Model Train Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few years back I bought some Athearn Genesis locomotives before my train layout became a reality. I’m a newbie to this therefore, my question is, am I stuck with having to buy Athearn rolling stock to run with my locomotives or am I able to buy another manufacturer? I will be needing some passenger cars yet I want to make sure I’m clear on this before proceeding.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,252 Posts
You can use any brand car with any brand locomotive...You simply
must have couplers that match. The 'near' standard in the HO scale
are knuckle couplers, like used on real railroads...(Kadee, tho other
brands are compatible). You
can remove and replace any non matching coupler with one that
does. A fairly simple procedure.

Likewise, your locos will run on any brand power packs if they
are DC. You'll need any brand DCC controller if they have on board DCC decoders.

If you need help with any of these conversions just let us know.

Don
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,343 Posts
Athearn couplers are compatible with any other brand of contemporary North American HO rolling stock.
They are plastic however, and will last for a year or so before they give up the ghost... some might last a little longer.

For a long-term (and reliable) solution, you can convert to Kadee or ProtoMax couplers.
The listing on the Kadee Coupler Conversion index is quite inclusive, and will likely include whatever you have.
Some premium brands of rolling stock, e.g., ExactRail, Tangent, etc., come equipped with them.

ProtoMax couplers (same as Kadee #5's) are made by Walthers, and come standard on all Walthers Proto and MainLine cars and locomotives.
Like Kadees they're available in bulk packs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
Athearn couplers are compatible with any other brand of contemporary North American HO rolling stock.
They are plastic however, and will last for a year or so before they give up the ghost... some might last a little longer.

For a long-term (and reliable) solution, you can convert to Kadee or ProtoMax couplers.
The listing on the Kadee Coupler Conversion index is quite inclusive, and will likely include whatever you have.
Some premium brands of rolling stock, e.g., ExactRail, Tangent, etc., come equipped with them.

ProtoMax couplers (same as Kadee #5's) are made by Walthers, and come standard on all Walthers Proto and MainLine cars and locomotives.
Like Kadees they're available in bulk packs.
Technically, there is no such thing as Athearn couplers. They are McHenry couplers, since both brands are owned by Horizon Hobbies, unless they are REALLY old... before Horizon acquired Athearn and McHenry in the early 2000's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
Since you state you have Genesis locos I guess we can assume they have operating knuckle couplers...If so, then you can own any brand of cars and locos in your scale which too have operating knuckle couplers..
That is it !! But, be weary when buying more.. If price is dirt cheap they might have earlier archaic, non-compatible 'horn hook' type couplers..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the help. I figured I could use different brands, but I wanted to make sure before I started to buy them.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,242 Posts
To sum up, coupler compatibility is more important than the brand of the car….
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Coupler heights can vary between brands but then again can vary with the same brands. Will want to adjust and make as close as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
956 Posts
If you don't have a coupler height gauge I highly recommend one. I have two 90 degree crossings on my layout and if the couplers are too low I find out the hard way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
I’ll add, two things to watch out for. If you’re buying old cars at a train show or ebay etc, look carefully ay the coupler pockets (where the couplers ate mounted) as well as how the trucks mount to the body.
Some trucks snap in and are not easy to replace. Same with some couplers. Even if the car was only $3, multiply that by 12 and it’s disappointing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
A few years back I bought some Athearn Genesis locomotives before my train layout became a reality. I’m a newbie to this therefore, my question is, am I stuck with having to buy Athearn rolling stock to run with my locomotives or am I able to buy another manufacturer? I will be needing some passenger cars yet I want to make sure I’m clear on this before proceeding.

Thanks.
When you purchase passenger cars, I suggest you buy quality, reputable brand cars, as cheap ones can be very problematic with derailing etc. Walthers is one good brand, and I have been happy with them. Additionally, if you can, use long turnouts where your passenger cars run, and space the points apart where crossing from one road to another.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
956 Posts
Oh yeah, decide if you want truck-mounted couplers or body-mounted couplers and stick with one type. Truck-mounted cars will be cheaper but a-historic and the quality cars will all be body-mounted. Cars with different mounting systems coupled together will tend to derail on tight curves, especially anyplace where two #4 switches form a crossover.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,103 Posts
Where couplers are involved, there's only one word:
Coat Tie Gesture Sharing Suit

"Kadee".

I'd also suggest the Kadee #206 coupler height gauge as well.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top