Roco Inquiry

Now, onto Roco [HO Scale] cars and their couplers ...
I am looking at a couple of Roco tank cars. I am wondering if there's a
coupler conversion kit available for the Roco cars - Kadee perhaps? If
not, have any of you applied a creative coupler assembly to solve this
incompatability issue?
Are Roco cars R-T-R or kits? They sure cost a lot of money. Might some
of you offer your opinion on their overall quality. As pictured, they
look quite impressive. I have not seen one in person. Hopefully, they're
on par with Kadee boxcars which cost about the same.
Again, thank you!
Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
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=>Now, onto Roco [HO Scale] cars and their couplers ... => =>I am looking at a couple of Roco tank cars. I am wondering if there's a =>coupler conversion kit available for the Roco cars - Kadee perhaps? If =>not, have any of you applied a creative coupler assembly to solve this =>incompatability issue?
KD # 17, 18, 19, and 20 have NEM shanks and fit NEM boxes. They are different lengths for different cars. Bachmann EZMate Mark II 78035 couplers alos fit. (The Mark IIs have metal knuckle springs.) Roco's European protoype cars AFAIK all have NEM boxes. For N. American protoypes, KD #5s are usually fairly easy to install.
=>Thanks! => =>Are Roco cars R-T-R or kits? They sure cost a lot of money. Might some =>of you offer your opinion on their overall quality. As pictured, they =>look quite impressive. I have not seen one in person. Hopefully, they're =>on par with Kadee boxcars which cost about the same.
Roco cars are RTR, not kits. They are very good indeed. IMO, they rival and and often surpass Marklin and Fleischmann. The wheels are to NEM standards, which are _not_ the same as NMRA RP25, and I routinely replace European wheelsets for that reason.
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
Wolf Kirchmeir wrote: ....
Excellent info - Thank You!!!
Do you [and others] mix European designed cars [i.e Roco] with your Amercian designed cars [i.e. Kadee] on the same layout? Would that ever happen with the prototype? I cannot imagine it would which has me wondering if I should pass on the Roco cars - as nice as they are.
Your thoughts on this matter - Thanks!
Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
I mixed European & American prototype on same layout at times.
The mix would have been unlikly in the 1:1 world. However, I didn't let that worry me as some of the mix's of American prototype equipment (Athearn 57' reefer & Tyco camelback 2-8-2] I operated would have been even less likely in the real world.
If you like it buy it and don't worry.
Reply to
Charles Seyferlich
Might I ask you for a clarification on your wheel recommendation.
I am most interested in purchasing some of there 102mm tanks cars. I would like to chnage out the wheels per your recommendation. I'm not quite sure what to do. Might I guess and have you confirm or correct my guess.
1) Are you saying that I would use the existing trucks that come with the Roco cars, but I would put in new wheel sets [axles]? 2) If so, what size wheels do I buy? 33" or 36" 3) What brand wheels?
If new trucks are required, what size and brand? Atlas 55-ton trucks [#185000], perhaps?
Many Thanks! Matt
Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
Assuming the Roco wagons have NEM 362 coupler boxes into which the Roco couplers snap, Kadee and Bachmann both do couplers to snap in. As I tend to throw away US couplers to fit European, I don't know the catalogue numbers.
A problem arises for you, in that modern European stock has extending coupler mechanisims intended to keep wagons equally spaced on sharp curves. The European couplers create a rigid bar to operate these mechanisims but Kadees etc make a flexible connection so a US coupler will force a coupled pair of European wagons couplers to move fully sideways against spring tension once a train of 20-25 wagons is attached. This can lead to derailments at changes in curve and at turnouts.
RTR. Some will have a few addon small details like hand wheels, brake gear etc.
Roco have been supplying the US market through other firms since the 1960s. Quality is always excellent but level of detailing is proportionate to the price.
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Gregory Procter
No, the nearest (that I'm aware of) they come to meeting is between Russia and E.Europe. The couplers and buffer systems are entirely incompatible and almost certainly also the brakes. The Russians and some European nations have interchange wagons with suitable couplers/buffers/brakes and they change the wheelsets at the borders to take account of the different track gauges.
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Gregory Procter
You have a few issues in running European models (and here I'm refering to "continental Europe rather than Britain where different scales and standards apply) with North American models.
