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Minimum Radius for HO

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 1:18 PM

richhotrain
 
riogrande5761

My minimum is 32" radius, but most of my curves are a bit larger.  If anyone has a link to the topic on making Walthers passenger cars work better on curves, please past it in here.  

If you follow the suggestion that I am about to make, you make hear some weeping and gnashing of teeth, but here goes nothing. There are lots of threads that touch on the topic of making Walthers passenger cars work better on curves. My suggestion is to start a new thread that will hopefully focus on this issue.

Rich

Nah, I'm not that far gone.  But someone mentioned a topic earlier.  If a link is posted, great.  If not, I'll forget about it until some time in the future.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 4:07 PM

richhotrain

 

 
John-NYBW
 
fwright

Curve radius is most closely related to the length of rolling stock you are going to use.  A rule of thumb was developed a while back that said you needed a minimum radius of 3x the length (in inches) of your longest car for RELIABLE operation.  Under this standard, min radius for a 40ft model car in HO (6" long) is 18".  Full length (80ft) passenger cars (12" actual) need 36" radius curves.  At 3X body-mounted couplers will stay mated, and underbody detail can usually stay intact.  Coupling/uncoupling on 3X is normally not possible.  

I hadn't heard that standard before but it seems like a reasonable one based on my experiences. Some brands of full length passenger cars operate more reliably than others so that has to be factored in as well. Just one correction. An 80 foot passenger car is only 11", not 12". 80 feet is 960 inches. Divide by 87.1 gets you almost exactly 11". Now an 85 foot passenger car is almost 12". An 80 foot passenger car would therefore call for 33" radius. That's very close to what I consider to be the minimum which is 32".

 

 

I have used that 3x standard in the past, and it is reliable. I have Walthers and Rapido 85' passenger cars as well as IHC 80' passenger cars, and John's calculations are correct.

 

I went down to my layout to measure these cars. The IHC 80' cars are just over 11", and the Walthers/Rapido 85' cars are just under 11.75". If you carry the calculations out four decimal points, you get 11.0218" and 11.7107", respectively.

As John indicates, they run well on 32" radius curves and, in my opinion, they look best running on 36" radius curves, or broader.

Rich

 

You need to include the couplers in the measurement.

From the LDSIG

"This measurement is based on the length of your longest car (coupler to coupler).

 

HO EXAMPLES

For example, an HO forty foot box car is about 6" long, coupler to coupler. Here are the curve radius guidelines if your longest cars are forty footers:"

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 11:19 AM

IRONROOSTER
 
richhotrain 
John-NYBW 
fwright

Curve radius is most closely related to the length of rolling stock you are going to use.  A rule of thumb was developed a while back that said you needed a minimum radius of 3x the length (in inches) of your longest car for RELIABLE operation.  Under this standard, min radius for a 40ft model car in HO (6" long) is 18".  Full length (80ft) passenger cars (12" actual) need 36" radius curves.  At 3X body-mounted couplers will stay mated, and underbody detail can usually stay intact.  Coupling/uncoupling on 3X is normally not possible.  

I hadn't heard that standard before but it seems like a reasonable one based on my experiences. Some brands of full length passenger cars operate more reliably than others so that has to be factored in as well. Just one correction. An 80 foot passenger car is only 11", not 12". 80 feet is 960 inches. Divide by 87.1 gets you almost exactly 11". Now an 85 foot passenger car is almost 12". An 80 foot passenger car would therefore call for 33" radius. That's very close to what I consider to be the minimum which is 32". 

I have used that 3x standard in the past, and it is reliable. I have Walthers and Rapido 85' passenger cars as well as IHC 80' passenger cars, and John's calculations are correct. 

I went down to my layout to measure these cars. The IHC 80' cars are just over 11", and the Walthers/Rapido 85' cars are just under 11.75". If you carry the calculations out four decimal points, you get 11.0218" and 11.7107", respectively.

As John indicates, they run well on 32" radius curves and, in my opinion, they look best running on 36" radius curves, or broader.

Rich 

You need to include the couplers in the measurement.

From the LDSIG

"This measurement is based on the length of your longest car (coupler to coupler).

When I measure the passenger car for determining the 3x standard, I measure diaphragm to diaphragm. I do not take the couplers into for this purpose because performance of long passenger cars can actually be improved on curves by using longer couplers. So, I only care about the length of the car itself. Aside from coupler length, what really affects performance on curves is the number of axles and the length of the wheelbase.

