matter what and has had issues with derailment. But, NAPA car is more friendly with hook ups, for example will hook up to Roadhouse car but White car will not?

Its kinda a tie with them but we'd
put these at bottom with tyco and not above Lionel.

Although they came in nearly identical boxes, the white car box had a yellow "Heavy Duty" marking on it.

So again help us see what we are missing...or did we get a lucky car in the Lionel?
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A tale of 3 Box cars. (ok one is a cattle car)
First up the Lionel car.

Construction;
Has a metal base or deck.
Screwed in trucks (as stated these can be tuned)
Metal axles
Detail is pretty good with exception of molded in walk deck up top (don't know proper term)

Performance;
Rolls real smooth
Hooks up to just about anything. (Only ROCO sometimes will sometimes won't and Marklin nothing will hook up to that)
Has the least amount of wobble up top.
Has never derailed
This is the stablest of all cars...not just these three.

This car was purchased by dad because this same car came in his Lionel "sears" set when he was a boy...circa 78-79 maybe?

It is missing the brake wheel, anyone know where to get a replacement? Intermountain maybe? Yes we know the step is missing, we have the piece and will glue it back on.


Next up the Bachmann, this was the one missing axle that we have since repaired with ROCO axle.

Construction;
Plastic base or deck.
Plastic pin holds in Truck, "has fallen out once"
Plastic axles.
Really nice detail with raised walkway and paint Scheme (why it was purchased)

Performance;
Rolls smooth
hooks up to most cars ok,
seems to have no real issues, but we've not run it much yet.
It does have more wobble to it than Lionel.

Based on construction and pics can any of you tell if this is older or newer styl

Next up Roundhouse,

Construction:
Metal base or deck.
Screw in trucks
Metal Axles
Couplers separately mounted (can see the plus to this)
Nice attention to detail with raised walkway

Performance;
picky about hookups
Rolls smooth.
Is rather wobbly, much more so than Lionel.
Never any derailment that we can remember
So what puts the Lionel so low on the list? Comparing it to these two, it seems on par with them. Each has their good and bad vs each other. It seems.
Lionel performs the best
Roundhouse has better construction
Bachmann is in middle of both in both aspects.
Educate us on what we are missing here.
You've pretty much got it right. Lionel HO is varied in quality. Some are nice like your boxcar, some are the worst of the imported Bachmann.
AFAIK, Lionel has never made much (possibly any) of it's own HO stuff. Based on the underframe and the trucks with riveted coupler cover (Mantua loved rivets) the Lionel looks like a Mantua (the company that later birthed Tyco). Apparently at this time it was Mantua, which was a well regarded product in its day. You've got metal trucks and a nice heavy base.

Ironically the latest incarnation of Lionel HO is comprised of Mantua and Model Power product lines they bought last year from MRC.

As for the Bachmann, if the pin is loose, a tiny stripe of a rubbery glue or caulk, (allowed to COMPLETELY dry before use) along the pin should make it a tighter fit.

Regarding the Roundhouse, I assume the wobbliness and the touchy coupling is because the shaft the truck fits over is too long. I assume when you tighten the screw down it still wobbles. Shortening the shaft a bit should allow the screw to tighten to the point where the truck rotates smoothly. Depending on how smooth your track is, you might want to leave one truck looser than the other to give it a bit of suspension.
 

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I'll take on the two Model Power cars as well.

The Lifesaver is one of the very common boxcars they made for many years right up until the end. With the huge lower door rail that is part of the frame and very obvious body clips it's one of the worst looking 40'ers I know. It is however cheap and easy to manufacture and assemble overseas. I don't know the origin of the tooling, but since Lionel bought the Model Power and Mantua tooling it is now part of the current Lionel HO line, albeit in better paint with metal wheels and knuckle couplers. US Army Transportation Corps Boxcar #26875

The second one appears to be one of the ubiquitous 40' designs that has appeared as many different brands over the last 40 years or so. This page shows it as an AHM product (though it's by no means only been AHM) made by Kader.
Kader used to manufacture trains for many companies before the bought Bachmann and started cutting other companies off.

Wobbly clip-on trucks can be tough to fix, but you might be able to slip a thin washer over the pin or clip between body and truck to minimize the slack.
 

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Discussion Starter #65
Eilif,

WOW some great information in your last two post. Thank you very very much. It will definitely help in future. (as will all the help we have gotten here)

As for the Roundhouse car, We tightened up the screws...not much...about a 1/4 turn but it made a big difference. It's now close to the Lionel for stability and better then others.
 

