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I bought these open autoracks from an estate sale, and it would be nice if I could find several more.

There are plenty of Lionel O-27 cars available which are similar to these, but they are not full length and are rather "toy-like".

If anyone has knowledge of the history of manufacturers of these models or kits, I would like to hear what you know.  Being a SLSF modeler, it is necessary to have plenty of these cars to make a convincing wheel report.

I haven't posted a "want to buy" for these cars yet, but I certainly do want to buy some more if they are out there.

Original Post

I know this sounds ridiculous, but you can put two Lionel racks together and mount them on an Atlas 85' Trailer Train flat and it looks very good.

These open racks did not last too long in the real world of railroading, and many were too low for carrying SUV type vehicles on the lower level.  Main problem seems to have been exposing the vehicles in transit.  Boston and Maine, which I model, put sheets of corrugated metal on the sides.  That works for us, because then you need fewer vehicles to fill it.  If anyone is interested, I will post pictures of my kitbashing, though it is not finished yet.

The $75 is an excellent deal.  I picked up the Atlas flat at $45 on an overstock sale, but with the two Lionel racks at $10-15 I am already at or close to that.  Of course, we never count our labor!  So far my biggest expense has been the nine early 1980s Corvettes that I am going to use as a load.

Bruce Clouette posted:

I know this sounds ridiculous, but you can put two Lionel racks together and mount them on an Atlas 85' Trailer Train flat and it looks very good.

Why not just graft them together, no flatcar needed?  Here's one done by Harry Henning, he's done several of them from old Lionel open autoracks.

So, there really was a company named "Metalon". I bought a cylindrical hopper from OSR's traction columnist at a long-ago Fall Trolley Extravaganza, who opined that it was built by that company (although I always thought it was spelled with a double 'L' for some reason).

Closer to on-topic. I recall the late Roger Arcara sometimes displayed kitbashed open autoracks on his table at the White Plains, NY WTTA train shows. These were also made from Lionel N&W auto carriers spliced lengthwise and width-wise. I distinctly remember his cars used strips of steel carton strapping to extend the stock couplers so the trucks could remain in a prototypical position. No info on where they ended up after his passing.

---PCJ

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The wood & white metal kits for these occasionally show up on eBay. I picked up a couple of them with the thought of duplicating the vertical braces to use in converting the Atlas 89-foot TTX flat to an Auto Rack.

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

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Santa Fe autorackfalconservice posted:

These open frame auto carriers can be made out of laser cut aluminum and brass sheets and shapes, with tabs and slots for assembly into a 3 dimensional freight car. 

You are correct , I have drawings to do just that . The catch is cost . One) brass sheet , 12inch x 24 inch will make 2 sides and 2 floors ,

two) time it takes to assemble them

three) laser time to cut out is figured by the inch , my experiment was aprox $60-$80 for cutting time for just one car (all pieces ) .

Now comes to needing a flat car , Atlas is 89ft , I found most of these real cars were 86ft . So you need to build a flat .

Another thing to consider many roads built their own racks in their shops . See below ( Santa Fe built their own racks for existing flat cars I think called F85 or something like that )