Rich

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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 12:35 PM

richhotrain
You need to include the couplers in the measurement.

From the LDSIG

"This measurement is based on the length of your longest car (coupler to coupler).  When I measure the passenger car for determining the 3x standard, I measure diaphragm to diaphragm. I do not take the couplers into for this purpose because performance of long passenger cars can actually be improved on curves by using longer couplers. So, I only care about the length of the car itself. Aside from coupler length, what really affects performance on curves is the number of axles and the length of the wheelbase.

Rich

Hey guys, the LDSIG developed a "rule of thumb", not a standard or a requirement. The radius rule of thumb allowed a quick look at a layout design with the anticipated equipment and givens/druthers to see if all was compatible. Haggling over whether or not couplers are included in order to "meet the requirement" is a fool's errand, even though the LDSIG rule did officially measure over the couplers.

I use a test oval of 15" and 18" radius for my HO/HOn3 equipment to check compatibility and tracking issues. My modules comply with modular radius standards (much larger min radius), but my home layouts can have curves that small. Having the test oval helps prevent me from buying equipment representing too modern a prototype, and regretting the purchase later.

With my curves, I need to run Overton style passenger cars, and not even try to fit 60ft passenger cars, even though there were plenty of 60ft prototypes in that era. By having no long passenger cars to compare to, the shorter cars don't look bad or out of place.

Fred W

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 1:09 PM

Good point, Fred. I was repeating the terminology from earliest posts. Usually, I refer to it as the 3x rule.

By the way, you have my quotes and Iron Rooster's quotes mixed up.

Rich

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 1:13 PM

IRONROOSTER

 

 
richhotrain

 

 
John-NYBW
 
fwright

Curve radius is most closely related to the length of rolling stock you are going to use.  A rule of thumb was developed a while back that said you needed a minimum radius of 3x the length (in inches) of your longest car for RELIABLE operation.  Under this standard, min radius for a 40ft model car in HO (6" long) is 18".  Full length (80ft) passenger cars (12" actual) need 36" radius curves.  At 3X body-mounted couplers will stay mated, and underbody detail can usually stay intact.  Coupling/uncoupling on 3X is normally not possible.  

I hadn't heard that standard before but it seems like a reasonable one based on my experiences. Some brands of full length passenger cars operate more reliably than others so that has to be factored in as well. Just one correction. An 80 foot passenger car is only 11", not 12". 80 feet is 960 inches. Divide by 87.1 gets you almost exactly 11". Now an 85 foot passenger car is almost 12". An 80 foot passenger car would therefore call for 33" radius. That's very close to what I consider to be the minimum which is 32".

 

 

I have used that 3x standard in the past, and it is reliable. I have Walthers and Rapido 85' passenger cars as well as IHC 80' passenger cars, and John's calculations are correct.

 

I went down to my layout to measure these cars. The IHC 80' cars are just over 11", and the Walthers/Rapido 85' cars are just under 11.75". If you carry the calculations out four decimal points, you get 11.0218" and 11.7107", respectively.

As John indicates, they run well on 32" radius curves and, in my opinion, they look best running on 36" radius curves, or broader.

Rich

 

 

 

You need to include the couplers in the measurement.

From the LDSIG

"This measurement is based on the length of your longest car (coupler to coupler).

 

HO EXAMPLES

For example, an HO forty foot box car is about 6" long, coupler to coupler. Here are the curve radius guidelines if your longest cars are forty footers:"

 

 

On cars where I replace truck mounted couplers with body mounts and I add the diaphragms, I set coupler box so that the couple is only about 1/16" beyond the diaphragm. This seems to me the best balance between appearance and performance. The cars couple close enough so the diaphragms are barely touching each other and as long as the diaphragms have some give, they will not cause the cars to derail. With so little difference, it doesn't much matter how you measure. 

Some of my RTR passenger cars have the entire coupler head extending beyond the diaphragm and the diaphragms do not touch unless I add extensions to them. 

I have one set of MTH passenger cars. They have two positions for the coupler box, one for close coupling and the other which allows them to run on tighter radii. If they are close coupled, the full width diaphragms are touching but they don't perform well. I think that would be good on 40" or broader radii. I don't like the other setting because that creates too big a gap. My compromise is to designate a front and rear for each car and set the front coupler to close coupling and the rear for more coupler extension. The diaphragms almost touch and the cars will usually handle 32" radii. I used to have the couplers set on both ends to close coupling but derailments were too frequent that way.

