Looking for help with freight cars

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Veristek

New Member
Hi all,

I'm looking for some help with expanding my freight rolling stock in N scale. I've spent nearly two decades building a collection of KATO models since I was in high school. I've collected passenger rolling stock (Amtrak, Eurostar, Nozomi 500, Orient Express, Morning Daylight), a bunch of KATO locomotives (Union Pacific and BNSF), and some KATO Maxi-I's and BNSF Bethgon Coalporters. However, KATO doesn't have much else in terms of freight rolling stock.

I'm looking at building up several types of freight, but am not sure which manufacturer to get them from. I'd like to ask around here and hear your opinions. I'm going to list what I'm looking for.

1) I've been struggling to find at least a couple more 8-car BNSF Mineral Red Bethgon coalporters from kATO. It seems like every store online is sold out of these. The new ones up on KATO doesn't match the paint scheme on the ones I have. The ones I have have a nice red / brown wraparound paint on one end of each car, while the new KATO release is nearly all silver with no wraparound paint on the car ends.

2) I'm trying to look at a tractor trailer freight haul. Meaning, flatbed train cars with tractor trailers on top. I'm not sure what these specific cars with tractor trailer load are called. I've seen Youtube videos of real life trains hauling flatbed cars with 2 tractor trailers on each. I think a 85' flatbed with 2x 40' tractor trailers on them.

Where can I get my hands on some? Atlas? MicroTrains? Another manufacturer?

3) I traveled on Amtrak's Empire Builder train several times, and I saw long BNSF train consists of these brown hopper cars that haul grain from the Midwest. What are the proper classification for these hoppers?

What are good manufacturers for these kinds of hoppers? Preferably BNSF Midwest grain hoppers?

4) What are good tanker cars to model BNSF, Union Pacific, and West / Northwest / northern Midwest regions of the US? Again, what would be good manufacturers for these?

I know this is a lot to read. I'm trying to get a good idea of what modern era freight to model alongside my existing passenger collection, and I figured you guys would be a good source of information and advice. Thanks in advance for any and all help with this.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Hi all,



2) I'm trying to look at a tractor trailer freight haul. Meaning, flatbed train cars with tractor trailers on top. I'm not sure what these specific cars with tractor trailer load are called. I've seen Youtube videos of real life trains hauling flatbed cars with 2 tractor trailers on each. I think a 85' flatbed with 2x 40' tractor trailers on them.

4) What are good tanker cars to model BNSF, Union Pacific, and West / Northwest / northern Midwest regions of the US? Again, what would be good manufacturers for these?
TOFC , Trailer on Flat Car. Both Atlas and Micro-Trains have been around a long time in N scale. Looks like Athearn makes some as well . 89' 4" is kind of standard.

Tankers , I would start with GATX and UTLX (Both are Rent-A-Tank Car) You see them everywhere , They also rent hoppers .

Generally , if your building a model railroad its a good idea to figure out what the industries are going to be , and then buy the equipment to fit the industry.
 

Veristek

New Member
I'm looking to model the Empire Builder route, with a bit of fantasy here and there. I've traveled between Chicago and Seattle by Amtrak numerous times, and I've seen BNSF tanker consists, intermodal consists, and the brown hopper consists. I've also seen coal hoppers. I'm also looking on incorporating Union Pacific in the route. Basically a mix of the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) and the Empire Builder (the aforementioned BNSF freights). Mines, farmland, and urban cargo yards would be my industries in this layout.

The tractor trailer consist I'm looking for is similar to the one shown in this video. I remember seeing a couple other consists with tractor trailers on flatbed carriages.


Mixed Grain + Tanker train consist.


I'm looking to run 30 - 50 car consists, and possibly more, so couplers and wheel trucks need to support that many cars without snapping, decoupling, or derailing. That is my primary criteria. Which company would fit the bill? Atlas? Microtrains? Red Mountain? Other? Since KATO doesn't manufacture those kinds of freight cars.
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
I cannot offer too much advice on N scale since I do HO scale. Microtrains couplers might be your best choice since they are an offshoot of the very successful Kadee line of couplers in HO scale. I have never seen any models of the "Trailer-Train" equipment offered in N scale. That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, I just have never seen it.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
I'm looking to model the Empire Builder route, with a bit of fantasy here and there. I've traveled between Chicago and Seattle by Amtrak numerous times, and I've seen BNSF tanker consists, intermodal consists, and the brown hopper consists. I've also seen coal hoppers. I'm also looking on incorporating Union Pacific in the route. Basically a mix of the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) and the Empire Builder (the aforementioned BNSF freights). Mines, farmland, and urban cargo yards would be my industries in this layout.

