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When Bill posted about the Menards auto carrier with panel vans, I ordered one. I also ordered a gondola and a twin pack of 10-1/2” flat cars to increase my product to shipping and handling cost ratio.

This is my first Menards gondola and the first short flat car in a long time. My previous short flat car tracked poorly so I have avoided them. In the web images, the trucks on the gondola and the flats looked the same as the metal trucks on the 14” flat car which are much better than the trucks that used to come on hoppers and box cars. But the trucks on the flats and gondola are in fact plastic. That might bother some, but it doesn’t bother me since it makes removing the axles easy if the need arises to regauge wheels.

The auto carrier has the same chassis as the standard Menards 14” flat car. And the same metal trucks. But instead of the wooden deck for the flat car, the auto carrier has the frame for carrying autos screwed to the chassis. The panel vans are screwed to the frame. Well 5 of the 6 are screwed in on mine. The sixth didn’t have the screws and the van came crashing out when I tilted the car. This is a tall car. I was not sure if I could run the auto carrier on my layout, but it clears the overpasses (at least on two of my four loops) by about 1/64”.

All the axles spun freely. There were no bent axles. I measured the gauge of all axles which is standard practice for me when I get Menards cars. They were a consistent 26.5 mm except one truck on the auto carrier which was the ideal 27 mm. I decided to leave them alone until I saw how they tracked. I’ve previously gotten Menards cars with loose trucks that cause the wobbles, but these are all installed well.

After about 30 minutes run time, I’m happy to report that all cars tracked well. I even ran the lighter cars up front and the heavy auto carrier at the end to see if that would cause problems. And I ran them over Gargraves switches (current design) that have in the past upset some Menards cars.

As an aside, I got the flat cars because I wanted a flat to go with my PRR crane. Of course, the day they were delivered, I was digging under the platform and found the yellow MTH PRR flat car that I forgot I had.

I was going to write a glowing review, but the reason for the mixed review is shown in the last shot. A coupler fell off the auto carrier before I even ran it. It will most likely be a crazy glue repair.

While I’m not happy about the coupler on the auto carrier, I won’t rule out getting more gondolas (at $25 each), or 10-1/2” flat cars (at $12 each) or another auto carrier (at $50) when the mood strikes.
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Yanked draft gear and broken knuckles are a occasional occurrence on the railroad. The bottom photo is actually kind of realistic in that sense.

Time to set out the bad order car and have the car department come and repair the car before the locals start stealing tires off the cars!

Tom
 

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When Bill posted about the Menards auto carrier with panel vans, I ordered one. I also ordered a gondola and a twin pack of 10-1/2” flat cars to increase my product to shipping and handling cost ratio.

This is my first Menards gondola and the first short flat car in a long time. My previous short flat car tracked poorly so I have avoided them. In the web images, the trucks on the gondola and the flats looked the same as the metal trucks on the 14” flat car which are much better than the trucks that used to come on hoppers and box cars. But the trucks on the flats and gondola are in fact plastic. That might bother some, but it doesn’t bother me since it makes removing the axles easy if the need arises to regauge wheels.

The auto carrier has the same chassis as the standard Menards 14” flat car. And the same metal trucks. But instead of the wooden deck for the flat car, the auto carrier has the frame for carrying autos screwed to the chassis. The panel vans are screwed to the frame. Well 5 of the 6 are screwed in on mine. The sixth didn’t have the screws and the van came crashing out when I tilted the car. This is a tall car. I was not sure if I could run the auto carrier on my layout, but it clears the overpasses (at least on two of my four loops) by about 1/64”.

All the axles spun freely. There were no bent axles. I measured the gauge of all axles which is standard practice for me when I get Menards cars. They were a consistent 26.5 mm except one truck on the auto carrier which was the ideal 27 mm. I decided to leave them alone until I saw how they tracked. I’ve previously gotten Menards cars with loose trucks that cause the wobbles, but these are all installed well.

After about 30 minutes run time, I’m happy to report that all cars tracked well. I even ran the lighter cars up front and the heavy auto carrier at the end to see if that would cause problems. And I ran them over Gargraves switches (current design) that have in the past upset some Menards cars.

As an aside, I got the flat cars because I wanted a flat to go with my PRR crane. Of course, the day they were delivered, I was digging under the platform and found the yellow MTH PRR flat car that I forgot I had.

I was going to write a glowing review, but the reason for the mixed review is shown in the last shot. A coupler fell off the auto carrier before I even ran it. It will most likely be a crazy glue repair.

While I’m not happy about the coupler on the auto carrier, I won’t rule out getting more gondolas (at $25 each), or 10-1/2” flat cars (at $12 each) or another auto carrier (at $50) when the mood strikes.
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Menards auto carriers really look great with a nice selection of vehicles. Not surprising that every release is a very quick sell-out. The one that I have with the Dodge pick-ups has no issues with couplers, axels, or wheels but I think it is top heavy. I would be concerned going into curves at a high rate of speed.
 

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I sold off all of my box cars because they do not look scale to me even though GRJ debunked that - they are O scale for 40'. I have one of the basic black GATX tank cars for $25. I like it, but that is all I have.

I do not understand the allure of getting cheap rolling stock from Menards when eBay (I know, it's ebay) has a rolling stock section for under $35 and there are thousands of MTH Premier, MTH Rail King, Atlas and Weavers to choose from for maybe $20 to $30 each with much better trucks, detail and real boxes to store them.
 

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I sold off all of my box cars because they do not look scale to me even though GRJ debunked that - they are O scale for 40'. I have one of the basic black GATX tank cars for $25. I like it, but that is all I have.

