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Author Topic: Passenger Car Trends  (Read 10670 times)
Yampa Bob

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« on: June 02, 2008, 12:53:50 AM »

As many of you know, my passenger car roster consists of smaller vintage models, by preference because I like them and by necessity due to my small layout and vintage locomotives.

After several days of searching availability from 26 manufacturers and every source I could find on Google, it seems the only passenger cars being made are in the 72' to 86' sizes.  Many of these are backordered, discontinued, call, temporarily out of production, don't hold your breath, etc.

Is there that large a demand for these longer cars?  Freight cars abound, in every style, size and era.  What happened to the medium size passenger cars for earlier eras? 
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 03:02:22 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Guilford Guy


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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2008, 01:23:14 AM »

I vote Bachmann produces the B&M 66ft Commuter coaches!
They were used for over 50 years, and MANY have been preserved. Steamtown has several, Strasburg has a bunch, and various shortlines have them, not to mention museums. They could easily be painted into other roads, such as DRGW, UP, ATSF, etc, and not look out of place.
Both combines, and coaches were built.
http://www.thebluecomet.com/bmcoach_mech.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/strau/bm-co96afs.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/strau/stra-co62afs.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/strau/stra-coa-ava.jpg
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Alex

Yampa Bob

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008, 02:02:33 AM »

Nice pictures, any of those could also be easily shortened as needed.

If my research is accurate, around 1942 some coaches were built with round roofs and ventilators mostly for troop transport.  Perhaps Rio Grande obtained some of these for use in short run mixed freight and passenger service, notably the Yampa Valley Mail and other postal runs. I've given up trying to find a 50' RPO, but a 66' combine could be easily modified.


I would like to see Bachmann produce something similar to this, in popular road numbers and colors.  Painting cars is not my cup of tea.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 03:52:12 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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fieromike


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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2008, 05:48:57 AM »

Kinda (koff, koff) pricey, but Wheels Of Time's Harriman coaches appear to be shorter than the 'standard' heavyweights.
http://www.wheelsotime.com/
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Atlantic Central

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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 08:13:22 AM »

Bob,

I understand and agree with your interest in shorter passenger cars. The car you picture is a "Harriman" car, built by/for the IC, SP, and UP in the early age of steel cars, teens, twenties.

While they where used extensivily for troop transport, they where not built for that purpose. And yes, they where shorter than the usual 80' length of many other cars.

I fear you are generalizing about passenger car lengths. While Pullman sleepers, diners, and observation cars where typically 80' and longer, many coaches, RPO's, baggage cars and others where built in various lengths from 60' to 86'. Example - the heavy weight coach and combine by Bachmann is not as long as the other cars - because the prototype was not as long - about 78' if I recall.

Roundhouse did produce both the Harriman style cars and other shorter wood cars from before/at the turn of the century. Athearn has reissued some of these and more are sure to be on the way.

Now about Athearn - you seem to do a little Athearn bashing from time to time, mostly based on the topic of availablity. As someone who has been in the hobby and the indusrty for a long time (since 1966+/-) let me give you some historical perspective.

First, none of this is intended to bash Bachmann, they make great stuff now and I buy lots of it. But I also have and buy lots of Athearn and will continue to.

Athearn has a product line that is 20 times larger than Bachmann, and was of as high or higher quality than present Bachmann products before Bachmann ever made an HO loco or car.

The large range of the Athearn line and the limited demand for each seperate item, even in todays expanded market, requires that Athearn use a batch production method. There is not enough demand for every item to be in constant production all the time and todays monitary climate does not allow stock piling inventory like in years past.

While Athearn may not have a large percentage of their product "on hand" at the Horizon warehouse, the fact remains that there is lots of Athearn product out there on the shelves of dealers and any good shopper can find most of it with a few internet searches and a few phone calls - even if the item hasn't been made in a few years, or even 5-10.

Athearn is not alone here, Bachmann does the same thing, it is just easier for a company with a smaller line to keep most items available - AND - what about all the items that Bachmann and other have made for a few years then discontinued? Athearn never used that word until recently - there was always the "promise" that more would be made in the future.

Back to passenger cars. The Athearn cars are freelanced and selectively compressed to 72' for better operation and better looks on small layouts. I use them even with my large curves for this very reason. They will run well on 18" radius and look good on anything in the 24" and above range.

If you look closely at photos of the prototype, you see how little overhang even 80' cars produce on most curves. For these reason I feel 80' cars don't look good until curves reach the extremely large radius of 48" or greater.

Find a Walthers catalog from about 8-10 years ago and turn to the Roundhouse section under passenger cars. You will find hundreds of items, 34', 50', and 60' long - different roofs, roadnames, car types, etc.

Many of these can still be found on dealer shelves all over this country. And, I am sure Athearn is working on plans to reissue more of them as time goes on.

