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Atlas new curved turnout

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  • Member since
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  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 9:24 PM

I don't know what I'm doing differently but my experience with Walthers Proto passenger cars has been entirely different. I had one car in particular that gave me a little trouble coming into and out of superelevated curves and that is the Milwaukee Super Dome (I have two GN Big Domes, too)

 Super-Dome by Edmund, on Flickr

You can see the brake cylinders and equalizer links are very close to the side sill. I don't exactly recall what I had to do to correct it but it wasn't much, a little filing and scraping.

My curves run pretty close to 32" but I'm sure some are a little tighter in places. I also have a curved approach to Union Station and the most inside tracks (tightest radius) only sees the more "flexible" cars. Still, this isn't much problem, the real RRs had equipment restrictions, too.

This is an older photo but it shows a bit of the curved approach on the left:

 IMG_3270 by Edmund, on Flickr

I was just running an eighteen car Capitol Limited just last night, a mix of Budd and P-S with a few heavyweight rebuilds (also Walthers Proto) with six-wheel trucks.

All my brass cars play nice, too, even when mixed in with the Walthers. I did have a tiny problem with some of my Challenger PRR Congressional cars with shorting but that turned out to be the driveshaft on the "Spicer" drive contacting the inboard axle. Just a little trim and everything was fine.

Some of my Broadway Limited P70s didn't like the superelevation as their trucks were too snug and would not roll (as in yaw, pitch, roll) but a little shortening on the bronze contact strips corrected that.

Rapido cars ran well out of the box. The earlier Continental Line required a bit of work but by installing their newer trucks cured any running problems.

I must be doing something differently but whatever it is seems to work OK — for me at least.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:56 PM

Well John, again I have never bought, run, seen up close, or handled the cars in question.

As stated several times I rejected them in advance for other reasons, not to mention I likely have no interest in the roadnames car types in question.

These cars may well be junky, but your blanket statements in general about your expectations seem unreasonable for a hobby of this nature - maybe it is not really the best hobby for you?

Personally, I am in this hobby because I was introduced to it at a young age, and quickly learned it was a fit for me. I like building things - not just structures and scenery for my RTR trains - I like building trains. I built my first loco kit at age 13. I like the history, so I like recreating images of the past, even if somewhat fictionalized, in the creation of the layout.

I'm a mechanical person, I design buildings for a living, I restore, renovate and build buildings for a living. I have mastered most of the construction trades, I am a skilled draftsman, electrician/designer, plumber, carpenter, HVAC mechanic/designer, and I also do automotive mechanical work, restored cars, pretty much an expert on old GRAVELY riding tractors, rebuilt engines and transmissions, and programed some of the earliest PLC's to control manufacturing machinery. Designed and built HiFi speaker systems and complex relay logic controls (before PLC's and now for model trains).

I was doing the repairs at the local hobby shop at age 15 - send me your wayword passenger cars, I wil fix them for you.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:24 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
John-NYBW

I guess I just have this goofy idea that a consumer product should work properly when it is brand new without the customer being required to tinker with it. It's called quality control and reputable companies practice it. 

 

 

 

Again, John, how are the manufacturers supposed to accomplish this with all the possible variables?

Well for starters, if you are going to claim your cars can run on 24" radius track, you could test if on an oval with 24" radius curves. It isn't enough to see if car can negotiate a 24" radius on its own. You need to test it in long trains with consists in different configurations and with different types of locos. I don't have 24" radius track. The turnout that is the primary (not the only) source of problems is the inner curve of a Shinora curved turnout, which was supposed to be a 32" radius curve but is closer to 28". That turnout was also sold under the Walthers name. When a supposedly ready-to-run Walthers passenger car can't negotiate a #8 Walthers curved turnout, one or both items are junk and that doesn't speak well for the Walthers name.

 

Have you ever designed and manufactured a model train? Or any product for that matter?

Since I'm not in the business of selling model railroading products, it is not my job to design them. That is the responsibility of those who put their name on the product. 

I was in the business of designing and maintainng computer systems. Most of my working life was for an elected official and I was responsible for the check writing that was done by the office. Since checks were the most visible thing we did from the public's perspective, there was zero tolerance for bad checks being written due to a computer glitch. It was understood that if bad checks went out the door because of my error, it would probably cost me my job and maybe my boss's job too. It was always a nervous time when we made changes to the system and you can bet we tested it throroughly before any changes went into production.  

Aside from clear "defects" it seems to me some of your expectations are unreasonable - BUT, you are not alone based on a lot of what I have read on this forum in the last few years.

Did it ever occur to you that maybe hundreds or thousands of other people have bought that same product and had no problems?

Given the failure rate of the cars I have, I would find that hard to believe.

And maybe some number of people have had the same problems - it gets back to all those varibles.

For decades some people have spent a lot of time calling everything Bachmann makes junk. But I have 40 steam locomotives and 6-7 diesels of theirs that work great for me. And yes they did replace 3 locos for me that were not working correctly. 

I have said on numerous occasions that I was very impressed by the Spectrum line of locos. That doesn't change the fact that a good portion of their standard line were junk. 

