Cars - Rolling stock

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Aerojet

Active Member
Curious how do you evaluate and buy your freight cars? Time period? Road name? Undecorated and you do the rest with your own paint scheme and decals? Or local freight seen in the area?

Okay I am a total foamer. I chase trains every weekend, and by now have over 4000 frames stored on both this box and several thumb drives. So for me when it came time to buy cars I have a real problem. Back in the 70's - 80's when I had stock in the Milwaukee Road and Western Pacific a lot of my cars reflected my investing trends. Still have quite a few WP cars on the pike, although it is now apart of the UP ... Milwaukee went down to the Soo, then the CP.

So following that, I have cars from all four someplace on the pike. Also the feeder roads, NP, CNW, CB&Q, GN, CP, CN. and others which go by here weekly.

Visable loads are another thing. A box car, covered hopper, reefer, or tank can be loaded or empty. You can't tell. But loads on open cars are another matter. Do you loads reflect what you see on the rails, or your time period, or pike's purpose? Or do you just stuff anything on the rails for fun?

Normally I get either make loads or buy loads which reflect what I see on the rails. Lumber on the big center spine cars, cement cans, pipes, always pipes, containers, both on well cars and flat cars, and of course auto racks. You have seen some of my auto racks, they are the 50's style with open decks and no roof. Besides they are 50 foot cars and go around 18 inch curves with no problem. You have seen me post out the 70 foot lumber wagon going around a tight curve into a tunnel.

I do have fun cars -- like a early 80's "missile" launcher on a flat car, that hardly ever gets rail time, but it does get off the shelf for a few days just for fun. My old Walthers craft cars like the Executive get out once in awhile along with the Oscar and Piker and their accompanying Hustler painted in Amtrash colors.

With over 40 years of building and rebuilding cars, collecting the things for road names and loads there are a good 54 cars around here which can go on and off the rails as needed.

As I said in an earlier post, one needs to keep the pike fresh. It gets boring watching the same handful of cars going around, getting switched and back out on the line. Cars should come on the rail, get worked, make a few days of trips, go thru the yards, then then go away. Just as they do in the prototype. Having a large fleet of cars allows that.

In time the same cars return to the pike and are worked again, while others take a long vacation either in the display case, or on the shelf until they are needed again. ALL MY CARS have KaDee couplers and metal trucks and all will run. I have no siding queens which cannot run on the pike. The static tracks are just another way or displaying cars, like the work train, until it is needed again. If you make your static tracks look right, it almost looks like they are sitting on a siding awaiting the call to the road...

Your opinions and ideas?

The Aerojet
 
Truth be told, I suppose I'm all over the map with this. Basically, I collect locomotives for railroads that run, or have run in the past, in western Pennsylvania. So I started to add freight cars for those railroads as well. But, I have been known to weaken and acquire others that simply caught my eye. For instance, Canadian grain cars, passenger cars on tourist lines I've visited, etc. Oh well, the same disease has caused me to purchase locomotives simply because I like them. I try hard to stick with my western Pennsylvania theme, but I don't seem to have a lot of will power.
Tom
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I model the south western railroads, UP, BNSF, Santa Fe but the freight cars that they haul can be from any railroad. The industries that the freight cars serve are any of the hundreds that you will find in this country that are served by rail. Now considering that my railroad is a compressed division on an entire railroad, all the track will not be represented, thus, all the industries will not be represented either. When I dispatch a local freight to shuffle loads and empties into freight sidings, that train will have freight cars in it that aren't dropped off anywhere because that's representing the "not represented" industries on the empire. That way, you can run a 30 car train but only be delivering 15 cars to the assorted industries that are represented with each train. An ops session will be set up that way so each train crew will be serving just 3 or 4 industries. An operation like that will take upwards of 45 minutes to an hour for each train crew to complete their total train assignment.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Curious how do you evaluate and buy your freight cars? Time period? Road name? Undecorated and you do the rest with your own paint scheme and decals? Or local freight seen in the area?
Price. When I find a good deal I stock up. Example. Years ago Proto-2000 dumped all their kits on Train World in NY. Train World in turn ran a clearance sale on them for $2.50 and $2.99 a car. I bought them by the case. Few years later at a swap meet the 8000 and 10000 gallon tanks were at a booth for $5 each. I bought a lot. Thought about it went back and bought more. Later I kicked myself for not buying them all.
 
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dave1905

Well-Known Member
To start off with I have it easy in selecting cars since the major manufacturers don't produce any cars for my era (1900-1905). But I can find craftsman kits and older out of production kits. I select them based on :

1. Era.
2. Need.

First off the cars have to be appropriate (or be able to be modified or kitbashed to be appropriate) to the 1900-1905 era. Then I have to need the cars. fir example I really don't need any reefers, and maybe need some boxcars. I really need gons/hopper bottom gons for iron/steel products, stone and coal. Unfortunately none of those cars appropriate for my era have ever been produced in HO scale in plastic (even though coal was the number 1 commodity by tonnage for the era). So I will be scratchbuilding 15-20 P&R class HPa, 15-20 P&R class HKa and maybe a dozen PRR class GD cars.

