Prospector Train Set - Scale and Proportioning?

Started by jeffreydb, March 08, 2007, 11:14:40 PM

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Hello - I need some advice. My father is a big Virginia and Truckee fan, and he owns one of the Prospector sets lettered for V&T. I've gotten together material to build one of V&T's wooden water tank cars to go with my Dad's train set - birthday gift most likely. Before I get started I need to clarify a couple of things...

First, am I correct that the Prospector set is 1:20.3 scale?

Finally, it seems that Bachman tweaked the proportions of the Prospector cars to make them more compact and better able to manage curves, similar to Lionel. The passenger cars look like they're supposed to be 50ft Overtons, but they seem to be about 35 scale feet long. Does anyone know if there are some proportioning factors I can apply to the length, width and height of my tank car, so that it doesn't look freakish next to Dad's passenger cars?

Thanks, in advance, for any help anyone can give me.


The set itself is more along the lines of 1:22.5, but will fit just fine with 1:20.3 stock.

Boulder Creek and Western Railroad (G scale 1:20.3)

Jon D. Miller

As stated, the Big Hauler sets are nominally 1:22.5.  The passenger coaches are selectively compressed version of Jackson & Sharp equipment.

While you can run the 1:22.5 equipment with 1:20.5 it will look a little odd. The tank car will come the closest to "fitting in" with 1:20.5.  Height and length would look OK to most folks.  It's the width that will call attention to the smaller cars.

You can see the difference in car width.  The car on left is the Bachmann 1:20.3 box car. Car in the middle is a Bachmann 1:22.5 box car.  Car on the right is an Aristo-Craft 1:29 scale that is supposed to represent standard gauge.

You could build or purchase a 1:20.3 flat car and mount the Bachmann 1;22.5 tank on the car.  That would give a 1:20.3 car that would "fit" better with the larger properly scaled 1:20.3 narrow gauge equipment.

I went back and looked at your post again.  Since the V&T coaches are 1:22.5 then a tank car built to 1:22.5 will fit right in with the scale of the rest of the set.  Either custom build the tank car or purchase a Bachmann Big Hauler tank car and you'll be in business with equipment that scale matches.

Poster Child (unofficial & uncompensated)


Here's a recent forum posting from the MyLargeScale site on a scratch tank car -

President of


Slightly aside from your original question:

In addition to the correct information above, consider that the V&T was a standard gauge railroad. Using 45mm gauge track would require that the rolling stock be 1:32 scale to accurately represent the V&T.

Your fathers Prospector set is nominally 1:22.5 scale and as the pix show, a 1:20.3 scale car would be out of proportion (~11%) compared to the other cars. As you suggested, Bachmann used 'selective compression' in making the Big Hauler models, so they are actually somewhat smaller than 1:22.5 in some dimensions. Folks who claim the various scales 'go together' have not looked at enough prototype trains to see and understand scale and size differences.

Another accurate scale / gauge combination for standard gauge is 1:20.3 scale rolling stock running on 70.6mm gauge track. That would accurately represent the V&T.

Hope this helps.

Happy RRing,

Jerry Bowers
Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources

Maine 2 Foot

Can someone please tell me the measurements ( in inches or milimeters )  of the Big Hauler Boxcars? Width, length and height from top of roofwalk to bottom of frame on the ends. Thanks...


PS: I need the numbers for the Bachmann 93000 series type, not the smaller 95000 series. You can see the difference in the products section of this web site....

Loco Bill Canelos


Height is 5&1/2 inches from rail to top of roofwalk, 4&3/8 inch from the top of the roofwalk to the bottom of the frame, Width Eave to Eave is 4&3/8 inch and the length is 15&3/4 inches not including the couplers.  Hope it helps!
Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!