S-Gauge 89' Autoracks...You asked for it!

A while back I posted a topic about how long S gauge cars might be and still navigate r20 curves. At that time I was considering well/stack cars to pull behind modern locos such as SD70's and ES44's. I'll still get some of those cars as it was discussed that they could be made to run on r20 curves. 

But then I wondered about 89' autoracks. You see them everywhere in modern train service and they are some really l-o-n-g cars. So I had to see if they could handle r20's.

I started with a piece of wood scaled to 89'......16 3/4". I attached some trucks with couplers attached  at one inch from the car ends. Well the "car" would turn an r20 curve but the overhang to the inside of the curve was incredible. The entire right side of the car was hanging over the left hand rail! So that wouldn't work.

I went to the net to get the lowdown on life sized cars and found some useful info. The cars are actually a little longer than 89' and the trucks are 66' on center. I didn't change the length but did move the trucks w/o couplers to the proper 66' centers and added some body mounted couplers at both ends. That worked a lot better. So I decided to try to make a sort of realistic looking car without going to too much trouble and absolutely NO EXPENSE! Here's what I came up with:

MKT 89' Autorack

It's just a big old block of 2 X 4 with some 1/4" masonite added to both sides and the bottom. Adding a little paint, posterboard and O gauge decals I had a "good enuf" car to do my testing. The car follows the prototype pretty well. It's 19' High above the rail, 10'8" wide, 89' long, has 66' centered trucks, couplers that extend 1" from the car ends (Not so prototypical but any closer and the car derails any other car attached to it), and weighs way way way too much. I even drilled four 1 1/4" holes into it from the bottom to lessen the weight but it's still heavy.

Here's the pic and data on a real car:

BNSF 89' autorack 89' autorack dimensions

This car caries 15 real life automobiles so I wanted to see if any of our so-called "scale" autos would fit in the car. Since this is a complete fantasy car I used a fantasy load...1957 Chevys. I have a lot of M2 Machines 1/64 scale autos so I put some on the roof of the car to check the length. They do fit this car and the real car is actually 89'9" so they would fit there also:

MKT 89' Autorack with 5 57 Chevys

The '57 Chevys scale out to around 5'4" high so if those floor decks are adjustable I think they might fit all three levels.

Anyway onto the car handling r20 curves. Here's a pic of the car on r20 showing the inside curve overhang of about 2" from the center of the roadbed:

89' r20 inside

The ruler is actually up against the outside of the inner rail showing a 1 1/2" over hang when measured from the rail edge. Here's the other side of the car:

89' r20 close up

I didn't have any r27 Fastrack or r30 S-Trax to compare but I did have 3 pieces of SHS r24 to see if it was any better. It was. The inside and outside overhang was less as one would expect:

89' r24 inside [2)

89' r24 outside [2)

It's not just the overhang in the car middle but the overhang of the leading edge (corners) of the car. It too is about 2" when measured from the roadbed center:

89' r20 outside end

So I decided to see just how much carnage this car would cause on my layout by making a full loop of the layout. The results were pretty bad. I killed 4 track workers, 3 pedestrians, slid one building 2 feet off it's foundation and sideswiped 3 cylindrical hoppers. After the slow speed damage was corrected I decided to take some videos of the car in action. 

My conclusions are:

1. Lionel could make this car and it would  run on r20 curves.

2. I would need to build another and couple them together to see how they run in tandem around the layout but since I'm out of 2 X 4's......

3. R27 curves would handle the cars much, much better than r20 but for me that's not gonna happen. 

4. 89' cars are about the maximum length car to handle r20's. 

Watch some or all of the videos to see the car in action. Pay close attention to the inswing and outswing of the car and ask yourself if you still want cars of this length. One more thing. Video 7 shows the car in a reverse move. To my amazement it runs as smoothly backwards as it does forwards. Go figure! Oh, if you don't like the music some of the videos play there's always the volume control.