The tractor trailer consist I'm looking for is similar to the one shown in this video. I remember seeing a couple other consists with tractor trailers on flatbed carriages.



Mixed Grain + Tanker train consist.
No . Chem train Tankers and plastic pellets , MLLX -Montell USA corp (plastic packaging) , WLPX West Lake Polymers,ACFX ACF (rent-A-Hopper). Looks like 4 bay ACFs(American Car and Foundry ) ,They're headed to/from the refineries , WPLX is in Sulfur , LA , Polyethylene (plastic soda pop bottles, garbage bags ) . Might even be recycled (reground no 1 , no 2 plastic) PE. In other words it could be a "garbage train" but quality garbage , garbage you can re-use to make new garbage . Definitely not grain.


I'm looking to run 30 - 50 car consists, and possibly more, so couplers and wheel trucks need to support that many cars without snapping, decoupling, or derailing. That is my primary criteria. Which company would fit the bill? Atlas? Microtrains? Red Mountain? Other? Since KATO doesn't manufacture those kinds of freight cars.
As far as derailing , uncoupling , ect . a lot of that depends on the layout , track work , min radius , grade changes, the longer the train and sharper the radius steeper the grade the more stress in the train ,not mention whats pulling the train. There is a lot of variables, Wheels and couplers can be changed ,In HO we wouldn't hesitate to chuck the couplers and replace with something different if needed.


Chances are you'll have to buy from multiple manufacturers to get exactly what you want.

The quality also tends to vary partly due to the import nature of the business , You cant really count on a brand meaning that much, for example the HO scale Atlas RS3 "yellow box ", The only thing Altas about it was the name on the box , it was made by KATO ,same with their N Scale RS3 , the latest runs are Chinese made. I have a HO Stewart U25B : Stewart U25B shell , metal frame , KATO motor and trucks .


Micro Trains does or did make a DOT 111 tank car in BNSF and UTLX , DOT 111s are used on crude and chem trains.

Google : Triple Crown N scale

Triple Crown Road Railers.
http://www.deluxeinnovations.com/rolling/rollingwnc01.html
 

cv_acr

Active Member
The Triple-Crown "RoadRailer" service in the video shown above is pretty specific to NS and a few specific routes. Pretty sure you will see nothing like that on the "Empire Builder" route. You're looking for 85'-89' flatcars and/or spine cars depending on whether you're representing a particular era.
 
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cv_acr

Active Member
1) I've been struggling to find at least a couple more 8-car BNSF Mineral Red Bethgon coalporters from kATO. It seems like every store online is sold out of these. The new ones up on KATO doesn't match the paint scheme on the ones I have. The ones I have have a nice red / brown wraparound paint on one end of each car, while the new KATO release is nearly all silver with no wraparound paint on the car ends.
Do they absolutely have to be the matching colour, because the real ones mix together fine, they're just newer.

Black ends and panels, batch built 1996:

Green ends, batch built 1997:

Brown/mineral red ends built 1999:

Smaller mineral red panels on ends built 2004:

With new logo, built 2007:

All of these run together, the only difference is the year(s) they were built.

3) I traveled on Amtrak's Empire Builder train several times, and I saw long BNSF train consists of these brown hopper cars that haul grain from the Midwest. What are the proper classification for these hoppers?

What are good manufacturers for these kinds of hoppers? Preferably BNSF Midwest grain hoppers?
A good amount of the modern grain hoppers are Trinity 5161s and Greenbrier/Gunderson 5188s:


 

cv_acr

Active Member
You cant really count on a brand meaning that much, for example the HO scale Atlas RS3 "yellow box ", The only thing Altas about it was the name on the box , it was made by KATO
You're also talking about a model that was produced about 30 years ago.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
The "Grain hopper and tank car" video doesn't have a single hopper in it that has ever carried grain. As GeeTee points out, all of the hoppers in that train are cars for Plastic pellet transport with pneumatic-discharge hopper outlets (car contents are literally vaccuumed out rather than dumped using gravity).

Atlas made an ACF 5800 cuft plastics hopper:

I'm not sure if there are any other decent pneumatic-discharge cars in this scale.
 




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