The RTR Walthers cars have couplers barely beyond the diaphragm so they couple closely. One factor I haven't seen discussed is diaphragm stiffness. Some require more force than others to collapse the diaphragm. The Walthers diaphragms seem quite stiff and I wonder if that contributes to their poor performance.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 3:46 PM

John-NYBW

One factor I haven't seen discussed is diaphragm stiffness. Some require more force than others to collapse the diaphragm. The Walthers diaphragms seem quite stiff and I wonder if that contributes to their poor performance. 

Yes, in my experience, the stiffness of the Walthers diaphragms do contribute to poor performance out of the box. With each new car, I work the diaphragms back and forth several times to loosen them up a bit.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 8:01 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
IRONROOSTER

 

 
richhotrain

 

 
John-NYBW
 
fwright

Curve radius is most closely related to the length of rolling stock you are going to use.  A rule of thumb was developed a while back that said you needed a minimum radius of 3x the length (in inches) of your longest car for RELIABLE operation.  Under this standard, min radius for a 40ft model car in HO (6" long) is 18".  Full length (80ft) passenger cars (12" actual) need 36" radius curves.  At 3X body-mounted couplers will stay mated, and underbody detail can usually stay intact.  Coupling/uncoupling on 3X is normally not possible.  

I hadn't heard that standard before but it seems like a reasonable one based on my experiences. Some brands of full length passenger cars operate more reliably than others so that has to be factored in as well. Just one correction. An 80 foot passenger car is only 11", not 12". 80 feet is 960 inches. Divide by 87.1 gets you almost exactly 11". Now an 85 foot passenger car is almost 12". An 80 foot passenger car would therefore call for 33" radius. That's very close to what I consider to be the minimum which is 32".

 

 

I have used that 3x standard in the past, and it is reliable. I have Walthers and Rapido 85' passenger cars as well as IHC 80' passenger cars, and John's calculations are correct.

 

I went down to my layout to measure these cars. The IHC 80' cars are just over 11", and the Walthers/Rapido 85' cars are just under 11.75". If you carry the calculations out four decimal points, you get 11.0218" and 11.7107", respectively.

As John indicates, they run well on 32" radius curves and, in my opinion, they look best running on 36" radius curves, or broader.

Rich

 

 

 

You need to include the couplers in the measurement.

From the LDSIG

"This measurement is based on the length of your longest car (coupler to coupler).

 

HO EXAMPLES

For example, an HO forty foot box car is about 6" long, coupler to coupler. Here are the curve radius guidelines if your longest cars are forty footers:"

 

 

 

 

On cars where I replace truck mounted couplers with body mounts and I add the diaphragms, I set coupler box so that the couple is only about 1/16" beyond the diaphragm. This seems to me the best balance between appearance and performance. The cars couple close enough so the diaphragms are barely touching each other and as long as the diaphragms have some give, they will not cause the cars to derail. With so little difference, it doesn't much matter how you measure. 

Some of my RTR passenger cars have the entire coupler head extending beyond the diaphragm and the diaphragms do not touch unless I add extensions to them. 

I have one set of MTH passenger cars. They have two positions for the coupler box, one for close coupling and the other which allows them to run on tighter radii. If they are close coupled, the full width diaphragms are touching but they don't perform well. I think that would be good on 40" or broader radii. I don't like the other setting because that creates too big a gap. My compromise is to designate a front and rear for each car and set the front coupler to close coupling and the rear for more coupler extension. The diaphragms almost touch and the cars will usually handle 32" radii. I used to have the couplers set on both ends to close coupling but derailments were too frequent that way.

The RTR Walthers cars have couplers barely beyond the diaphragm so they couple closely. One factor I haven't seen discussed is diaphragm stiffness. Some require more force than others to collapse the diaphragm. The Walthers diaphragms seem quite stiff and I wonder if that contributes to their poor performance.

 

And this is why I put American Limited diaphragms on all my passenger cars no matter what they came with or did not come with.

Same coupler mounting specs, using long shank Kadee couplers, same diaphragms on all cars. Diaphragms touch and stay touching all the time, no issues.

There is no question in my mind that many of the diaphragms on new passenger cars are way too stiff for correct operation. Yet I run these close coupled at distances only few scale inches greater that actual prototype coupling distances.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 28, 2022 10:30 AM

Minimum radius tends to be dictated by the realities of the space available.

My minimum mainline radius will be 22 inches on hidden track, and 36" visible. My switching area will drop to 18 inches minimum radius.

