New Member
Hello all,
I seem to have read it somewhere, but now I'm having a tough time finding it. I want to replace all of my plastic wheelsets on my rolling stock with metal wheelsets. I noticed that there are 33" wheels with flat backs and ribbed backs and some 36" wheels. Is there a basic 'rule of thumb' about what rolling stock uses what wheel diameter?
My rolling stock is a conglomeration of different manufacturers and eras. I'm just getting started and haven't really settled into what I want, so I'm going to use what I have.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The rib back whieels were used on older rolling stock, not sure when the cut off was, say 50 years ago at least. Most freight cars of less than 100 ton capacity used 33" wheels, 50' covered hoppers and other 100 ton cars use 36" wheels, as do passenger cars. Piggyback, auto rack, and container 85' flats use 28" wheels.

As to brand, many mfrs. make the metal wheelsets, but most have plastic axles. Intermountain makes non-ferrous metal wheel and axle sets. Those are the ones I've standardized on.
Thanks for the input. I noticed that you are from Pocatello. I'm in Idaho Falls. Since there isn't much of a railroad supply selection in the local Hobby shop, do you know if Dapco has any metal wheelsets that I could run down and buy, or is my best bet to order them online?

Also, I understand that there is a pretty large layout in Pocatello. Do you know when their open houses are? Are you a member of that club?

Food for thought..After using wheels of different sizes per the prototype car I found the couplers had to be adjusted more then normal due to the different wheel size..FOR ME I found a happy medium..I use Athearn trucks with P2K 33" flat back wheels and I also use the newer Athearn trucks with metal 33" wheels..This makes adjusting the coupler height much easier.Again this is meant for food for thought and may not suit your modeling style. :D .
I appreciate that food for thought, Brakie. But, I had pretty much already decided "pooey on the prototype, I just want metal wheels." And was going to get all 33" wheels. Not a problem really, because I don't foresee a lot of passenger service on my layout.
I can't find my sheet that has the cut-off dates for the ribbed-back wheels, but about 1960 seems right. The 36" wheels are for the 100 ton cars, 33" for articulated intermodal cars on the ends, and 38" for the ones that link two cars on one truck.

I used to get the P2Ks really, really cheap from Trainworld, but their prices went up eventually (I'm running out, again). I also use Intermountain wheels, plus the occasional Reboxx sets that have different axle lengths to fit oddball trucks....