AML Rolling Stock

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American Main Line is a relatively new entry in 1:29. This company is owned by the same people as Accucraft.

They make very nicely detailed cars, with metal wheels and die cast trucks. These cars hug the rails.

Less-common road names are available, and wonder of wonders, most cars come with four different road numbers. 

They have a very high level of detail, and fidelity to the prototype, like USA Trains rolling stock.

The details are not fragile, but rough handling can break off some of the smaller pieces like the stirrups and the latching handle for the doors.

Mini Review - Cotton Belt box car

(Note, I will be comparing this car to those by Aristo and USAT because they are the only other 1:29 manufacturers out there, i.e. scale dimensions)

The box is thicker than the competition. The foam inserts hold the car tightly and there are pieces of soft foam sheet over the car ends to keep from "box burn", where the paint is damaged from the car rubbing against the foam inside. Very nice.

Overall, the detail and finish is comparable to a USAT car, which means excellent. The details are not oversize, printing very nice. The door latches are slightly larger than the USAT cars, but nowhere near the Arist monstrosities. The hinge of the door latch is a brass pin, should be sturdier than the USAT one, which is a bit fragile (not complaining, they look great).

The trucks are all metal, not just the wheels. No springs, but they track very well. You could back off the sideframe screws if you wanted a bit of equalization, but I found no need to. The wheelsets are PERFECTLY IN GAUGE. I have never seen this before. My definition of perfect is using the Aristo gauge. It has 2 measurements for back to back spacing. There is a minimum and a maximum. The wheelset should have plenty of clearance on the minimum, and just almost clear the maximum. All wheelsets were exactly the same. KUDOS!

The car is supplied with working kunckle couplers mounted on the trucks. These couplers are plastic with a metal link pin. They work ok, but did not do extensive testing, all the hobby needs is yet another coupler. There are hook and loops provided, and another set of knuckles with a coupler box that looks like a Kadee 830.

The underside of the car has a pad that looks like the 830 and has the same hole layout. But, there is an important difference, there is a boss rising out of the body for their knuckle to swivel on.

The kadee has the boss on the other "half" of the draft gear box. This boss is also a different distance from the end of the car, and smaller than the kadee.

Bottom line, you cannot put the kadee coupler in the AML draft gear box, no matter how similar they are.

But good news, grind the boss off, remove the pin lifting bar, and put an 830 on the platform, and secure it with the 3 self tapping screws. Coupler is virtually perfect height, and it's even faster than a USAT install, since you don't have to remove the floor to get the 2-56 screws inside the car.

One interesting note, the car is noisy! The metal trucks transmit the sounds of the wheels into the box car body, it roars as it rolls along. The sound is really noticable if the car doors are open. Obviously, plastic sideframes absorb sound, metal ones do not.

Overall, a very nice car, a great alternative to USAT cars, I threw it in a 20 car train and it performed perfectly.


Click the links below to go "deeper" into details on individual AML rolling stock

  Kadee Body Mounts     Cotton Belt freight   Double Door Box   Bettendorf Truck Vignette 
  Stock Cars   Woodside Reefer   Freight Car Trucks   Bethgon II Coal Porter 
  Covered Hopper vignette    Bethgon vignette   Roller Bearing Truck vignette    Hi-Cube 50' Box car 



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