Auto Rack modelers!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jbaakko, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    I have a dilemma... I own one Custom Rail, Tri-level auto rack, and parked next to a Walthers Bi-level (or tri-level), Accurail 89' flat, or Walthers 89' flat, it sits noticeably high. But the thing I don't get is the coupler pocket comes out just about the same.

    What I'm getting at, the main question, is the Custom Rail car too high? Is there a prototype, tri-level, or bi-level at the higher height? Or is the matching coupler pocket just compensating for the higher height?

    Here's an example, Custom Rail car to the left, Walthers to the right.
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Josh, is there any way you can make the car sit lower/closer to the trucks? i have 3 Walther's UP Autoracks, but i don't have any Custom Rail products, thats the only thing i could come up with to solve your dilemma:smilie:.

    the cars in real life might be at different heights, i have seen UP pull MANY Autorack trains:winki: , but i don't recall the cars being different heights:confused: , but just because i cant recall it doesn't mean they arnt:119: .
    :deano: -Deano
  3. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Yeah, removal of custom rails "self guiding" coupler swing arm, then trimming of the bolster (which is notched for the swing arm) would lower it, though I think a wee but of sanding might be in order after that.

    I'd prefer to keep it that height if it matches a prototype though.
  4. 2slim

    2slim Member

    Deano is correct when he said prototype cars are different heights. You will see that when cars are made by different manufacturers, you can see the same rack on 2 different flatcars and see small differences in height. As long as your couplers are not mismatched I think the variation in height is quite prototypical.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    **Warning - Complete guess offerred! **

    I don't know much about these autoracks - in the era I model, cars were relatively new, and were shipped (like everything else) in boxcars...

    However - are the enclosed tri-levels not loaded by driving the vehicles into a long string of autoracks - i.e. the vehicles go through several railcars before they reach "their" spot? If yes, would it not be more likely that the (rail) cars are more or less at the same height?

    From a modelling point of view - 2slim said it: As long as the couplers are at the same height, you're operationally good to go.

  6. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Yes Andrew, BUT, however, the one on the left is a tri-level, and the right, a bi-level,m so they'd have to be separated to load.

    The members of MFCL on yahoo have pointed me in the right direction. The Custom Rail car models a tri-level like the ones below, where as the Walthers models a different version. The Custom Rail car does sit high, for two reasons, the bolsters are too tall, and it rides on 33" wheels where as all tri-level cars ride on 28" wheels (to reduce the height).

    The ends of my Custom Rail tri-level will be modified to match the prototype, though the prototype's full deck would be a channel, I'm choosing to go with just the ends to get the effect when viewing them.

    Custom Rail bi-level's can be mounted on an Accurail flat to get the right height, tri-level's can also be converted to a bi-level by only installing 2 decks, and mounting it on an Accurail car.
  7. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Tri level autoracks would have a slightly higher carbody, but the deck of the flat, would be at the same height as any other autorack for the reason explained above, moving autos into the "racks". You can see the deck height difference in the photo.
    The correction would require lowering the car, and the truck/bolster would have to be modified, then coupler height corrected. Also, Autoracks typically rode on 28" wheels, vice the standard freight car 33", or tank, and hopper 36".
  8. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Tri-level cars ride on 28" wheels, Bi-level's ride on 33".

    Infact, there's not a single Tri-level, straight 89' 4" autorack who's roof line is any higher then a standard 89' 4" bi-level, so, saying that they have slightly higher car body, would be incorrect.

    The only rack with higher roof lines would be the Auto-max cars. Not even the Trall articulated cars have a higher roof line.

    There's 4 distinct styles of tri-level cars that I've been able to identify now. I'm not counting the Automax cars. They are as follows:
    -Walthers Tri-level, notched side sill, 28" wheels: - Photo Details - ETTX - 701280
    -Custom Rail Tri-level's closest match, notched end plate, coupler pocket rides up "on top" of deck: - Photo Details - ETTX - 802194 - Photo Details - ETTX - 802325 (thats what mine will become)
    -Flush deck at ends, tri-level, unusual side sill: - Photo Details - CNA - 704589 - Photo Details - CNA - 704568
    -Smooth side rack, slightly notched end plate, exposed frame side sills: - Photo Details - CPAA - 556003

    There's 4 distinct styles of end doors, they are as follows:
    -Bi-level single rack notches: - Photo Details - CN - 710705
    -Tri-level, dual rack notches: - Photo Details - CNA - 704589
    -Solid door, no rack notches: - Photo Details - ETTX - 711185
    -"Slat style": - Photo Details - CN - 711947

    Then there's the Johnstown AVC (Aluminum Vehicle Carrier): - Photo Details - CNA - 712801 - Photo Details - CNA - 712820

    The Trall Articulated: - Photo Details - BTTX - 880049 - Photo Details - BTTX - 880141

    Automax: - Photo Details - AOK - 501570 (notice the standard height, bi-level autorack) - Photo Details - AOK - 501638

    Ex-UP 20-2 Pack (I think Bi-level): - Photo Details - ATW - 800255

    Bi-level, notched side sills, similar to Walthers Tri-level: - Photo Details - NS - 171109

    And lastly, the standard, flush deck, bi-level car: - Photo Details - CPAA - 543075

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