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Walthers 85-foot passenger cars on a 4x8 layout

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Walthers 85-foot passenger cars on a 4x8 layout
Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, November 30, 2020 4:27 PM

[EDITED]

Hey all,

I've been looking at purchasing some newer Walthers 85' passenger cars to expand my Great Northern Empire Builder consist and update it a bit. My current passenger car fleet is made up of some older Rivarossi/IHC passenger cars that handle my curves just fine, including 18' when I want to run them around my Christmas tree!

Will these newer Walthers passenger cars (just the older "Walthers" brand, not the newer "Walthers Proto" stuff) track well on my 4x8 foot layout? My outer radius is around 23&1/2 inches, which handles everything I run, including a Walthers 85' Superliner.

Note:

These newer ones I speak of appear to be from the later 2000's and early 2010's before Walthers came out with the Empire Builder as a name train. They appear to have no grab irons like the newer Walthers or WalthersProto cars. 

Thanks!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:11 PM

BurlingtonNorthern2264

Hey all,

I've been looking at purchasing some newer Walthers 85' passenger cars to expand my Great Northern Empire Builder consist and update it a bit. My current passenger car fleet is made up of some older Rivarossi/IHC passenger cars that handle my curves just fine, including 18' when I want to run them around my Christmas tree!

Will these newer Walthers passenger cars (just the older "Walthers" brand, not the newer "Walthers Proto" stuff) track well on my 4x8 foot layout? My outer radius is around 23&1/2 inches, which handles everything I run.

Thanks! 

I don't think older vs. newer 85' Walthers passenger cars matter for minimum radius. 

My Walthers RTR 85' passenger cars list from the last 10 or so years 24" recommended minimum radius.  Many report they don't operate very well until you get upwards of 28" minimum radius. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:33 PM

On my last layout, the Walthers 85' passenger cars ran fine on 32" and 30" radius curves, but less so on 28" curves. On the layout before that, I had 22" and 24" radius curves, and there were significant derailment problems.

One solution would be to install long centershank couplers, as opposed to medium centershank couplers, between the cars to avoid snagging the end of one car against the end of another car.

Rich

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:35 PM
What makes no sense to me is how my Superliner operates great on my curves. I'm assuming these will run fine, but possibly the diaphragms could tense things up along the train. Maybe if I put my Rivarossi cars in between the Walthers ones since they have no diaphragms, they will operate fine. If my new ones do not work out, I could always try converting the trucks into "talgo" ones with truck-mounted couplers.
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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:37 PM

richhotrain

On my last layout, the Walthers 85' passenger cars ran fine on 32" and 30" radius curves, but less so on 28" curves. On the layout before that, I had 22" and 24" radius curves, and there were significant derailment problems.

One solution would be to install long centershank couplers, as opposed to medium centershank couplers, between the cars to avoid snagging the end of one car against the end of another car.

Rich

 

That sounds reasonable. I think I might switch out the couplers or switch out the trucks entirely to talgo ones for the time being since the diaphragms seem most likely to cause problems. We'll see though, they could end up running fine.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:40 PM

BurlingtonNorthern2264
What makes no sense to me is how my Superliner operates great on my curves. I'm assuming these will run fine, but possibly the diaphragms could tense things up along the train. Maybe if I put my Rivarossi cars in between the Walthers ones since they have no diaphragms, they will operate fine. If my new ones do not work out, I could always try converting the trucks into "talgo" ones with truck-mounted couplers. 

If those Superliners run fine on your layout, then the other 85' Walthers cars should run OK. 

Don't put the Rivarossi cars between the Walthers cars. That would be an outrage. Ick!

And, whatever you do, avoid Talgo trucks.  Ick!Ick!

The better solution would be longer couplers.

Rich

 

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:40 PM

Do you have any reccomendations for switching out the stock couplers?

I'm surfing Walthers right now and came across these "Long Shank Extended Drawbar" things that appear to make the drawbar longer-could I just use these?

That talgo truck option was kind of a last resort, but my Rivarossi cars seem to run just fine with them. The IHC ones need a bit more weight as they do derail a lot compared to my IHC ones which have a bit more.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:50 PM

What I do is place a Medium Centerset Shank (#148) on one end of each car and a Long Centerset Shank (#146) on the other end of each car. That gives me enough clearance without the appearance of a long void between each car. If there still is a problem, then put #146 couplers on both ends of every car.