It is important that all your equipment will handle the minimum OK. I have an obstacle course that I set up with Kato Unitrack and make sure EVERY piece of equipment that will operate on the layout will take a 22 inch S-Curve in both directions when coupled in between an odd sized freight car and a locomotive.

-Photograph by Kevin Parson

All locomotives must do it coupled to a 50 foot boxcar.

Anything that will run on the industrial section must do a similar test on an 18 inch sectional S-Curve test track.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, July 28, 2022 11:51 AM

Kevin I get what you're doing and why  you're doing it, but it is no substitute for actually laying track on the layout and seeing the results.

Rich

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Posted by snjroy on Thursday, July 28, 2022 12:25 PM

While rules of thumb are useful, they should not be considered as a minimum standard for all situations, in my opinion. My layout has 22" radius curves, without S curves or slopes. I can operate 80' Rivarossi passengers and 8-driver steamers (including some brass). All uncloupling ramps were installed on straight track. Trackwork is not perfect, but it is level all ways. I get very few derailments - most of them due to human error Confused. So I would say, consider all the variables before making decisions, including track plan, rolling stock manufacturer and type of operations.

Simon

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, July 28, 2022 3:13 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

There is no question in my mind that many of the diaphragms on new passenger cars are way too stiff for correct operation. Yet I run these close coupled at distances only few scale inches greater that actual prototype coupling distances.

Sheldon

 

You've sold me. I just ordered a set of American Limited diaphragms on ebay for 6 Athearn heavyweight cars. If these work out, I might redo my whole passenger fleet although it will get expensive. Diaphragms for 6 passenger cars cost almost $48 when tax and shipping are added. If it will alleviate the derailing problems I'm have with many of my passenger cars it will be money well spent.

One question. Do you have any full length Walthers lightweight passenger cars in your fleet and if so did you replace their diaphragms with the American Limited ones?

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, July 28, 2022 3:32 PM

John, be sure to report back on how those American Limited diaphragms work out. I have often been tempted to follow Sheldon's advice in this regard, but so far I have not acted for a variety of reasons.

One reason is cost. I have 11 passenger trains, each with 5 to 7 full size (85') cars. So, I would be looking at over $500 to complete the conversion.

A second reason is that at this time I have my passenger trains fine tuned, so derailments are not a problem.

Another reason is that you need to remove the factory installed diaphragms and, as I understand it, once removed they cannot be re-installed. I am not prepared to take such a permanent step.

One other reason is that all of my passenger cars have various combinations of medium and long couplers to provide the necessary spacing to prevent snagging on curves. These couplers would likely all need to be replaced with short couplers for close coupling in order to benefit from the new diaphragms. I would be looking at buying over 120 new couplers. That just adds to the the overall cost of conversion.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2022 4:40 PM

richhotrain

John, be sure to report back on how those American Limited diaphragms work out. I have often been tempted to follow Sheldon's advice in this regard, but so far I have not acted for a variety of reasons.

One reason is cost. I have 11 passenger trains, each with 5 to 7 full size (85') cars. So, I would be looking at over $500 to complete the conversion.

A second reason is that at this time I have my passenger trains fine tuned, so derailments are not a problem.

Another reason is that you need to remove the factory installed diaphragms and, as I understand it, once removed they cannot be re-installed. I am not prepared to take such a permanent step.

One other reason is that all of my passenger cars have various combinations of medium and long couplers to provide the necessary spacing to prevent snagging on curves. These couplers would likely all need to be replaced with short couplers for close coupling in order to benefit from the new diaphragms. I would be looking at buying over 120 new couplers. That just adds to the the overall cost of conversion.

Rich

 

A few thoughts and some information.

Yes, once modified there is no going back. For me that is not an issue because I have never considered the "factory specification" anything special about any model train. 

If that thought is about resale value - there you have it, I have never even considered the idea of "preserving resale value". I think of that as something LIONEL collectors worry about.

But, my view comes from a place and time in the hobby when most rolling stock was kit built - and again, no plans to EVER sell.

Couplers - I actually use long shank couplers, Kadee #36, and set them back farther on the car floor to get the close coupling - so yes, that is another modification to the car - but the #36 has a very wide swing by virture of the torsion spring coupler box and that helps with passenger cars.

 

Call me fussy but I can't even get my head around the idea of having a mix of short and long shank couplers to solve these problems. While I don't change passenger consists a whole lot, I would never give up the flexiblity of coupling any car to any car in any order or direction desired. Yes, its a prototype operation thing.