Mark

 

 

 

 

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Original Post

Mark,

 That is a fairly descent rendition of these Autoracks, for most of us in toy train or high rail it would work. I do appreciate your efforts to prove or disprove some of fellow modelers desires, thank you for that.

So I decided to see just how much carnage this car would cause on my layout by making a full loop of the layout. The results were pretty bad. I killed 4 track workers, 3 pedestrians, slid one building 2 feet off it's foundation and sideswiped 3 cylindrical hoppers. 

That being said, I would like to send my condolences to the families of the of your track workers and pedestrians. I am curious now if their lawyers have contacted you yet, it looks as though your railroad is now on its way to court and eventually bankruptcy. 

I actually did worse, I built a track cleaning car using foam paint rollers, I took it to a former friends home to try on his layout. The car only traveled about six feet and killed an entire track crew plus taking down a large number of trees. I was asked to leave.

Ray

 

 

Mark's mock-up clearly shows the problems encountered with long (and high) cars on very sharp curves.  Another thing to take into consideration is clearances for tunnels and bridges (both through and under.)

Having spent a fair amount of my early model railroading in HO, I tend to think in HO terms.  R20 is slightly less than 14" radius in HO.  Nobody in HO makes (or even worries about making) 80+ foot cars in HO for that radius.

The defacto-standard radius for HO is 18" and seems to be drifting up to 22" as a minimum requirement for long cars.  R27 is roughly the equivalent of HO's 18" radius.  Back in the day I was running full length passenger cars and 86' freight cars on 18" radius, but there still would occasionally be derailments due to the forces on the curves.

Here's an American Models 85' passenger car on R27.  I set this curve up as both a test curve and interchange track on my railroad:

KGB 100214 001KGB 100214 002

As can be seen, the overhang is still quite severe, but almost manageable.  An 86' auto rack or high cube would have slightly more outside overhand due to the location of the trucks.  Truck mounted couplers would mitigate problems when coupled to shorter equipment. My mainline curve is 33" radius and these full length cars still look a little awkward and occasionally cause problems.

AM's 72' heavyweights and non-scale length Superliners and Budd cars look and work much better on my "generous" curves.

Rusty

 

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katy409 posted:

Hi Mark, could you give us the measurements of the auto rack car you made out of a 2/4?    (Without trucks). Thanks, Art

Sure. Here are the car body measurements w/o trucks:

Height... 3.0 inches (S gauge equivalent is 3.0"/.1875 (which is 3/16)=16'

Width...2.0 inches (S gauge equivalent is 2.0"/.1875=10.67'=10'8"

Length...16.75 inches (S gauge equivalent is 16.75"/.1875=89.34'=89'4"

The trucks add another 9/16 inches to the height so it totals 19'....(3.5625"/.1875=19')

This does not include the under frame beam hanging down between the trucks. That piece of wood is 10 1/8" long and 5/16" thick with the ends cut at a 45 degree angle.

Here's a rough sketch of an end view:

Mark

 

 

 

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Rayin"S" posted:

Mark,

I am curious now if their lawyers have contacted you yet, it looks as though your railroad is now on its way to court and eventually bankruptcy. 

Ray

 

 

Thanks for your concerns Ray. Our law firm of record, Slippe, Trypp, Stumbell and Phaul Attorneys at law , LLC have the matter at hand. I am informed that all settlements are nearing completion. Payouts of those settlements however....

Mark

 

 

 

Nice experiment.  Great results.  I've have always liked S scale.  I used to run it under my Christmas tree.  Unfortunately, I got rid of most of it and went into 2 rail O scale.  It went perfectly with the Dept 56 Snow Village houses I collected years ago.  I'm sorry I let those trains go.  For me, if more modern cars like auto racks were made I might consider getting back into S scale.  But, great job.

Rick

 

Quick Casey posted:

Okay, but will that 2X4 clear the old A.C. Gilbert switch motor? That's another criteria a lot of people with traditional layouts throw in the way of new products.