Rich

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, November 30, 2020 5:59 PM

Is this what you mean? https://www.kadee.com/ho-scale-couplers-c-272_230_231/146-ho-scale-140series-whisker-metal-couplers-with-gearboxes-long-2564-centerset-shank-p-296.htm and https://www.kadee.com/ho-scale-couplers-c-272_230_231/148-ho-scale-140series-whisker-metal-couplers-with-gearboxes-universal-medium-932-centerset-shank-p-298.htm

 

Will these fit straight into the Walthers cars without any modification?

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 9:03 PM

BurlingtonNorthern2264

Yes, that is the coupler that I was referring to. You should be able to swap out the couplers without any other modifications.

Rich

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, November 30, 2020 9:13 PM

I've learned to stay away from Walthers passenger cars.  I have 24" R., and had problems.

Bachmann and Rapido, no problems.

Mike.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, November 30, 2020 9:31 PM

I haven’t had any Walther’s cars but I did have some Bachmann 85’ dome cars that never derailed in my single 24” radius curve.  They didn’t have diaphragms.  I no longer run the 85’ cars because they look strange with my Athearn 72’ cars.  

I had problems with my Athearn cars when I added diaphragms but with some fiddling around I finally got the diaphragms to work without derailing.  Making the diaphragm connecting plates smooth enough to allow easy slippage was the fix, extremely smooth plates with little pressure and no derailing.

All my Athearn passenger cars have Talgo trucks and no problems even backing into my yard Atlas #4 turnouts.  All my passenger cars have Athearn metal wheel sets.

I do run all my rolling stock slightly over NMRA weight.  I just prefer heavier cars to prevent the cars from wobbling over turnouts when running at creep speeds.

I like the Kadee Scale couplers and to prevent accidental uncoupling I went to the Scale Shelf Coupler.  They can be a problem uncoupling using a tool but work great over the Kadee magnets or electric uncoupler.  
 

Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 30, 2020 9:57 PM

mbinsewi

I've learned to stay away from Walthers passenger cars.  I have 24" R., and had problems.

Bachmann and Rapido, no problems.

Mike. 

Out of the box, Walthers 85' passenger cars are not without problems, but at least those problems are fixable by swapping out the couplers for Kadees and reaming the trucks a bit for better rolling of wheelsets. Even a drop of lubricating oil on axle points helps.

Rich

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, November 30, 2020 10:22 PM

richhotrain
Out of the box, Walthers 85' passenger cars are not without problems, but at least those problems are fixable by swapping out the couplers for Kadees and reaming the trucks a bit for better rolling of wheelsets. Even a drop of lubricating oil on axle points helps.

Hi Rich,

Thanks for the suggestions. I have a Canadian Pacific 'Canadian' train. On my old club's portable layout half of them would not run even on the 30"+ radius curves. I was very disappointed. The curves on my new layout will range from 24.75" to just under 27" so I really need all the help I can get to figure out how to improve the cars' ability to stay on the rails. I just ordered a bunch of Kadee #146 long shank couplers as a start.

Edit: I have just started a thread on the General Discussion forum asking specifically what modifications people have made to their Walthers 85' cars to get them to run reliably on 24" radii.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/285269.aspx

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, November 30, 2020 10:47 PM
Thank you for all the replies! I'll just order those Kadee #146 couplers as a replacement, and see how they run. I'm planning on getting 4 cars (to increase my Empire Builder consist length from 5 to 9 cars, and 11 if I'm modeling a BN passenger train).
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 4:31 PM

richhotrain

What I do is place a Medium Centerset Shank (#148) on one end of each car and a Long Centerset Shank (#146) on the other end of each car. That gives me enough clearance without the appearance of a long void between each car. If there still is a problem, then put #146 couplers on both ends of every car.

Rich

 
That's what I do too, it seems to make a big difference.
 
Note that the Walthers cars don't come with body mounted couplers/coupler boxes, they're on a sprung pivot so they can move left or right to follow the car in front of them.
Stix
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 7:43 AM

Here is a thought.  You could rebuild a slightly larger layout, say a 4.5 x 8' layout.  The extra 6" added to the width would allow you increase the maximum radius to say, 25" radius (if you are up to using flex track).  The inner radius could be 22" if you have a double track oval.  A 25" outer radius would be much friendlier to scale length passengerr cars.  Something to consider if you really want to run longer cars - rebuliding a small layout to break free of the 4x8 straight jacket could be liberating.

As for the Christmas tree, why not buy a circle of Kato Unitrack. It has a built in base and you can get larger curves such as 24"R, 26 3/8"R and 28 3/4"R.  I'd suggest one of the latter two curves for longer passenger cars and you can set it up under a Christmas tree to run trains, and drive the cats crazy if you have them!

