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They date back to the 1990's. The cars were well constructed and were actually fairly comfortable for cars that are essentially busses on rails. Metrolink still has many in service, though their new coaches are made by Hyundai-Rotem and the Bombardier cars are being phased out quickly. Some interesting tidbits:

  • The cab cars had very good structural integrity. Several people who attempted to remove themselves from the gene pool by going around lowered gates did little or no structural damage to the cab cars. A head-on collision with a westbound BNSF freight in Placentia, CA lifted the cab car's front end, but didn't crush the car. Supposedly, the Hyundai-Rotem cars have even better structural integrity and are have better aerodynamics.
  • One coach got telescoped in a bad accident out in the San Fernando Valley when the locomotive hit an eastbound freight train head on -- the locomotive was shoved into the first coach (25 fatalities).
  • The Glendale accident where an eastbound Metrolink train picked a switch, jack-knifed, and was hit by a westbound train showed the cars had more integrity than I thought. (11 fatalities)
  • Each coach (and the cab cars) had a single disc brake rotor on one end of each axle (thick axles). Despite only four brake rotors per car, the braking performance was very good. They were also very easy to service because the car didn't need to be jacked up to service the brakes.

As to the models:

  • The MTH cars are the better ones if you need 18-inch cars for sharper radius. I have a set and removed the three-rail couplers in favor of Kadees, but kept the hi-rail couplers to connect to the locomotive. With Kadee couplers, the train will negotiate O-72 curves with Kadee 805'z/740's installed even when being pushed.
  • I later bought a set of the K-Line full scale cars. Though they're scale sized, the brake detailing is better on the MTH cars, as are the interiors. The MTH cars also give the option of flashing the ditch lights on the cab car. Both brands can switch between tail lights or headlights on the cab car. The MTH cab car uses bulbs while the K-Line uses bright (and very realistic) LED's.
  • The hot ticket is an MTH Proto-2 or Proto-3 F59PHi with K-Line cars. I haven't seen any indications that the EMD F125 being used by Metrolink or the Siemens "Charger" being available in O scale yet.
  • Both the K-Line and MTH cars need more passengers. When I rode Metrolink to work, it was almost standing room only by the time we reached LAUPT.

Hi Matt,

Thanks so much for your very informative reply.

I’m considering buying either the MTH or KLine 18” set, but it will depend on which is better detailed.

I plan to 2 rail the set and it will operate on 84” and 72” radius curves.

I’ve read the18” MTH cars look more balanced with the correct number of windows.

Matt hat are your thoughts?

Regards Daryl

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