I doubt it.

I have no AF turnouts on my 2 S gauge loops. I do however have some SHS turnouts on a dedicated point-to-point switching track. It's probably visible in some of the videos. So I just went down to the layout to see if the car hits the switch towers. It does. Actually if the car didn't have the "under frame beam" attached it would clear the switch stand. It would ride over them which would look crazy at best. But the beam is an integral part of the "look" of these 89' cars.

It appears that the AF Fastrack turnouts allow you to place the switch stand on either side of the switch????? if this picture is believable:

It looks like there is a detachable roadbed section at the top of this image that would allow you to move the stand? I don't know if this is possible and I can't locate a manual online but if it could be done it would fix the problem with long cars hitting the stand.

American models switches would fare far better as they have no upright stand:

But as to original American Flyer turnouts it's a definite NO.  In the time period those turnouts were produced I'd guess the longest cars were the streamlined passenger cars? I don't know the answer to that either. Now I'm curious to know if Gilbert ever produced a car that was too long to pass by a switchstand.

Hey...that's why I'm a loop runner!

Mark

 

 

 

All equipment made by Gilbert and by Lionel will clear the 720A Turnout lantern box and a 706 uncoupler box. Same for the American Models 72' passenger cars and the streamlined passenger cars, they clear by about 1/32". The 4014 Big Boy tender truck sideframes will scrape on the operating car actuator rail. I had my tender modified to remount the decorative sideframes closer to the actual truck solving the interference.

Tom

banjoflyer posted:

It appears that the AF Fastrack turnouts allow you to place the switch stand on either side of the switch????? if this picture is believable:

It looks like there is a detachable roadbed section at the top of this image that would allow you to move the stand? I don't know if this is possible and I can't locate a manual online but if it could be done it would fix the problem with long cars hitting the stand.


Mark

Unless the overhang on the other side of the car end also wallops the switch stand.

Rusty

banjoflyer posted:
Quick Casey posted:

Okay, but will that 2X4 clear the old A.C. Gilbert switch motor? That's another criteria a lot of people with traditional layouts throw in the way of new products.

I doubt it.

I have no AF turnouts on my 2 S gauge loops. I do however have some SHS turnouts on a dedicated point-to-point switching track. It's probably visible in some of the videos. So I just went down to the layout to see if the car hits the switch towers. It does. Actually if the car didn't have the "under frame beam" attached it would clear the switch stand. It would ride over them which would look crazy at best. But the beam is an integral part of the "look" of these 89' cars.

It appears that the AF Fastrack turnouts allow you to place the switch stand on either side of the switch????? if this picture is believable:

It looks like there is a detachable roadbed section at the top of this image that would allow you to move the stand? I don't know if this is possible and I can't locate a manual online but if it could be done it would fix the problem with long cars hitting the stand.

American models switches would fare far better as they have no upright stand:

But as to original American Flyer turnouts it's a definite NO.  In the time period those turnouts were produced I'd guess the longest cars were the streamlined passenger cars? I don't know the answer to that either. Now I'm curious to know if Gilbert ever produced a car that was too long to pass by a switchstand.

Hey...that's why I'm a loop runner!

Mark

Yes, you can move the switch stand to the other side. I have done it on a few of mine.

I mean the Ye Olde Flyer switches. Look at that huge square of plastic. The SSA well car just clears it. I bet the 2X4 would contact it. It is because of these switches that manufacturers have tiptoed around the fact because some vocal traditionalists say these have to be negotiated by any new product.

Nearly 3/4 of a century old products is still being accommodated to this day. Maybe it's time to move on? 

 

IMAG0006IMAG0005

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Quick Casey posted:

I mean the Ye Olde Flyer switches. Look at that huge square of plastic. The SSA well car just clears it. I bet the 2X4 would contact it. It is because of these switches that manufacturers have tiptoed around the fact because some vocal traditionalists say these have to be negotiated by any new product.