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 8:24 AM
That's an interesting thought! A slightly larger layout would be interesting, although I am now quite far into construction so that would require a lot of tearing up just to add that extra radius. I'll keep that in mind though. As for the Kato Unitrack, I never knew they had that large of a radius for their tracks. That seems like an interesting idea, I might replace my single loop sometime with 2 Unitrack ones, since even my 72' passenger cars look wrong on my current one.
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 12:12 PM

Kato Unitrack goes all the way up to 31 1/8th inch radius, along with the others I mentioned, and smaller.  They have quite a selection.  Technically they have a 34 inch curve but those are only half sections, and I think are made for sidings.

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Sunday, December 13, 2020 5:06 PM
Alright, so what I now plan on doing is getting those longer shank Kadees, to see if they will negotiate my 23.5'' radius curves. If worse comes to worse, I'll replace the trucks with Walthers' Talgo ones (which is fine with me as I do not do switching moves or run my current Rivarossi/IHC cars backwards often). I could always make my layout slightly bigger (say a 8x5) which will allow longer radius curves, around 26''.
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Posted by jjdamnit on Sunday, December 13, 2020 6:28 PM

Hello All,

BurlingtonNorthern2264
...including 18'  Surprise when I want to run them around my Christmas tree!

Eighteen-foot curves!?! I'm guessing you meant 18-inch.

On the "mainline" of my 4'x8' pike the curves are asymmetrical; 1/4 of the curve is 18-inch and the other 1/4 is 15-inch.

To avoid the "S" made of 4 Atlas Snap Switches I reworked the track plan and added a modified PECO curved turnout with a 5-inch easement to a siding to a crossover made with 2 Snap Switches. 

Occasionally I will run the Bachmann Royal Gorge train.

This train consists of an F-7 A-B-B consist with two 85-foot passenger cars and a domed observation car with an F-7 A unit on the end facing backward- -like the prototypical train does for the return run.

Yes, the 85-foot cars will negotiate the sharp curves and the "S" curve before the track rework, but the overhang is comical.

The "Olde Tyme" excursion train that runs on my pike is lead by a USRA 0-6-0 with a Vanderbilt tender pulling a 42-foot RPO car, two 42-foot passenger cars, a converted 28-foot gondola for passenger seating with a bobber caboose.

A 0-4-0 Side Tank Porter is used as a helper up the curved 3% grade then cut loose before the train descends the historic spiral trellis (helix) made of 15-inch curved sectional track.

Due to the constraints of my pike I cannot run 6-axle diesels.

If I could move to a 5'x9' area it would solve a lot of problems.

However "She Who Must Be Obeyed" has set the limitations of how much space I can have in the spare bed/computer/train room.

Rather than lamenting what I can't run I enjoy the challenge of making what I can run work.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Sunday, December 13, 2020 7:35 PM

That's not exactly what I'm getting at. The Bachmann passenger cars can negotiate 18-inch radius curves no problem (not sure about the full dome though). The reason I was asking this is because the Walthers cars I have have a 24'' minimum radius recommendation. Looking at the cars in person it seems that the main problem would be the diaphragms, so I'm getting long shank couplers to make the gap bigger. While it does not look as good, it will result in better operation.

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Sunday, December 13, 2020 7:41 PM

jjdamnit

 

Due to the constraints of my pike I cannot run 6-axle diesels.

 

 

 

Weird, I run my 6-axle diesels on my 4x8 all the time. My maximum radius is around 23 1/2 inches, which handles practically everything I have. I have plans to add a sort of removable barrier round the edge as a precaution to prevent derailments. That is, until my plan to increase the width to 5' goes into action, which means 26-inch radius curves at most. With that and the extended shank couplers my "Mini Builder" will operate very well. In fact, now that the length of my train is 9 cars (and possibly larger in future), my single F7 will not be able to pull it!

 

Now I need to shift my focus to the cars I need most-the observation, Great Dome, baggage-dormitory, and some more F-units!

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, December 14, 2020 1:05 PM

Hello All,

BurlingtonNorthern2264
...I run my 6-axle diesels on my 4x8 all the time. My maximum radius is around 23 1/2 inches...

With the asymmetrical curves of my 4'x8' track plan, the mainline radius averages out to 17-1/2-inches.

In theory, 24-inch radii curves are possible on a 48-inch wide space.

Practical...perhaps not, running so close to the edge.

However, in my opinion, a large oval is not a track plan.

A track plan incorporates the challenges of the space given allowing for maximum challenge/entertainment.

