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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good morning!

I'm looking forward to a show here in Columbus in a couple of weeks that is devoted to N scale. In the meantime, I have come across an online aution that includes several lots of N Scale rolling stock. I see Bachman, Con Cor, Walthers and Atlas brands. The boxes look well used, but the cars look to be in good condition.

Are there brands to avoid when buying older used rolling stock?

Some of the cars are really long... unique but really long, so I'm going to pass on those, but could use some advice if there are brands to avoid when looking at older used cars.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here are a couple of pics. It appears as though all the rolling stock in the auction has micro trains style couplers.

Are these OK? Does your locomotive have to have these same type of coupler?
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All cars and locomotives will need to have the same type of couplers, so they can all couple together.....

The couplers shown in your pics are Micro-train couplers, which are the defacto standard for N scale now.....

Pretty much all rolling stock in N scale now is good, if they have those couplers, you should be good to go.......I can’t think of any brand to avoid.....

Now, when you are talking old used ones, I personally would stay away from old Like-Like and Con-Cor, but the older ones wouldn’t have the proper couplers anyway.....

As for the newer brands, Atlas, Walthers, Rapido and Micro-trains are very good.....

As for passenger cars, Kato makes the best for your money, in my opinion....
 

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What Old_Hobo said. (y)

Plus, a couple of points to keep in mind........................

1. Virtually all N-scale cars can be converted over to Micro-Trains Line (MTL) trucks and/or couplers, no matter how old or what brand they are.
2. Outside of most MTL cars, a LOT of N-scale cars are not properly weighted to NMRA specs. They are usually too light, even if they include a metal weight in them.

Properly weighted cars, with MTL trucks and couplers, are about as good as you can get. The only thing left after that is to make sure your track work is up to snuff. ;)

Note: Kato couplers, although excellent in themselves, do not work or play well with other brands. Kato passenger loco and passenger car couplers are best left to operate together as is. Kato freight locos however, should be converted over to MTL couplers to be compatible with your freight car fleet.

That's it in a nutshell. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm looking at the Kato SD70ace because I like the Norfolk Southern look
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I also like Atlas GP series, but I don't see Norfolk Southern.

Based on the reviews I've been able to find, both the Kato SD70 and the Atlas GP series can handle 11.25' radius, although, I have to believe the shorter GP series would be better suited to the rather tight turns. I have a relatively small space.
 

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Yes, the shorter trucks on 4 axle diesels do handle tighter curves better, for sure.....however, I think manufacturers make the 6 axle ones swivel a bit more, as they want to sell more locomotives than they would if the curve radius was prohibitive.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Right now, I have an older Atlas and an older Bachman locomotive. Both work, but I think I'd rather start fresh with one that is DC for now, but can be upgraded if I decide to go DCC in the future.
 

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A young member joined our N-Trak club a number of years ago. He had built a pretty nice little N-scale layout, complete with scenery, on a sheet of plywood approx. 3' x 6' or so. However, he had only used 9-3/4" radius curved track for all of his curves. Which was fine in the beginning for the 4-axle locos he had.

The first 6-axle loco he bought wouldn't run on those tight curves. It wasn't a problem with the trucks not swiveling enough, it was just the fact that that each 3-axle truck, with all flanged wheels, was just a tad too long to work on those tight curves. Admittedly though, he bought a second 6-axle loco that did manage to run on those curves, but just barely. I don't remember what brand(s) they were, although it seems like one was maybe a Kato and the other an Atlas.

He later built a another layout using 11-3/4" radius curved track as his minimum, and had no further problems with any of his 6-axle locos after that.

The moral of the story is............. if you want to reliably run larger locomotives and longer equipment, you're going to need larger radius curves. This is true for any scale, not just N-scale.
 

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What Old_Hobo said. (y)

Plus, a couple of points to keep in mind........................

1. Virtually all N-scale cars can be converted over to Micro-Trains Line (MTL) trucks and/or couplers, no matter how old or what brand they are
And what Mixed Freight said. I bought several different cars from a few different folks on Ebay, one set of 4 which I knew had the wrong type of couplers, I had planned ahead and bought quite a few MicroTrain trucks with the knuckle couplers and swapped out them all, that way there wouldn't be any question about either the couplers or condition of the axles / wheels (some didn't want to stay on the track before the swap and some wouldn't roll their own length without stopping). Now my only "problem" is the "slinky" action of the trains LOL which I can live with
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the excellent advice!

I'll have to keep all this in mind when I go to the N-scale show in Columbus in a couple weeks.
 
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