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Hi Tom,


Here are some pics of what I have done. I had cut a lot out of the orignial trucks and used parts from their 2rail trucks to get lightting. with the 2rail trucks you get a small plastic piece that has copper wipers on it that can replace the roller. You probably don't have to cut out as much as I did. I just felt it made a nicer job.






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I recently converted a new MTH N8 caboose that I picked up at a swap meet. Photos below show how I modified it from 3 rail to 2 rail with power for internal lights and end marker lights.

Because the draft box/coupler is mounted on the MTH trucks, I had to modify the bottom of the caboose to mount a new draft box. A 1/16" metal plate was added to lower the draft box to the correct height. I also added a submini switch to control the lights to allow me to turn the interior light on/off while leaving the marker lights on. Based on photos I have of the PRR N8, I added a triple valve since it is a detail that is visible from the side. Photo below shows bottom before painting.



Truck replacement was easy. The Atlas O Scale Caboose Trucks have electrical pickups and are a "drop in" replacement - no need to adjust bolster height. They also include screw hardware that works for attaching to the MTH bottom plate without modifications.




I did modify the Atlas truck to remove the cast on coupler box.




The end also has to be slightly modified to allow clearance for the draft gear box. I also added an air hose because this is a detail missing from the MTH model.




And here is the reassembled caboose after wiring, painting and light weathering.




Matthew Jones


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The picture above is "squashed" horizontally. If you click on it it will open at the proper size.


That said, based on some protype info I have, the height of an N8 is 13' 6-9/16" from rail head to cupola top. My model measures 14' 4" from rail head to cupola top - so it is a bit high. I looked at lowering the body but there were issues with truck clearance with underbody detail and the sides, and difficulty modifying the bolster.


Also it's length is over 2 feet short (33' 6") of the prototype (35' 11-1/2" between strikers).


But it only cost me $20 and a couple hours of modeling fun. And it looks nice.

Matthew Jones

I 2 railed a couple of these cars about 10 years ago.  for the price, the MTH N-8 is a decent car.  It is not perfect but it is good.  I like the look of my Quality Craft kit built N-8's better, but they are hard to find and not so easy to build, being multi media brass, white metal and wood cars with no interior detail (and the windows are hard to glaze after assembly and hard to mask for painting if done before assembly).


I used a slightly different approach, I cut out the dimpled portion of the sheet metal underframe and patched it with sheet styrene.  I used PSC bolsters (not an ideal bolster -- I have some issues with the design, but a good product).  I drew a center line from end to end, roughed in where the Kaydees would go (plastic pockets and metal draft gear) drilled the mounting holes and then mounted the bolsters.  I used Atheran betendorf trucks with PSC leaf springs (they fit well and look good but you have to remove some of the coul spring lugs to make it fit).  I assembled the trucks with NWSL wheelsets and hooked up the wiring to home made pickups.  My cabin cars pick up from one side of each truck only, but could have all wheel pick up with little difficulty).  The pick ups degrade the rolling qualities of the car, however it does encourage slack to run in and out.  Think of it like driving with a slightly sticky brake, or a light drag ona  spincasting reel.  The pick ups were scratch built from ABS plastic, nylon 2-56 screws and phosphor bronze weather stripping material.  They look a bit like a Bronze "dog bone" with an "L" bracket screed on.  I assembleled the car and adjuted its height for the kaydees.  While the car was apart, I removed the interior lighting but left the markers alone.  I run 2 rail DC, the markers only come on when the car is going forward with the markers facing the rear.  I think the conversions took about 2 or so hours each, not counting the time making the pickups.


The cars look fairly accurate but do not have tread material on the end platforms nor do they have the hand rails which the prototype does on the inboard part of the platforms. 


Much as I like the Pennsy, I am more of a CN guy.  Now if only someone would make proper, acurate CN post 1960's era steel vans, I'd be a happy man. 

I will proceed with the  MTH trucks and fashion some kind of pick-up system! I am not overly concerned about making the lights work. This is not 3-rail. I am basically glad to have a great model of a Santa Fe caboose for my Weaver Baldwin to pull, The Baldwin was professionally painted and stripped as per SF #2258! If I could figure how to post a photo, I will do so. The lights are not an overwhelming priority!

I converted an NE MTH caboose to 2R about a year ago and while the trucks are not 100%, I plan on cutting the trucks and scratching the leaf springs.  I needed to relocate the truck centers further outboard and lower the car about 1/8 of an inch, but I am please with the result.  The trucks are an old set of plastic Atlas O with 2R salvaged wheels installed.  I wasn't worried about the lighting side personally. 





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Conversions and threads related to them are important.


I have learned a few things today, thank you.


Scott, AM Hobbies website usually has trucks for you. If you know that they are atlas two rail cars and need three rail trucks, you will find them there.


Tip, Save your two rail trucks, always ... never know what you might need them in the future.

Atlas trucks are different between 2 and 3 rail versions. On the 3R version the raised center section of the bolster is much higher then on the 2R version. The good news is you can unscrew the bosters and change 'em. A couple of my Atlas cars have trucks converted to 2R from 3R. The car sits too high because of this bolster, yuck.

I fashioned some track wipers out of sheet brass. They are screwed to a short piece of one-quarter inch square basswood which was, in turn, "gooed" securely to the bottom of the truck bolster. The wiring for the light is secured to the wiper with the same screw that holds the wiper to the basswood. It is simple and it works. I would post a quick photo but I have no idea how to do that on this forum! My computer skills are limited!


(As long as your cars are modern - with 100 ton barber rollerbearing trucks),

The easiest way for you to change them is - Free. Unscrew your 2 rail Atlas O trucks and couplers (include the coupler box screws only-keep the truck mount screws) and send them to me. I will send you Atlas O 3 rail trucks with couplers. 

This is a 1 for 1 exchange and they are interchangable items.

I turn them around and ship them out the next day back to guys.

We can do as many cars as you would like to. 

Please contact me offline with an email to get started.


Rick Trinkle

Trinkle-Trains : )


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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