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Discussion Starter #66
A recent purchase...and hopefully last car we buy for a while...lol...ok still need a second locomotive.

This will be our first Athearn so we will see how it goes, it is used so we will keep that in mind but price was right, 10.00 shipped.

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Discussion Starter #67
Now that we have enough cars...,more than enough...and we've gone through our testing period and worked out some kinks, it's time to take down tracks, raise, or build up level for train and permanently mount the track.

We got some of the correct nails on order and are looking for rail bed....any suggestions?
 

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KGB, like you were are just starting out in this hobby and it can be a little confusing and intimidating. This these has been extremely useful for me, especially looking at rolling stock.

I certainly don't have anything useful to add here, looking forward to seeing your setup thought.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #71
KGB, like you were are just starting out in this hobby and it can be a little confusing and intimidating. This these has been extremely useful for me, especially looking at rolling stock.

I certainly don't have anything useful to add here, looking forward to seeing your setup thought.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
Welcome aboard vette-kid! Good to know someone else has benefited from this thread. A lot of good people have contributed and probably answered questions they've answered a hundred times before.

Once the main tracks are down structurally, we will post a picture, Landscaping and scenery will be done over time, Hard to tell though, once "someone" gets an idea and gets about 3/4 of they way through the brain goes into overdrive and new ideas or changes happen. Not uncommon for us to do and undo things several times (not even related to trains) , but each time it gets wilder, stronger, or better in one way or the other. It's like the brain is two steps ahead of the body. lol. For example this simple oval has turned into an oval train surrounding an oval race track and now a second train track has been in the works and even before that is 100% figured out..." if we go to a third level we can add a third line in addition to race track and even have some crossovers and long bridge spans and tunnels here and there plus there and maybe there." Oh and a switch track needs to be added at the ends incase a new section or table is added even though "nope only doing one table no matter what" but you know gotta have an out lol
 

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Model Power really isn't on my acquisition list, but the boxes I've seen lately are red and black which woul lead me to guess they're from the MRC era (MRC's corporate colors are red and black also), but I honestly don't know.
 
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MichaelE,

Thank you for your response,

That is a shame about the Marklin car. Again naive on our part. Our son loves construction equipment and when he saw that car he had to have it. lol. It would seem for our low level abilities and knowledge it might be smarter for us just to buy another car and put the equipment in it instead.

We did know that the holes are for securing track. However at this time while we lay things out and make changes as we expand, we used the larger tacs as a temporary set up. All holes in wood were pre drilled 3/4 length of tac and then track was snugged up. They can not be pulled up by fingers but a small set of needle nose and they come right out. As stated before we plan to raise the train above the main surface that has a slot car track. Once raised it will be on much softer pine 1x4 and hopefully the stone looking track bed. Dad, being the carpenter that he is, decided on 3/4 particle board for is consistency and hardness over plywood. It also has a full 2x4 frame underneath it.

You are right about the track connectors or rail joiners as you call them. As stated in last post we learned how sloppy the Model Power ones fit. We even squeezed them together with needle nose pliers. It helped a lot but, the tyco ones are so much tighter fitting. When we get to permanent mounting of track we will use better ones than the Model Power.

Thanks again for the tips and advice
KGB Railways;

I will try to answer your questions. If I miss one (or more) you will probably find the answer in the attached files. I have a sneaking senile suspicion that I have sent these files to you before, If so tell me and please ignore the duplication. I'm old. I send the files to many newbies, and I don't always remember to whom I've sent them.

You asked;

What's the point of a dummy locomotive? Simply a cheap way of making the train look like it has two locomotives pulling it, like many real trains do.

"Can we add a second powered locomotive?" Yes. Unlike a dummy, a second powered locomotive will help pull the train, rather than just add drag to it. If you can find a powered "F-unit" diesel locomotive that is the same brand, but maybe doesn't have the same "Santa Fe"paint job & markings you could swap the body shells and turn your dummy into a powered loco. Your improved power pack may help with running two powered locomotives. They will draw more electrical current than a single locomotive. Be on the lookout for a deal on a used MRC (Model Rectifier Corp.) power pack. They are excellent quality, can easily power two or more locos, and are practically indestructible. I recently dusted off my 50 year old one, and it works like new!

"What was that flat car with the strange framework on top, used for?" The cars hauled pressurised tanks of helium gas. They were very unusual cars. I converted one to a much more common "bulkhead" flat car by cutting away the framework and leaving the ends intact. Bulkhead flats are used for hauling pulpwood, like the one on the right side of your third photo. They also haul other lumber and freight.

