I am close to pulling the trigger on the Walthers 'Super Chief' passenger train, though it certainly taxes our budget to do so. I do like their 'book-a-month-club' approach. One charge on the credit card would be too much. We'd need to add another F7A, however. Cost precludes an F7A-B-B-A scenario.
1) Has anyone else pulled the trigger?
2) Will you do the Walthers option for the additional car lighting sets and a UP building, or utilize a train store?
Might anyone know if these NEW Walthers cars are improved from their previous BUDD passenger cars? I ask because I thought I had read concerns about derailing and/or car weight. Perhaps I am mistaken, but it might have had something to do with the draw bars hitting the car body on curves.
3) Is there a minimum radius that is highly recommended for these cars?
I'll get the ones I need as they come out and will buy from where ever I can get the best price. I already have two baggage cars, the RPO, and two of the
4-4-2s. According to Fred Frailey in his "A Quarter Century of Santa Fe Consists" the 1953 Super Chief ran with between eleven and fourteen cars with variables depending on the day of the week, time of year, and location on the route. Cars that could be found on this train that are not offered by Walthers are the Regal series 4-4-2s by both Pullman and ACF and the Palm series 10-6 by ACF. Kits are available from the SFRH&MS for the ACF Regal and Palm series cars. By adding cars from those kits and leaving out the Walthers 4-4-2 you could probably put together a 1953 version of the Super that is quite accurate. I haven't seen a SFRH&MS car next to a Walthers car so not sure how they will look together. I think as long as they are all finished similarly they should look fine.
I won't do car lighting. All my running is day time and you don't see that much of the interior during the day. Also, to get really good lighting effect with no flickering will probably take more than what the Walthers kit has.
They are probably the same. They do tend to have some problems on curves if the track is uneven. This can be pretty well corrected by backing the screw that holds the truck on out a turn or two. This gives the truck more lateral movement and lets it equalize on uneven track. The car weight of all my Walthers Budd cars was just about right for the NMRA standard. I like to add an extra ounce or so. There is also a problem with Walthers "working" diaphragms being too stiff. I like to replace the couplers with Kadee #58s and take the slack out of the system so that the diaphragms are in contact. The diaphragms don't compress easy enough and will frequently cause a derailment. I replace the too stiff metal butterfly springs with similar ones that I make out of .01 in. styrene which is quite flexible. This makes for a nice functioning diaphragms that doesn't cause derailments.
I have 11 of the cars. I like them, but I do have derailing problems. Since it's the same cars over and over I suspect a gauging issue in the trucks. I haven't invested the time to try to work it out yet.
I've used them on a test track of 22". Worked OK, but looks funny. My minimum is 26". Still looks a bit funny but works OK.
One pick I have with the cars is the difficulty of uncoupling. Anyone else had this problem / have a solution?
Otherwise they are fine cars for the money. At this rate it looks like they'll be producing new runs for quite some time. Maybe they'll get around to doing a real Daylight. Well we can dream at least.
I did the advance reservation thing for the whole train. I do appreciate spreading out the payments, especially with so much other new stuff arriving (like Broadway's H2a hoppers).
I don't use the Walthers lighting kits - they pull a lot of juice especially under full DCC track voltage. Mine are reserved from a semi-local hobby shop.
I don't expect any radical changes in the design. Three of the cars (baggage, RPO, and 4-4-2) are re-runs. The most important thing to do with these cars is replace the couplers with Kadees, and lube the ends of the axles with a plastic compatible oil. It at least *reduces* the squeaking. I had more trouble with wheels out of gauge and trucks out of square on the first run cars - 2+ years ago. The newer runs have been pretty solid in that regard.
I don't know what Walthers recommends, but I toss the swing mounts and use body mounted Kadees. I can run them comfortably on Kato 790mm radius track, which is all I have at the moment - or about 31". I think they'd probably track down to 26" or so, even with the body mounts. The swing mounts IMO don't do anything to reduce the minimum radius of operation. I've run full length passenger cars with body mounted Kadees around 22" curves successfully, although I don't recommend it. The swing bracket gives some sense of cornerability and a warm fuzzy feeling that the issue is being addressed, but between the junk plastic clone couplers and the swing bars, the couplers can and do easily separate - under very minor loads and without much provocation.
I guess I am confused. I was under the impression that these new 'Super Chief' passenger cars are not due out until the first release: 1/04. Thereafter, they will bring one car out per month.
Do you mean that you have pre-ordered these 12 cars? If so, did you opt for the package deal as listed below?
The offer I received included, beyond a car per month beginning in 1/04, the following items:
Union Pacific Station or REA building
Four interior car lighting sets
It was a small, glossy, yellow brochure that unfolded much like an acordian revealing an impressive display of mock-up drawings of silver cars and blue tinted windows. Also advertised was the accompanying deal to purchase the Athearn Genesis F7A/B powered combo and a second Athearn F7A/B dummy tandem to complete the A-B-B-A engine consist.
This was an eye opener. I certainly defer to your in-depth understanding of DCC and 'juice' issues. We will pass on the lighting option. Headaches and issues are the number one avoidance on our wish list. Model railroading, for us, must be the exact opposite of work and work related pressures. It's all about having fun, getting losy in a hobby, and escaping the M-F grind.
With the lighting option removed, I, too, will seek out our ususal train shop for the order.
1.) How complicated is the task to mount a Kadee on the car itself?
2) What Kadee coupler pocket do I use?
3) Having purchased huge packages of Kadee #5's w/o coupler boxes, what would I need to order from Kadee for this body mount conversion?