John Allen's Time Saver Switching Puzzle wasn't large but presented the challenges and entertainment I speak of.

Selective compression is a compromise all modelers face- -whether in track plan, motive power, rolling stock, scenery, or structures.

You, the modeler have to decide which compromises are to be made to achieve the outcome you desire.

BurlingtonNorthern2264
...it seems that the main problem would be the diaphragms...

As I previously posted, I can run 85-foot cars over the track plan I have chosen. But they look comically unrealistic.

If my goal was to run those cars I would need to make compromises in the track plan to accommodate that goal. 

My choice is to make concessions in the motive power and rolling stock to implement my track plan of choice.

To run the cars you wish a concession you might have to make is to remove the diaphragms.

Compromise is the bane of all modelers no matter the size of the space presented.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, December 14, 2020 1:44 PM

Yes, an excellent idea. I'd probably run mine around 2-3 inches above, a good height to prevent derailments but easy enough to reach over. 

 

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, December 14, 2020 1:50 PM

[quote user="jjdamnit"

 

  

 

With the asymmetrical curves of my 4'x8' track plan, the mainline radius averages out to 17-1/2-inches.

In theory, 24-inch radii curves are possible on a 48-inch wide space. Practical...perhaps not running so close to the edge.

However, in my opinion, a large oval is not a track plan.

A track plan incorporates the challenges of the space given allowing for maximum challenge/entertainment.

Selective compression is a compromise all modelers face- -whether in track plan, motive power, rolling stock, scenery, or structures.

You, the modeler have to decide which compromises are to be made.

 

 
 

 

As I previously posted, I can run 85-foot cars over the track plan I have chosen. But they look comically unrealistic.

If my goal was to run those cars I would need to make compromises in the track plan to accommodate that goal. 

My choice is to make concessions in the motive power and rolling stock to implement my track plan of choice.

To run the cars you wish a concession you might have to make is to remove the diaphragms.

Compromise is the bane of all modelers no matter the size of the space presented.

Hope this helps.

 

[/quote]

I am trying to find a balance between ease of use, simplicity, and operation. My layout I am working on right now is probably not going to be permanent, and while I'll still scenic it up and such once we move out of our rental house I will have more space to work, and accomodate such large cars. I've thought about making it a 5x8, to make the curves broader and add more space inside for industries and switching possibilities.

 

I find that 85-foot cars on a tight radius is fine to me, as long as they run well that's good enough. My 6-axle SD40-2, SD45, SD60, and AC4400 locomotives look pretty good on my curves, and most of my freight cars are below 60 feet. Thus, this has never been a problem. I reckon my problem will be solved with the long shank couplers and with a 5x8 layout, almost nonexistent. Thank you for the suggestions though!

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, December 14, 2020 2:33 PM

Hello All,

As you move through this great hobby and seek advice you will encounter a full spectrum of opinions.

From the "Rivet Counter- -'Not on my railroad!'" to the "I just want to run trains no matter what".

All are valid perspectives.

BurlingtonNorthern2264
...that's good enough.

Many accomplished modelers have that same outlook.

Please understand I don't want to be a "Bobby Bummer" and dissuade you from what you hope to accomplish.

Sort through all our opinions and prejudices to find the answer(s) that lead to the solutions and goals you seek (see my signature/disclaimer).

Keep the questions coming, and...

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Monday, December 14, 2020 4:29 PM
Thank you very much for that explanation, I understood where you were getting at now :)
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Posted by BurlingtonNorthern2264 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 10:43 AM
As an update, I just received my 4 passenger cars from Walthers. They seem to roll fine on their own and with my Rivarossi cars through quite tight curves. I've got them through an 18'' radius curve but I'm planning to stick with at least 24 inches so they look good. However, the diaphragms and coupler length is the problem, as the couplers are short in length and so the diaphragms rub against each other. Long shank couplers should fix the problem, and I still plan to add a foot of width to my layout to make the cars perform nicer.
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 3:16 PM

BurlingtonNorthern2264
However, the diaphragms and coupler length is the problem, as the couplers are short in length and so the diaphragms rub against each other. Long shank couplers should fix the problem, and I still plan to add a foot of width to my layout to make the cars perform nicer.

I wish I could dig my passenger cars out and show pictures of what I did. I used flexible diaphragms on only one of the two 85 foot cars, and I can run them on 22 inch radius curves. The cars just all need to be coupled together in the right order now.

Going from 4 feet to 5 feet introduces all kinds of unexpected problems with access and maintenance unless the layout is an island.

If you are going to do this, mock it all up out of cardboard first and be sure you can live with it.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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