Identifying Rolling Stock Manufactures

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by CN_Pete, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. CN_Pete

    CN_Pete Member

    Hello to all.
    I have put together quite a collection of rolling stock. Now i want to put them all on a spreadsheet so that i know what i have, the problem that i am facing is that for some of the cars i have no idea who the manufacturer is. I can very easly tell an Athearn, but i am stumped with a lot of them.

    Does anyone know of a way to tell who the manufacturer is. Is the a web site that gives pictures and discriptions.

    What am i to do?
    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Peter Just because a car is a Athearn it may not be a kit release by Athearn.
    You see Bev/Bell used Athearn cars as well as MDC cars. CM Shops used Athearn cars as well...Then you can't over look special run cars or cars done for clubs.These cars you don't want to list as Athearn,MDC Atas etc as a standard release because some of these cars are valuable as a collector's item.
    Without lots of research through past Walthers catalogs and model magazines it would be hard to tell.
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Peter go with brakies idea and also you might look through older issues of the model mags.:)
  4. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Before BranchlineTrains started producing thier own models, the used Athearn, Bev-Bel and Intermountain for thier decorating.(They ony decorated and painted back then). So, I.D'ing the true manufacturer will be difficult like Larry said.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    In addition, if you have some inexpensive "toy" freight cars that have had the trucks and couplers changed, it may be almost impossible to tell the origen because I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't trade body molds around like they did molds for structure kits.
  6. CN_Pete

    CN_Pete Member

    Thanks to all for the comments, it's time to do some research or just mark as unknown.

    Thanks to all.

  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Your best bet is probably not to make an issue of manufacturer. You could include the manufacturer if known and mark unknown on those you don't know. I think the most important information would be car type, car number and reporting marks, and railroad name.
  8. CN_Pete

    CN_Pete Member

    Thanks Russ,
    Your probablly right, it should bo no big deal on who the manufacturer is. Road name and number is no problem. Car type, i am trying to find that information on the Internet, What do you mean by reporting marks?

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The reporting marks are the 4 letter designation that comes before the numbers. Each railroad, or car owner has a reporting mark designation. The reporting marks allow a BNSF car and a U.P. car to be in the same train with the same number, but keep both cars separate. Generally the reporting marks will give you a hint of the owner of the equipment. Car type is not too difficult. I'm not sure of your era, but until the 1960s or so your choices were box cars, reefers, hoppers, covered hoppers, gondolas, flat cars, and tanks. After the 1960s they started putting all sorts of structures on flats to make specialised cars like auto racks and some of the special designs for hauling air craft parts. Then in the late 1970's the first of the double stack well cars for containers came out.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Pete,Again I want to caution you about not knowing the brand..Several of the older Bev-Bel/Athearn is worth up to $50.00-mostly special runs or cars done for local club or hobby shops for various prototype roads and many is worth $20.00.I have a A&BB 50 foot railbox worth $50.00..Only 1500 was made for a hobby shop dealer and sold only through his shop and at train shows he attended.I got mine off e bay for a $8.55 bid and so far turn down $50.00 from a collector.I had no idea when I got that car that it was a special run car..I thought it was part of the Bev-Bel line.
  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I keep an inventory of all of my trains, including some that I've sold to others. These are cars that are lettered for my own free-lanced railroads, as I don't want to make duplicate numbers when I build or paint more rolling stock. For instance, I sold off a lot of '50s, '60s, and '70s equipment when I decided to backdate my layout to the '30s. Most of my steel boxcars are numbered in the 7800 series, a few of which were sold, along with more modern boxcars in the 77-and 7900 series. Unless someone has obtained some of my custom lettering, there are no duplicate numbered cars floating around out there.
    All of the prototype cars that I currently own are listed alphabetically by railroad, and sorted by car type and numerical order. Information includes the car length, the model's manufacturer, and whether or not the car has been modified (brake gear, wire grabs, etc.)
    The same goes for my free-lanced cars, with the added notation if a car has been sold, and to whom, if known.
    I also keep an inventory of locomotives, by roadname, and number, along with manufacturer and any important modifications, such as remotoring, regearing, etc. In addition, I keep a maintenance log for all locos, covering repairs and modifications, and scheduled maintenance.
    Maintenance-of-way and wreck equipment gets the same treatment, along with an abbreviated "history". For instance, I have several downgraded and renumbered freight cars in work service: these have a notation as to their former number when in revenue service.
    Every car on the layout, including scratchbuilt and loose cars bought from the bargain table at the LHS has its own box, stored under the layout. If I go to that big roundhouse in the sky, or more likely to the fireman's ball in the other direction, my grieving:rolleyes: family merely has to match the reporting marks and car number on the box end to any cars that are on the layout. (Many cars are not in their original boxes, especially scratchbuilt cars or those bought loose at bargain tables or garage sales) When I do my next update on the inventory lists, I intend to set a value for each car, based on what I know they'll sell for, 'cause sell 'em they will.:cry:
    In general, the car manufacturer is really only important in the instances noted above. For my own stuff, almost all of it has been custom painted, altered, or renumbered, so its value is dependent almost solely on whether or not I did a good job on the modifications.

  12. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Although not as detailed as the Doc's, I have a roster of all my locos and rolling stock.
    I have tracked down all the manufacturers stock numbers for all but a few.
    There are clues to the manufacturer, How the car is assembled, what material it is made of, the way the trucks and couplers are mounted (assuming they are original), the road and road number.
    If you can't identify the manufacturer after checking catalogs and magazines post a photo of it I'm sure someone here can Identify it.
    There are some tough ones to figure out if you don't get them in a marked box.
    One I got was a Life/Like shell with a Details West chassis with Athearn trucks. It was sold that way in a kit by Bev/Bel.
    Here's one I am not sure of.

    Attached Files:

  13. HOseeker

    HOseeker New Member

  14. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Ray, that car also looks like it has a Details West underframe. Any chance the carbody is from Robin's Rails? I had a Great Northern car that looked similar to yours, although the underbody was different.
    Other guesses would be McKean or Front Range.

  15. Catt

    Catt Guest

    What I've done is to list each car by type (boxcar,hopper,flat etc.), RR reporting marks ,the railroad name ,Size of car (if known),and then the maker if known.Some cars are real easy to identify and some will remain a mystery,but this list comes in handy at train shows when your shopping so that you don't end up will a bunch of cars with the same number.

    I also note if car is a custom paint clubcar or freelance rr.
  16. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I'll have to research those manufacturers and see if I can come up with a match.
    Thanks for the leads.

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