A short visit to N scale

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by inflammable, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. inflammable

    inflammable New Member

    Jul 8, 2009
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    At the museum I volunteer at, there is an N scale layout, presumably built to N Track standards. We don't actually own it, the local NMRA group owns it and 'maintains' it.

    The equipment on there seems to have been leftovers from each of their layouts, which ok, I can understand that. Why give away something that you like? But I don't feel that any of it really represents the image that our museum wants to send, such as the road names of the cars. That, and there seems to be three different coupler types on there. Automatic knuckle couplers, and two different, incompatible types of the basic N scale coupler (I don't know what they're called).

    So, I started buying new cars for it. I bought a very nice Intermountain boxcar, I'm pleased with it, even though it was 19 bucks. I more recently bought some Bowser coal hoppers, and a Bachmann caboose. All of those were a big mistake. The Bowser cars, one fell apart when I set it on the track, the others have the trip pins set too low to make it over the module-connecting-rerailers. The Bachmann caboose came with non-functioning knuckle couplers, and an extra set of those basic N scale couplers.

    I can't run any of the hoppers, or caboose. I'll eventually get them all working right, but due to it being N scale, which is too small for me, and there are other, 1:1 things to work on there, I don't want to dedicate large amounts of time to it.

    The coupler assembly on one of the hoppers came apart, and while my fingers are way too big, I can probably fix it with the help of tweezers.

    Is there a good way to fix the trip pins? I'll probably end up yanking them out with pliers, as it isn't a switching layout.

    What companies/websites whatever should I stick too in the future, for quality miniature trains? I went through Walthers for the coal train, since the museum got a nice discount from them.

    Am I going to have to buy a new set of couplers for the Bachmann caboose? Buy a new caboose? The road names are important to me, and there's a small selection of acceptable railroads. I don't like the Bachmann caboose, you don't need to count rivets to know it isn't prototypical. Though, they did get the color right...

    The acceptable road names are L&N, SOU, and N&W. I've noticed that these are difficult to find, for someone who doesn't want to work on things.

    What advice can you lend?


  2. GWoodle

    GWoodle Member

    Nov 1, 2008
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    The way I see it, it's too bad the layout was abandoned with nobody qualified to take care of it. You don't have any Nscalers in your area to help?

    N&W & Sou may be more common as models than L&N.

    The trip pins may be "fixed" by bending them slightly upwards, so they don't drag so low. Some guys blacken them with a felt tip marker. If you don't switch them, you could pull the trip pin out.

    Bachmann cars also have a unique truck bolster system. You may find a MTL, Atlas, Athearn replacement for it. Some guys replace the Bachmann body on a MTL truck/underframe if you don't mind some filing to make it fit. You could get lucky at Hobby Lobby with other Bachmann cars. The new 44ton is a nice loco but not in SOU,N&W,L&N paint. They do have some painted with no road name. I suppose you could make one look like a "museum switcher".

    For the rest of the fleet, you may have better luck with MTL, Atlas, & Athearn cars, locos,etc. You can get MTL trucks/w couplers assembled for those Bowser cars.

    The oldest style of Nscale coupler is the Rapido/Crapido. MTL makes the KD style knuckle coupler. Atlas uses a Accumate that can be OK for short trains. It should couple with MTL.