The American Limited system works. The diaphragms flex and compress with the touch of a feather. And I have developed detailed specs for spacing/coupler position.

I sleep well knowing none of my little passengers will fall onto the tracks moving from car to car....

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, July 28, 2022 5:13 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

A few thoughts and some information.

Yes, once modified there is no going back. For me that is not an issue because I have never considered the "factory specification" anything special about any model train. 

If that thought is about resale value - there you have it, I have never even considered the idea of "preserving resale value". I think of that as something LIONEL collectors worry about.

But, my view comes from a place and time in the hobby when most rolling stock was kit built - and again, no plans to EVER sell.

Couplers - I actually use long shank couplers, Kadee #36, and set them back farther on the car floor to get the close coupling - so yes, that is another modification to the car - but the #36 has a very wide swing by virture of the torsion spring coupler box and that helps with passenger cars. 

Call me fussy but I can't even get my head around the idea of having a mix of short and long shank couplers to solve these problems. While I don't change passenger consists a whole lot, I would never give up the flexiblity of coupling any car to any car in any order or direction desired. Yes, its a prototype operation thing.

Sheldon, I cannot refute anything that you have said in your reply, but I will offer these responses.

1. Yes, it is all about preserving resale value. Sooner or later, I wind up selling a lot locomotives and rolling stock (both passenger and freight) as I buy new stuff.

The problem for me goes back to Day One when I started out in HO scale. Without even realizing it, I went freelance, buying here and there without any thought to era or road name. Over time, I modified and even rebuilt my layout more than once, each time getting closer to settling on a Dearborn Station theme with Santa as the primary tenant and 5 owner roads (C&EI, Wabash, Erie, Monon and GTW).

Today, I have closely replicated the Dearborn Station theme while selling off most non-related locomotives and rolling stock. Recently, I have decided to sell off the owner roads and concentrate on a Santa Fe themed layout. That's just me. So, it is important to preserve resale value.

2. Yeah, the alternating long and medium length couplers are not prototypical, but they work for me, Mr. Lone Wolf. They solve a lot of derailment issues, and I only have to answer to myself.

3. Even if I weren't trying to preserve retail value, the cost and time and finality of the conversion is something I plan to avoid at all costs. I, too, sleep well knowing none of my little passengers will fall onto the tracks moving from car to car. For one thing, they don't move from car to car. For another, there are no little passengers in my cars. 

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2022 5:24 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

There is no question in my mind that many of the diaphragms on new passenger cars are way too stiff for correct operation. Yet I run these close coupled at distances only few scale inches greater that actual prototype coupling distances.

Sheldon

 

 

 

You've sold me. I just ordered a set of American Limited diaphragms on ebay for 6 Athearn heavyweight cars. If these work out, I might redo my whole passenger fleet although it will get expensive. Diaphragms for 6 passenger cars cost almost $48 when tax and shipping are added. If it will alleviate the derailing problems I'm have with many of my passenger cars it will be money well spent.

One question. Do you have any full length Walthers lightweight passenger cars in your fleet and if so did you replace their diaphragms with the American Limited ones?

 

John, I'm going to answer your questions in reverse - ALL my passenger cars have American Limited diaphragms.

I only have one Walthers passenger car, a heavyweight RPO. BUT I do have full length heavyweight cars from Branchline and Bachmann which I have converted and they work great.

The rest of my passenger car fleet is mostly kit bashed, extra details added, Athearn (heavyweight and streamlined) and ConCor 72' cars. Again, all with body mounted Kadee #36 couplers and American Limited diaphragms as in my pictures. The heavyweight in the picture is a Branchline car, coupled to a ConCor car, they work fine together. That is the whole point - one system, complete compatiblity and reliablity.

Other passenger cars in my fleet include recent production Athearn/MDC Harriman cars.

I have tested the 72' cars down to 26" radius, they work fine. My longer cars have never been specificly tested other than a quick bench test down to 30" radius.

My layouts in recent times have all been 36" minimum for any trackage that would see a pssenger car.

Keep in mind that my conversion of all these cars generally includes coupling them closer together than the original couplers did, yet they still fine on similar radius curves.

The Athearn and ConCor cars in my pictures actually have had the "molded door frame" (intended to simulate a diaphragm) removed before installing the American Limited diaphragms.

