Cheap but decent rolling stock

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by prodigy2k7, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    What are some good brands of rolling stock that arent expensive but wont fall apart =P
    I like a hopper from bachmann I got, I like the couplers and trucks + wheels. I am thinking of buy some rolling stock from an ebay store. THey have a LOT of brands:
    The number means how many items of each brand of rolling stock they have.
    What does RTR mean?

    Accurail RTR (28)
    Accurail (101)
    Athearn RTR (353)
    Athearn (284)
    Atlas (17)
    Bowser (23)
    Broadway Limited (4)
    English Model (47)
    Intermountain (13)
    Kadee (8)
    Proto Series (3)
    Roundhouse (123)
    Stewart Hobbies (3)
    Walthers (11)
    Other (4)
    40' Box Cars (169)
    50' Box Cars (193)
    Tank Cars (84)
    2 Bay Hopper (24)
    3 Bay Hopper (29)
    4 Bay Hopper (54)
    Centerflow Hopper (10)
    Coal Cars (31)
    Flat Cars (68)
    Gondolas (41)
    Husky Stacks (5)
    Reefers (147)
    Caboose (74)
    Passenger Cars (40)
    Pulpwood Cars (4)
    Stock Cars (32)
    Wood Box Cars (43)
    Large Box Cars (4)
    Bachmann RTR (129)
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    RTR means either "ready to run" or "ready to roll" - your choice

    As for inexpensive but decent and "able to take a lickin and keep on tickin" rolling stock, I would recommend Athearn blue box kits and Accurail kits, and Roundhouse kits. You should be able to find them between $5 to $10. The Athearn RTR stuff is good too, in the $12 -$16 range. The Kadee cars are high end with fabulous detail, but are approx $30 and all the detail parts are fragile. Proto 2000 have excellent detail also.
  3. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    Gary beat me to it.sign1

    RTR means "Ready To Run", not in kit form. Most RTR's cost considerably more than the kit of the same model. In kit form, you can have the chance to do a lil kitbashing, before the finished product goes to rail.:thumb:
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Also, the better the detail on the cars, obviously the more expensive they are. If you have a LHS, go check the stuff out and compare. You will find out what you are comfortable with.

    Me, I have everything from $2 Lifelikes out of the bargain bin which I spent time modifying up to useable quality, all the way up to some really nice RTR Intermountain stuff. I seem to like it all, but lean more towards the less expensive but more rugged stuff, just so I don't have to worry about destroying the details when I derail something or use the ol' 0-5-0 switcher.
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Thanks guys, super fast reply.
  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I'll go with Accurail kits. Minimal work and decent quality. They also have RTR stuff but its about twice the price of the kits. Kadee-- excellent quality with sprung trucks but kinda pricey.
  7. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    Accurail kits are nice but time consuming (open autoracks). The Life Like cheapy rtr cars are ok if you take the time and convert them to body-mount kadees. Athearn BB kits are excellent also. Bachmann has improved over the past few years, to putting body mounted couplers. Broadway Limited is a lil pricey for their rolling stock, although I do like their engines.:thumb:
  8. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    as long as i know the company is kinda good,it's there it's cheap ill buy whatever is under 10.00 bucks then detail it later.--josh
  9. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    where does walthers fit into the mix as for as price/ quality?
  10. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    walthers is pretty good,and they have a wide variety of cars from cheapo's to nice expensive ones.but price on there stuff ranges from 8.00-20.00 as far as i know.--josh
  11. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    thanks josh
  12. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    thats what im here for! LOL --josh
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The only problem with the "bargain bin" stuff is that they often (not always) require new wheels and/or trucks, plus couplers, and maybe a few replacement grabirons or steps. By the time you've done that, you could have sprung for the new Accurail or Athearn kit. Now if you enjoy the challenge of upgrading, then please disregard what I just said ;) :D

  14. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Im going to be buying RTR rolling stock. I dont want any kits or put anything together. :thumb:
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The joke behind the "shake the box" description is not that the box if full of parts, but that since there are relatively few parts, if you shake it, it will assemble itself.

    I have seen some "RTR" kits that have more to assemble than the Accurail boxcars, for example. Be aware that RTR means different things to different maufacturers - some call them ready to run, even though you need at apply grabirons, ladders, or steps for example.

  16. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I dont really mind as long as it doesnt take longer than 5 minutes to assemble...
  17. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    you better have fast fingers to make that record time!!--josh
  18. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    Under $5 you can get life like and bachman. Watch for shows in your area.
  19. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member


    I must fall into that category of enjoying the misery of upgrading!

    The other day I spent around ten bucks at a train swap meet and came home with five bargain bin freight cars. The shells or bodys of the car were in allright shape, but then it was off to the local hobby store where I spent about 25 dollars in supplies (metal wheels, trucks, Kadee #5's, washers) . I even was able to get some decales to I could make the UP cars.

    Well, long story short I restored them, even getting them up to weight (with some cheap nuts I bought at wally world for 88 cents) and got them rolling nicely.

    Total cost, $35. Number of cars, 5. That comes to around $7 bucks a car, and they are hot little runners!

    Now true, their are tools and other supplies needed througout the course, and some cars only need this or that, but it can be a money saving if youve got the time a patience.
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One of the problems with ready to run cars is that the manufacturers are not always careful to have the weight of the cars up to NMRA standards. If the cars are too light, you may need to take them apart and convert them back into kits in order to get the necessary weight installed! I think Athearn is one name that comes to mind. The cars are generally well designed and the kits are easy to build, but they don't have enough weight in the box. If you are building a kit, it is easy to add a bit more weight, but if it is ready to run, you need to disassemble the car back into a kit to add weight.

Share This Page