N Scale Freight Car Height

CedarCreek Oct 27, 2019

  1. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    I don't know where you get your information but I have never, in my several decades in N scale, ever heard anyone criticize a model or a layout because the cars ride too high. The only exception is those folks on that other forum who call themselves 'asshats'. That being said, I will disagree with your original premise that, "The major problem with cars appearance is the space between the truck and the body." I would say first that it is not a problem, per se, nor is it a major issue. The major issues, appearance wise, in N scale are 9 3/4 inch curves, No.4 switches which necessitate the large coupling distance between cars. These are far more noticeable than the height of the car above the trucks.
     
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  2. Thomas Davis

    Thomas Davis TrainBoard Member

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    REMEMBER RULE 1- It is your railroad. Do the stuff that makes it more fun and rewarding for you. If ride height doesn't bother you, its ok not to fix it. Anyone who complains needs to offer to come in and do the work. Or at least bring beer or pizza or something to make the complaining more tolerable.

    That said, for those who want to get into the nitty gritty of ride height and loading docks....

    Here is a link to NMRA RP7.1, which is a bit more precise than the "standards" gauge since it includes all eras (the clearances circa 1885 were a lot tighter than the clearances circa 2015), and includes prototype and scale measurements. Dock height is "E". Remember, that is MAX dock height for clearance purposes, you are not required to make all docks that height.

    https://www.nmra.org/sites/default/...ck_centers_and_clearance_diagrams_2019.01.pdf
    There is another pdf that covers clearances for objects on curves.

    IMHO the "best practice" for freight cars is to find a diagram or plan of the car being modeled or a similar one, and adjust the ride height accordingly. The diagrams I have for C&EI boxcars built in the early 1950s designate a floor height of 3' 7.25" The actual height of a loaded car will be a bit less, as the springs will compress some when 40 tons is loaded in the car.

    Here is an ATSF flat car with a rail to floor dimension given as 3' 5.5"
    http://old.atsfrr.org/resources/zebrowski/folio/ft-pdf/ft5-f27a.pdf

    and one (from an earlier period but rebuilt in 1955) with a rail to floor dimension of 4' 1.25"
    http://old.atsfrr.org/resources/zebrowski/folio/ft-pdf/ft-ta.pdf

    The point is that there are some variations, even in prototype standards.

    Tom D

    This conversation reminds me that I have about 6 months of work to add on after all my passenger car projects- to get ride heights adjusted.
     
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  3. CedarCreek

    CedarCreek TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you! This is exactly I was looking for! When you completed the mod for the MT Plug how does it compare beside an atlas 40' plug?
    Do you have any pictures or could you provide a photo of the mod you made to the inside of the car?

    Nobody has really commented on the ride height of the atlas/model power 40' boxcars though...?
     
  4. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    I checked with a dock door installer. Ideal height for the floor of a boxcar is 49” with a 3” tolerance either way.
     
  5. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    That is the spec today. But, many of us model in a variety of yesteryears, soem as far back as the Civil War. All of the specs I have seen back to the earlt 1900s seem to have the box car floors at 48" or a little less. Of course, nobody is going to notice an inch in N scale. But, I wonder about those 1860s cars.
     
  6. CedarCreek

    CedarCreek TrainBoard Member

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    So this thread has been officially hijacked... (n)
     
  7. Run8Racing

    Run8Racing TrainBoard Member

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    I've never really been concerned with ride height of freight cars unless they resemble a monster truck. I've adjusted a few, but out of 600 cars, I probably did 20. Most were cabeese. I try to make all bottom steps the same height.
    I DO like to have my passenger car ride heights similar to Formula I cars. They appear more sleek, lower center of gravity, and I wouldn't want my Grandparents to step up 3' to board a train !!!
    After reading this thread, I hope I don't change my mind. That would be ALOT of work !!!
     
  8. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    No. The entire thread has been about car height. It might not be what you were looking for, but everyone’s posts have been relevant to the topic you initiated.
     
  9. CedarCreek

    CedarCreek TrainBoard Member

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    To be fair, I didn't really ask for or need the prototypical/NMRA standard floor height of a boxcar. My inquiry was really about the height difference between the MT 40' plug door boxcar and the atlas model, who's correct and potential solutions to fix it.

    Randgust provided some very good information and perhaps the simplest fix. While others feel providing the prototypical floor height will help.
    Not for me, but maybe for others reading the thread I guess.

    So, no offence to anyone, I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but as far as I'm concerned, when a thread goes off on tangents from the original question posted, it's "highjacked".
     
  10. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Unfortunately, such is the nature of forums.
     
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  11. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    But...

    If you know the prototype height...it would be simple to measure to see if either the MT freight car or the Atlas freight car are at the 'correct' height. JS

    :whistle::whistle:
     
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  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    That being said...I like randgust's solution myself. Lower the box itself...not the bolster etc.. You can always lower the box over the frame. But...You really cant raise it...JS.(y)
     
  13. CedarCreek

    CedarCreek TrainBoard Member

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    True. I could. But I assumed somebody out there already figured it out and had the info to share.
     
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  14. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I havent researched it yet...but I would almost bet someone has made an n scale gauge you can slide over the two rails with a vertical 'scale' the goes up on the outside of a boxcar that would give you the 'close enough' measurement of the bottom of the box height from the rails you are looking for. If not....I could be a rich man...soon...LOL.
     
  15. CedarCreek

    CedarCreek TrainBoard Member

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  16. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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  17. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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  18. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Went to one 'prototype modelers event'. Don't care to go to another. Just a bunch of self styled know-it-alls running around looking for an argument. No thanks, not my idea of a hobby. Besides, isn't that what wives are for? :) :) :)
     
  19. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Many of the "self styled know it alls" are well educated people that have devoted many hours of study to the subject. A few are jerks but there's a lot of good information to be gained at one of these events. The truth is, model railroading was once all Lionel and American Flyer. All layouts were a sheet of plywood painted green with spaghetti bowl tracks covering every square inch. From that grew the freelance layout which replaced the green plywood with some sort of scenery with the same spaghetti bown track plans. Many modelers soon became disinterested with these, as they really appealed to a 14 year old mind, and along came what we now know as the proto-freelance layout. It took the freelance layout much closer to a depiction of the real thing. Some tried that, ans thought, why not duplicate the real thing, rather than have something that looks like it was made by a guy on drugs. Prototype modeling is here and growing. It is a pursuit for those who have an interest in history and trains, by and large a more cerebral group that likes to study and duplicate the prototype. No, it's not fo the guys that slept through high school, and those who just like to play, but is is something that can't go away, even if you don't like it or the people. It may not be the coming thing, as it requires both scholarship and hand skills, but it is growing. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean its invalid.

    If you don't know what wives are for, I'm sorry for you.
     
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  20. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Your argumentative response proves my point. Thank you! Also, where did I state anything was invalid? Furthermore, I posted three smileys after my comment about wives. Apparently you did not notice or maybe humor is not prototypical, I don't know. Regardless, prototypical in N scale is arbitrary. No one is running prototypical flanges on their equipment in N scale. That one inch prototypical flange in the 1/160 world scales out to be .00625 inches. The NMRA standard flange in N scale is .022 inches (NMRA S4.2). That is over 3.5 times the prototypical flange. The NMRA fine scale flange depth is .017 inches (NMRA S4.1). Micro Trains Lo Profile flange wheels had a flange of .018 inches. Again both grossly oversized by a factor of about 3. But here's a question for you. What do you do when you body mount the coupler then lower the car to a more prototypical ride height and as a result the coupler is now too low?
     
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