Con-cor vs Athern heavyweight pass cars


I'm assembling a train of Pennsy and Long Island heavyweight passenger cars from my e-bay finds. When coupling Athern heavyweights together with the Con-cor version of the same car its obvious that the scales are slightly off. The Con-cor is a nice model with good detail, but it sits low compared to the Athern and has a lower clerestory roof-line. It's enough of a difference I may not be able to run them together.

Has anybody else noticed this discrepancy, and which of the two gets the vote as being the more faithful to the prototype heavyweight?

I'm not a fan of either, honestly. Just run like with like and the difference won't be noticeable. I'd guess concor is more accurate to scale of I had to: Athearn tended more to use generic shells, trucks, etc and just decorate to the prototype. But both manufacturers varied quite a bit over time, so hard to say.
if we're talking about older Athearn BB and Con Cor passenger cars, they and the IHC cars were designed to go around 18" radius curves first and foremost. There are definitely concessions made to this capability versus scale accuracy. If you want to get them to couple together, switch to Kadees and use offset couplers or kadee washers under the truck bolsters to get things to where they belong. If we're talking about the newer Con Cor passenger cars like the MP-54's they are correct to scale and have great detailing. I would not mix them with older BB cars with 50 year old tooling (especially considering that motive power you bought! ;))
Ahhh, rats! I've been collecting randomly found Athern heavyweights in Pennsy and Long Island markings. Dumb newbie didn't do her homework, so now she has a train-full of wrong cars. Fortunately there is time to re-equip the roster with Con-cor cars. They are indeed nicely detailed, come pre-lighted and are available. I think they look nicer. Thanks for that analysis!

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Espeefan hit the nail on the head. I wanted to build a Northern Pacific North Coast Limited over many years and I finally ended up getting all of the cars from Walthers, which are very nice. Not only were there differences in the details, but the difference in color. I rode the North Coast Limited numerous times growing up, and noticed that there was a slight difference in the color of the cars due to the oxidation of the paint, but they weren't as far off as I have seen in the paint colors from different manufacturers. If you have the bucks, I would stay with a single manufacturer. I have never owned any Athearn BB passenger cars, but have seen many on layout and clubs I have visited and they can be detailed and tweaked as mentioned above so that they can run with any other brand of passenger cars. I did pick up one ConCor NP combine in the old NP evergreen paint scheme and was impressed with the detail. Nice cars.
Same problem with prr. Tuscan red did tend to oxidize rather badly and change color notably. But the spectrum (pun intended) of prr passenger colors out there is vast ranging from genuinely just brown, to a pale red so light I think they must have modeled it off a car sitting outside untended at a bad RR museum for 50 years.
AzDiane, you're selling yourself short here. You now have a series of passenger cars that you can now repaint and decal for the PRR and Long Island! And there should some variation in the paint on the cars and locos because of differing pigments over time. You also now have cars that if you decide to keep them, can be weathered and kitbashed into maintenance of way cars, cars for the wreck train and who knows what else.

If you want paint oxidation, try the Milwaukee Road's orange in the last bankruptcy. From the new orange paint on the Hiawatha scheme to the orange on GP9s that were still wearing their as-delivered paint...there was variation galore!
I cannot speak to the Pennsy or Long Island practices, but a number of allegedly separate railroads (but in reality connected by various legal means) might interchange equipment, resulting in mismatches in paint schemes and configurations. An exception might be on crack name-trains. Unless you are dead set on having everything match up exactly (and that can be a trap if the prototype didn't follow such practice), I'd run whatever until you can swap, trade or sell unwanted equipment.
Fellas this is all true but consider what she's doing: Assembling "the perfect train" as a birthday gift and she wants it just right. The Con Cor coaches are the way to go for this. The other equipment can be kept, fixed up detailed and so forth...later. ;)
Hopefully without giving away my surprise, I managed to have another conversation with my hubby about his recollections of the Long Island Railroad in his boyhood. Among stories of squishing pennies on the tracks and playing "dodgetrain" with his buddies, he did reiterate that the commuter trains were commonly of mixed consist of Pennsylvania and Long Island marked coaches. Later, the Tuscan colored coaches began to be supplemented by newer gray ones, and these were often mixed into the consist. His overall impression is that he watched the railroad slowly decline across years. More and more rust became evident, even to the child he was then.

