I tired this in another forum with no success so here you go. MTH has several european 2 rail passenger cars that I have always liked that are NOT manufactured in 3 rail. However, I'm a 3 rail, hi rail (not scale) person. Is the conversion difficult? Is it simply swapping out the trucks without any other modifications? If so, what trucks? Any information would be appreciated. Thank you, Terry
Replies sorted oldest to newest
Esoteric question Terry. Have you bought one of these MTH cars and if so can you share photos of their trucks and bolsters etc.? Really don't want to speculate nor assume how different MTH's domestic (US models) vary from their European models, 2 or 3 rail. Likely not that much but can't say for sure without seeing them.
Depends on what kind of track you plan to run them on, they might work as is. Worst case might be just changing wheels.
I haven't seen the 2 rail MTH versions, usually (take this with more than a grain of salt) 2 rail scale has body mounted couplers, and they may not be compatible with standard 3 rail couplers in terms of height, let alone mating. Other thing is things like steps that hang down, that would interfere with truck mounted couplers as they swing on a curve. It isn't difficult IME from what I have seen (I converted a 2 rail freight car I got for free from a friend to 3 rail), mostly replacing the trucks with truck mounted couplers and clearing obstructions if they are there. Another thought is with MTH euro trains, do they simulate the couplers and such they use there, or is it knuckle couplers?
Forgot about the couplers. Maybe you want to talk with the people on the "3 rail scale" forum who do a lot of this type of stuff! I have no doubt that it can be done, but how much of a PITA to do it. If the cars will handle your track, you would only need to change one coupler. If the cars are looooong, they may look silly going around tight radius curves. Maybe you want to talk with MTH.
I've assumed that the cars Terry is referring to [ that MTH has not made in hi-rail ] are the 'second run' of LMS passenger cars, the Coronations and their subsequent liveries: hence, the following disclaimer: I do not have, nor have I tinkered with, these cars. However, I do have experience in converting other MTH Euro passenger cars [ Orient, OCEM, Rngld ] from 2R to 3R and vice versa, and have body shells from the first LMS run, so I may be able to contribute some information and suggestions, assuming MTH has used a common approach on the Coronation cars.
1. The concept of using the existing scale wheelsets on 3R track may work, as mentioned above, but there are a number of potential problems:
a. I've been advised by 3Rérs who have tried this that unless modifications to the turnouts are made, derailments, primarily when taking the diverging route, are likely.
b. You will not have any interior illumination from track power, because
- no center roller for pickup
- MTH trucks for 2R operation have plastic/nylon insert bushings for the axle end bearings, so that the all metal trucks are at neither + nor - polarity, and lighting pickup is by wipers on each side. The 3R version of the trucks have metal bearings, and hence both wheels, the axle, and the complete truck are at "-" [ = outside rail ] potential for lighting circuit return.
c. Again, as mentioned above: You will not have the truck mounted couplers found on 3R cars, which may be helpful depending on your minimum curve radii.
2. I would suggest substituting complete MTH 3R trucks for the 2R ones. MTH does use a bolt-from-top [ through a round metal 'bolster plate' screwed to the bottom of the carbody ] approach, going into a threaded boss on the top of the truck crossframe -- it's anything but the more conventional "hole in the center of the truck" approach.
Unfortunately to the best of my knowledge MTH does not sell replacement trucks, either 2R or 3R, for their British passenger cars -- and if they did, they would probably be $ 25 each, based on their other truck prices. Hence, I suggest the following:
A. Buy the cars you want with the scale wheels NOW, while they are available and discounted, even if the conversion solution is not immediately at hand. It is possible another vendor will pick up the MTH tooling [ since the tooling for the other MTH Euro passenger cars has been or is being* bought ] and produce them in 3R, but I wouldn't count on it.
B. Buy a suitable number of the MTH LMS passenger cars from the earlier run with the 3R trucks, and swap the trucks onto the Coronation cars; then sell the resultant 2R cars. This is the best approach, unless you value your time at 7 cents/hour or just prefer the challenge or headaches, or both There are other solutions of course, especially if you don't bother with car lighting, at least track powered -- I usually remove it.
I hope the above is helpful. Have fun.
[ *The potential buyer said on April 25 "We have temporarily stopped OCEM and CIWL tools purchasing process with MTH....[ because ] ...it is impossible to organize injection tests [ to check for rust, etc ] in the factory where they are located, because it is closed !" ]