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Looking at the GGD webside for the specs of their 1948 20th Century Ltd cars trying to find length of each car. Assuming their 21".

For anyone that owns, any experiences with the GGD 20th century Ltd cars or how you feel about them compared to K-line 21" cars or the Lionel 21" South Western Limited.

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The GGD cars are 21 inches in length. Everything they make is scale in their dimensions.


There is no comparison whatsoever between the Lionel or K line cars and GGD cars. The Lionel and K line cars are both generic cars with NYC paint on them. The GGD cars are true to the prototype in design.

GGD all the way!

But be warned... once you own a set of GGD cars, you will feel the need to sell off your other cars to buy more GGD cars! They are the very best in 3 rail scale!

Here is a video of some of my NYC cars from the first GGD run...

https://youtu.be/NJZNSniZxwE

Last edited by BigJohn&theWork

I have both the K-Line and GGD (2012) 20th Century Car 12-car, full-scale-length 1949 sets.  The recent GGD offering has a somewhat different car set.  As Big John noted, the GGDs are accurate models of cars in the typical 20th Century consists.  While the K-Line cars are "generic" as to window patterns and such (and most 10-6 sleepers were similar) and they aren't as detailed, their paint scheme appears accurate.  Unlike some of the MTH cars, the K-Line "hotel" cars are accurately labeled PULLMAN primary, NYC secondary.  I'm undecided on whether to sell my K-Line 20th Century and ESE cars.  I have the GGD versions of both, but my layout-under-construction really isn't big enough for 12x21" car passenger trains, despite 104" minimum diameter visible curves, and the local club's display layout doesn't have the curve diameter to do them justice.  I may well keep my K-Line 18" pre-WWII cars simply on the basis of total train length and my layout dimensions.  The question reduces to "excellent" vs. "spectacular" - and what you're willing to pay.

I "second" everything Big John said.   I purchased some GGD Heavyweight Pullmans, then found a pair of 12-1 Pullman Brass Sleepers 3rd Rail, and I had already purchased their USPS Post Office car.   

Ended up selling all my Lionel NYC and C& O George Washington Heavyweight Pullman cars .

So I am living proof that John is dead right when he wrote:   "But be warned... once you own a set of GGD cars, you will feel the need to sell off your other cars to buy more GGD cars! They are the very best in 3 rail scale!"

The other warning though is you have to be running wide radius curves for these cars to look right and run well.   My minimum diameter is 096, and many curves are wider.   

@chris a posted:

I "second" everything Big John said.   I purchased some GGD Heavyweight Pullmans, then found a pair of 12-1 Pullman Brass Sleepers 3rd Rail, and I had already purchased their USPS Post Office car.   

Ended up selling all my Lionel NYC and C& O George Washington Heavyweight Pullman cars .

So I am living proof that John is dead right when he wrote:   "But be warned... once you own a set of GGD cars, you will feel the need to sell off your other cars to buy more GGD cars! They are the very best in 3 rail scale!"

The other warning though is you have to be running wide radius curves for these cars to look right and run well.   My minimum diameter is 096, and many curves are wider.   

I run 072 and the cars look fine IMO navigating the curves    
But …. I buy space for my modest 8X12 layout by incorporating Ross curved 096/072 turnouts. I’m not restricted to switching on straight sections and the 096 part “softens” the curves by expanding the diameter a bit.

I have lots of GGD cars and they are my favorite passenger cars.  I like them so much I am close to 70 GGD cars in my collection with several more on pre-order.  Nicest cars for the price in 2 and 3 rail. 

I don't want to disparage K-Line's cars as they were done a long time ago and at the time represented the state of the art for 3 rail scale length affordable passenger cars.  I only have about 35 of their scale length cars.

@KarlDL posted:

I have both the K-Line and GGD (2012) 20th Century Car 12-car, full-scale-length 1949 sets.  The recent GGD offering has a somewhat different car set.  As Big John noted, the GGDs are accurate models of cars in the typical 20th Century consists.  While the K-Line cars are "generic" as to window patterns and such (and most 10-6 sleepers were similar) and they aren't as detailed, their paint scheme appears accurate.  Unlike some of the MTH cars, the K-Line "hotel" cars are accurately labeled PULLMAN primary, NYC secondary.  I'm undecided on whether to sell my K-Line 20th Century and ESE cars.  I have the GGD versions of both, but my layout-under-construction really isn't big enough for 12x21" car passenger trains, despite 104" minimum diameter visible curves, and the local club's display layout doesn't have the curve diameter to do them justice.  I may well keep my K-Line 18" pre-WWII cars simply on the basis of total train length and my layout dimensions.  The question reduces to "excellent" vs. "spectacular" - and what you're willing to pay.

