More "Refreshment" for your S scale Intermodal trains...TWICE the fun!

In earlier posts I told of my frustration in not being able to find an S scale "pup" trailer of a length short enough to fit a pair of them on an SHS/MTH 53' TOFC flatcar.

Well I solved the problem and the answer was or should have been easy to figure out.

AHL (American Highway Legends) has made many, many examples of tractors with matching pup trailers for years. Every train show I have attended had had at least a few examples of them from S scale vendors and I never bought any. Go figure.

They come in many domestic product variations and also Railroad specific and trucking company names. The colors and graphics of the trailers is fantastic. And best of all a pair of them fit perfectly on SHS/MTH TOFC flatcars. For me this is like a prayer answered. As a billboard reefer collector It was tough to lose the SHS offerings and the lack of new offerings from MTH has been frustrating. But now I have another "billboard" so to speak with these colorful trailers and I'm going to acquire quite a few.

Back in the early days of TOFC traffic short (pup) trailers were a solution to shipping LCL (less than carload) traffic for shippers who didn't want to pay carload rates for short quantities of items to ship. They also allowed railroads to maximize their hauls. Putting a pair of pup sized trailers on a flatcar was to become a common practice:

The US mail service also shipped a lot of mail in trailers like these to distant locations for non-priority mail.

The AHL trailers are perfectly sized for the job. They scale out in S scale to: 22' Long, 8' wide and 12' high. I used an MTH 53' car which already had the 5th wheel stand moved forward (to accommodate the 45' trailers loaded on them) and liberated another stand from an American Models flatcar I had. The AM 5th wheel stand is identical to the SHS/MTH stand.

Here's how it worked out:

You could reposition the pair of stands to make the trailers exactly balanced on the flats but for now I'll say they look "good enough" the way I have them placed with the rear trailer placed slightly closer to the end of the car than the front trailer.

I declined to purchase additional stands from AM as $10.00 each was too steep for me. I have located some Lionel O27 stands that are the perfect height. The width needs a little trimming but they will work nicely. I plan to remove and reinstall my current MTH stands on as many cars as I need and then add the O27 stands to the donor cars so that they will be a matching pair on each car. I'll post pics when I get them.

Here's a couple of time warp videos showing The Frisco Meteor being pressed into service delivering some express service TOFC cars carrying some special cargo...baked goods and chewing gum! Looks like Krispy Kreme may be getting some competition for their doughnuts...






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Nice job!  I should have thought a bit more and told you about the AHM trailers.  I have a few in my secondary collection of S sized vehicles.  It started out as a simple way to put vehicles on my layout, but has acquired a life of its own! 

Sorry I dropped the ball. 



No problem Jerry. I'm just glad that something readily had exists!

Today I was transforming another car for dual trailer stands and then had a thought..."What about when you want to run the long 45' MTH trailers again?"...

Turns out that with both hitch stands in place on the MTH flatcar (the added rear stand is placed so that the back edge of the stand base is ~3 INCHES from the end of the car) the MTH 45' trailer will engage the front stand and clear the rear stand. Under the 45' trailer the frame has two parallel I beams that are spaced just far enough apart to allow the top of the rear stand to fit between them. That way the 45' trailer can still be run on the car without having to remove the rear stand.

I know that's not prototypical as a single trailer on a flatcar would only have one stand in the raised position but the rear stand being under the trailer doesn't look too noticeable and I'm willing to "allow it" to be able to run dual 22'er's or a single 45' on the same car.

I also found out that with both stands raised I can also mount the new M2 machines Coca-cola trailers with one simple modification. On the under side of the trailer there is a small raised metal mounting stub that has internal threads. It was used to secure the trailer to the plastic display base the trailer was shipped in. All I did was use a dremel with a metal cutting disc and cut off the stub flush with the underside of the chassis. Then the top of the rear hitch stand would neatly fit under the trailer floor.

If you do modify any of these SHS/MTH flatcars for dual AHL 22' trailer use you WILL NOT be able to run an original SHS 35' trailer on the car again without removing the rear stand.

I plan to try to keep some of my original SHS flatcars unmodified so that I can run them with the stock 35' trailers.

All in all I'm excited to have a "New S Scale Car" that has not been produced before to add to the variety of my rolling stock.


Yes I remember those circus cars. They are still available from Scenery Unlimited.

They come set up for being pulled by a circus crawler with an add-on wheeled hitch bogie.

The front 5th wheel bogies are removable to allow for road travel. 


Early circus wagons were just that...wooden wheeled wagons pulled by trucks, tractors or worst of all this poor guy:

Sad elephant

When a more modern circus train was loaded whether or not the wheeled bogies were left under the trailer for transport could be researched. But that has to do with Circus trains specifically. 

Early trailer transport on flatcars used temporary hitch stands and lots of chains:

After the invention of the ACF collapsible stand the railroads eventually accepted that all those extra chains weren't needed. The collapsible stands were raised and lowered by air powered socket wrenches:

My addition of the second fixed stand allows an S scaler to model early TOFC traffic.

I'm going to see if I can figure out a way to have the rear stand be magnetically attached to the flatcar. That way removal of the stand for use of a long trailer on the car would be easy.



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