Red Caboose T-Section Bettendorf Trucks

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by Fluesheet, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Jan 22, 2006
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    I purchased these on a whim from Craftsman's Model Railroad Supplies ( - great place) for two reasons: the T-section Bettendorfs fit in the era that I am modeling and - what caught my eye - they are equalized. The kit does not include wheelsets.
    Equalization allows the side frames to move independently of one another, allowing the wheels on one side to track over a bump or dip with affecting the wheels on the opposite rail. Something like independent suspension.


    The castings are sharp and detail crisp, but as with any truck will look much better with some highlighting / weathering to make the detail stand out. One piece of detail noticeably missing, however, are brake shoes.

    These trucks require assembly which is straight forward. The sideframe castings had virtually no flash - the only plastic cleanup being removal of sprue nubs.
    Both side frames have a round post cast onto the backside, which is snapped into the bolster like so:


    In my case, the posts required a small amount of flash cleanup, the interiors of the bolsters a little more. Less than 5 minutes work for both sides. This work allowed the sideframes to pivot (equalize) smoothly around the post axis.

    Equalization was silky smooth and able to roll over severe imperfections while keeping all four wheels tracking the surface - at least in my "lab" :rolleyes: experiments consisting of the test in the photo below, and rolling it over my rougher track sections by hand. I'll see if this theoretical better tracking holds up over time on the layout.
    I was also happy (and somewhat surprised) to find that these trucks roll exceedingly well with Kadee wheelsets. Kadee wheelsets are good looking, but tend to be a little slower than metal-axled wheelsets (this is partially due to Kadee wheelsets having a little longer axle, making for tighter fits on most trucks - but that is a different story). This truck / wheelset combination when applied to an Accurail hopper is one of the best rolling combinations in my arsenal.

    Note: to use these trucks on an Accurail car, the kingpin hole in the bolster either needs to be drilled out to fit over the Accurail kingpin, or the kingpin itself needs to be removed. I chose the former.

    One interesting "feature" of these trucks is that they make it more difficult to rail a car with the old 0-5-0 method compared to a car with rigid trucks. Typically, if you get your thumb under one journal of a rigid truck to lift a wheelset onto the track, the other side follows - you can rail both sides of a given wheelset with one finger on one side. Because of the independent motion of the two side frames on this truck, the opposite wheel doesn't lift! Not a bad thing, just... different... :)

    The photo below a good idea of what an equalized truck looks like while doing it's job (hopefully clarifying the preceding paragraph)...


    These trucks look good, though are lacking some detail of their competitors. If you are looking for a T-section truck, this is one of only two brands that I'm aware of that accomodate you (Kadee being the other). They have the neat feature of equalization if that turns you on, are relatively inexpensive, and perform very well with Kadee wheelsets. A worthy purchase. :thumb: