On the Test Track: Vintage style with the MTH Q-type subway set

Posted by Bob Keller
on Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Q-type car set blasts past the station on the CTT test track.

The no. 30-20427-1 Q-type subway set from MTH Electric Trains was the first equipment I tested as a Contributing Editor and it was a fun run.

The original cars were originally assembled between 1903 and 1907 for Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT), and were re-built in 1938 to accommodate the surge for the 1939 World’s Fair.

They were primarily wooden and were erected by a wide several companies. They appeared similar to passenger cars operated by steam railroads of the day, and travelers entered through doors at the ends of the cars. Crewmen opened gates for entry and exit and these were called gated cars.

The 1930s upgrade included two side doors in a style any subway rider today would recognize. Operationally, they were run in three-car sets.

I don’t have a problem running subway or elevated cars on a layout that is primarily freight and passenger, but I thought these cars fit unusually well. The car’s appearance and their clerestory roof fits-right-in with traditionally-sized heavyweight cars (at least my mix of Lionel and RailKing cars).

If someone says “Hey those were electrics,” just point out that your railroad’s shop turned them into diesel units (wink, wink). So I wouldn’t fret about running them with steam or early diesel power.

There was a nice level of detail and I liked the fact that the windows of the powered unit were glazed, so you didn’t see the electronics and spoil the illusion of reality.

I was a bit surprised this was a ghost train, but this is the RailKing line and if you want passengers, you can add them yourself.

Performance was good, nice lows and a high speed that was probably higher than the real thing ever got! This set is a bit more fun than your typical stainless steel  tube, thanks to the retro appearance.

O gauge Q type subway car set from MTH

Price:$439.95 (no. 30-20427-1 powered car set) and $219.95 (unpowered three-car set) Current production:Metropolitan Transport blue or green.

The interiors have seats and illumination. They look like a vintage steam railway coach.

The powered unit has frosted plastic inserted to hide the internal electronics the car carries.

The set tracks well at high-speed.

The car set works its way through the switches at a pretty good clip without a problem.

Next time I'll have to remember to hide my coffee cup ...

The interior lighting can create some amazing imagery in dark lighting.

The set looks good as an elevated train, or as a self propelled unit in the spirit of an RDC. Hey, its your railroad after all.

To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community


Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month