I have only bought 7 BLI locos, two had major problems they did not have parts for, two others had minor problems I fixed - not a good percentage compared to Bachmann.

I have had similar problems with BLI locos which is why I have crossed them off my list. Premium pricing and poor quality is not a good combination. 

But look at all the people on this forum who would say just the opposite? How do we explain that?

Some people just get lucky or in the case of BLI locos, the flaws are not always apparent. It is a quite common defect on BLI steamers to have the drivers on one side or the other to not pick up power due to a wiring flaw. I thought for a long time that it was limited to my K-4 Pacific. Then I discovered that over half my steamers had the same flaw but because the tender picked up power from both front and rear trucks, the flaw was not noticed. With the K-4, only the front truck picks up power and when that passed over an insulated frog, the engine would stall. 

You never seem to give a lot of details, but a lot of these problems sound like pretty simple coupler, truck and weight issues.

I have tinkered with all three and the derailment problems persist. The real issue is that if these were quality products, I wouldn't have to tinker with them at all, and I have wasted enough time tinkering to try to save junk merchandise. I'm not going to do it any more and not going to buy that product line again. The ones I have are one derailment away from the trash can. 

I've been doing this since age 10. I figured out by age 14 that different brands of passenger cars often did not play well with each other because of different truck/coupler designs combined with modeler attempts to run on too sharp a curve.

I am running on broader curves than what the manufacturer said was the minimum. 

It was true back in the day with Athearn, AHM, Herkimer, American Beauty, Walthers, and it still true today with all these highly detailed models made in China.

I don't care if they are made on Mars. It is the responsibility of the company that puts their name on the product to ensure they are a quality product. If they don't their name suffers as it should. 

In fact, I look at what passes for diaphragms on most of these $100 passenger cars and that ends the conversation right there.

I don't buy them because I know in advance they will not meet my standards.

But just because they don't meet my standards does not mean they are bad products.

As models become more detailed and more accurate, their features start to interfere with their opperation on our "selectively compressed" curves and turnouts.

Yet, this is possible:

With no derailments or problems...

But it will never be available "out of the box".

Sheldon

 

 

 

It's one thing if there is a compatibility issue with another manufacturer's cars but when the entire consist is made up of cars from one company, the problems are all on that company. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 7:07 PM

On the two steam engines that I returned to Bachmann Spectrum, one was the infamous "Thumper" where the driver wheels thumped up and down. Bachmann didn't have repair parts so they replaced it with a steam engine of my choice.

The other return was also a steam engine where a thin brass sheet had "fingers" extending from the sheet to each driver wheel. The fingers would constantly catch on the driver wheels and get twisted and mangled. Once again, Bachmann didn't have repair parts so they replaced it with a steam engine of my choice.

I also have tons of Atlas flextrack and Atlas Custome Line turnouts. Never had a problem with any of it. No filing of points, no filing of frogs, nothing.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:53 PM

richhotrain

I keep spreadsheets on all of my MR purchases, including locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars.

Regarding locomotives, I have purchased 80 of them over time from 8 different manufacturers. I have only returned 2, both were steam engines from Bachmann.

Regarding passenger cars, I have purchased 128 of them over time from 6 different manufacturers including Walthers and Rapido. I have never returned a single passenger car. 

Regarding freight cars, I have purchased 173 of them over time from 11 different manufacturers. I have never returned a single freight car. 

I have never smashed a locomotive, passenger car, or freight car to bits. And, I cannot even imagine returning 50% to 75% of such purchases.

Rich

 

Rich,

There is clearly something wrong with us, we simply must not be picky enough.

Interestingly Bachmann is the only company I have returned a locomotive to as well - but my replacements were perfect......

I have about 200 passenger cars, nearly 1000 freight cars, 145 "powered units" (steam locos, diesels, B units, RDC's, Doodlebugs, etc.). I too have never returned a piece of rolling stock.

Several other product problems were resolved by manufacturers who simply sent the needed parts - no charge.

Now admittedly, a measureable percentage (like 65-70%) of my rolling stock have been (or will be) built from kits - guess I am the quality control department?

And a great number of my diesel locos came with bodies that are "kits" (undecorated with details not installed).

So it pretty hard for me to complain about a paint color or a loose detail part.......

But I do have my share of RTR - I must just be lucky......

Or maybe it is easier to get 1950's color schemes correct?

And my junky Atlas track works just fine?

And I've never had a bad decoder? At least none of the guys I sold them too after I took them out asked for a refund?

Sheldon 

 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:35 PM

I keep spreadsheets on all of my MR purchases, including locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars.

Regarding locomotives, I have purchased 80 of them over time from 8 different manufacturers. I have only returned 2, both were steam engines from Bachmann.

Regarding passenger cars, I have purchased 128 of them over time from 6 different manufacturers including Walthers and Rapido. I have never returned a single passenger car. 

Regarding freight cars, I have purchased 173 of them over time from 11 different manufacturers. I have never returned a single freight car. 