I do not understand the allure of getting cheap rolling stock from Menards when eBay (I know, it's ebay) has a rolling stock section for under $35 and there are thousands of MTH Premier, MTH Rail King, Atlas and Weavers to choose from for maybe $20 to $30 each with much better trucks, detail and real boxes to store them.
Apparently better detail does not appear to be important to a lot of O scalers….
 

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I think it is not a problem if you keep in mind what you are getting is a $25 car marketed by Menards. I personally have no interest in such cars. Had about 10 but sold them all when I decided I didn't like (what was then) $20 cars marketed by Menards. I'd rather have $25 used postwar/MPC/LTI cars.
 

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Apparently better detail does not appear to be important to a lot of O scalers….
I like the Menard's stuff for our modular shows, I don't have to worry about packing them to carry to the show. When they're rolling around the layout, all people really notice is the paint job. My quibble is, of course, the trucks!
I do not understand the allure of getting cheap rolling stock from Menards when eBay (I know, it's ebay) has a rolling stock section for under $35 and there are thousands of MTH Premier, MTH Rail King, Atlas and Weavers to choose from for maybe $20 to $30 each with much better trucks, detail and real boxes to store them.
I toss the boxes, so that's a non-issue. One issue with buying them on eBay, (which I've done in volume), you can't get a run of 20-30 similar cars for a unit train easily. Most of the Atlas and Weaver cars have too much delicate detail, great to look at, not so great to travel with. I can't imagine taking my Atlas tank car collection to a modular show, way too delicate!

If you're hard-over on scale, why include Railking in your selections?
 

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For Menards’ prices I have no problem tweaking cars. I’ve re-gauged a few wheelsets and adjusted frame height on the hopper cars. I removed uncoupling tabs from trucks because they ride on the axles and affect the tracking. Some coupler filing has also been done here and there, plus nipping and filing off the brake cylinder projections under boxcars. So far so good.
FW
 

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There is nothing wrong with most Menards cars that can't be fixed. Couplers on the new Auto carriers are hit and miss but usually an easy fix. Some filing in the knuckle of the coupler helps. Some lube also helps.
They are built to a price and for $24-$29 for most of the cars they are a good deal.
But if you need better detailed Car then go ahead and spend $75-$95 for Lionel and Mth cars. Have you guys seen the new Lionel catalog? Check the prices. Most of us have both Lionel and mth cars along with Menards.
Also the secondary market is a great place to buy freight cars at reasonable prices. There are thousands on ebay, TrainZ and other places.
 

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I think it is not a problem if you keep in mind what you are getting is a $25 car marketed by Menards. I personally have no interest in such cars. Had about 10 but sold them all when I decided I didn't like (what was then) $20 cars marketed by Menards. I'd rather have $25 used postwar/MPC/LTI cars.
What type of locomotives are you using to pull 20 to 25 Postwar cars. Right now on my layout I am using Williams locos to pull 15 to 20 Postwar freight cars. You certainly need muscle power to pull long strings of Postwar freight cars compared to Menards freight cars.
Currently a Williams Shark with a string of Postwar freight cars, mostly 6464's on the S&Y RR.
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You certainly need muscle power to pull long strings of Postwar freight cars compared to Menards freight cars.
I'm not sure what Menard's cars you're referring to, but the roughly 60 Menard's boxcars I have have at least as much rolling resistance as postwar boxcars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The latest hoppers I got have plastic trucks. Don't know if they are also using plastic trucks on box cars these days. The plastic trucks have a lot less friction than the metal ones that came on box cars and hoppers that you have to oil. And you can open the coupler while the car is on the track.
 

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I sold off all of my box cars because they do not look scale to me even though GRJ debunked that - they are O scale for 40'. I have one of the basic black GATX tank cars for $25. I like it, but that is all I have.

I do not understand the allure of getting cheap rolling stock from Menards when eBay (I know, it's ebay) has a rolling stock section for under $35 and there are thousands of MTH Premier, MTH Rail King, Atlas and Weavers to choose from for maybe $20 to $30 each with much better trucks, detail and real boxes to store them.
This is my attitude as well. Similar issues with RMT. I started looking at K-Line tank cars. RMTs use the same tank found on K-Line tank cars made in the 1990s until they folded but many K-Line cars come with diecast frames with better detail and sprung trucks for less than the cost of an RMT car. Only problem for me is few have the roadnames I am looking for and even the decals are hard to find.

Pete
 

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If you're hard-over on scale, why include Railking in your selections?
Scale is not as critically important to me as detail. I run an inside loop of net O54. Rail King runs very well on it mixed with MTH Premier.

Some Rail King is as detailed as Premier, newer Lionel and Atlas. Good trucks are part of detail. I don’t own anything rolling stock that isn’t individually sprung and die cast. Details of Menards generally isn’t nearly as good as RailKing. I do like my Menards black tank car. May swap out the trucks and couplers.
 

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Baloney, when is the last time you had 60 postwar freight cars on your layout.
Baloney yourself! :rolleyes:

Where did I say they were all on the layout at one time? I have at least 60 Menard's boxcars, and I've had 30+ in one consist, and they had a boatload of rolling resistance! That's a fact, whether you agree or not. AAMOF, it was 33 Menard's boxcars, I had all the Reading cars on the top two shelves with a caboose. It required a second Legacy GP7 locomotive to make the 2.5% grade comfortable due to the rolling resistance. Yes, I had lubricated them right before the run. Conversely, I've run around 40 modern boxcar and tank cars in a consist and a single Legacy GP7 handled them with ease, didn't even break a sweat.

What I did say, and still stand behind is, the Menard's metal trucks that have been on their boxcars for years have as much rolling resistance as a typical postwar boxcar.

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You kids and your online abbreviations! It took me a minute to figure out “AAMOF” stood for! Lol.

A train is a train. What ever the tonnage, make sure you have enough horsepower to get it over the road!

Tom
 
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