1950's era flat cars and other questions

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    I'm planning to buy flat cars that will be carrying card models of tanks at the HO scale. What kind of flat cars would you typically find in the 1950's?

    Also, is 3 freight cars + 1 caboose realistic when they are being pulled by a F7A?

    Lastly, I have a powered Athearn RDC and 2 unpowered RDC. The old motor is busted, so I replaced it with a motor from an out of commission Athearn F7A. It seems that the motor is getting hot fast, and it'll probably be busted again. Are Athearn RDCs (rubber band drive) really like this? Perhaps there are inexpensive substitutes for the Athearn RDC? Perhaps those coming from Life Like?
  2. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    somebody on here will be able to help you better with this but i can help a little :mrgreen:.most flatcars that were built and used in the fifties are still used today.myself i never really saw a huge difference in FC of the 50's or 90's.id say with sherman tanks (since they were light anyway) i'd use a regular 50 ton flatcar.there made by anyone and to find which one YOU need to use is determined by your favorite road.most historical societys have a general roster of when things were put in and taken out of service.

    as for the F7,id switch it out for an era specific road switcher like and RS series loco or a GP of some sort.as in real life the low visibility of the F-series was a downfall in alot of switing so an egine with an open cab was more practical.--josh
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    For '50s era flatcars, the most common would be fifty-footers: just about any of the ones available would be suitable -Athearn, Proto2000, or the Walthers GSC come to mind.
    I've always like the look of the Athearn RDCs, even though they're a shortened version of the prototype, but they weren't very good runners. I remotored mine with a Tenshodo PDT, which turned it into a very smooth runner and it could still pull a dummy trailer, but that's not an easy fix. The Proto version is more accurate, and I've heard that it's also a decent runner.

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    A motor running hot often means the magnet has lost power. If you have a really good service department they might be able to do something. Even the replacement motors are now collectible. There are some double ended motors available somewhere, but you'll have to construct a mounting.
  5. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Yeah, the PRoto1000 RDC's are AWESOME...and only $19.99 from trainworld.com (not an ad, but a satisfied customer)

    How about 30+ cars, due to the lack of rolling resistance of modern rollerbearing freight cars, it doesn't take much to move one.
  6. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Wow, a Proto1000 RDC is just $19.99? That's pretty affordable. :) I've found out that is the RDC 2. The RDC 1 is a little more pricey at $29.99, though. Do they also give unpowered versions? Are there other online sites offering it? I live in the Philippines, so I might need a source that can sell it online and then ship it to me. I can also opt for 2 streamlined coaches instead since I have another F7A with CN colors to spare. Where is a good online source for streamlined coaches?

    I'll check out those 50 ft and 50 ton flat cars.

    As for the motors, do the magnets weaken with age or use, or both? My motors date back to the late 90's, but they've been stored for a while when I couldn't find time and space for a HO layout.

    As for switching the F7A I'm using for freight, it will be a little difficult for me since it is my most expensive engine, being a Athearn Genesis with the Santa Fe freight paint scheme. I really like the appearance of the F7A, though I'd love to get a GP. My layout is a mix of the 1950's and the 1980's (I also have a Bachmann GP50 that I bought for a good price in Beijing).

    30+ freight cars for a single F7A? Wow, that seems a lot. I'm thinking of having my F7A to pull 5 freight cars + 1 caboose. I wonder if that's too much?
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    That loco should easily pull 30 cars, and on straight, level track, probably a lot more. Of course, just because it can, doesn't mean that it has to. ;) A "train" can be anything from a loco with markers on the rear end, all the way up to as many cars as the loco is able to pull.

  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    In the 1950s, it was friction bearings, though.

    Anyway, modellers generally have to scale down their trains substantially from the real thing.
  9. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    Go with the RDC-2 or even the RDC-3 for $14.99 from Trainworld. They getcha on the shipping/handling/insurance charge of $13.26 though.

    These are very smooth and quiet runners and can crawl at a snail's pace. Prior to finding these gems I was working on two old Athearns, but gave up on them after noticing how short they really appear compared to the real RDCs. For those who might not know, VIA Rail is running RDC units up here on Vancouver Island in British Columbia between Victoria and Courtney.

  10. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Yes, I think I will consider buying a Life Like RDC in the near future. But I would love it to be a set of 2 or 3. Does Trainworld carry unpowered versions? Or should I have all powered ones for a set?

    I'm also a bit stumped. Why is item number 31236 more expensive? Here's the list of the RDCs:

    30582 PROTO 1000 BUDD RDC-1 ASSORTED ROADS 29.99
    23972 PROTO 1000 BUDD RDC-2 ASSORTED ROADS 19.99
    30385 PROTO 1000 BUDD RDC-3 ASSORTED ROADS 19.99
    31236 PROTO 1000 BUDD RDC-1 - 2 or 3 ASSORTED ROADS 59.99
  11. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    I don't think LifeLike ever made unpowered versions. Real RDC's were all powered, they weren't designed to pull any cars, but railroads often ran several of them together - all powered.

    More railroads had RDC-1's (full coach) so I suspect the model is more popular hence the higher prices. RDC-2's and -3's had baggage or baggage / railway post office sections.

    My old c.1995 Athearn F7 regularly pulled 24 ore cars and a caboose with no problem on my old layout, although it generally pulled 4-5 passenger cars rather than freight...and that was a "Blue Box" one, your Genesis one should be much better running that mine!! BTW on the prototype Great Northern Ry, an A-B-A set of F7's could haul about 150-200 ore cars. :eek:
  12. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Actually, Budd made a half-powered version (with only one engine as opposed to the usual two) called the RDC-9, supposedly because they would void the warranty on the normally powered ones if they were used to pull a regular coach. The RDC-9 was like a B-unit, in that it had no control stand, so it couldn't be used by itself. The B&M was the original owner of all 30 RDC-9s produced, with 7 of them later going to CN, then to VIA.

  13. iis612

    iis612 Member

    That is a good question. While I con not speak to the rules of the road for the 50's, I know that the FRA has a good amount of rules governing flat, and hazardous cars.

    If you are running 3 flat cars with tanks on them, according to the rules of today, you would have to have 3 non-hazardous cars of either box or tank composition between the flat cars and any occupied car.

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