I have never smashed a locomotive, passenger car, or freight car to bits. And, I cannot even imagine returning 50% to 75% of such purchases.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:10 PM

One more thought, since I don't have a vast fleet of recent passenger cars from Walthers, BLI, MTH, Rapido, etc, I would be really interested in a picture or two of the coupler/truck workings of the offending cars.

And again - how much do they weigh?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:05 PM

John-NYBW

I guess I just have this goofy idea that a consumer product should work properly when it is brand new without the customer being required to tinker with it. It's called quality control and reputable companies practice it. 

 

Again, John, how are the manufacturers supposed to accomplish this with all the possible variables?

Have you ever designed and manufactured a model train? Or any product for that matter?

Aside from clear "defects" it seems to me some of your expectations are unreasonable - BUT, you are not alone based on a lot of what I have read on this forum in the last few years.

Did it ever occur to you that maybe hundreds or thousands of other people have bought that same product and had no problems? And maybe some number of people have had the same problems - it gets back to all those varibles.

For decades some people have spent a lot of time calling everything Bachmann makes junk. But I have 40 steam locomotives and 6-7 diesels of theirs that work great for me. And yes they did replace 3 locos for me that were not working correctly. 

I have only bought 7 BLI locos, two had major problems they did not have parts for, two others had minor problems I fixed - not a good percentage compared to Bachmann.

But look at all the people on this forum who would say just the opposite? How do we explain that?

You never seem to give a lot of details, but a lot of these problems sound like pretty simple coupler, truck and weight issues.

I've been doing this since age 10. I figured out by age 14 that different brands of passenger cars often did not play well with each other because of different truck/coupler designs combined with modeler attempts to run on too sharp a curve.

It was true back in the day with Athearn, AHM, Herkimer, American Beauty, Walthers, and it still true today with all these highly detailed models made in China.

In fact, I look at what passes for diaphragms on most of these $100 passenger cars and that ends the conversation right there.

I don't buy them because I know in advance they will not meet my standards.

But just because they don't meet my standards does not mean they are bad products.

As models become more detailed and more accurate, their features start to interfere with their opperation on our "selectively compressed" curves and turnouts.

Yet, this is possible:

With no derailments or problems...

But it will never be available "out of the box".

Sheldon

 

 

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 5:16 PM

I guess I just have this goofy idea that a consumer product should work properly when it is brand new without the customer being required to tinker with it. It's called quality control and reputable companies practice it. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 3:51 PM

Doughless
 
John-NYBW
If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces. 

Sidebar rant:

I sell it.  I've probably returned/resold 75% of the model railroading stuff I have ever bought.  

I guess that returning/reselling beats smashing it up into tiny little pieces.

But, 75% ???

Both of you guys need MR therapy. Laugh

Doughless

When I buy new, I know that there is a greater than 50% chance it will be sent right back.  

Geez, I wouldn't want to be your seller.  Confused Confused

Rich

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 3:39 PM

Doughless
I have heard that the new Walther mainline 3281 2 bay covered hoppers have 33 inch wheels.  A problem that seems to stem from a manufacturing process that treats that covered hopper differently than other covered hoppers that all get the correct 36 inch wheels installed.

You heard this?  Do you know this for a fact, or are you just spreading erroneous information?  Out of curiosity I looked up that model on the Walthers website.  States that the model comes with "correct 36 inch rp-25 metal wheelsets".

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 3:14 PM

John, 

Because of how and when I came up in this hobby, I have never bought a locomotive or piece of rolling stock with the assumption that it would, or could, meet all of my needs and standards right out of the box - be it RTR or kit form.

Have I bought stuff that was defective? Sure. Did I return it or get some other reasonable remedy? In most cases yes. 

And I have recieved excellent service from Bachmann, Intermountain, Athearn, and others. Broadway Limited, not so much - not really something they could not control, but the atitude was pretty indifferent.

But there is not one locomotive, or one piece of rolling stock, in my roster, that is exactly the way it came out of the box.

Examples:

EVERYTHING gets genuine Kadee couplers.

ALL passenger cars get long shank body mounted Kadee couplers, close coupling and American Limited diaphragms. One standard so they all work together. Some get new trucks or wheelsets, many get extra weight.

Most freight cars get my trademark trucks  - Kadee sprung metal trucks re-equiped with Intermountain code 110 wheelsets.

No semi scale couplers, no code 88 wheels, performance over appearence.

EVERY steam locomotive gets extra weight in the tender and often extra weight in the boiler.

Years ago I published on this forum a detailed list of very minor upgrades that greatly improve the performance of a number of the older Bachmann Spectrum locos.

And nearly all my locomotives are kit bashed, or modified in some way.

Walmart is not really interested in taking the toaster back if you have rewired it.....

Why do I do all these upgrades? That's how you get reliable operation of 50 car trains.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 2:59 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
...

Why should it be the responsibility of the consumer to find a fix for shoddy merchandise. ...

You would not be compelled by my reasoning, but I hope you'll give it some thought:

More and more, society is a system.  In systems thinking, what happens in one place affects others down the line.  If one part of a system process goes wonky, it should affect the rest of the system so that it can adjust.  When you don't offer feedback, or take the time to require a seller to compensate you for defective products, you lose, and so do they.  You lose the use of your money and the time you had in which to enjoy the product you purchased.  They lose the feedback that would, if they're the least bit responsible and interested in making you and others whole who might have similar complaints, induce them to examine their product and its processes in assembly and improve it.