Look closely:

 

I have seen Walthers passenger cars up close, they are no more difficult to convert than any other car. Pop out the silly diaphragm that splips into the car, rework the couplersa for the correct spacing, preferably with a long shank Kadee or their swing mount possibly with a short shank coupler. Should work fine if you get the spacing right.

The idea is for the new diapgragm to just barely compress when coupled and pulling.

Question for you. Do you have any Proto2000 locos with diaphragms? PA1, E units, Alco FA units?

The American Limited diaphragm works EXACTLY the same as those diaphragms.

Here is an example, older Proto E8's with the Kadee close coupling conversion.

 

In case you cant tell, this idea of close coupling and working diaphragms is a very important feature to me - so I have no problem investing the necessary time and money.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2022 5:35 PM

richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

A few thoughts and some information.

Yes, once modified there is no going back. For me that is not an issue because I have never considered the "factory specification" anything special about any model train. 

If that thought is about resale value - there you have it, I have never even considered the idea of "preserving resale value". I think of that as something LIONEL collectors worry about.

But, my view comes from a place and time in the hobby when most rolling stock was kit built - and again, no plans to EVER sell.

Couplers - I actually use long shank couplers, Kadee #36, and set them back farther on the car floor to get the close coupling - so yes, that is another modification to the car - but the #36 has a very wide swing by virture of the torsion spring coupler box and that helps with passenger cars. 

Call me fussy but I can't even get my head around the idea of having a mix of short and long shank couplers to solve these problems. While I don't change passenger consists a whole lot, I would never give up the flexiblity of coupling any car to any car in any order or direction desired. Yes, its a prototype operation thing.

 

 

Sheldon, I cannot refute anything that you have said in your reply, but I will offer these responses.

 

1. Yes, it is all about preserving resale value. Sooner or later, I wind up selling a lot locomotives and rolling stock (both passenger and freight) as I buy new stuff.

The problem for me goes back to Day One when I started out in HO scale. Without even realizing it, I went freelance, buying here and there without any thought to era or road name. Over time, I modified and even rebuilt my layout more than once, each time getting closer to settling on a Dearborn Station theme with Santa as the primary tenant and 5 owner roads (C&EI, Wabash, Erie, Monon and GTW).

Today, I have closely replicated the Dearborn Station theme while selling off most non-related locomotives and rolling stock. Recently, I have decided to sell off the owner roads and concentrate on a Santa Fe themed layout. That's just me. So, it is important to preserve resale value.

2. Yeah, the alternating long and medium length couplers are not prototypical, but they work for me, Mr. Lone Wolf. They solve a lot of derailment issues, and I only have to answer to myself.

3. Even if I weren't trying to preserve retail value, the cost and time and finality of the conversion is something I plan to avoid at all costs. I, too, sleep well knowing none of my little passengers will fall onto the tracks moving from car to car. For one thing, they don't move from car to car. For another, there are no little passengers in my cars. 

Rich

 

Rich, please underestand, I do understand and respect your choices. For me the hobby is different in those ways.

As a side note, I'm not a "serial ownership" kind of person with anything. I have never owned a boat, then sold it to buy a jetski, then sold that to take up golf, then sold the clubs to buy snow skis, and sold it all to buy a motorcycle.

I understand you situation when you started out. That aside, in 55 years in this hobby I have only changed modeling era one time, never changed prototype roads, region, etc.

Once I had enough experiance and knowledge to sort out what I enjoyed most - that was it. I was once well rounded until I learned what I really like.

A decade ago I sold off 3 or 4 locos that I decided were not as good a fit for my goals as originally planned. Other than that, I have only sold off surplus decoders removed from locos, and plastic trucks removed from freight cars.......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2022 5:41 PM

Rich,

A few other thoughts about resale. Weathering for one. I am not one for real heavy weathering in most cases, but I do add some road grime to a lot of my rolling stock. And I do have the occasional "well used" car.

And as I have explained before, I replace the trucks on most of my rolling stock with sprung Kadee trucks reworked with Intermountain wheels - it is part of the long train formula.

While others might like that, again both my modifications, trucks and weathering work against the resale "idea".

I think of model train money like "resturant" money......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, July 28, 2022 5:45 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Rich, please underestand, I do understand and respect your choices. For me the hobby is different in those ways.

Sheldon, we are good. I tried to word that last response to avoid any appearance of feeling defensive.

My problem has always been moving too fast and too big from when I first started into HO scale 18+ years ago. I failed to understand the hobby and I should have done more research while starting slow and small.