Nearly 3/4 of a century old products is still being accommodated to this day. Maybe it's time to move on? 

 

IMAG0006IMAG0005

Mebbe that's one or the reasons ol' ACG scrubbed the Allegheny they made a mock-up of.

Rusty

Quick Casey posted:

I mean the Ye Olde Flyer switches. Look at that huge square of plastic. The SSA well car just clears it. I bet the 2X4 would contact it. It is because of these switches that manufacturers have tiptoed around the fact because some vocal traditionalists say these have to be negotiated by any new product.

Nearly 3/4 of a century old products is still being accommodated to this day. Maybe it's time to move on? 

 

 

No the car would definitely hit the switch stand on Gilbert switches. But 89' cars were still in the future when AF gave up the ghost.

But even Gilbert didn't adhere to the rear-looking compatibility of all their products i.e. Pike master track. I don't think you could make an AF Northern run on pike master curves at about r15.5".

So the beat goes on. SD70's and ES44's supplant the "Franklin" steamer in all it's glory.

Lionel makes switch stands for it's S Fastrack switches but it doesn't need them to make the switch function. They are really there for looks and a visual notice of how the switch is lined. But a pair of nearly flush mounted red and green LED's could accomplish the same thing.

I believe that to not move forward with new product that reflects the state of railroading today is pretty short sighted. I'd like to never have to run my modern locos with wet cell batteries either. But model railroaders used to.

I believe it's always easier to find ways that an invention or new model of an old idea won't work. The hard part is to figure out how to make new product work with the most inclusive means of operation. I myself found out that a car such as the 89' car could work on Flyonel Fastrack with it's tight r20 curves. Now it's up to the real engineers to further refine it so it can accomodate turnouts. Could it mean sacrificing some "scale realism" like Railking O gauge engines with their shortened proportions? I think many S gaugers would buy a "shortened" Autorack just to have a modern appearing car.

I just recently purchased some O gauge K-Line 18" passenger cars. They were rated for O42 (or O45?) operation. But the K-line engineers knew people would try to run them on O36 (like I do). And they made it work by "hingeing"  the skirts on the car so the coupler could swing wider on tighter curves. Seeing this car do this looks strange. But it works and allowed me to run a beautiful car on some tight curves.

Mark

 

 

 

 

banjoflyer posted:
Quick Casey posted:

I mean the Ye Olde Flyer switches. Look at that huge square of plastic. The SSA well car just clears it. I bet the 2X4 would contact it. It is because of these switches that manufacturers have tiptoed around the fact because some vocal traditionalists say these have to be negotiated by any new product.

Nearly 3/4 of a century old products is still being accommodated to this day. Maybe it's time to move on? 

 

 

No the car would definitely hit the switch stand on Gilbert switches. But 89' cars were still in the future when AF gave up the ghost.

But even Gilbert didn't adhere to the rear-looking compatibility of all their products i.e. Pike master track. I don't think you could make an AF Northern run on pike master curves at about r15.5".

So the beat goes on. SD70's and ES44's supplant the "Franklin" steamer in all it's glory.

Lionel makes switch stands for it's S Fastrack switches but it doesn't need them to make the switch function. They are really there for looks and a visual notice of how the switch is lined. But a pair of nearly flush mounted red and green LED's could accomplish the same thing.

I believe that to not move forward with new product that reflects the state of railroading today is pretty short sighted. I'd like to never have to run my modern locos with wet cell batteries either. But model railroaders used to.

I believe it's always easier to find ways that an invention or new model of an old idea won't work. The hard part is to figure out how to make new product work with the most inclusive means of operation. I myself found out that a car such as the 89' car could work on Flyonel Fastrack with it's tight r20 curves. Now it's up to the real engineers to further refine it so it can accomodate turnouts. Could it mean sacrificing some "scale realism" like Railking O gauge engines with their shortened proportions? I think many S gaugers would buy a "shortened" Autorack just to have a modern appearing car.