There was a period when steam and diesels were apparently interchangeable, as he never knew in advance which type of locomotive would be pulling the train. During the pre-Christmas rush, when extra trains were put on, he commonly saw Pacifics and Consolodations pushed into commuter service to supplement the G-5s.

I am still torn, since replacing the heavyweights I already have with the Con-cor coaches will add another three bills to my cost, and I'm already over my intended budget. Still. Espeefan is right, I do want this train to be as perfect s it can be. It will be mixed consist of Pennsy and LI, and will have varied weathering on the cars, some looking a bit rattier than others.

Let me do a bit of homework, but I think at this point that I must bite the bullet and go with the expensive Con-cor coaches. The other cars won't be wasted, they'll end up somewhere, painted some way.

Don't sweat the small stuff Diane! He'll be thrilled with what you've done. I certainly would. Go with what you've got. He'll have as much fun running and tinkering with it as he did getting it if I know my typical model railroader!
I'm in Alan's camp on this one!
Furthermore, HIS eyes will be so "glazed" on that locomotive that he may not see what is behind it!
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Ditto. It's like if you were going to dress up in something slinky and seduce him by candlelight for his birthday: He's not gonna walk in and say "Oh, I'd have really preferred Bayberry-scented candles..."
Well, I absolutely am going to walk in in something slinky and seduce him. Indeed.

I guess it's my pilot's habit to "have an alternate." I just really felt the need to go with both options at once given how short the time is until his birthday. So I threw all caution and any hope of a budget out the window, and ordered two two-car sets of Long Island coaches from Con-cor directly. I have one other similar coach, and a baggage/RPO. I confess I solved my problem by throwing money at it, and that's a bad habit I'll have to cut out one of these days real soon.

Someday we'll get an early Long Island diesel to put at the head end of the other cars and then my grew-up-on-the-LIRR hubby can run two Long Island trains.

As an aside, after doing it with adult supervision several times, beginning at age seven he began riding round-trips alone on the LIRR from Kings Park (on the Port Jefferson branch) in to Jamaica Station, and then taking two different subway trains to get to Jackson Heights in Queens. And then doing it in the other direction. Can you imagine letting a seven year old do that in today's world???

Kids had a lot more independence back in the day. I understand why it changed, but still regret the necessity.

As to the rest... throwing money at the problem is often actually a pretty good option, if you have the money.
I wasn't suggesting that AzDiane settle for less than perfect cars, only that the ones she has acquired that aren't perfect may still have a use. If worse comes to worse, sell the less than perfect cars and put the money towards perfect cars.
After reading this review at and several other positive reviews, I'm really glad I made the decision to go with the Con-cors. I'll find a use for the other cars. Good suggestions, photoman475, thanks.

Yeah paint fades in many many different hues. These cars would have been repainted about ten years before my hubby knew them, and that would have allowed for a lot of fading. Hubby recalls that when the LIRR got loaners of Pennsy P-54 cars they tended to be newer and nicer than the LIRR ones.

He also recalled that there were no "vestibules" or what we would call diaphragms between the cars on the Long Island in his time. There were only chain barriers that could provide a sort of handhold.

Several days ago I oh so casually brought up in conversation about his boyhood memories of the Long Island Rail Road. I wanted to eke out some information without giving away the secret that I'm putting together an HO Long Island commuter train for him for his birthday. And ever since I got him started, he's just been off on this incredible memory kick about the trains and other incidents of those long ago days. He caught his own memory lapsing on the LIRR diesels of the period. He had thought then and continued to believe until today that they were EMD E or F models. But his internet research this morning shows them to have been in fact the fairly similar-looking Fairbanks-Morse CPA-20-5 so called "C-Liners," with 5-axles. He remembers them in the "Tichy" scheme, and saw the orange-nose scheme come in just before he moved from Long Island to Arizona. (Then his interest became SP trains, but that's another story.)

Anyway, back to the Con-cor cars, the one coach and one baggage that I already have are simply magnificent models by the standards of plastic stuff we've been used to. Sez me. I'm really grateful you guys got me onto the research. Yeah, lots of trains can be just OK and still be fun, but this consist is a special one for a special guy, and getting it right matters to me. Thanks for the help, keep it coming.

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