Smashing a product is like kicking the tire after it goes flat.  It accomplishes nothing, and I don't believe you for a minute that it makes you feel better in doing it.  Instead, you continue to stew and seethe for the rest of the day.  The next morning, you're no further ahead, and the defective items are still for sale because nobody would rather ask for their money back than to smash the product and render it unsalvageable. 

I won't tell you I have never done as you did.  I have.  But I realized, in being honest with myself, that I had acted poorly and ineffectually.  I don't do it any more.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 2:48 PM

Doughless

When I buy new, I know that there is a greater than 50% chance it will be sent right back.  I've been churning products until I find stuff that works correctly or resembles railroad colors, etc.  A minor file down of a coupler box I can handle...but still, none of them even roll?

I'm in complete agreement but I wish I had developed this intolerance for shoddy merchandise years ago. For too many years, if a bought a loco or rolling stock that had flaws, I took it upon myself to fix it. A few years ago it dawned on me. Why am I spending my time trying to fix a brand new piece of merchandise. I wouldn't do that with any other consumer product I buy. Why would I do that with a flawed model railroading product? 

It's a little different when buying used. Most of the used merchandise I buy is on ebay and while I often have the option of returning it, it's usually more hassle than it's worth. I more inclined to try to tinker with an ebay purchase.

Ebay is a hit or miss proposition. My other hobby is golf and last year I bought an Odessy putter online that was described as having "cosmetic damage". When I received it, the cosmetic damage turned out to be a bent shaft which made the putter unusable. I immediately contacted the seller to get a refund. Not only did I get my money refunded, but the seller told me to keep it because even he realized it wasn't worth the shipping cost to have it returned. I ended up straightening out the shaft and put a new $20 grip on it, so for the cost of the grip, I ended up with a premium putter.

Then there is my recent episode with Amazon. I ordered one of those 50' expandable hoses. I received the 25' model. Amazon can always be counted on to make good on problem merchandise. They sent me a new one and I returned the other one at their expense. I just got the replacement and checked to make sure it was the 50' model. The label said it was. When I unpacked it and hooked it up, I discovered it too was a 25' model. Apparently somebody at the factory mislabeled a whole bunch of 25' hoses as 50' models. This one is going back too, only this time I'm getting my money back.  

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 12:43 PM

John-NYBW
One of the reasons my layout is taking so long to complete is that I have to spend so much time fixing things that don't work as they should. I'm done spending time fixing

John, I'll respond to this thought:

A few years ago, I bought two locos that I really wanted for my shortline.  Twins. They are diesels, DCC Sound.  They BOTH chugged badly right out of the box.  Lurched at all speeds.  The motors screeched to. 

A drivetrain problem.  I eventually had to disassemble them both, leaving only the motor on the frame and the decoder/wires attached to the motor.  The drivetrain was disassembled.

It took hours.  If I'm going to have to spend time assembling and repairing a loco I just bought, I'd just as soon by a used product from a seller on ebay selling it as junk/repair.

The hobby is supposed to be about spending time adding to the products you buy.  Detailing, weathering, modifying to personal tastes.  Even assembling kits has an orderly purpose to it.  It should not be about spending time repairing things first.

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 11:55 AM

John-NYBW

 

 
Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW
If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces.

 

Sidebar rant:

I sell it.  I've probably returned/resold 75% of the model railroading stuff I have ever bought.  Yep. Its amazing how many products simply don't work as you expect them to.

Not about passenger cars, but I just received 2 Atlas U23bs with Loksound V5.  They vibrate when they run.  I can see it, and I can hear the couplers chatter when coupled to a car and the sound is on mute, proving what I'm seeing.  Doesn't happen with other Atlas Loksounds, but it did also happen with Intermountain U18Bs back when they came out.

Oh well. On they go to the return bin or the resale market, like the majority of stuff I bought over the past two years.  

Its got to be because of changes in manufacturing processes/ third party vendors nearly each and every time a new run of something is produced.  No consistency.

 

 

 

One of the reasons I have regretted investing as much time and money into this hobby as I have is the overall poor quality of the products being sold. If I bought a toaster and it didn't work right out of the box, I wouldn't spend two seconds trying to fix it. It would go right back to Walmart. So why when we buy substandard merchandise in this hobby, we think it's our responsibility to try to make it work? It makes no sense.

I remember about a year ago making the statement in another thread that 75% of the merchandise in this hobby is junk and lots of people took exception to that statement. To me, any product that doesn't work perfectly out of the box, that requires me to tinker with it, is a piece of junk. One of the reasons my layout is taking so long to complete is that I have to spend so much time fixing things that don't work as they should. I'm done spending time fixing junk. I'm not going to buy much new stuff for my layout so I probably won't be returning stuff to my LHS but I'm not going to bother with existing junk. I suppose I could get a few bucks for it trying to sell it on ebay but who needs the hassle. I'd rather have the satisfaction of destroying it. At least I'd get something for my money.

