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Is there a post on the forum that describes 3RS brands/sub-brands?

I purchased my first scale freight cars to go with a scale NW2. I was looking to purchase more freight cars but I'm finding it difficult to know what's scale versus what is "less detail."

For example, is Atlas Trainman freight scale, but with less detail than Atlas Master?

Maybe my confusion is just with Lionel equipment. So much of their "traditional" looks like scale when viewed online (at least to me.) Since I am 2.5 hours to a hobby shop, I will be purchasing most online and I want to make sure I'm getting scale equipment. When I filter on the Lionel store by "scale" -- it is difficult to identify by name that is scale. Maybe I'm missing something or overlooking something obvious.


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Atlas Trainman cars are scale, but have molded-on details in some areas. I have several. They do, however, use the same trucks as the Masterline cars and have pretty good weight.

MTH Premier cars are generally scale with the exception of the passenger cars which are only 72-feet instead of 80-85 feet. Some of them, however, are in fantasy paint schemes but that only matters when the "rivet-counting" eventually sets in.

MTH Rail King cars are usually smaller than scale, though there are some exceptions that are scale models of smaller prototypes. Some cabooses were former Premier tooling and are scale sized. Your best bet here is to know the prototype information when selecting a freight car.

Lionel is a bit of a wild card, but the high-end freight cars have moved toward scale and it usually says so in the catalog. A couple of very popular freight cars are the new 89-foot auto racks, the 86-foot excess-height box cars, and the PS-4 flat cars (a lot of those ended up in the hands of our 2-rail colleagues and got converted). By the way, if you want scale-length passenger cars, Lionel is capitalizing on their new tooling and have been releasing them in several road names (the consists are generic and not necessarily road-specific).

Weaver cars are pretty plentiful on eBay and are scale. Most of them are too light and need to have weights added. Invest in a digital postal scale and some half-ounce stick on iron wheel weights (both available on eBay for reasonable prices). NMRA weight standard is five ounces, plus one ounce per inch of car length so a 40-foot box car (10") should be at 15 ounces. The cars will track much better.

Hope this helps some.

I agree, all weaver cars I am aware of are Scale size.     the line did include a lower 40ft boxcar that is the size of the Atlas X29 car.   I think they called it a "steel side" boxcar.    This is a scale car based on a shorter height prototype than the PS-1 they did.

I don't know about MTH, but as said the PRemier ones I have converted to 2 rail have been scale size, but I have not done that many different kinds,     The railking line may or may not be scale.    Some of the older Premier releases with cast on detail were downgraded to Railking and are scale size.     Many of the cars in the railking line are underszie for scale.

Atlas O trainman is scale with detail on about the same level as Weaver cast on.    Different prototypes.    Atlas does have a line that is more toy train size but I forget the name.

Pecos river Plastic boxcars are scale 50 ft cars.   They are based on a large prototype car.    Any of the traditional kit makers as far as I know made scale stuff only.

Lionel is the most confusing.    You pretty much have to look at each model uniquely, there is no large group identification.     One group that is scale and very nice is the "PS" series cars.   There is a PS1 boxcar, PS5 Gondola, PS ? flatcar, and PS2 covered hopper.      Lionel also did a 50 foot boxcar that is very nicely detailed and scale.   I have seen it called "standard O" and by other names.    One clue generally with Lionel is if the details such as grab irons, stirrups, roof walks, and brake rigging are listes as separate add-ons.    Generally I have found cars with these features are scale cars.    The recent GLA hoppers and Roundroof boxcars are scale size.     Lionel also purchased the dies for the Weaver cars taht were made in the US.    I think they call this the Lionscale line.    These should all be scale if it only includes the previous Weaver releases.

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