From commercial products I will be buying a few Westerfield PRR GG hoppers, a few O&W car shop hopper bottom gons as stand ins for P&R HSa gons and some Amesville Shops PRR GB gons.
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
I originally thought about which road I wanted to model and specifically purchased engines to fit my road and era. Mostly stuck with it and have 80+ ATSF engines. When I chose to add an interchange with another road, I chose Frisco (SLSF) and purchased one engine and one caboose to fit my needs.
As Ken posted, any freight car from any road can appear in a freight train. I predominantly purchased ATSF cars, especially 3-bay covered hoppers for grain. I also saw a chart somewhere that listed the other roads that Santa Fe primarily interchanged with, and I observed a lot of trains to determine which other roads to purchase. For me and the era that I model, BN, UP, SP, KCS, SLSF, and SSW predominate. I do have a handful of eastern roads because I either liked the way they looked or were too good to pass up.
Price has always been a factor for me. I can't see paying the price for an ExactRail or Tangent car when you can't tell the difference from three feet away in a moving train. I have several hundred Athearn blue box cars in my collection of 800+, followed in number by Accurail. I do have some Intermountain and Atlas cars that approached my self-imposed limit of $30, many of those were possible because my LHS was a discounter and everything he sold was 20% off MSRP.
About 100 cars reside on an off-layout storage shelf and are rotated in when I get the bug.

Willie
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I guess I am with Willie and Ken as I model the transition era, 1957 to be exact. I make sure that all of my equipment, locomotives and rolling stock are period correct.

I started building my layout over 25 years ago, deciding to freelance. While laying track, I bought a number of Athearn undecorated freight cars which I custom painted for my freelance railroad as well as locomotives. I know the the old Athearn blue box cars aren't as highly detailed as some of the more modern offerings we have today, but I did lightly weather everything and it works just fine for me. Here are a few examples. I also have an assortment of freight cars for quite a number of different railroads that would have been around during that era.

IMAG0265.jpg IMAG0264.jpg

IMAG0268.jpg IMAG0262.jpg

I have over the years I have picked up a few more modern cars from Kadee and other manufacturers, but I am happy with what I have and the only person I have to please is myself.
 
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tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Chet, I don't know if you noticed on that Turbine vid I posted, but virtually all (if not all) of the cars on that train were early Blue Box, lightly weathered, by the same method you use.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I had a hunch that they were. I have no problem with the blue box kits at all. After installing Kadee Couplers and metal wheels or even Kadee sprung trucks they look just fine. Don't know if you saw this video I posted, but this train has all sort of cars on it from Athearn, Walthers, Con Cor, Kadee, Intermountain and other manufacturers. I can live with them.

[video=youtube;lwJkrHUFmlY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwJkrHUFmlY&t=20s[/video]
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yes, I have watched that vid before, love scenes of trains passing between buildings, probably because that's how I get to see the real ones around here. I do have mostly the high detail rolling stock and I must admit while they're running close at hand, get down level with them to admire them, but at anything over a few feet away, or as the run around the club layout, it's not important, or in the case of club running, desirable, 'cause if some part falls off, finding it at the next visit is not good. Probably gone up the vacuum nozzle.
 

tomstockton

Tom Stockton
I don't have a layout at this time (plans to build one but I just never seem to get there :( ) But that hasn't stopped me from acquiring motive power, rolling stock, etc. While I've made some minor efforts in obtaining rolling stock of the era and railroad I plan to model, I've pretty well picked up whatever has caught my eye (or my wallet). And WHEN I do get a layout, I will run whatever I want whenever I want. My railroad, my rules. And so it goes...

:)

Regards,
Tom Stockton
 

ScottoT

Member
I'm modeling a very recent era and distinct type of prototype cars and locomotives that run through my hometown area in Michigan, so I'm pretty particular with what rolling stock I pick up and use. My layout will feature lots of 89' autoracks and such to simulate the late 1990's- early 2000's in the industrial and down trodden Michigan area.
 

Aerojet

Active Member
In planning the new sub, I am now buying buildings which reflect the cars that I have. For example, I have four stock cars, so there will be a stock pen and a meat packing plant. Another one - a flour mill, and a bakery with silos for the flour on the next track -- I am making a "team track" for my industrial spur - that way I can spot cars and leave them while working the other side.

One of these days I will go out to Brownberry to change locks again and I will take my camera along to shoot the cars being unloaded at the silo in the back along the CP. If you have ever seen up close the "air slide" cars being worked it is impressive how that process gets flour from the car on the siding into the silo to be baked into bread ... Sorry, no pic inside the plant.

Unlike the Woodland Scenics building kit, I need to get each individual building on it's own. So I am getting the stuff which we "ship" and show a loading and unloading process, as much as the pike will allow.

The clean out process is going well, and late this week 1-800-junk truck will pick up the remaining stuff I don't stuff out in the trash. Then paint the back wall for a back drop, head over to Home Depot for lumber and the process starts. Watch for it in about 2 weeks.

