Micro Trains Auto Racks are overweight!

MP333 Apr 14, 2019

  1. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've been building an auto rack string for some time. The cars seem to run just fine, but I've noticed they are 20 grams OVER the recommended N-scale practice of 43 grams for an 89' car, coming in at 63g. The Ferromex I just picked up is 64g.

    I've never taken one of these apart, and was hoping someone can tell me about the insides before I try. Does MT add a weight to these cars? Or is the excess weight due to the long metal floor? I'm hoping there's a weight inside that could be removed or modified. My Red Caboose units weigh in at only 46g, though to be fair, they have plastic floors.

    Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    My understanding on the enclosed autoracks when they were announced back in 2004 (!) is that they are built around a block of partially translucent plastic... confirmed with a look at one in the accumulation after popping off the roof.
     
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  3. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks George. I haven't opened one up yet, partly due to a series of unfortunate blunders lately, and I'm just chicken. A block of plastic is a new one to me. Hmmm.

    Somehow, we need to lose 20 grams per car. It's not exactly the end of the world if they aren't easily changed, but I try to get everything to high standards when I start weathering.
     
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    What I'm about to share sounds snerki but isn't meant to be.

    This is one of those cases where we still have modelers insisting on operating with tight radius curves and running these long cars. To handle the curves they've deliberately added weight to them. I've also seen where it they weren't weighted the "Add more weight syndrome" gets exercised in excess. I'm looking at some auto carriers where they added more weight in the form of short nails glued to the interior base. Like you I'm looking for a way to get the auto carriers back to the correct weight and add new trucks and couplers.

    Best of luck with the pre-fab. Maybe some helium balloons? :whistle: o_O ;)
     
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  5. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rick, had not thought of the marketing aspect with respect to tight radii. Yep. Hopefully this blob is removable and not a structural element. That would be an issue.
     
  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    MP333, I'm getting my workbench put back together. Inventorying train equipment and setting aside stuff for repairs or restoration. On my list of to-do's is checking the weight of my auto carriers. Especially, those already mentioned. I'll try to remember to let you know the out come.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  7. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    The weight isn’t in the Holy Book. They will run fine. If there’s a problem, put some metal wheels under them to reduce the drag.
     
  8. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Tony's got a good part pf the right answer. The other part is locomotives. I see long trains of these running on BNSF trackage about a mile from my house. Each train, loaded or not, is pulled by at least two, sometimes three six axle units, with one on the end. If you run prototypically then just add some appropriate locomotives.
     
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  9. Ike the BN Freak

    Ike the BN Freak TrainBoard Member

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    The block is structural. However you maybe able to get it out and drill some of the block to lighten the weight
     
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  10. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    On my autorack trains, I always run the MTL cars towards the front and the Red Caboose bi-levels towards the back (mixed in with Atlas or Athearn articulated racks if need be). Runs fine. I don't have tight radii, but i do have grades on my layout.
     
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  11. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ah, thank you Ike. I was afraid of that. I'm taking an actual look later today, and it kind of sounds not be worth it.

    If I can't get it done, no biggie. These cars are a tiny percentage of my rolling stock, so it doesn't really matter. Also no worries about multiple locos, that's almost standard for me. I'm not sure how many modelers pursue the recommended weights, but I've been pretty successful and both lightening and adding weight to whatever needed it through the years. Oh well, I'll weather and run them. All part of the fun IMHO.
     
  12. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    I have a mainline with 15" curves and one section where it is on a 2.5% grade. Put a 15-car train of 89' piggybacks, or a manifest with a couple 'legacy' autoracks in there and you'll find out pretty quickly that even that can be on the ragged edge of what works and doesn't stringline, or heaven help you if you even accelerate hard at that spot. I've had body-mount coupler flats consistently stringline in the front of the train and make sure the autoracks aren't up front. I don't consider 15" a tight radius myself.

    Having the heavier MT cars up at the front is actually a good idea. I also ended up with some Peter Harris/N Scale Kits flats and those along with the MT flats are the only ones that NEVER stringline or derail. I had to add weight to some of the vintage autoracks.

    This isn't unprototypical. Railroads have to pay a great deal of attention to empty car placement in a train. One of the worst derailments lately on CSX was a train coming through Baltimore....whoops.....
    https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2019/03/16/train-derailment-in-baltimore/
    Darn centerbeams anyway. I think they need truck mounts. (duck and cover!)
     
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  13. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    No grades. Almost two miles of level and I think there is a 15" curve on the inner track. I make my Amtrak slow down to 45mph there. :)
     
  14. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Now, after looking inside, the only way I can see it being lighter is to set up a jig on a drill press, and methodically drill out each roofless car to a specific depth. No way am I doing this, just my take on how to get it lighter the easiest.
     
  15. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    I do not worry if the cars are too heavy, I only worry when they are too light
     
  16. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    MTL just announced weathered autoracks in SP and Cotton Belt. I wonder if the dirt will add more weight (ducking) :)
     
  17. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    SP always washed their locomotives, they just put oil in the washers...
     
  18. nd-rails

    nd-rails TrainBoard Member

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    Manufacturers and designers do what they do to make and sell product- not meet some hyperthetical specs put together by a committee of nobody's who probably don't even do what they preach most of the time.
    Like others have said in general, heavier roll better. You soon find the 'lighter than smoke' cars when mixed in.
    If it ain't a problem- don't try and fix it.
    dave
     
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  19. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    "Manufacturers and designers do what they do to make and sell product- not meet some hyperthetical specs put together by a committee of nobody's who probably don't even do what they preach most of the time.
    Like others have said in general, heavier roll better. You soon find the 'lighter than smoke' cars when mixed in.
    If it ain't a problem- don't try and fix it.
    dave"

    Dave, not sure if you are kidding there. I buy a lot of American N-scale, mostly Atlas and MT. Those two major firms both come very close to NMRA standards. There's a good reason for that. All my standardized cars play really well together. I can run long long trains, and conduct operations. Here's the NMRA info: https://www.nmra.org/index-nmra-standards-and-recommended-practices

    I enjoy working my cars over and improving them in all ways. I don't have any trouble with light cars or tight radii or lack of power, and all of my cars are properly weighted to the gram. Again, the overweight MT auto rack is a problem I would like to address, and so I thought someone might have some experience here. It sounds like a known issue that has been largely ignored.
     
  20. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    I'll take a heavy car over a light car any day of the week. That said, I have a couple of the weathered auto racks & they ride fine.
     

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