I just recently purchased some O gauge K-Line 18" passenger cars. They were rated for O42 (or O45?) operation. But the K-line engineers knew people would try to run them on O36 (like I do). And they made it work by "hingeing"  the skirts on the car so the coupler could swing wider on tighter curves. Seeing this car do this looks strange. But it works and allowed me to run a beautiful car on some tight curves.

Mark

 

The switchstand could be removed from SHS switches, too.  But the illuminated ones on the powered switches are just too neat...

Heck, with early Voltamp, you had to screw and unscrew light bulbs to adjust speed.

Gennerally, we've been running shortened passenger cars anyway.  Gilbert's are about 60' long, AM's Budds are about 75' long I think.  A few of us have some of the old AM 85' streamline cars and 85' heavyweights.  Guess what, I hardly ever run them. 

Even the Lionel/Flyer heavyweights aren't full scale length:

Compare1Compare2a

Ironically, the short AM heavyweights (RPO, Baggage, Combine, Coach and Observation) are full scale length because of the cars they are based off of.

So, would selectively compressed 80'+ freight cars satisfy the market?  If done right, maybe.  I'm pretty sure the scale crowd would hoot and holler about them, put on their sackcloth's and proclaim the end of days... 

...Just like some did with AM's Budd cars. 

Gimme the AM Budd's any day.  (Remember, I'm primarily a scale guy.)   I've been enjoying mine for 15-16 years now while some are still holding out for full scale length streamliners. 

Rusty

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Amen brother.

AM Heavyweights are the cat's pajamas. But they can't and don't match every Railroad's similar car. They can't ever  do that cause there are too many variations. But I say "So what!?" I have  them. These models are meant to be used and run and I do just that. Prototypically? Not a chance. Do I and my train buddies have fun watching them run? Yes!

All during the Flyonel cylindrical hopper truck fiasco the one thing I kept guessing a lot of people were saying was "...Yeah these hoppers have problems that need to be fixed. Let's set these new ones on fire and use our "other" cylindrical hoppers. Oh wait...."

Lionel stuck their neck out and I thank them for it.

I have about 15 of those cars and enjoy everyone of them. And I had to fix all of them to get them to roll on anything but Fastrack and S-Trax. But I have  them.

So as to new product. Does it have to satisfy the rivet counters? Not in my book it don't. Don't get me wrong though I never want to go back to the days of the "door latch" we still have to endure on some current production boxcars: good grief.

If Lionel ever tries again to take a chance and make some even sort of  modern-ish cars I'll most likely buy some. And if they run well I'll most likely buy more. Like the 57' mechanical reefers. Remember those? They ain't "modern" exactly but they're closer than this:

If you want something new you gotta ask for it.

If Lionel reads this post I'm guessing they'll say "Meh...." but what if they don't?

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

Wait a minute! Back up here; Rusty said, "Mebbe that's one or the reasons ol' ACG scrubbed the Allegheny they made a mock-up of." OH???? Tell us more, this is the first I've heard of it that I can recall, and I've seen a few ACG never-built prototypes.

S'incerely,

David "two rails" Dewey

traindavid posted:
Wait a minute! Back up here; Rusty said, "Mebbe that's one or the reasons ol' ACG scrubbed the Allegheny they made a mock-up of." OH???? Tell us more, this is the first I've heard of it that I can recall, and I've seen a few ACG never-built prototypes.

Yeah Rusty, that's a very intriguing piece of information. I'd like to hear about that more than the original topic...which I didn't ask for!

FlyerRich posted:

Yeah Rusty, that's a very intriguing piece of information. I'd like to hear about that more than the original topic...which I didn't ask for!