The Aerojet
 

riogrande

Active Member
Curious how do you evaluate and buy your freight cars? Time period? Road name? Undecorated and you do the rest with your own paint scheme and decals? Or local freight seen in the area?
As someone else said, "I'm all over the map" but I can be because the RR I model was a bridge route - the D&RGW, between Denver Co and SLC Utah. Time period focus is about 1975-1985, or the last 10 years of caboose era. You see, as much as I enjoy watching real trains, for the first 25-30 years of my life, trains had cabooses.

At one time when I was following D&RGW through the bloody end, I had more freight cars good through the early 1990's but I have since sold off most of those save for a few intermodal cars that would be hard to replace. Since my focus now is on 1975-1985, there were a lot of MILW, NP, GN, WP, SP, UP and MP cars on the railroad along with a mix of PC, NYC, Conrail, and various mid-western and eastern roads.

I work long hours and don't time or a proper paint booth set up so I don't paint much - I have to rely on good weather with little wind to do what little painting I can.

Okay I am a total foamer. I chase trains every weekend, and by now have over 4000 frames stored on both this box and several thumb drives. So for me when it came time to buy cars I have a real problem. Back in the 70's - 80's when I had stock in the Milwaukee Road and Western Pacific a lot of my cars reflected my investing trends. Still have quite a few WP cars on the pike, although it is now apart of the UP ... Milwaukee went down to the Soo, then the CP.

So following that, I have cars from all four someplace on the pike. Also the feeder roads, NP, CNW, CB&Q, GN, CP, CN. and others which go by here weekly.

Visable loads are another thing. A box car, covered hopper, reefer, or tank can be loaded or empty. You can't tell. But loads on open cars are another matter. Do you loads reflect what you see on the rails, or your time period, or pike's purpose? Or do you just stuff anything on the rails for fun?

Normally I get either make loads or buy loads which reflect what I see on the rails. Lumber on the big center spine cars, cement cans, pipes, always pipes, containers, both on well cars and flat cars, and of course auto racks. You have seen some of my auto racks, they are the 50's style with open decks and no roof. Besides they are 50 foot cars and go around 18 inch curves with no problem. You have seen me post out the 70 foot lumber wagon going around a tight curve into a tunnel.
I have been working on loads in the past year or two; D&RGW handled a lot of lumber out of the Pacific Northwest so I treasure hunted a bunch of Athearn RTR lumber loads for the 60' cars before the greedy jerks on Ebay started pricing lumber-loaded cars at 2x MRSP - I managed to get quite a few before that point so those overpriced cars can rot. I've found some other sources of loads I've been working on getting other lumber loads for variety and some nice scrap metal loads from an outfit here in Virginia - he makes really nice scrap metal loads, coal loads and crushed rock loads.

As I said in an earlier post, one needs to keep the pike fresh. It gets boring watching the same handful of cars going around, getting switched and back out on the line. Cars should come on the rail, get worked, make a few days of trips, go thru the yards, then then go away. Just as they do in the prototype. Having a large fleet of cars allows that.
Even though my current layout is a small 10x18', I built in 11 tracks for staging underneath the main yard so I can store entire trains underneath to get some variety and many of my train out of the box.

ALL MY CARS have KaDee couplers and metal trucks and all will run. I have no siding queens which cannot run on the pike. The static tracks are just another way or displaying cars, like the work train, until it is needed again. If you make your static tracks look right, it almost looks like they are sitting on a siding awaiting the call to the road...

Your opinions and ideas?

The Aerojet
My yard has "static tracks" but I'm trying to give them a purpose so I can do some switching. Takes time. While I've replaced a large percentage of my older cars with newer, more accurate cars, I'm finding a lot of the RTR cars I bought a few years back, such as RTR Walthers, have plastic wheels and couplers so I have my work cut out to get those replaced. I got quite a few 33" wheels but need some 36" wheels for many of the tank cars and coal cars.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I've found some other sources of loads I've been working on getting other lumber loads for variety and some nice scrap metal loads from an outfit here in Virginia - he makes really nice scrap metal loads, coal loads and crushed rock loads.
Name etc of maker please.
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
I have bought RC car suspension parts in the sale bin at Hobbytown, they are great for modeling large steel castings for gondola loads.
 

riogrande

Active Member
I assembled the RS Laserkits lumber stacks over the weekend - just the loads assembled so far but you get the idea:

20161115_204429_zpsp0uqqubm.jpg


20161115_204538_zpsvu6ywq1o.png


20161115_204615_zpsyurpsmfe.jpg


Each kit comes with three laser-cut sheets allowing you to assemble 6 stacks each of 8', 12' and 16' lumber; the kit is labeled as having 9 stacks total, so maybe each stack is supposed to be two deep. What you see in the above photo's is two kit's worth.

Below are the individual stacks from left to right, 12', 8' and 16'

20161115_204727_zpsyyjw6a9t.jpg


20161115_204737_zpscsxzjvhr.png


I think they look decent. Each kit was $12.79, so about $25 total for the unfinished load staged on the flat car.
 




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