Lots of questions - sorry!
Could you please recommend a product from the Walthers HO Scale catalog. Thanks!
Kadee #5 or #58 are pretty much a drop in replacement. Place the centering spring gadget above the coupler. The coupler will be a bit high relative to the Kadee height gauge. This can be corrected by scrapping away bout half the thickness of the retainer that the coupler rests on. As I mentioned before there is some longitudinal slop in the mechanism. I place a .005 styrene shim in the back part of the coupler mounting hole to eliminate some of this. Doing this gives a scale 34 in. space between the cars, which is four in. more than the prototype. You can pretty well eliminate the rest of the slop by replacing the bushing that mounts the apparatus to the car floor. I make a new bushing using the post from a Kadee coupler box. As far as body mounting a new coupler box my question is-- why go through all that trouble when there is an easier alternative? As to accurate details neither is actually right but it is in a relatively non-visable area so to me function is what is important here. J. Bright
There is no need to body mount any couplers. In fact, I would run the cars as is and see if you have any coupler problems at all before I would do anything to them. If you do, they all you need to do is replace the plastic coupler with a kadee #5. A few phillips screws and you are done.
Don't body mount anything unless you find that after the above for some reason you still are having uncoupling problems. But they might be cause by tight turns anyway.................
Sound advice. That's what we'll do. I'll change out the couplers to a Kadee #5 since we have quite a few of those on hand. I make that change with every purchase. But, per your advice, we'll first test the cars as is.
Probably not. My layout will be a fictional, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rock Island named the Bryan, Palestine & Eastern. Equipment will be painted per Rock Island practice, but reporting marks will be BP&E. Think along the lines of the FW&D or C&S, owned by the Burlington.
Not only that, but the Super Chief never ran thru Texas.
I will mostly run it with the local modular group, or while visiting other layouts.
Actually I'm just reporting what was discussed on the passenger car list last week. Someone who was routinely running 5, 6, 7 locomotives on their DCC system was blowing the breaker when they set 6 Walthers cars on the track. One of the electronics guys pinned it on the voltage regulator that they use in the lighting kit - at full track voltage, which is what you get all the time with DCC, this thing heats up and it's resistance and current draw shoots up. Or there's the theory anyway. Others have reported the proverbial "no problem". At any rate I do my own lighting for these cars - generally four 12V Miniatronics bulbs in series pairs so each operates at 6v, which means they'll last forever and provide a warm glow at full voltage, and generate virtually no heat and very low current draw. The biggest problem is the metal (aluminum?) contact strips provided in the car as contacts are absolutely un-solderable. So I replace them - just the pickups from the slab weights to the roof - with phosphor bronze wire. With all 8 wheels picking up, there is virtually no flickering. Not bad. Now I have to paint those interiors to give them some character.
Just the regular #5 boxes. It's this easy:
1) remove 2 screws holding the retaining bar over the coupler pocket.
2) remove single screw holding the coupler swing bar.
3) ditch everything but the 2 screws, replace them directly into the floor.
4) sand the paint off the area where the coupler is going to go.
5) assemble the #5 couplers in their draft gear box. Cut the lip off the top of the box (the lip that sticks up above the coupler opening).
6) glue coupler box to floor in the desired position. This is where you will need to experiment a bit to see how close you want to couple, with the diaphragms touching or a slight gap. I try to get a 1mm or so gap - enough to where they won't touch, but there is almost no visible gap.
The coupler height generally comes out about right. It seems like it was a bit more work on the Budd cars - maybe the yoke had to be opened up a bit to take the #5 pocket? Don't remember exactly... but the latest Pullman smoothsides have all gone together great using the above procedure.
LaBelle 108, or 107. 108 is lighter... and I normally use it for axle point lubrication but these Walthers cars are a bit stubborn and the slightly thicker 107 might have better staying power. I know I have a bottle of it somewhere but it has disappeared.... one more thing to pick up when I go shopping on Zoo Day... Friday!
Several reasons, which may or may not be important to you - body mounting allows me to adjust the position of the coupler to obtain closer coupling than the factory couplers provide - which are pretty close. I don't care for the swinging coupler pocket, it's just one more thing to go wrong, flop out of place or induce spring stress when backing up, etc. And from observing the factory setup, the height flexes noticably. I have 8 of the new Rivarossi UP cars, which have been reworked and now have essentially the Walthers truck and coupler setup underneath. None of them would even remotely stay coupled - and it wasn't because of shank failure or even finger spring failure, just the vertical slop in the couplers and swing arms combined to make them separate.
There's no question that to get exact prototype spacing between the cars you have to body mount the couplers. I find that by taking the slack out of the existing mechanism and using a Kadee #58 you get a spacing of a scale 33 to
34 scale inches. This makes the diaphragms look like they are in contact even though there may be a small space. The visual effect is quite good. As far as any problems with the rest of the mechanism I have had none and have done extensive running of eight to ten car trains including some torturous backing into a station area. Watch, next time out, I'll have failures and be remounting. :) Unwanted uncoupling isn't a problem either since the close fitting diaphragms act as a preventer of excess vertical coupler movement. I like to bend the trip pin so that it simulates a steam line. This gives a good handle to reach with a pick to open the knuckle and has a much more realistic look that when it is just hanging down. To me, a very noticeable thing is the lack of details on the diaphragms -- especially when viewing photos. You can greatly enhance the appearance of these cars by adding details such as the leaf spring and the stabilization bars.