Sorry to plug up the site Rich. However 39% of those who responded to Rocco's survey last summer did ask for them:

I know it's been a while but another S Club has responded so the percentages as of 7-15-16

1) Modern Tank Car 19.5%

2) Centerbeam 73' Car/ 63' Car 15.8%

3) Auto Racks 39%

4) 60' Boxcar 10.9%

5) TTX Flat Cars 7.4%

6) Pullman Standard 4750 CUFT PS-CD2 covered hopper 7.4%

 

Please vote for the one Car you would be most interested in buying

()
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So Rocco...did you ever get the final results of your survey?

Mark

 

 

 

FlyerRich posted:
traindavid posted:
Wait a minute! Back up here; Rusty said, "Mebbe that's one or the reasons ol' ACG scrubbed the Allegheny they made a mock-up of." OH???? Tell us more, this is the first I've heard of it that I can recall, and I've seen a few ACG never-built prototypes.

Yeah Rusty, that's a very intriguing piece of information. I'd like to hear about that more than the original topic...which I didn't ask for!

There was a photo in one of the Touhy-McComas books, don't remember which offhand.

Anyway, it wasn't much to look at and nowhere near an operating prototype: A bare wooden boiler over two un-motored Husdon mechanisms.  No Tender mock-up as I recall.  The mock-up is currently in the hands of a Chicago area Flyer collector.

(Hint, hint) This would be a good choice if Lionel ever does another Flyer articulated.  Pick up where ACG left off.

Rusty

 

Mark,

Since you asked. 

The Final numbers were as follows

1) Modern Tank Car 19.4%

2) Centerbeam 73' Car/ 63' Car 14.6%

3) Auto Racks 40.8%

4) 60' Boxcar 10.7%

5) TTX Flat Cars 7.7%

6) Pullman Standard 4750 CUFT PS-CD2 covered hopper 6.8%

 

The other interesting factor was that several responders said they would buy multiples of both the Auto Racks and the TTX Flat Cars.  None of the other selections had people willing to make those comments. 

So yes if I was Lionel and I had limited tooling funds for modern freight I would seriously consider making the Auto Racks.

--Rocco--

Thanks Rocco. Did you forward your results to the S gauge manufacturers?

I was a fan of the centerbeam car option but looks like I was in a small group of voters who made that choice. The reality is today's freight cars are pretty long so to model those cars will most likely require some concessions to "selective compression" of scale dimensions.

Like I posted above MTH O gauge does it in their Railking line and I think they sell the heck out of those engines and cars.

Mark

 

 

 

One thing about S.  Gilbert trains were never cursed with undersized trains like O27 in O.  Sure, the passenger cars were compressed in length out of operational necessity, but every thing else was built to 3/16" proportion.  (Even HO companies like Athearn, Penn Line, Varney and Mantua all had shorty passenger cars...Athearn still offers them. The N Scale companies like Arnold Rapido and Aurora/Minitrix also had them.)

Only in the last years were oversized trains introduced (Franklin, old time passenger cars, Casey Jones 4-4-0's and F9's) so there is something in the global memory of even the most die-hard scaler who grew up with Flyer about S being scale proportioned and not O27ised.

So, that brings the quandary of compressed length freight cars.  I suspect they would do well with the Flyer/HiRail folks if compressed properly and not just a S-clone of an O27 car.  Depending on how well and how much, they might even attract a scaler or two.

The recent Flyer waffle sided boxcar has some potential, I just haven't figured it out yet.  Doesn't seem like they've been selling real well anyway.

Lionel really could have made the waffle side boxcar car full 50' length and height, still be suitable for R20 curves, switches and look good behind the SD70's and ES44's.  Instead, the boys at the Circle L Ranch decided to make it visually compatible with traditional Flyer.  I suspect this is going to be the way the next car "with potential" will be.

Rusty

Mark,

I did not forward them to Lionel or MTH as I have been assured that they read this forum.  It will be interesting to see what the new tooling that appears in the 2017 AF Catalog will be.  Unfortunately I have a feeling it will not be any of the items on this listing.

--Rocco--

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