"Can we buy a new axle ? No. Not alone anyway. You can buy axles with wheels on them. The assembly of two wheels on the same axle is called a "wheelset." Several companies sell sets of replacement wheelsets, but they are not likely to match the wheels on your car. A better bet would be to buy a pair of Kadee brand complete truck assemblies with their excellent knuckle couplers attached, to replace both trucks on that car. This would give that car both much better rolling wheels and the best knuckle couplers in one shot.

"Where can we get a replacement brake wheel?" There are many detail parts, including brake wheels, available. You can check www.walthers.com to find a brake wheel. They are a huge wholesaler, and have just about everything train-related in their catalogue and on their website. You could order a brake wheel from walthers or from www.modeltrainstuff.com or www.trainworld.com Since you're not concerned about realistic appearance, a sequin with some magic marker colored-on spokes and rim, would be a cheaper option.

"How do you solder rail joints together, without melting the plastic ties?" By using "heat sinks" on either side of the joint to be soldered. Heat sinks help keep excessive heat from getting to the plastic ties. Alligator clips, used in electronics, make excellent heat sinks. So do the long aluminum clips that women use to hold their hair around hair curling rollers. Even paper towels, soaked with cold water, and draped over the track, can be used as heat sinks.

Soldering the rail joiners and the two rail ends to each other will form a good physical and perfect electrical contact between the sections of your track. The rail ends need to be lined up very straight and even with each other first, so that the joint will be smooth and not cause derailments.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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You should try soldering rail after forgetting to install a rail joiner... Good thing they were butted up to one another and flush..
 

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Discussion Starter #75
traction fan,

Thank you for the reply, We do not believe you sent us those files, You did welcome us to the forum in the introduction section. (again thank you)

We get the idea of a dummy for looks, Just does not make sense for it to be so heavy. The plan WAS to just buy another locomotive as long as you can run two, and thank you for the tip on the MRC. We will be on the lookout for one.

With that said, we took the tip form another helpful poster and took the dummy car apart and can easily remove some weight with the bottom piece that is probably about 30% if not more of the cars total weight. But, after looking at it, and then taking apart the powered locomotive....would it be possible to just add a motor and shafts to dummy car? Hate to have to buy another locomotive and waste this car if we can just upgrade it.
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Discussion Starter #76
Traction fan (part 2)

Thank you, we'd been curiously wondering what that (ROCO) car would be used for, it's rather weird and if you say not commonly used we'll leave it as is.

Sorry for the incorrect terminology, We have been looking at different styles and now we know to look at entire truck assemblies too.

On a side note to that, while looking at all the cars we discovered that the tyco wheelsets are terrible, yes some of these cars are used but, they wobble (as if they were bent) on all cars, have serious plastic flaws or excess on wheels themselves. Just using your hand to move them they feel rough driving. (probably a good reason they rate so low) So these cars will need to be upgraded first with wheelsets or trucks.

Thank you for the tips on soldering. We definitely need to get a small hobby soldering iron, our current gun is way to big for this stuff.

A very special thanks for all the files sent, they will come in very handy
 

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Discussion Starter #77 (Edited)
While taking the advice of some replies, We are also exploring the option of getting a second identical locomotive. When looking identical brand (Model Power) and markings "Sante Fe" (red bonnet?) we have noticed some are F2, F2A, and F3. What is the difference? Our unit is F3

Also, since we are already laying out a second line, the Idea was to maybe do a Burlington Northern line, since as we learned, they run in same area of country and eventually merged.

One is Made in Austria or Atlas (ROCO?) Burlington Northern 853 diesel engine 20-12-109

The other is a (part #) 0570 Bachmann EMD GP 40

Still have not found a Athearn (as recommended by a member here ) one we like yet
 

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So now you are starting to realize why most of us don't want Tyco....

As MichaelE pointed out, Roco is an Austrian company. Atlas is an American one (although like almost everyone else, their production occurs in China).

You COULD convert the dummy to a powered loco (as I suspected, it's a production model without the powertrain), but it would be a lot of work. By the time you get the parts and invest the labor, it's cheaper to buy one.

The F2, F2A, and F3 are progressively more powerful / sophisticated locks that generally had the same outward configuration (the F indicated that it was a "freight" unit). Sometimes the number is a shorthand for horsepower, but not in this case (see SD and GP models). The A sometimes meant a significant upgrade; in this case, it appears to be an "A" unit, which contained a crew cab and controls, as opposed to a B unit, with just the generator, motors, and associated equipment.
 
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