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Author Topic: Flat Car Length & Curve Limitations  (Read 4668 times)
Cyber480

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« on: June 14, 2010, 10:08:48 PM »

I am NEW to Model Railroading, and even newer to a discussion board. If this is a dumb question, I apologize. Can someone tell me what the length, or scale length, of the Bachmann 18904 HO Flat Car is. I have searched everywhere on the internet and cannot find this information. My layout consists mainly of 18" curves, but I do have three 15" curved sections connected together. I am trying to find out if this Flat Car will operate on this layout, without binding. The time period for my layout will be from the late 1800's to the, very early 1900's. The steam locomotive will normally be pulling the tender, a combine, one, or two, passenger coaches, the flat car, (if possible), and a caboose. The maximum incline is 4%, if that matters. Thank You.
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ABC
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2010, 11:26:15 PM »

It is 52 feet long, which typically translates to a minimum of 18" radius, but if it will make 15" radius I do not know. What steam locomotive are you using? It must be pretty small to make 15" radius, but that time period had mostly smaller equipment. I'd guess a 0-4-0...
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Cyber480

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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 10:37:40 AM »

Thank You, for the length. I saw that some of the flat cars were 52', but they appeared to have additional trucks. I was hoping this car was near the 40' length. I think the 52' might bind, and certainly wouldn't look realistic, even if it DID make the curve. I have both a 2-8-0, which seems to work fine, on the "TEMPORARY" layout.  I also purchased a 4-6-0, with sound, but haven't tried it yet.  I am in the midst of constructing the permanent layout now. Mountains, Rivers, Tunnel, etc. The tunnel is 5 sections of 18" curves.  I had to lay down the foam roadbed, track, and ballast in the tunnel so I could cover it, and contine with the Mountain Scenery. I installed a removable center section above the tunnel in case I need to gain access to the tunnel interior. I have a track feeder, and a single LED light soldered to the track in the tunnel interior. After the ballast was dry, and cleaned off the track I attached the power and tried the 2-8-0 with tender to make sure the solder didn't cause any "bumps" or other problems. Everything seems fine, at this point. My BIG obstacle now is how to attach my trestle bridges. (six needed - three straight, between 5" and 10", and two curved, between 15" and 20"). I already have the Bents built, but now I need to figure out how to attach the stringers, and braces. The trestle bridge was probably too big a project for a beginner, but it fits the time period, and I really like the looks when complete.
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 11:17:34 AM »

Thank You, for the length. I saw that some of the flat cars were 52', but they appeared to have additional trucks. I was hoping this car was near the 40' length. I think the 52' might bind, and certainly wouldn't look realistic, even if it DID make the curve.

For a late-1880s--early 1900s layout I would advise sticking with the Bachmann, Roundhouse, or even Mantua/Tyco "old-time" "shorty" flat cars. They will look much better on a 15-inch radius curve. You could probably get away with an Athearn 40-foot flat car.

If you are going to run the flat car as part of a mixed consist with a combine or baggage car and a coach, you might also consider the length of your passenger cars. It's just my opinion, but in a mixed consist, it just doesn't look right to me if the freight cars are longer than the passenger cars.

Incidentally, in a mixed train, the passenger cars generally were placed at the end of the train, and there was no caboose. But I hear you: I'm pretty partial myself to those little 4-wheel "bobber" cabooses, and sometimes I stick one on the end of a mixed consist just because I like it.  Cheesy
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ABC
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 11:29:14 AM »

Here's a model die-casting 26' flat car (set of 3):
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Cyber480

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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 04:40:22 PM »

Thank You, Mr. J.B.J. for all that info.  As I mentioned earlier I'm new to this.  I'm not even sure I'm replying correctly. I have two Mantura D&RG coaches, everything else is Bachmann. I never heard of "Shoty's", or "Bobbers". I also haven't attempted a "kit" yet. I mainly wanted a flat car to haul "boiler". Bachmann has one on a depressed 52' car. I thought it would look appropriate for my layout (Durango & Silverton" Colorado) If I can't find a boiler, perhaps I could make one out of PVC or similar material. I saw a 40' flat car from another mfg. but, from the photo, the quality doesn't look near as nice as the Bachmann product.
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Cyber480

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2010, 04:45:38 PM »

Thanks ABC Perhaps, if I "EVER" get to a point that I can place the track on my layout, I'll try finding one of these kits. Surely it can't be nearly as difficult to assemble as the trestle bridge.
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Michigan Railfan


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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2010, 05:25:56 PM »

Thank You, Mr. J.B.J. for all that info.  As I mentioned earlier I'm new to this.  I'm not even sure I'm replying correctly. I have two Mantura D&RG coaches, everything else is Bachmann. I never heard of "Shoty's", or "Bobbers". I also haven't attempted a "kit" yet. I mainly wanted a flat car to haul "boiler". Bachmann has one on a depressed 52' car. I thought it would look appropriate for my layout (Durango & Silverton" Colorado) If I can't find a boiler, perhaps I could make one out of PVC or similar material. I saw a 40' flat car from another mfg. but, from the photo, the quality doesn't look near as nice as the Bachmann product.