 

My opinion is a little less extreme.  I don't blame the producers per se.  I blame the nature of the market that we have all evolved to, for which the producers have to meet by developing new and better products....and still meet reasonable price points using current manufacturing processes.  Each new model is seemingly designed from scratch, not leveraging similarities between models or production similarities.  Atheran BB used the same basic construction of their products, for example.

I wont be specific as to the producer. I bought a new run of a boxcar.  It did not roll....it didn't roll...each of the three I bought, because the axle rubbed against the coupler box assembly.  Did I say that they did not even roll...MSRP $35...but they have GREAT detail, LOL.  I had to file down the coupler box assembly.  Ok, but...

Its a 50 foot boxcar, modern era.  This company makes several 50 foot boxcars.  I get that underbody details are slightly different amongst the prototype, but this boxcar's underbody has a different way of being assembled, causing the coupler box housing to hit the axle.  What, they have to change the way the underbody fits into the shell?   Why?  Its a 50 foot boxcar.

I have heard that the new Walther mainline 3281 2 bay covered hoppers have 33 inch wheels.  A problem that seems to stem from a manufacturing process that treats that covered hopper differently than other covered hoppers that all get the correct 36 inch wheels installed.

I buy locos with ditchlights.  Oftentimes they are installed crooked...the bulbs in the housing shine sideways.  Those are almost impossible to fix without rewiring the tiny housing.  I don't even try.  Back they go to the seller.  

Another loco has its ditchlights illuminated by a long bezel/light pipe where the bulb is attached to the chassis.  The light has to travel though a long pipe.  Can hardly see the light.  Not defective, just a poor design.   Back it goes to the seller.

My two new U23Bs vibrate.  I replaced the OEM Loksound 21 pin V5 with an aftermarket Tsunami2 GE sounds 21 pin decoder.  They still vibrate despite the decoder swap.  Lightboard design...its not the same as the other locos they just made?   Back they will go to the seller.

PreOrder...phooey. Can't see a real model, only an artist's rendering. 

Got 2 locos that got blue paint jobs so bright it would be fitting for a car-show hot rod.  Back they went.

Another one was silver.  Silver with metal flake, LOL.  Metal flake sparkly silver even on the hand rails.  Back it went.  

Scale Trains Rivet Counter series covered hoppers...the high end series.  Roofwalk painted silver..smooth...but so bright and mirror like finish I thought they were chromed.  Back they went. 

When I buy new, I know that there is a greater than 50% chance it will be sent right back.  I've been churning products until I find stuff that works correctly or resembles railroad colors, etc.  A minor file down of a coupler box I can handle...but still, none of them even roll?

BTW, I have heard that Peco designed and sold a type of turnout that would cause shorts from metal wheels running over it.....LOL.

- Douglas

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 10:30 AM

nealknows

 John, I too get very frustrated with the Walthers passenger cars. However, I did find a 'fix' to make them run a little better on those tighter curves. 

I had ordered from Kato their HO KATO Passenger car Coupler Adapter for Kadee® Standard Shank Coupler, 2 ea so that their Superliner Cars will run around my 24" curves in one area. This part works great. I had an extra pair and decided to replace the Walthers coupler pocket with the Kato coupler pocket. I did this to one of the earlier Walthers Amfleet I cars. And it worked! I did it to 2 more cars and while the cars themselves don't run as well as they should, going around those tighter curves lets the cars run without coming off the tracks. 

http://www.katousa.com/images/85065K.jpg

Before you smash any more cars, try it. If not, don't smash them to pieces. I'll be more than happy to take them off your hands...

Neal

 

Thanks for the suggestion but I'm tired of wasting time and money on inferior merchandise. I'm not going to throw good money after bad by trying to fix junk. It's easier just to throw the pieces in the trash and refrain from buying more junk in the future.

Why should it be the responsibility of the consumer to find a fix for shoddy merchandise. If Walthers can't make passenger cars that function perfectly right out of the box, I just won't buy any more of their cars. I could forgive an occasional lemon, but problems with Walthers passenger cars seem to be chronic based on problems that others have had and written about on these forums.

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Posted by Medina1128 on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 9:03 AM

John-NYBW

 

 
Medina1128

My go-to manufacturer when it came to curved turnouts is Peco. I have one installed on my layout and even my Walthers 85' passengers navigate the #7 turnout. Of course, they have Talgo trucks. I don't know thing they'd make it with body mounted couplers.

 

 

 

All my passenger cars have body mounted couplers and most of them can take the inside curve of the Peco #7 that I recently installed. The exception is my Walthers Budd cars. I don't know why but these have been a major source of derailment problems for as long as I have had them. I don't have nearly as many problems with their smooth sided Pullman cars and I can't understand why. The Budd cars were all bought on ebay and I don't know how old they are. Maybe the more recent cars don't have the same flaws. 

