Battle of the Auto Carriers!

Metro Red Line Dec 7, 2006

  1. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    I seem to be on a 89' auto carrier binge lately...been shopping around too. It seems there are three manufacturers making them - Con-Cor, MTL and Red Caboose.

    The Con-Cors are cheap (cost and quality-wise), come with "Vapido" couplers, look like they ride too high and the stirrups look like HO scale thickness:

    [​IMG]

    The MTLs are pricier, but the stirrups and ladders are nice and thin
    . Also, they come with both pizzacutters *and* low-profile wheels (they wear pizzacutter wheels but you can easily replace them with the provided LP wheels:

    [​IMG]

    The Red Caboose auto carriers retail for over $40, but they have amazing see-through side grill detail (in both standard and anti-vandalism panels), nice undercar detail and even come with your choise of enclosed or open door models. The stirrups and ladders, though, look pretty large in size.

    [​IMG]

    I was comparing the MTL and Red Caboose cars today at my LHS which has N scale only trains. The MTL cars look a bit smaller than the Red Caboose auto carriers for some reason. I decided to get two of the MTL cars because of those damn stirrups :) I like the panels on the Red Caboose cars, but maybe I'll order those online later on, as I was able to buy both MTL cars for under $75.

    Which auto carriers do you run?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2006
  2. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think you'll find success in achieving the same see-thru effect by installing Red Caboose or any other panels on an MT rack. The MT rack has a semi-translucent core that only lets a soft glow come through (is that what you meant, or do you mean by some additional RC racks online?).

    Russ
     
  3. GoSteelers

    GoSteelers TrainBoard Supporter

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    On my 1995 Santa Fe V-trains, I've had ConCors and got rid of them as they just didn't cut it for me. Eagerly, I bought the initial release of the MT autorack in Santa Fe and thought it was great. So I bought the BN release and planned on building my 12-15 car rack train with MT's releases, but i then picked up one of the first Red Caboose releases and thought it was a step above MT's. However, I think everyone, in this debate, has personal preference, which is part of the joy of model railroading.
     
  4. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I probably had little or no reason to buy these cars since my prototype modeling era ended about the time that the open autoracks were hitting the scene in the mid 1960's. However, since I was a big proponent of having the 'open autoracks' made in N Scale... I felt obligated to 'put my money where my mouth was' regardless of which autoracks were released. I've purchased at least one of every one of the MT releases and several of the Red Caboose releases as well (D&RGW, SP enclosed racks). The prices are pretty steep for the MT and RC versions.... but... I think they are worth the money and are definately light-years better than the el-cheapo ConCor version. Many have upgraded and improved the ConCor version with NSN sides and lowered the car and put MT wheels on the car. When you add-up the cost to make the CC version satisfactory... it costs about the same as a MT car. Meanwhile... this foray into a more modern era was accentuated by the release of the Tunnel Motors as well... so... I now have trains that span from the early 1900's thru the 1980s. So much for keeping within a time frame... but... I don't regret it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2006
  5. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    I meant I bought two MT cars at my LHS today for under $75. I'll get some RC cars eventually, but because of their price, order *those* online.
     
  6. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    Haha, no wonder I see tons of them on eBay for like $12! the MT and RC versions are only sold on eBay by stores, I never see personal auctions for them.
     
  7. N_S_L

    N_S_L TrainBoard Member

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    OLD SCHOOL ROCKS! :thumbs_up:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Nelson B

    Nelson B TrainBoard Member

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    The Red Caboose get my top vote. The stirrups aren't quite as fine as the MTL racks, but they are not objectionably large like the Con-Cor.
    The rest of the detail, the ride height and the open door option all favor the RC for me, but hands down it is the panels that make them so nice and give them a huge leg up.
    My only complaint about them is coming in the cardboard box rather than a plastic jewelcase.
     
  9. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Both Athearn and Red Caboose have gone to the cardboard box with plastic cradle to hold the model. I found that the RC plastic cradle was very well designed and could protect the model fairly well... but it would have been better in a jewel box... specially for the price. I'm not much of a fan of the cardboard box presentation for a premium model. Some modelers will end-up throwing away the boxes and plastic cradles and putting these in a different type of storage anyway. They seem to deserve a more dignified storage/display method... they really are nice.
     
  10. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    I would guess that more companies are going for cardboard for economical as well as environmental concerns (cardboard is recyclable and the plastic cradle is less landfill waste than a larger chunk of plastic). Plus it would add a tiny bit more to the cost of an already pricey piece of rolling stock.
     
  11. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    RC Rules

    Well, count me as a Red Caboose snob here. I REALLY like the way they look with what to me seems like the perfect see-through look. :thumbs_up: I have a couple of M-T's and I'll keep 'em, but I probably will only buy RC from here on out. Which won't be much as vehicle traffic is negligible on the line I model. I ditched the Con-Cor's a long time ago, and as expensive as the new M-T/RC one's are, I think they are worth it. (but I do feel for the hard core vehicle train modelers...couple of 20-car trains of these will set you back a nice used REAL automobile! :eek:mg: )
     
  12. cprnorth

    cprnorth TrainBoard Member

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    Ebay Check again theres a few
     
  13. Kevin Stevens

    Kevin Stevens TrainBoard Supporter

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    If anyone is looking for Red Caboose Auto Racks, I still have a fairly large inventory available at my online store...and I have more that will be added to inventory in the coming week. www.ksisales.com ...and I have a 5% off sale for the month of December, if that helps any.
     
  14. Glenn Poole

    Glenn Poole TrainBoard Member

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    I am an 89' freak. I brought almost all the Con Cor flats and auto carriers. Then bought most of the MT flats and auto carriers until Red Caboose auto carriers came out. Then I switched to Red Caboose auto carriers and quit buying MT carriers.
     
  15. eagleman

    eagleman TrainBoard Member

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    As Doug knows me and has seen my AutoRack Drag I run them all ConCor, RC, Athearn, MT, and Atlas. I have over 100 of them and run about 40 to 50 of these on my clubs NTRAK layout. I found that between 40 and 50 is the magic number on reliability. All my cars sport MT Trucks and couplers. I can here the gasp now I also run them with pizza cutter wheels, I have found that with this long of a train that the wheels are needed for that extra bite so to say. You can say all you want on the wheels but I have personally tested trains with both and the pizza cutter work better for these cars. Someday I will take pictures of this train, maybe next month at the Train Show in Plano TX.
     
  16. Ed Pinkley#2

    Ed Pinkley#2 TrainBoard Member

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    With a huge thanks to Kevin Stevens at KSI I have been able to aquire over 90 R/C autoracks. I do have M/T and all of the Atlas racks out but I like the Red Caboose the best. Different road names and 12 numbers each it isn't hard to build a train with no repeating numbers. If you haven't looked at KSI Sales yet give them a few minutes of your time. You won't be dissapointed.
     
  17. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I like them both, but I have to give the detailing edge to Red Caboose.......these are just beautiful models! :)
     
  18. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Does the same issue exist with other types of cars such as Beth Gons, and well cars?
     
  19. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    I really prefer the open racks to the enclosed racks and as a result will probably buy more of the MT versions in the future. If Red Caboose begins to make the open racks as well... then... Micro-Trains will probably lose my business too. I would hope that IFF Red Caboose make open racks... they will price them a bit lower than the enclosed racks.
     
  20. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    We also need some RTR vehicles, that don't cost an arm and a leg, for open autoracks. One of these companies that makes the autoracks could make a killing on vehicles to go in the open racks. I would expect MT to be the first to do that... but given their tendency to ''wing-it' with low-def loads... I hope another manufacturer steps up to the plate.
     

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