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The recent announcement by Atlas to release "MTH 18 inch" heavyweight passenger cars and head end cars piqued my interest.  The best measurement of car length may be from end of sill to end of sill as any measurement referencing couplers varies by types of couplers and is useless if drawbars are used.  As far as I know, MTH heavyweight cars measured 17" from end of sill to end of sill, the same as Jerry Williams' cars.  I took these photos this morning

OAL 7 GGD SF 1

GGD baggage car at 18" over the sills

OAL 8 GGD PULLMAN 12-1 1OAL 9 GGD PULLMAN 12-1 2

GGD 12-1 with 20 inches over the sills.

OAL 1 K-Line NH 1OAL 2 K-Line NH 2OAL 5 K-Line SF 1

OAL K-Line SF baggage with window

K-Line baggage cars at 17 1/2" over the sills

OAL Lionel dining car 3

OAL 10 Lionel SF Dining carOAL 11 Lionel SF Diner 2

Lionel heavyweight dining car with sounds - 18".

OAL 7 MTH SF 1OAL 6 MTH SF 2OAL 6 MTH SF 3

MTH heavyweight baggage car 17".  These may be from  the same molds as Williams.

OAL 3 Williams NH 1OAL 4 Williams NH 2

Williams heavyweight baggage car 17".

OAL 12 Williams obsvn 1

OAL Williams observation

OAL 12 Williams obsvn 2

Williams observation car.  17 inches between the sills.

John

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Images (18)
  • OAL 7 GGD SF 1
  • OAL 8 GGD PULLMAN 12-1 1
  • OAL 9 GGD PULLMAN 12-1 2
  • OAL 1 K-Line NH 1
  • OAL 2 K-Line NH 2
  • OAL 5 K-Line SF 1
  • OAL 10 Lionel SF Dining car
  • OAL 11 Lionel SF Diner 2
  • OAL 7 MTH SF 1
  • OAL 6 MTH SF 2
  • OAL 6 MTH SF 3
  • OAL 3 Williams NH 1
  • OAL 4 Williams NH 2
  • OAL 12 Williams obsvn 1
  • OAL 12 Williams obsvn 2
  • OAL K-Line SF baggage with window
  • OAL Lionel dining car 3
  • OAL Williams observation
Last edited by rattler21
Original Post

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You are in the ballpark.  Heavyweight passenger cars ranged from 40' to about 81' over the buffers - confusing, sometimes, because dimensions are often given of the interiors.

Harriman cars included a 40' RPO, 60' coaches, 72' diners - you get the idea.  Usually "all baggage" cars were shorter than coaches or Pullmans.

I assume you are only asking about steel cars - you picture steel sided models.

@bob2 posted:

You are in the ballpark.  Heavyweight passenger cars ranged from 40' to about 81' over the buffers - confusing, sometimes, because dimensions are often given of the interiors.

Harriman cars included a 40' RPO, 60' coaches, 72' diners - you get the idea.  Usually "all baggage" cars were shorter than coaches or Pullmans.

I assume you are only asking about steel cars - you picture steel sided models.

Bob,  Among many things I don't understand is where the 18 inches MTH/Atlas refer to is measured.  And why are scale cars listed as Madison cars?  I thought scale cars were heavyweights and Madison were toys. John

Last edited by rattler21
@bob2 posted:

You are in the ballpark.  Heavyweight passenger cars ranged from 40' to about 81' over the buffers - confusing, sometimes, because dimensions are often given of the interiors.

Harriman cars included a 40' RPO, 60' coaches, 72' diners - you get the idea.  Usually "all baggage" cars were shorter than coaches or Pullmans.

Yes, scale passenger cars ranged over quite a wide array of lengths and were not the specifics that seem to have grown into some metric by modelers.

And I know nothing about how long Madison cars are.  All I can tell you is that Lionel called the early Bakelite cars "Madison" and the name became generic for "heavyweight" style cars.  If you are not doing 0-27, best to skip the "Madison" label and use the names given to the prototype - e.g., Pullman, Harriman, etc.

18" cars are 72 scale feet long - plenty long enough for commuter lines.  20" is about as long as you want to go for heavyweights.  SP Daylight "lightweight" cars started at 77', which is 19 1/4" in O scale.  Does any of that help?

"They're good dogs" as they say on reddit, twitter, maybe some other website.

12" cars - just don't look right.

15" cars - better. Work on O27, look a bit silly on them. Ideal for smaller layouts.

18" cars - now we talking. Need O72 to look good.

21" cars - on an O72 curve, can see the center rail. That ruins it for me.

MTH 18" passenger cars just do it for me, long enough to get the idea, but not so long I wish I was in HO or N. Its a trade off. Then they are plastic instead of painted aluminum that can chip. It least if it gets a ding, you usually cannot see it at a distance.

I just wish we never had two, (three with LC+?, or would that be four with BlueRail?), control systems.

Interesting read.

In the 1:1 side of things passenger and head end equipment was varied widely.

I admire how the 3 rail selection of compression works pretty well and sometimes not so much. I think the Madison heavyweight cars are terrific. I have a few sets and enjoy them a lot.

My scale addiction is another story. Finding space for my consists has become a huge problem no pun intended. 7 complete passenger trains in full scale 1/48 in thier boxes is a lesson in available real estate ugh. The UP Wasatch Model Company boxes take the crown for HUGENESS. Hahah 13 of those is a Duesy. Good grief.

Since this is the scale thread I'll add I sure do love Scott's work on these trains of late. They are so spectacular an absolute blessing thanks Scott if you read this.

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