USAT Heavyweights

Overview:

These have been advertised for several years, I received mine in late March 2020. I ordered the full set of 10 cars

 

R32040
The Chief Baggage/Club - San Gabriel
R32041
The Chief Coach #1 - 3041
R32042
The Chief Coach #2 - 3045
R32043
The Chief Coach #3 - 3049
R32044
The Chief Diner - 1400
R32045
The Chief Sleeper #1 - Centcampo
R32046
The Chief Sleeper #2 - Centgate
R32047
The Chief Sleeper #3 - Centoak
R32048
The Chief Sleeper #4 - Centrail
R32049
The Chief Observation - Crystal Bay

 

 They came packed 2 to a box, drop shipped from Charles Ro (thanks to RLD, that means they made only one trip instead of 2)

20200322 142223

 

When unboxing:

  1. open both ends to push out
  2. open the foam clamshell and lift the car out
  3. lay car on it's side and slide the plastic wrap off, being careful not to catch it on the underbody detail
  4. remove the packing around the truck
  5. A tip from Paul Burch when he unpacked his diner and combine, there is a small package (read: easy to overlook) with stirrups that can be added to the car. It's clear they could interfere with the truck swiveling on tighter curves. The diner has one supplied and the combine has 2. They are packed in a recess in the very end of the foam, on one end.

 

20200322 143235

 

20200322 143419

 

 

pictures here are from the 2019 NGRC in Oregon. Currently, they have been re-scheduled for release in April 2020

 

r32019

DSC01033

DSC01039

DSC01042

DSC01030

DSC01031

 

Observations:

What the heck?

I took them out, and tried to run a train... what the heck? Derailments and stringlining. At first I thought I had some track issues, but I can run a 10 car consist of the USAT streamliners. After recently struggling with Aristo heavyweights, I even removed a couple of S curves.

So why are my brand new cars, which are essentially identical in construction to the streamliners derailing. FRICTION!. Why are the heavyweights different than my streamliners? They both use the same carbon brush arrangement on the back sides of the wheels.

BUT! While the streamliners are nickel plated with a mirror (and I mean it) finish, the heavyweights have a blackened, matte finish. way more friction.

I noticed I could hardly pull the train myself, no wonder it stringlined.

I bought a scale a while back, figuring I wanted to compare rolling friction caused by my encounter with the Aristo-Craft Napa Valley train of heavyweights, so I bought an inexpensve luggage scale with the intent to add a coupler:

digital scale

This was a good start, but when pulling a car the screen pointed sideways, so I would have to lean over and put my head near the rails to operate it.

What I needed was the display mounted on the top side, as I was pulling a car:

 

scale modified

 

So I pulled the display out and used some double stick foam tape to mount it facing up. I also removed the swivel assembly and bolted a Kadee to it directly. It works. I will eventually make it prettier by cutting up the original fascia and bolting the display back in and mounting it.

 

Now to measure. The unit will "hold" the measurement after it stays stable for 3 seconds.

 

So, without cleaning or lubing, I decided to do some measurements

 

First to measure, my Aristo full baggage car, which has power pickup from the axle journals, so very low friction, it has 3 axle trucks.
0.24 lbs

Next the aristo RPO car, which is longer
0.14

USAT observation
0.30 to 0.32 pounds

4 usat cars
1.12 to 1.14 pounds

 

All this on the straights, a little more on curves

 

the test subject is the USAT combine car, which they call the club lounge

0.22 to 0.28 before modification

 

 

 

Sub-Pages

  -6-0 USRA switcher 4-6-2 K4 Pacific 2-8-2 EBT #12
Goose #5 60' Box    
   streamliners        Heavyweights