Auto Racks circa 1990ish

BALOU LINE Feb 4, 2016

  1. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    I've been away for awhile and although my railroad is in storage I've had plenty of time to think about my era focus. Before things got put away I acquired way to much rolling stock with roof walks and I need to zero in on what I truly 'need'. I can see there is going to be a yard sale in my future...
    I have started looking at auto racks, thankfully Spookshow has helped me eliminate Kato and Atlas articulateds from consideration (late 90s is to new). I would like some opinions on the quality, running characteristics, and value of MT, Con-Cor, and Red Caboose, etc, auto racks. I'm trying to avoid over paying on that auction site that shall remain nameless.
     
  2. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

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    I don't know why everyone pussyfoots around naming eBay. It is one of the advertisers here so it's not off limits. Why do so many avoid naming it? o_O
     
  3. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    It's a carry over from back in the day when we couldn't. Now it's just kind of a nod and a wink ;)
     
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  4. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    What is the minimum radius on your layout?
     
  5. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    Currently zero. What there is of my layout is in storage; a couple of 18"x 78" HCD shelf segments. Because I want to run 89' cars I'd like to do 20"+ radius when I build corners, 18" where they can be disguised. Right now I will be limited to detailing and weathering of rolling stock, buildings, vehicles etc. until I have a place to construct the layout.
     
  6. steamghost

    steamghost TrainBoard Member

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    There's a very big difference as you've probably found so far in prices between Con-Cor and the newer cars -- it's clunkier, thicker body details and plastic panels vs. cleaner body details and etched metal panels. So it comes down to "How much do I want to spend?". I don't think the old Con-Cors look good together with the RC and MT.

    FYI there were also etched panels and a ladder mod kit that N Scale of Nevada made for the Con-Cors. Those made a great looking car for a lot of work if you wanted that see-through look. Do finished models ever come up for sale on eBay?

    Now the trilevels in real life have 28" wheels to help make clearances. The real ones also have smaller trucks than you'd expect for any other car; nothing to be done about that in 2016.

    The racks were kept relatively clean and got repainted quickly back then, so there could be (some) graf but not a large amount of weathering/rust if at all. There was almost always a real colorful consist of different road names possible then and now, no one-road unit trains as far as I saw. GTW-logo cars in Oakland, CA? Sure! Logo panel placement on the racks was and is in different styles and placements.

    The Con-Cor ones are top heavy so could use some weight added down low. The others probably could use weight also.

    The RC and MT use MT trucks with the long tongue and most people converted the Con-Cors to the same. That tongue flops around and could use a squared staple-type arrangement to limit tongue movement; I don't think it's much of a problem with zero grades and wide turns like in your plan.
     
  7. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    Get the MTL *AND* Red Caboose autoracks. Not only are both good, but they represent two different kinds of autorack cars.
    The MTL cars are tri-level auto rack cars, which carry small/compact cars on three levels in the car. The Red Caboose cars are bi-level auto rack cars,
    which carry vans, pick-ups, SUVs and other larger autos on two levels in the car. Normally, you would want to run the tri-level cars connected to each other, and the bi-level cars connected to each other, so when they reach their destination, they can be easily assigned to the correct ramps. You can have a train with both tri- and bi-level racks, but not (or rarely ever) a bunch of tri- and bi- level cars mixed up at random.

    Con-Cor racks are crap. Cheap detail aside, They ride too high off the rails, but the roof is still too short for scale. They come with Rapidos. And they're supposed to be tri-level racks.Go figure.
     
  8. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Second that endorsement for the MTL cars:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    I really do like the open carriers. I grew up on the Santa Fe mainline through Flagstaff Az and always loved to see the new cars heading west. Nothing else solidifies the year being modeled like a rack of brand new cars. However the lack of vehicles available in N scale to fill them, as well as my love of the 40BW-8s, has pushed me into the 90s and enclosed racks.
    I remember open racks that had been fitted with side panels as they transitioned to the enclosed racks. Does anyone make them for the MT open racks?
     
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  10. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    The old Atlas forum had a filter in place to remove eBay from a post....
     
  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    ESMC had one of the MTL bi-level racks made with anti-vandal panels.
    The car is listed as 'in-stock' and you could check with them to see if the panels are available separately.
    http://www.esmc.com/2000/Item2038.html

    [​IMG]
     
  12. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    Nice looking car. It's got enough coverage to help disguise a load of resin vehicles. I like it!
     
  13. steamghost

    steamghost TrainBoard Member

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    But open top racks were gone sometime in the 1980s. There were also autoracks made that looked very close to the style of C-C/MT/RC cars but without a roof. Still, way too much vandalism resulted in a quick change to fully enclosed racks. It's your railroad, though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
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  14. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    I've seen videos and photos of trains in the early 90s with some open racks.

    ESM and N Scale Kits is also doing a different style of enclosed rack soon.
     
  15. nscaler711

    nscaler711 TrainBoard Member

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    Well slightly off topic... Have there been any improvements on the CC racks? I mean besides trucks and couplers?
    I am willing to pay $15-20 a car and weather them or buy the kits to spruce them up, but I am not willing to cough up $35-40 for RC or MT cars.... I am not made of money, nor the money tree I planted is producing anything....
    At the very least they would be great for mid train cars... Generally no one pays attention to the middle of the train anyway, just the beginning and the end... Lol...
     
  16. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    Not really, truck centers on the CC cars are off too. So after fixing the CC truck centers, then adding in the cost of the upgraded side panels, you're at the same cost as an MT/RC rack. Not including your time. If you search around enough, you can find MT/RC racks for $25-30 a piece.
     
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  17. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    My opinion, the Red Caboose are the best. The MT ones need to be lowered - they sit too high - and the side panels are not as nice as the RC. I won't even touch the CC due to all the problems. The ESMC panels are really nice and although rare, open racks with panels are still found in the early 90's. Athearn is releasing an open rack, they look nice, but I don't have experience with them.
    Once the MT's are lowered, they fit in pretty good with the RC in a train.

    -Mike
     
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  18. prbharris

    prbharris TrainBoard Supporter

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    We have a conversion kit for the ConCor cars
    http://www.nscalekits.co.uk/autorack.html
    that gives the weight and allows the use of the long MT trucks and couplers.

    The ESM and N Scale Kits autorack is later than 1990 but was running inthe north east in the early 1990's. We are working onthem as I write!

    Peter

    Peter Harris
    N Scale Kits
    www.nscalekits.com
     
  19. BALOU LINE

    BALOU LINE TrainBoard Member

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    I have to say I really appreciate the research and information provided by some manufactures, and I know the reputation of Alan Curtis. It is much easier for me as a modeler to select products appropriate for my era because of their hard work. I'll look into your conversion kits Peter.
     

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