Lately, I find myself brooding over the size of my layout and the unwieldly roster of locomotives and rolling stock. As I mentioned in my last reply, I have decided to focus a lot more on a much reduced roster going forward.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2022 5:54 PM

A few more thoughts for John, and anyone interested.

Understand, I was heavily invested in Athearn and ConCor cars before Walthers (or Broadway, MTH, or anyone else) had all these somewhat more accurate cars on the market.

Additionally, the shorter cars, especially after they are close coupled with the diaphragms, are very graceful and realistic in their movement on my 36" and above curves, and their selectively compressed size means more cars in a similar length train for more "illusion" of size. 

Most of my passenger trains are nine to twelve cars long, sometimes longer.

This is a really crappy picture, but hopefully it conveys some of what I am saying. It is my nine car C&O streamlined freelanced "George Washington".

Here is a closeup of one car, again you can see the close coupling and diaphragms:

  

Many of my passenger cars are serious kit bash projects, and being a freelance modeler, all the ATLANTIC CENTRAL cars are serious painting projects.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, July 28, 2022 8:42 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

A few more thoughts for John, and anyone interested.

Understand, I was heavily invested in Athearn and ConCor cars before Walthers (or Broadway, MTH, or anyone else) had all these somewhat more accurate cars on the market.

That's interesting. I have one set of Con-Cor cars. Back in 1991, Rivarossi and Con-Cor created a combined set for the 50th anniversary of the 1941 Empire State Express. Rivarossi supplied the streamlined Hudson and Con-Cor supplied the cars. Other than the baggage/express car, none of the cars made the cut for my current layout. I also acquired an MTH version of the Hudson which does see lots of action on my current layout. The Rivarossi version is a static scenic element on one of the garden tracks. Around the turntable. 

I might give the Con-Cor cars a second look after seeing what you've done. They would need some serious upgrades, couplers, wheels, weight, and interiors just to name a few off the top of my head and of course the diaphragms. If I can get them to perform better than my Walthers cars, it will be worth the effort and expense. 

I also have a small fleet of Branchline heavyweights which are decent performers. They don't couple very closely but it appears that can be rectified with the new diaphragms and repositioning the coupler boxes and getting the longer shank.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, July 28, 2022 9:05 PM

richhotrain

1. Yes, it is all about preserving resale value. Sooner or later, I wind up selling a lot locomotives and rolling stock (both passenger and freight) as I buy new stuff.

I've never concerned myself too much with resale value. That's something for my heirs and the executor of my estate to worry about. I don't save the boxes except for the really high end stuff even though I know having something in the original box increases the value. 

Last year I finally cleaned house and got rid of all the old equipment that I bought in the 1970s and 1980s that had been gathering dust for 25 years or more. My LHS buys and sells used equipment and I got $125 for the lot and I was happy with that because to me it was all just junk. The LHS resells old stuff rather cheaply so of course they aren't going to pay much to get it. Usually a reseller will offer you about 1/3 of what he expects to resell it for so if he thinks it will sell for $30, you'll get $10, $10 will go to his profit and another $10 to help pay his overhead. That seems reasonable to me. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2022 10:24 PM

Here are a few more pictures:

Bachmann Spectrum heavyweight.

Branchline Pullman.

Walthers (Rivarossi produced) RPO.

Coupled together.

Three different brands, all close coupled, all run well together.

I don't have any ConCor 85' cars, but it is my understanding that they have added metal wheels and weights. The newest 72' cars I have, about 6-8 years old came with those improvements.

They still lack interiors or higher levels of exterior detail.

I'm a bit random on the detail thing, I don't require every piece of rolling stock to be of the same/highest detail level.

I have never simply replaced stuff because new stuff came out, but I also have always been "selective" in what I bought. 

Example, I bought a lot of Athearn cars knowing I would add details - I never bought AHM, Rivarossi, IHC or other cars that I felt had poor running qualities without having a specific plan to improve them.

I always felt those cars required too much "cutting up" to fix, where the Athearn and Concor 72' cars where plan, allowing details to be added without cutting stuff off first.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Friday, July 29, 2022 12:11 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Example, I bought a lot of Athearn cars knowing I would add details - I never bought AHM, Rivarossi, IHC or other cars that I felt had poor running qualities without having a specific plan to improve them.

I always felt those cars required too much "cutting up" to fix, where the Athearn and Concor 72' cars where plan, allowing details to be added without cutting stuff off first.