PROTOTYPE FIDELITY. In general service rather than special demonstration runs, full size European stock and N. American stock do not run together. A matter of a few thousand miles and different technical standards. Its your railroad, though. If that sort of thing does not bother you then by all means go right ahead. I personally don't normally though I have extensive collections of models of both in HO and have occasionally "test run" both types on the club's layouts, on some of which they were mixing with British 4mm scale models.
To my eye, mixing European and N. American stock in the same train gives a most odd appearance and it is much more satisfactory to form a train all of one type of stock.
This is not quite true. Out of the box, European models come with a hook and loop type coupling, the equivalent of the "train set" N. American horn hook, which does NOT form a rigid bar between two vehicles. Fleischmann fit their own version which, while different from the other "standard" (and I use that term VERY loosely!), has the same effect. When pushed on these couplings the couplers will move to the side as described. So for that matter will a heavy N. American train with KDs, especially if mounted on pivoting mountings like some Walthers and Athearn models. This can cause derailments but only in extreme circumstances. I have a friend who used to operate his European models on quite steep gradients with few problems with train lengths of up to around 20 cars.
You will find that the Roco tankers, and indeed virtually all modern European stock comes with a standardised NEM 362 coupling mounting box into which any NEM 362 coupling will plug. All European makers and KD make such couplings. Assuming you are using KD's or compatibles on your your N. American stock then that is the way to go. KD series 17, 18, 19 and 20 are the relevant ones. They are all basically the same, varying only in length, which increases with number. The longer couplings separate the car's buffers slightly more, allowing operation on smaller radii curves before the buffers interfere. This is necessary as the KDs do not hold the coupler bar totally rigid as the European "close coupler heads" do, so the buffers can come together and cause problems when pushing.
Only when special "close coupling" type heads are used does the coupling between the two vehicles become a rigid bar and operate fully in the intended manner. Roco, Fleischmann and Marklin all do such couplings, each different. Rigid bar couplings with a "fishtail" at each end are also available. The KD NEM type couplings have standard KD knuckle heads witth a limited degree of pivoting which goes a long way towards achieving the effect of a rigid coupling pair. Many European modellers standardise on these very successfully.
I've never tried to run the two types together and my European stock is in store just now so I cannot test the combination, all I can say is that I do not foresee any problems unless heavy trains are run.
WHEELS. European stock is fitted as standard with NEM wheels. The way that standard is defined, flange depth can vary, though recent models (certainly Roco) are fitted with fairly shallow flanges which will run quite happily on code 75 or so rail. The only possible problem that I have encountered is that some NEM wheelsets can be slightly too narrow in back-to-back though I have never found that with Roco. As almost all have at least one wheel insulated by a plastic bush it is quite easy to adjust this by twisting the wheelset in the fingers of both hands and pulling slightly at the same time until the dimension fits an NMRA standard gauge. Properly adjusted modern NEM wheelsets will run very sweetly through NMRA dimensioned trackwork.
You do have an NMRA gauge, don't you? Best single tool any North American modeller can obtain.
If you really must have RP25 flanges then Roco do such wheelsets as a replacement. Item Number 40264 (11mm dia.) fits the 102 mm long tank cars.
The length of a Roco pinpoint axle is 24.75mm (0.9744") if you wish to substitute alternative wheels, though I feel that would be totally unnecessary.
Prototype European cars of relatively recent vintage generally use wheelsets of 1000 mm (39.37") dia. for 4 wheeled vehicles and 920 mm ( 36.22") dia. for bogie (with trucks) stock.
Such wheels scale out at 11.5mm and 10.5mm respectively. Roco offer an 11mm wheel which is a fairly acceptable compromise. BTW in European modelling practice it is normal to refer to the actual diameter of the model wheel, in this case 11mm, rather than the prototype, 33", 36", 1000mm or whatever. Exceptions to this rule exist and there are special low floor vehicles for the transport of heavy road lorries (trucks) with 730mm (28.75") and as small as 360mm (14.14") diameters. Even the prototype find problems with such small wheels.
There can be no question of substituting alternative trucks. For one thing the vehicles are only four wheel and both axles are rigidly mounted in the frame. To fit trucks would totally destroy the character of the vehicle and, as the model frame is an open one with the coupling kinematic mounting below it in way of where the truck would go, would require very extensive alterations to mount trucks.
