USAT Streamliners

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General comments:

These are beautiful, scale length, highly detailed, HEAVY cars.

The RPO car, a 63' long car, is 7.91 pounds, I measured the 80' sleeper car at 34.5" long and 9.75 pounds.

They have an all aluminum body and very nice trucks. Unfortunately, they use carbon brushes for pickup, so the combination of the weight and the carbon brushes creates a lot of drag. More on this later.

So far, all the cars I have (Santa Fe) are accurate reproductions of the prototype, down to the names and road numbers. Right now, they are the only scale length lightweight passenger cars in production in 1:29. (Aristo made some smoothsides, but only a coach and observation, years ago) 

They also have multiple road numbers so you can make several passenger trains without duplicating the road numbers.

Michael Hayworth did some nice customization see his site: http://haworthengineering.com/superchief.aspx

Modifying for tight curves:

Some people have reported that they can run these cars on 8 and 10 foot curves by opening up the sides of the existing draft gear box. I have no problems on 9.5' curves. I'm pretty sure you need to mod the draft gear box for 8 footers. 

Couplers/Kadees:

The stock coupler is not too bad, and it's made from metal. With cars this heavy, that makes sense. They look strong as heck.

Currently I'm using a Kadee just on the lead car, which is an RPO car. The USAT metal knuckles work fine for me on the rest of the cars. It seems like a lot of work to convert all the cars, and the passenger train will probably be more of a unit train on my layout.

See the page on couplers for other options.

Lighting:

The lighting is good, but cars draw a lot of current. Going to LEDs is the best idea, since they can draw close to an amp each! See the the page on this.

Sub-Pages

Click the links below to go "deeper" into details on indivudual motive power by manufacturer

AML/Accucraft  Aristo Bachmann Berlyn
LGB Lionel MDC MTH
Piko   60' Cushion Box      
Tenders Misc Pulling Power  
Weather Underground PWS KCACARLS78