Karl, with your size curves I would vote for the 18" cars.

I have much larger curves and a lot of the scale length passenger cars but still find that my 18" cars produce more of a prototypical serpentine appearance as they wind around the layout's 0120 and 0144 curves.  I like to reduce or eliminate the angles produced at the car ends.

@Tom Tee posted:

Karl, with your size curves I would vote for the 18" cars.

I have much larger curves and a lot of the scale length passenger cars but still find that my 18" cars produce more of a prototypical serpentine appearance as they wind around the layout's 0120 and 0144 curves.  I like to reduce or eliminate the angles produced at the car ends.

This is a matter of personal preference.  Curves can be creatively hidden so the overhang isn't as noticeable.  Less than scale length cars will always look short.  This is of course my preference and my opinion.  I think we each need to decide where we are going to compromise. 

Tom, if I knew that GGD would produce 18" approximations of the true NYC cars, I would have waited for them, for the reasons you note.  I put a set of 8 full-length cars on the outer main thru the future passenger station location last week (112" diameter curvature) and the limitations were clear.  OTOH, they do look great on the straightaways.  Perhaps the reasonable thing to do is to sell off all the K-Line 21" cars and acquire GGD 18s where and when they can be found.  The full scale length cars just look "so wrong" on 72" diameter curves (and on my 88" reversing loop) - I can't imagine running them on curves that sharp.  Even with a 28x20 space to work with, "the look" is a challenge to achieve in O scale.  Car-swapping would be more practical, were I not retired!

Jonathan, your observation about "short cars" is especially pertinent to 15" cars, which seldom have window layouts and trim that approximate real prototypes.  Step up a size to 18" and artistic compromise becomes more successful, but that pushes the minimum acceptable curve radius/diameter higher.  The angst is proportional to the percentage of main line that is curved.  So, in my 28x20 space, with minimum visible mainline diameters of 104/112, most of the mainline track is curved.  Full-sized cars rounding sharper curves would not look good, but a smaller percentage of the main would be curved and, therefore, more linear feet of space to admire the longer cars would exist.  Well, at least the freights look great everywhere!

I have stated the reason for my preference for scale length cars on many occasions on this forum.  I grew up on a commuter railroad and saw 6-10 trains passenger trains every day of my childhood from age 5 to age 18.  Those memories are so vivid for me that less than scale length cars are a compromise I am not willing to make regardless of the curve sizes.  An 18" car that should be 21" looks stubby to me, and I just can't unsee that.  This is especially obvious to my eye when looking at the locomotives that are pulling the train which in the case of the '48 Century were originally EMD E7s.

Of course, not all heavyweight cars were 80' nor were all streamlined cars 85' in length, so I also always recommend knowing your prototype if you enjoy modeling prototype trains which I do immensely.

GGD offered 18" car sets for versions of the Super Chief, Broadway Limited, and 20th Century Limited.  They ultimately didn't reserve well and were cancelled.  It would have been nice to see them go forward for those who want a higher quality detail specific train.  I'm not sure what compromises we would have made to make those "look" correct, but it would have been a fun design challenge.  In reviewing the drawings for the current offering, I learned a lot about the prototype train that was really interesting including the twin unit diner where the kitchen and the crew dorm was in one car and all the tables in the other.  Some of those 22 section Pullman Standard sleepers lasted well into Amtrak. 

Since we all model differently, if you feel the look on the curves is more important than the scale fidelity of the cars, then that is a perfectly valid decision for your railroad.   That is what makes this hobby great.  There are no wrong answers. 

Totally unrelated to the 20th Century Limited, but I think Lionel did a wonderful job with their Amfleet cars as they look proportional in terms of cross-section to length.  This was achieved by scaling the entire car down to something less than 1:48.  The HHP8 the set was originally offered with was also proportionately reduced so the whole train had scale proportions at something less than US standard O scale.   

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