 

I guess I should have clarified. My Walthers passenger cars are all Budd 85' cars.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Morristown, NJ
  • 745 posts
Posted by nealknows on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 8:26 PM

John-NYBW

There are two problems with Walthers passenger cars and they seem to be chronic, coupler swivel and truck swivel. It seems to me the problem is most acute with their Budd cars. I finally got fed up with trying to adjust them to make them work. With two of them I removed the reuseable parts, couplers and wheels, and smashed them to bits. There are a couple more on the chopping block if they don't start to behave. I'm tired of spending so much time trying to fix garbage. It just isn't worth the time or effort to do so. 

John, I too get very frustrated with the Walthers passenger cars. However, I did find a 'fix' to make them run a little better on those tighter curves. 

I had ordered from Kato their HO KATO Passenger car Coupler Adapter for Kadee® Standard Shank Coupler, 2 ea so that their Superliner Cars will run around my 24" curves in one area. This part works great. I had an extra pair and decided to replace the Walthers coupler pocket with the Kato coupler pocket. I did this to one of the earlier Walthers Amfleet I cars. And it worked! I did it to 2 more cars and while the cars themselves don't run as well as they should, going around those tighter curves lets the cars run without coming off the tracks. 

http://www.katousa.com/images/85065K.jpg

Before you smash any more cars, try it. If not, don't smash them to pieces. I'll be more than happy to take them off your hands...

Neal

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,172 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 7:46 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW
If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces.

 

Sidebar rant:

I sell it.  I've probably returned/resold 75% of the model railroading stuff I have ever bought.  Yep. Its amazing how many products simply don't work as you expect them to.

Not about passenger cars, but I just received 2 Atlas U23bs with Loksound V5.  They vibrate when they run.  I can see it, and I can hear the couplers chatter when coupled to a car and the sound is on mute, proving what I'm seeing.  Doesn't happen with other Atlas Loksounds, but it did also happen with Intermountain U18Bs back when they came out.

Oh well. On they go to the return bin or the resale market, like the majority of stuff I bought over the past two years.  

Its got to be because of changes in manufacturing processes/ third party vendors nearly each and every time a new run of something is produced.  No consistency.

 

 

 

One of the reasons I have regretted investing as much time and money into this hobby as I have is the overall poor quality of the products being sold. If I bought a toaster and it didn't work right out of the box, I wouldn't spend two seconds trying to fix it. It would go right back to Walmart. So why when we buy substandard merchandise in this hobby, we think it's our responsibility to try to make it work? It makes no sense.

I remember about a year ago making the statement in another thread that 75% of the merchandise in this hobby is junk and lots of people took exception to that statement. To me, any product that doesn't work perfectly out of the box, that requires me to tinker with it, is a piece of junk. One of the reasons my layout is taking so long to complete is that I have to spend so much time fixing things that don't work as they should. I'm done spending time fixing junk. I'm not going to buy much new stuff for my layout so I probably won't be returning stuff to my LHS but I'm not going to bother with existing junk. I suppose I could get a few bucks for it trying to sell it on ebay but who needs the hassle. I'd rather have the satisfaction of destroying it. At least I'd get something for my money.

 

John, there is one fatal flaw in your thinking, may I politely explain.

A single model train item does not exist in a vacuum - it must "try" to play well with products from dozens of other manufacturers, who may or may not be following the "recomended" standards and practices.

To get the result you are seeking, you should have bought Marklin trains - a single proprietarty system, thoughly tested against its own standards to provide total compatiblity and superior performance - and it does.

"American" HO model trains started as a "builder" hobby, a "craftsman" hobby, where items had to be assembled from kits, built from scratch, and adjusted to work.

The NMRA, which today so many are unwilling to support, worked for decades to create an environment where RTR HO trains could even begin to exist. 

UNDERSTAND, I am not "bashing" the current RTR trends in the hobby. 

But it is impossible for every manufacturer to test every product, under every condition that users will create laying their own track, designing their own layouts, and constructing these these things with various skill levels.

Are some products better than others? Sure. Are some products built to lower price points and thereby include compromises in performance, detail or accuracy? You bet.

Are some users completely inept?

Are other users highly skilled and experianced in the mechanics of these little machines?

Do some users like to tinker and make stuff work no matter what? 

Until two decades ago, this was without question a hobby for those who liked building models and had a good skill set with the same.

I will say this, I have no interest in paying extremely high prices for trains of "Marklin" quality - others will disgree.

Have some products disappointed me - sure. Broadway Limited is low on my satisfaction index - others will disagree.

Bachmann has made a wide range of quality, detail and different target customer products over the last 30 years - selectively, I am very happy with their products - yet some of their products are simply not acceptable to me.

There are no "track" police to make sure all track performs with all equipment.

Maybe what we need is layout construction police - no 85' passengers cars sold to people with 28" curves????

Despite the best efforts of Bachmann, Broadway Limited, MTH, Rapido, and now Walthers, Athearn, Scale Trains and every company selling this stuff - at its highest level, this will never be a completely "plug and play" hobby.

A passenger car does not track well? Figure out why, add some weight, learn the physics. 

I know a guy in this business who builds "perfect" layouts for those unable or unwilling to build their own - would you like his number?