Sheldon

PS - finally got a break in the work load and will get a drawing off to you soon.
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Paul M.

T&P Railway in the 1950s


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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2008, 11:34:43 AM »

MDC has some RTR 50' and 36' Harrimans.
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 12:02:04 PM »

The MDC Harrimans were easy to splice if you wanted longer ones. I had a short train - three cars and an express reefer that I pulled behind an International Wabash mogul. (I know, the mogul was a freight engine but it went well with the MDC cars)

The MDC cars had rather large windows. They were short on detail and, if you were into adding detail, there was little cast on detail to remove. I remember sanding huge rivets off the roof casting. I had CV trucks mounted and I always coupled my passeneger  cars close together using either dummy couplers or drawbars. I always ran the train as a unit.

Today's modeller would probably expect more for their money.

Incidentally, I loved the MDC express reefer. At the club where I belonged we ran an express train of express cars and passenger head end equipment. I remember seeing long trains of Railway Express express cars being switched into their facility near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 12:11:26 PM »

Labelle still produces wooden passenger car kits similiar to the B&M cars, 58 + 60 footers. the kits are about $30+ but good lookers
http://www.labellemodels.com/dhop.htm#top
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SteamGene

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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2008, 12:13:07 PM »

Woody. it's my understanding that despite the single axle pony truck, both the Mogul and the Prairie were dual service locos.
Gene
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Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2008, 12:34:25 PM »

Sheldon
No hurry on the drawing, I'm behind in my ranch work anyway.  We got a late start due to heavier snows this year.

I understand there is not much demand for smaller cars at the present. I don't mind waiting a few weeks for an item.  However I had one set on backorder for almost a year, and finally cancelled the order. 

I forgot to mention that I have acquired most of the vintage cars I need by searching out small shops around the country.  One small store had about 100 old MDC kits gathering dust and the dealer was happy to be rid of most of them.  The original price tags were still on the box, as low as $1.98. I also found some 50' Overlands that look nice on my small layout.

Overall, I am quite content with my roster, but always looking for "bashables".
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 12:49:00 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2008, 01:35:30 PM »

My July MR arrived today and there is a nice article about a short SP train - a Ge70 tonner and two Harriman cars. It says that one car was MDC and the other was Model Power.

Thinking back at my years in HO, I remember someone using Athearn round roof heavyweight coaches as the basis for Harriman cars. At 72 feet they were a good compromise as long as you don't start counting windows and rivets. The Athearn shorty heavyweights were the standard until AHM brought out there line of full length cars. My first AHM heavyweight was a PRR baggage/RPO - it was very nice; a generation past the Athearn detailing.

The Harrimans were used on a good number of lines - IC had a bunch as well as SP and UP, so there are lots of variations. The Sp had 85 foot long Harriman commuter coaches.
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2008, 01:54:21 PM »

I just went into Ebay to look for Harriman cars. There are several up for auction if you enter "MDC" in your search. Even if you are not interested, take alook at the pictures and see for yourself the few parts that came with the kits.
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Pacific Northern


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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2008, 02:25:19 PM »

I have purchased a few of the 60' riverossi coach sets off e-bay.

There is one currently listed.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=150252625049&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=005

These coach sets are ideal for the smaller layouts.  The coaches come with detailed interiors, metal wheels and kaydee style couplers.

The coaches track well right out of the box. With smaller engines they go through an Atlas #4 switch with no problems.

You can also find the coaches packaged as Trainline in the Walthers train sets.

http://walthers.com/exec/productinfo/931-46

« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 02:54:11 PM by Pacific Northern » Logged

Pacific Northern
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2008, 03:01:33 PM »

Another note about Athearn and MDC passenger cars:

Woody commented that the AHM (Rivarossi) cars are more detailed than the Athearn cars - well admittedly, as I said before, the Athearn cars are freelanced, but the body detail of the Athearn cars is just as good as the AHM cars. The AHM cars do have better/more underbody detail, but the Athearn cars can be easily super detailed in that area, without having to first remove a bunch of molded on stuff.

Same is true of the MDC cars, they are great freelance starting points for well detailed kitbashing and super detailing.

Sheldon
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2008, 03:30:16 PM »

The kits I purchased were definitely "shake the box" models, which suited me just fine.  I don't really enjoy spending much time building intricate kits, nor do I have the visual capacity and patience to do so at my age.

I am fully aware of the production problems companies are facing these days, but I have to be honest and say I am not sympathetic about their problems.  I have money to spend so if they can't produce it's their loss not mine. Since I retired I have become totally consumer oriented, not to mention extremely independent.

To paraphrase a commercial: "It's my money and I want it (the product) now." 

Thanks for the links, I will check them out.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 11:33:50 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
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