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Cheap Rolling Stock

Usually, the advice from experienced model railroaders is to buy quality over quantity, but as James points out that is not always the case:

“Now if you are going to buy cheap, buy real cheap and use them for show. I buy real cheap Cars and use them on the layout in a number of ways. Old flat cars can be used for bridges, etc.”

Thanks for the quick tip James.

3 Responses to Cheap Rolling Stock

  • Glennsays:

    I agree, there are numerous ways to use “cheap” rolling stock. I have done it many times. Once, at a train show, pre-covid,😅 I found a set of 5 PRR passenger cars that were freshly painted and had new decals. I got them for 3 dollars each. Removed the truck mounted couplers and added body mounted couplers, I believe they are Kadee #147. Added Intermountain metal wheels, weight, reamed the journals and they run like a charm. Will I ever get around to doing hand grips and roof walks, I don’t know. In the meantime, they look great based on the 3′ rule. My point is to jump in with both feet. Not everything has to cost 35-90 dollars, for rolling stock. I do spend enough on those, as well. But certainly not all the time. Glenn

  • Dalesays:

    While I bought most of my locomotives new, every other piece of rolling stock was bought at train shows or swap meets. Once at home, I would check, and usually replace, the wheels and couplers. I never had any problems after that.

    One benefit of used rolling stock, besides the price, is that most of them show some wear and may have already been weathered so do not look too “out-of-the-box: new.

  • David Stokessays:

    Buying cheap aint being cheap but thrifty.

    Get your bargain home and before it goes on the layout send it to the RIP track. In other words do some work on it.

    Usually it will look good – paint, decals, no missing bits.

    Then turn it on its back and get out your NRMA gauge and check wheel back-to-back, concentricity on the axles, the axle pinpoints, the bogie bearing holes – if any are out of whack, fix them.

    Do the bogies swivel and swing correctly? Squeeze some graphite into the hole, loosen or tighten the pin until they do.

    Are the couplers compatible with the rest of your rolling stock? If Kadees, do they meet the height requirements, do the work. If not fix them.

    Does it weigh the right amount for its length,? I not fix it by adding or subtracting weight.

    Your wagon/car should now behave perfectly on your layout thanks to 5 minutes work.

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