Midwest, Northeastern, Mt. Albert, and Kappler are the sources for scribed siding for decking. I primarily use Kappler and they sell it in both 1/16" and 1/32" thick with various scribe spacing.
Nice thing is that Kappler also sells scribed on both sides siding for those times when you want to be able to display decking or siding that's visible from both sides w/o having to laminate stuff yourself.
If you want to go the stick by stick route - depends on your objectives - there are coffee stirrer sticks as noted above but some of those are way too thick and also too wide; they used to sell a thinner and somewhat more coarse stirred stick by the case of 10,000 that were cut from birch. Takes stain very nicely.
You could of course just by strip wood from Midwest, Northeastern, Mt. Albert, or Kappler for this as well.
My brother in law used to work for UP. He said that a lot of the flat car decks were beat to hell. Often there would be holes right through them. It seems that if you want to do an old car, you might want to get some strip wood and abuse it a little before you install it--just a thought.
Those coffee stirrers seem like an ideal material since they are so cheap.
There are many how to's to get plastic to look like wood. I like the Weaver cars. They MTH cars are similar as well as some of Lionel's. I start by gouging the plastic wood deck with a chisel Micro Mark sells for removing cast on details such as grab irons. I give it a good scrub with a small wire brush and may even hit it with a wire wheel in the Dremel to smooth out the roughest spots. Then it gets a coat of paint with Scale Coat Grime no. 1. It dries kind of a tan. Flat grey will work to. I then carefully hit the individual planks with a sharp mini angle pick. This brings out the individual boards better. Finally a wash of black.
I had thought of going with real wood over the decking. The only problem was in order to distress the wood. It would have to be on the thick side to begin with. Not sure how it would look with a deck sitting on top of the deck that was already there. If the plastic doesn't come out to your liking. You can then try going over it with real wood.
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