I have built 10-15 of these from styrene with hinged ramps , cushioned underframe . I made special wood "jigs" that slide in from the end and keep all floors square and perfect height . On some the rack uprights actually bowed out slightly at where they attach to the flat then went up to the floors ( see attached photo) . I am not bragging but I took these to a show in south Florida about 13 yrs ago and sold all 10 with "AMT 69 Mustangs , Torinos , Camaros , Chevelles  which also were assembled and painted and side windows added . I got $8000.00 for the 10 cars . I probably made 4 bucks an hour when I built them but I was new to O scale 2 rail and was using old Model Railroaders and Mainline modeler Magazine articles and drawings . Here are some pictures of partially built car with brake rigging , the AMT plastic kit cars , Mustang in yellow , Chevelle lower . I lived in Detroit in 1969 and I saw hundreds of these so when I got into O scale I was like you guys , I wanted these cars so I made them as close to scale as I could . Each car held 12 or15 AMT cars , and technically the hubcaps were in the trunk . I cast steel plain rims to replace the chrome ones . I was insane back then , could sit for hours working on these things .Sadly I never took any photos of the 10 cars as I had took them to the show , just for show to get scratchbuilding jobs . The guy who bought them as they say " made me an offer I could not refuse" so I took the cash and he got the cars and I was so overwhelmed by all those $100 bills I forgot to take a picture when he took them . This UP car was for a fellow in Ware Mass. if I recall . He bought many many 86ft resin cast high cubes from me . I was making them long before Lionel , by 10 yrs.Yes it would be cool to see someone make these but if you add the correct detailed autos with no hub caps , windows up and price ATSF autorackstickers on the side windows , even made in China , if done correctly I would guess $300 per car and to sit at the correct height I do not think you could do 3 rail because the flanges . However a lot of the newer racks have 28 inch wheels , I do not think that any company will invest for tooling and when you add in all the car variations and the giant clan of nitpickers well .........  fa getta bout it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11NPB9ApF2E                             you tube link

A 187A 186A 188A 189

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Photos (6)

The only tooling would be for the flat car. There were three general versions of the flat cars.  

The parts for the open auto racks can be laser cut from aluminum sheets and rods of variable thickness. They can be fit together by slot and tab or pin and hole. Some parts might need to be welded or bonded. 

Andrew

Take a close look at the design of the flat car and the auto rack for this RTTX Trailer Train flat car with a tri-level rack for WABASH.

The flat car has a ribbed design. That flat car would be made by laser cutting aluminum sheets and square tubes, then fitting them together in slots and holes. The side plates would be welded on the ribs.  

R.T.T.X. 500162 TRAILER TRAIN WABASH auto carrier

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Photos (1)

This is the second mention I've seen suggesting that aluminum could be used in scratchbuilding (supposedly) such cars. Isn't aluminum regarded as being particularly difficult to weld?

---PCJ, who still has the cardstock model of a stretched MPC open autorack he made in the (late '70s?)

 

I remember the almost daily trains of Chrysler products on auto racks climbing out of Scranton PA on the west slope of the Pocono Mtns. I had a couple of opportunities to visit the auto ramp facility at Pocono Summit when my dad delivered culvert pipes for an expansion of the plant.  I remember employees racing across the upper levels with various muscle cars and then laying rubber on their way to the trailer loading area.  There was a pile of bent bumpers next to the unloading ramp and a Plymouth Satellite  with a dented rood along side of them. Oh Well! Field testing, I guess?

I understand that the most common problem was battery theft along the route.

Chrysler moved the unloading closer to the New York/New Jersey market and the facility sat empty for many years. As luck would have it I worked out of the old Pocono facility in the early Steamtown days when we originated the Pocono  connection.  We had a couple of SD24s (?) and coaches that carried folks to Steamtown, meeting the steam train in Moscow.  The service only lasted a couple of summers.  Today a grain mill occupies the site.  

I sure would like to see open auto racks in scale size to haul behind my EL power.

Earl

Scratchbuilder1-48 posted:
Santa Fe autorackfalconservice posted:

These open frame auto carriers can be made out of laser cut aluminum and brass sheets and shapes, with tabs and slots for assembly into a 3 dimensional freight car. 

You are correct , I have drawings to do just that . The catch is cost . One) brass sheet , 12inch x 24 inch will make 2 sides and 2 floors ,

two) time it takes to assemble them

three) laser time to cut out is figured by the inch , my experiment was aprox $60-$80 for cutting time for just one car (all pieces ) .

Now comes to needing a flat car , Atlas is 89ft , I found most of these real cars were 86ft . So you need to build a flat .

Another thing to consider many roads built their own racks in their shops . See below ( Santa Fe built their own racks for existing flat cars I think called F85 or something like that )


A 187A 186A 188A 189

Outstanding work on the racks, Bernie. By the way, also a great job on the milling company.

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating over 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
E-mail

YouTube Channel

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