BTW 4 wheel vehicles are very common in Europe, low density merchandise cars (goods vans or box cars in Americanese) can be found up to about 40' or 50' on 4 wheels only. Main lines can generally carry axleloads of 20 metric tons, making such vehicles about 40 tons gross weight.
the Roco 102 mm long tank cars are not particularly elderly, representing designs (there were two different tank diameters though only the larger one still seems to be catalogued) originating in the 1960s and still running.
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shows one British trader's range of Roco wagons, including 102 mm long 4 wheel tankers Nos 47078, 47082, 47771, etc. BTW the references to Epoches or Eras on that page refer to periods of operation. III is about 1945 to 1970; IV is 1968 to about 1985 and V is1985 to the present. This is a system used Europe wide by modellers. and something similar would be helpful for N. America, Are you listening NMRA?
formatting link
takes one directly to a picture of one of the tankers which should clarify a few points which seem to be puzzling some posters.
BTW in British practice, modern tank cars come in both 4 and 8 wheel varieties. The 4 wheel ones are exactly half the length of the 8 wheelers so that when at the loading and discharge docks the fillers line up regardless of the composition of the train.
8 wheeled vehicles are becoming increasingly common in Europe but do not use N. American style trucks, rather distinctive European ones, generally of one or two standardised designs.
Pre WWII the N. American archbar truck was common and, to a very limited extent in Britain, Fox trucks. After WWII Bettendorfs saw a limited use, mainly on stock built in USA to overcome postwar shortages. Though again Britain, even up to the present day, embraced these much more widely then our continental neighbours. Again, I can see no possible reason to change these, only the wheels if one really must. The way each maker mounts their trucks to their cars varies as well and NMRA type trucks will not usually easily substitute without modifications.
I agree with one of the recent posters who advised to just buy the models, try them out and make alterations if any are found necessary as the problems arise.
When working with European models, think European, and do not try to automatically use American components. Therein lies the way to failure. Same principle with Australian or British models for that matter. :-)
Hope this helps.
Alex. W. Stirrat
Reply to
Depends on the maker; Marklin and Roco come with KK type NEM couplers, Fleischmann with their own KK type, Trix and Brawa with NEM standard.
Thats right on the limit!
If they're bought via E-bay, or otherwise second-hand, there's a high chance that the models will be pre KK and pre-NEM coupler pocket types. Of present day European products, probably only Ma's lower priced range (and many locos of most makers) are without the pockets.
The archbar truck used in Europe equates to the Bachmann "old-time" models in that it is higher at the center than, say, the Kadee model. An accurate version is now made by Fleischmann for the French "TP" series wagons whose prototypes were built in the US from around 1917, initially for US Army use in Europe.
Reply to
Gregory Procter
Wow! Thank you all for the fabulous text on European designs and recommended approaches to this purchase.
I like the suggestion of buying the equipment and making adjustments as needed. That is what we'll do. I have ordered several cars [Roco, Fleishmann, and Marklin]. The Roco and Fleishmann are exclusively tank cars [3" and 4"]. The Marklin cars are both cabooses.
I only expect to change out the couplers to a Kadee #17 or a Kadee #18 in all cases. I E-mailed Kadee on Saturday, and I sent them the exact model numbers for their coupler recommendation for each individual car. By the sounds of it, I will not fuss with the wheels at all. They should be fine. We're using Atlas code 83 track and Walthers 'Shinohara' switches. Our train lengths will always fall under 12 cars in number with many trains numbering less than 10 cars including the caboose.
Mixing the cars with our N. Amercan cars will be visually pleasing given that we only selected oil tankers with common place roadnames [Texaco, Esso, Shell]. The cabooses are ATSF and Milwaukee. Though the car designs are certainly different, that's fine with us. We just enjoy the aesthetic of each car with little concern for era and compatability.
Thanks So Much - your input was extremely helpful. Your understanding of railroading is quite impressive! We truly learned quite a lot from this thread.
Most Sincerely, Matt and Kathleen
Gregory Procter wrote:
Reply to
Matt & Kathleen Brennan
I assume you mean the Gepäckwagen (parcels van)? These normally ran at the front of the train behind the locomotive. Buy the Fleischmann model, it is vastly superior to the Ma offering.
Reply to
Gregory Procter

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