This hobby is a broad tent, lots of differnt ways to approach it and enjoy it. But past a circle of EZ track, it reqiures some skills and some patience. 

I can honestly say in my 65 years I have never become "angry" at an inanimate object. Frustrated yes......

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,239 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 7:06 PM

Doughless

 

 
John-NYBW
If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces.

 

Sidebar rant:

I sell it.  I've probably returned/resold 75% of the model railroading stuff I have ever bought.  Yep. Its amazing how many products simply don't work as you expect them to.

Not about passenger cars, but I just received 2 Atlas U23bs with Loksound V5.  They vibrate when they run.  I can see it, and I can hear the couplers chatter when coupled to a car and the sound is on mute, proving what I'm seeing.  Doesn't happen with other Atlas Loksounds, but it did also happen with Intermountain U18Bs back when they came out.

Oh well. On they go to the return bin or the resale market, like the majority of stuff I bought over the past two years.  

Its got to be because of changes in manufacturing processes/ third party vendors nearly each and every time a new run of something is produced.  No consistency.

 

One of the reasons I have regretted investing as much time and money into this hobby as I have is the overall poor quality of the products being sold. If I bought a toaster and it didn't work right out of the box, I wouldn't spend two seconds trying to fix it. It would go right back to Walmart. So why when we buy substandard merchandise in this hobby, we think it's our responsibility to try to make it work? It makes no sense.

I remember about a year ago making the statement in another thread that 75% of the merchandise in this hobby is junk and lots of people took exception to that statement. To me, any product that doesn't work perfectly out of the box, that requires me to tinker with it, is a piece of junk. One of the reasons my layout is taking so long to complete is that I have to spend so much time fixing things that don't work as they should. I'm done spending time fixing junk. I'm not going to buy much new stuff for my layout so I probably won't be returning stuff to my LHS but I'm not going to bother with existing junk. I suppose I could get a few bucks for it trying to sell it on ebay but who needs the hassle. I'd rather have the satisfaction of destroying it. At least I'd get something for my money.

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,172 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 12:13 PM

richhotrain

I have established a 32" minimum radius for curves on my layout. If I could afford the space, I would move up to 36" minimum radius. The use of 40" minimum radius for curves would only be in my dreams. All that said, even if I had the space, a 48" minimum radius for curves does not seem to be necessary at all.

Rich

 

But close coupled with working diaphragms, they look so good once you get around 40" and above. And when you start talking about double  track, your outer tracks get up around 40" pretty easily even with 36" as a minimum. Just look at my layout and consider the multi track concentric curves, and ones that are bigger, just because the room is there. Most of my 36" curves are viewed from the inside, another advantage of viewing the layout from inside the circle.

Yes, I have put a lot of thought and into all these details over the years.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 5,138 posts
Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 8:26 AM

John-NYBW
If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces.

Sidebar rant:

I sell it.  I've probably returned/resold 75% of the model railroading stuff I have ever bought.  Yep. Its amazing how many products simply don't work as you expect them to.

Not about passenger cars, but I just received 2 Atlas U23bs with Loksound V5.  They vibrate when they run.  I can see it, and I can hear the couplers chatter when coupled to a car and the sound is on mute, proving what I'm seeing.  Doesn't happen with other Atlas Loksounds, but it did also happen with Intermountain U18Bs back when they came out.

Oh well. On they go to the return bin or the resale market, like the majority of stuff I bought over the past two years.  

Its got to be because of changes in manufacturing processes/ third party vendors nearly each and every time a new run of something is produced.  No consistency.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,318 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 6:12 AM

I have established a 32" minimum radius for curves on my layout. If I could afford the space, I would move up to 36" minimum radius. The use of 40" minimum radius for curves would only be in my dreams. All that said, even if I had the space, a 48" minimum radius for curves does not seem to be necessary at all.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,239 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, June 20, 2022 9:53 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

The age old lesson here is that minimum curves and maximum sized equipment is living model train life on the edge.....

The great Paul Mallery, aurthor of a number of books on the technical aspects of the hobby, and a primary founder of "The Model Railroad Club" in Union NJ, had some ideas about all this that are still resisted to this day.

https://www.themodelrailroadclub.org/

In his view, 48" radius was the desired mainline minimum in HO to model full length passenger cars and mainline Class I operations - The modular standards follow his recommendations.

In 1966, the young Severna Park Model Railroad club was wise enough to adopt 36" radius as their minimum for mainline and passenger terminal trackage.

WHY? because it works. There was once a web site full of model train info, it is gone now, and I was only able to capture some of it. I never knew the guy or his real name - on his site he identified himself as "bud". He presented endless technical documentation about curves, grades, trucks, couplers, motors, etc, etc - he too was of the opinion that an 85' HO passenger car, even on 36" radius, was working at "the hairy edge" of the engineering.

I know, we don't all have that kind of space. Even I could find no way to meet a reasonable number of my goals in my space with 48" radius as a minimum. I was able to stay at and above 36", with a great many of the curves being in the low to mid 40's.

Most of my passenger cars are 72' long........