Are the Mantua coaches the so called "super heavywieght" cars?  If so, that title is very misleading. I have one coach and one of the old time cabooses.  He cars aren't very heavy at all.
Anyways, if you want a nice caboose, get the one from Mantua in the "super heavyweight" line. They match the coaches nicely. They should both be able to go around 15" curves too. 
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Cyber480

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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2010, 06:01:35 PM »

Thanks Blink_182_Fan, Yes, the description says "Super-Heavyweight". Maybe I'll just add a few overweight passengers, and a trunk full of bowling balls in the combine. I looked up the caboose you mentioned. It's the same length as the coaches. I guess I'll have to add a, cast iron, pot-belly stove for added weight in the caboose. Thanks, again.
P.S. - an "old-fogie" like me prefers Peter, Paul & Mary, or Chicago ... but these differences are what keeps the railroad running.
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jward


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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 06:10:32 PM »

for your era, 50 foot cars would be unheard of except for passenger cars. 40 foot cars would be extremely rare, and steel cars still in the future. small wooden cars like a 36' boxcar would be appropriate.

would they work on 15" radius curves? probably. would i recommend using them on 15" radius curves? definitely not. using 18" or 22" radius curves may take up more space but your equipment will operate much better on them, especially if you back the train up.

also keep in mind that 4% grades drastically reduce the number of cars you can pull. this would be especially true of the small lightweight steam locomotives from the turn of the century. i have 4% grades and 18" radius curves, and i doubt if even my heaviest diesel will pull 10 cars up the hill. 5 cars would be more typical.....
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Michigan Railfan


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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2010, 07:40:11 PM »

Cyber, just to clarify, this is the caboose I have:

http://store.modelpower.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1295

Its a pretty nice product, other than the misleading "super heavywieght" title.
And have you seen this?  Seems like something you could use, considering the time period:
http://store.modelpower.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1291
And while were on this topic, does anyone know if any manufacturer make a D&RG 4-4-0?  Just curious because I wanted to buy some more of those Mantua passenger cars, and I figured a 4-4-0 would be an ideal choice to pull them.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 08:03:22 PM by Blink_182_Fan » Logged
ABC
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 09:23:03 PM »

Model Power makes this 0-4-0 "Fat Boy" in Rio Grande:

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Michigan Railfan


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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 10:15:04 PM »

ABC, I was thinking of the 0-4-0 you pictured, but I want something a little more formal and powerful, and something that I actually knew existed. I had no clue there were 0-4-0's with tenders. I already have Model Power's other 0-4-0 without the tender, but I still think a 4-4-0 would be best.
After much searching, I could not find a 4-4-0 in D&RG, so is there any other railroad that may have pulled D&RG cars?  But, I also have a couple of backups.
I could always go with Bachmann's Prarie, or go with a more Back to the Future engine (a 4-6-0 if Im 
not mistaken), which would also be nice.
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ABC
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2010, 10:51:54 PM »

This one is made by Model Die-Casting (Roundhouse), it has DCC and sound and a DC sound controller, I've seen a MDC 4-4-0 run at my LHS and they are very smooth runners.
480-84505 D&RGW 4-4-0 STEAM LOCOMOTIVE WITH SOUND AND DCC INCLUDES HAND-HELD WIRELESS CONTROLLER FOR DC SOUND OPERATION RIO GRANDE D&RGW 400 -- 249.99 HO
But your not really the type of person that usually has $250 or the type that would invest in a $250 loco. Because about two decades ago I couldn't afford the equivalent (with inflation taken into account) of a $250 loco, I bought mostly more economic models as opposed to highly detailed good running models, but in retrospect I would have much more satisfaction and enjoyment had I bought just one really high quality loco as long as I didn't kill it.
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Cyber480

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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2010, 11:25:24 PM »

Thanks for the info, jward. I had no idea there would be so many responses. This is my first discussion board. Your right about the 50' lengths, and steel for this era. That was why I started asking about the Bachmann flat car length. As I had mentioned previously, my consist would only be the locomotive, tender, and two, or three cars, and possibly a caboose. All are wood styles. I had tried my Bachmann 2-8-0 with tender and four cars from a train set on my temporary layout forward and reverse before disassembling the track and starting the scenery construction. The train appeared tom operate properly, in all directions... but then again, this is my FIRST train. Too late to change layout as I already have 100lbs of hydrocal, 12 packs of risers and inclines, eight 2' X 4' sheets of Styrofoam, two Sunday morning newspapers, and 173 mini hot glue sticks.  Next layout I'll stay within the 18" to 22" curves. Thanks, again, Cyber. 
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