Sheldon

 

I have converted some Rivarossi and they do require a lot of upgrades. Metal wheels, body mounted KDs, lots of weight, diaphragms and in some cases, interiors. I have converted several heavyweight RPOs in different roadnames because I like the design, a diner, and a couple of Pennsy coaches that I bought about 40 years ago at an estate sale and only recently found a use for them. I think they are worth the extra time and effort. They will look even better when I add the American Limited diaphragms.  

One more question. What is the advantage of the long shank couplers over just using a #5 or #148 with the coupler box moved a little more forward?

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, July 29, 2022 12:53 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Example, I bought a lot of Athearn cars knowing I would add details - I never bought AHM, Rivarossi, IHC or other cars that I felt had poor running qualities without having a specific plan to improve them.

I always felt those cars required too much "cutting up" to fix, where the Athearn and Concor 72' cars where plan, allowing details to be added without cutting stuff off first.

Sheldon

 

 

 

I have converted some Rivarossi and they do require a lot of upgrades. Metal wheels, body mounted KDs, lots of weight, diaphragms and in some cases, interiors. I have converted several heavyweight RPOs in different roadnames because I like the design, a diner, and a couple of Pennsy coaches that I bought about 40 years ago at an estate sale and only recently found a use for them. I think they are worth the extra time and effort. They will look even better when I add the American Limited diaphragms.  

One more question. What is the advantage of the long shank couplers over just using a #5 or #148 with the coupler box moved a little more forward?

 

However small the difference, the long shank coupler allows a wider coupler swing, especially with the type of coupler box used on the #36. And, just like a truck mounted coupler, it helps keep pulling forces closer to the track centers, reducing side forces.

On of the geometric effects is the as the curve gets sharper the distance between the cars does not shrink as much as with a shorter coupler. This guards against diaphragm binding.

All these little things add up to make operation more reliable.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 30, 2022 8:30 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
John-NYBW

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Example, I bought a lot of Athearn cars knowing I would add details - I never bought AHM, Rivarossi, IHC or other cars that I felt had poor running qualities without having a specific plan to improve them.

I always felt those cars required too much "cutting up" to fix, where the Athearn and Concor 72' cars where plan, allowing details to be added without cutting stuff off first.

Sheldon

 

 

 

I have converted some Rivarossi and they do require a lot of upgrades. Metal wheels, body mounted KDs, lots of weight, diaphragms and in some cases, interiors. I have converted several heavyweight RPOs in different roadnames because I like the design, a diner, and a couple of Pennsy coaches that I bought about 40 years ago at an estate sale and only recently found a use for them. I think they are worth the extra time and effort. They will look even better when I add the American Limited diaphragms.  

One more question. What is the advantage of the long shank couplers over just using a #5 or #148 with the coupler box moved a little more forward?

 

 

 

However small the difference, the long shank coupler allows a wider coupler swing, especially with the type of coupler box used on the #36. And, just like a truck mounted coupler, it helps keep pulling forces closer to the track centers, reducing side forces.

On of the geometric effects is the as the curve gets sharper the distance between the cars does not shrink as much as with a shorter coupler. This guards against diaphragm binding.

All these little things add up to make operation more reliable.

Sheldon 

 

Thanks. I think I have a pair of #36 that I got for another project and ended up not using. I'll give that a try when I receive the set of American Limited diaphragms I just ordered. 

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, July 30, 2022 8:54 AM

Weathering like painting can add to the retail value but only if done exstreamly well anything less that that standard and things can drop off rapidy.

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Posted by dstarr on Thursday, August 4, 2022 2:09 PM

I think 80 ft HO passenger cars from anyone will run well on 30 inch curves.  If, like me, you have sharper curves, there are some things you can do.  First clean and check all the wheels to remove any blobs of crud stuck to the treads. Check wheel gage. Then check the weight.  I go with the NMRA recommendation of 1oz plus 1/2 oz per real inch of car length.  And maybe a tad more.  The weight helps keep the car on the track.  Then check for good free swing on the trucks.  File or Dremel away anthing that is interfering with truck swing.  Then decide on body mount vs truck mount couplers.  Truck mount will get the car around tighter curves than body mount.  Body mount looks better, but I think a car standing on the rails looks better than one derailed.  Longer couplers help.  Doing all this gets my 80 ft IHC streamliners around 22 inch radius. 

Consider the Athearn heavy weight passenger cars.  They are a bit short, but coupled up with just short cars, no 80 footers, they look pretty good. 

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