Sheldon 

 

I established 36" as the minimum radius for my mainline with the outside curve of my double track mainline being 38". I compromised that standard for the approach to my passenger station thinking I could get away with it. That has proven to be a mistake. Most passenger cars I've seen sold claim they require only a 24" minimum radius but that is bull. So was the Shinora claim that their inside radius of their #8 turnout was 32". My gauges indicate it is about 28". You can see the passenger cars binding up as they take a curve that tight. Maybe if they had truck mounted couplers that would work but except for Rivarossi, I don't know who makes full length (80' or more) passenger cars with truck mounted couplers. 

I remember reading Allen McClelland's book about his V&O and he discussed this issue and showed pictures of how much better full length passenger cars looked on 48" radius track. This was long before I began planning my current railroad. I wish I had paid more attention to that. 36" works but if you go below that you are asking for trouble from your 80' passenger cars. I could have gone for broader curves when I planning the layout but it would take too much rebuilding to retrofit it now. The Peco #7 has proved more reliable for most of my passenger cars but not all of them. 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,239 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, June 20, 2022 9:30 PM

richhotrain

 

 
John-NYBW

There are two problems with Walthers passenger cars and they seem to be chronic, coupler swivel and truck swivel. It seems to me the problem is most acute with their Budd cars. I finally got fed up with trying to adjust them to make them work. With two of them I removed the reuseable parts, couplers and wheels, and smashed them to bits. There are a couple more on the chopping block if they don't start to behave. I'm tired of spending so much time trying to fix garbage. It just isn't worth the time or effort to do so.  

 

 

That's pretty extreme to smash those passenger cars to bits. The Walthers passenger cars can be finicky, but they are fixable.

They aren't worth fixing. I spend too much of my hobby time trying to fix garbage merchandise. If I have to fiddle with something for more than 15 minutes to get it to work the way it should have right out of the box, it's going in the trash, in tiny little pieces. I then cross that company's product line off my list. I did that with Walthers passenger cars a long time ago.  

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,172 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, June 20, 2022 9:09 PM

The age old lesson here is that minimum curves and maximum sized equipment is living model train life on the edge.....

The great Paul Mallery, aurthor of a number of books on the technical aspects of the hobby, and a primary founder of "The Model Railroad Club" in Union NJ, had some ideas about all this that are still resisted to this day.

https://www.themodelrailroadclub.org/

In his view, 48" radius was the desired mainline minimum in HO to model full length passenger cars and mainline Class I operations - The modular standards follow his recommendations.

In 1966, the young Severna Park Model Railroad club was wise enough to adopt 36" radius as their minimum for mainline and passenger terminal trackage.

WHY? because it works. There was once a web site full of model train info, it is gone now, and I was only able to capture some of it. I never knew the guy or his real name - on his site he identified himself as "bud". He presented endless technical documentation about curves, grades, trucks, couplers, motors, etc, etc - he too was of the opinion that an 85' HO passenger car, even on 36" radius, was working at "the hairy edge" of the engineering.

I know, we don't all have that kind of space. Even I could find no way to meet a reasonable number of my goals in my space with 48" radius as a minimum. I was able to stay at and above 36", with a great many of the curves being in the low to mid 40's.

Most of my passenger cars are 72' long........

Sheldon 

    

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 23,318 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Monday, June 20, 2022 5:40 PM

John-NYBW

There are two problems with Walthers passenger cars and they seem to be chronic, coupler swivel and truck swivel. It seems to me the problem is most acute with their Budd cars. I finally got fed up with trying to adjust them to make them work. With two of them I removed the reuseable parts, couplers and wheels, and smashed them to bits. There are a couple more on the chopping block if they don't start to behave. I'm tired of spending so much time trying to fix garbage. It just isn't worth the time or effort to do so.  

That's pretty extreme to smash those passenger cars to bits. The Walthers passenger cars can be finicky, but they are fixable.

To me, it is worth the time and effort, particularly because the cars are pricey. If nothing else, sell them on eBay and recoup some of your cost.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 2,239 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, June 20, 2022 5:08 PM

wrench567

   John.

  I would suspect the trucks to be the issue. I have some Walther's B60 baggage cars and one was giving me fits. One of the trucks did not swivel freely and was warped. After a few emails and pictures with Walther's they sent me a new one. That one had flash almost blocking the mounting hole and needed a cleanup with a knife and file.

    Pete.

 

There are two problems with Walthers passenger cars and they seem to be chronic, coupler swivel and truck swivel. It seems to me the problem is most acute with their Budd cars. I finally got fed up with trying to adjust them to make them work. With two of them I removed the reuseable parts, couplers and wheels, and smashed them to bits. There are a couple more on the chopping block if they don't start to behave. I'm tired of spending so much time trying to fix garbage. It just isn't worth the time or effort to do so. 

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • 800 posts
Posted by wrench567 on Monday, June 20, 2022 3:07 PM

   John.

  I would suspect the trucks to be the issue. I have some Walther's B60 baggage cars and one was giving me fits. One of the trucks did not swivel freely and was warped. After a few emails and pictures with Walther's they sent me a new one. That one had flash almost blocking the mounting hole and needed a cleanup with a knife and file.

    Pete.

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