Working cars and roadways?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by thedowneaster, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Hi all,
    Just curious...are there any working cars and trucks in 1:87 scale? I know there are "HO" slot cars...but they are way to big to be 1:87 HO. Is there a clever way to activate the stationary cars and trucks that are already available?

    I've heard that the original HO slot cars were designed to be run with the trains...but obviously the cars grew their own popularity and this the scale was relaxed to allow bigger proportions.
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

  3. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Cool! That's something to think about! I wonder if the battery life is any good.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I started to answer this one yesterday, but had to leave before I finished. I don't know what your budget is or the cost of the Fleischemann set up, but I think the Fleischemann is pretty pricey. If you made your road way a loop, of course some of it would have to be hidden so it didn't look like a loop, and then cut a slot in the center of each lane and put track on a lower level, you could then use an old Athearn Sw chassis, or some other such unit pulling some old Athearn trucks set up like logging disconnect cars under the roadway out of sight. It mioght even work to get a bunch of cheap toy train flat cars to pull and connect your cars and trucks to. You could use horn hook couplers and talgo trucks just use one "converter car" with body mounts at one end to hook up to the Athearn engine. Put your cars and trucks on the highway and connect them to the train running underneath by piano wire. You could have any scale vehicle with free rolling wheels then operating on your layout. You would not be restricted to what Fleischemann offered. You might need to add some weight to the flat cars the locomotive is pulling to keep them from derailing, but the Athearn Sw can pull quite well and easily negotiate a 12 inch radius or maybe even less. If necessary, you could double head or triple head the Sw's to have the needed power if you have some grades to go up (your track under neath would need to stay parallel with the roadway). Old Athearn locomotives are often very inexpensive at train shows, swap meets, etc.
  5. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Quite early in their development, slot cars were phased into operating together with model trains. They were essentially an accessory appealing to the juvenile hobbyist, not the serious model railroader, since the main objective seemed to be testing how close you could get the cars to cut across the RR tracks without being hit. Gomez Adams probably loved it!

    The simple fact is that many of the slot car manufacturers were also producers of model trains and thought they could successfully merge the two interests. In the long run, it didn't work and the slot car craze held back the evolution of model railroading for many years thereafter (although keeping the prices relatively low).

    The commercial "operate-by-wire" HO vehicle systems available today are exceedingly expensive and much more of a novelty than anything else. As a costly ancillary item quite unnecessary to a layout's operation, it is unlikely they will ever become mainstream.

  6. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Ya, the price of magnet-wire autos seems to be excessively expensive. I'm going to think about rigging up non-powered cars in some form.

    Russ, I like your idea of using underground trains to power the cars.

    I've been thinking of something like the San Francisco cable cars...using an underground cable of fishing line to pull the cars down the street. It would work a lot like a ski lift, having driven spindles on each end of the road.

    If I wanted to avoid having slits in the road, I could have the underground cable pull strong magnets that would pull on the cars above. With a little work I could set it up to interrupt the cars to stop at traffic lights and crossings too.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Would your underground cable go in some sort of loop? If they run point to point you will have cars stacking up at the "end of the line."
  8. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Yes. Similar to your idea...the cars would either enter a tunnel or go behind a backdrop to reverse direction.

    Perhaps I could make a big loop going all the way around the layout like the trains do. That way it wouldn't be the same cars over and over. My layout goes around the entire perimeter of my garage on 24-40 inch wide modules. It would be quite spectacular to have both the rails and highways active all the way around!

    Too bad I have a swinging doorway to enter the room. The cables wouldn't allow me to open the door...
  9. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    I've seen layouts with magnets underneath a circular roadway with an old turntable with magnets on it pulling the cars around. The turntable was used to play 33rpm and 45rpm and 78rpm cd roms on when they used to be grooved, (way back in prehistory).

    I have also seen rolling roadways, a continuous loop like your cable idea.
  10. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

    33 1/3 cd roms??

    Uh, if I recollect properly, they were refered to as "records." They were vinyl, and you played 'em on a record player. I still got quite a few of them. I also got 8 trks, reel to...uh,never mind.
  11. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    reel tape player/recorder, vacuum tube radio....
  12. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    The technique that has been occasionally employed for many decades has been a moving endless belt, to which the vehicles were attached. Running straight from one view-blocked point on the layout to another, on reaching the end of its journey it simply passed over a drive cylinder and returned to its starting point out-of-sight below its visible section. When not situated at the front of the layout and with the "road" running in a very shallow cut, the effect is fairly convincing. The belt is simply a flexible loop/band several inches wide and far easier to create than any magnetic, or wire-pulling, coveyance method. This arrangement was employed as early as at least the 1939 NY World's Fair in futuristic urban diorama displays.

  13. diburning

    diburning Member

    If you're looking for a hi-railer truck, Bachmann makes them
  14. e-paw

    e-paw Member

    If you want to talk old audio gear I once had a tape delay echo machine.
  15. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member


    I once worked as a DJ. We had two commercial large reel to reels, that had pre-recorded messages, etc. on them. I discovered that if I recorded a record, and played it back simultaneously, I could get a really cool echo.
  16. That's an idea that could be very well suited to my grandiose plans for a "someday" layout - the 10 Freeway in Southern CA parallels the tracks for some distance, and is generally located at a level slightly below the tracks. Slow moving heavy traffic as a background element could be very realistic, particularly with an eye-level layout where the road surface itself would not be seen. Each traffic lane could be on it's own belt, and the movement would be sporadic, giving the impression of stop and go, bumper to bumper gridlock. Theoritacally, power could even be transfered to the belts with a wiper system, so the vehicles could be lighted....
  17. Dansco

    Dansco Member

  18. Dansco

    Dansco Member

  19. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Wow, all I've got to say is that is one heck of an expensive little toy truck! For that price, you could buy a really nice, large, high-end, HO steam locomotive. :eek:


  20. Wow - fully radio controlled HO scale autos are one of the coolest things I've ever seen - if these were to ever become common / affordable, think about the bridge they would open to let others into the hobby. And the dune buggy with the fully operational suspention system (at about the 2:30 mark) is just mind boggling.

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