Tag Archives: trucks

Axle Lengths for Your Freight Car Trucks

One of the things I love about US model railroading is that trucks are interchangeable between cars from different manufacturers. With a multitude of trucks available on the market, it’s helpful to have a cheat sheet that indicates what axle lengths work with them. I found such lists on the Reboxx website that help me determine which PROTO:87 wheel sets I need to order from NWSL or Andy Reichert’s PROTO:87 Stores.

Checking the axle lengths for an Accurail truck.

Find Axle Lengths by Wheel Diameter

Reboxx Ho 33″ Wheel Application Chart (PDF)

Reboxx Ho 36″ Wheel Application Chart (PDF)

Maybe, you’ll find them useful as well.

Building a Penn Central X58 50′ Box Car (Part II)

I have taken the last few weeks off from modeling because I was finishing up some coursework. With my class completed, it’s time to turn my attention back to my Rail Yard Models Penn Central X58 project. Today, I am installing a pair of Kadee® Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks outfitted with PROTO:87 wheels, the end platforms, handbrake and the Sergent couplers.

The Kadee® trucks look good and even better with with the PROTO wheels. They have a working suspension, which is pretty cool even though the springs look a little too large. Check out the difference between the factory-installed RP25 wheels and the PROTO wheels. There is no way I am going back to RP25…

Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks with RP25 and PROTO:87 wheels.

Barber® S-2 70 ton trucks with RP25 and PROTO:87 wheels. (click to enlarge)

The hole in the Kadee® trucks is too small to fit over the pin under the X58. A #30 (3.3 mm) drill bit will widen the hole just enough. When installing the trucks, make sure that the screws aren’t too tight so that the trucks can still move freely under the car.

The hole in the trucks needs to be widened to fit under the X58.

The hole in the trucks needs to be widened to fit under the X58.

So far the X58 project went quite well – until it was time to install the end platforms. Bending the platforms just right was a problem and I messed up a few of them in the process. Gene Fusco from Rail Yard Models sent me updated instructions to better illustrate the shaping of the parts, which did help me in my final attempt.

During installation, I also had trouble fitting the parts over the alignment pins on the car. The urethane body is pretty soft and the pins got damaged in the process. Eventually, I decided to completely remove them and install the platforms using scale screw imitations instead.  I shaved off the remains of the pins using an X-acto knife and drilled holes with a #79 (0.37 mm) bit in their place. Then I mounted the platforms with the scale screws, which also makes them feel sturdier.

Preparing the X58 for the installation of the end platforms.

Preparing the X58 for the installation of the end platforms.

B end with with handbrake and end platform installed.

B end with with handbrake and end platform installed.

As a last step, I installed the draft gear with the Sergent couplers prepared a few weeks ago. Looks nice doesn’t it?

The Sergent couplers are installed and the car is ready to be painted.

The Sergent couplers are installed and the car is ready to be painted.

In part III, I am going paint and decal the car.