LGB Modern 50 foot Box Car & Body Mount Kadee 907s

LGB Modern 50 foot Box Car & Body Mount Kadee 907s
Ted Doskaris
February 4, 2017
Rev GE-A

February 9, 2017
Rev GE-B  Added car length & width measurement

February 17, 2017

Rev GE-C  Corrected screw length dimension in modified LGB truck image

February 3, 2021
Rev GE-D  Added 3-D printed "CamPac" coupler box option



Body mounting Kadee centerset couplers requiring minimal spacing is achieved by realistically lowering the car's height - easily done by just replacing factory trucks from a choice of other brands of "roller bearing" types.



Factory Car Observations
Lowered Car - Body Mount Kadees with Aristo Trucks
Spacer Installation
Mounting Aristo Trucks
Car Weight with Aristo Trucks
Lowered Car Using Modified LGB Trucks
Car Operation

Appendix A, CamPac 3-D Printed Coupler Boxes & Kadees


The German company, Lehmann Gross Bahn (LGB), produced / produces some realistic American rail cars made of plastic, including the modern standard gauge external post type 50 foot boxcar.   

At this time these 50 foot boxcars are back in production with new road names having two road numbers per car that include AMTRAK, Middleton & New Jersey, and BNSF.

The BNSF car is unique in that it has two livery versions offered, both mineral brown color, but with one road number being the roundel type that mimics the AT&SF herald and the other road number being the newer "speed letter" BNSF underscored with "swoosh" .  The round herald version with all its markings is shown below.

I obtained the BNSF herald version car since it represents and resembles the early Burlington Northern & Santa Fe merger version car that better suits my Western RRs modeling era.

The car and trucks' sideframes appear to have their color molded into the plastic rather than being painted.  The surface finish is smooth gloss/semi-gloss.

The car comes standard with truck mounted hook & loop couplers and weighs almost 3 pounds.

A spare parts list printed in German is included in the packaging.


Factory Car Observations

Analyzing the car shows it's high from the railhead, typical of LGB and some other brands.

As factory equipped, you can place an Aristo-Craft Roller Barber bearing truck under the car next to the LGB truck for comparison.

Substituting Aristo or some other brand trucks not only lowers the car for a more prototypical appearance, but is behooving for body mounting Kadee 907 centerset type couplers.  Moreover, using trucks equipped with metal wheels can be operationally advantageous because they weigh more than the LGB trucks - even those with metal clad wheels.  This low to the railhead added weight is beneficial with less tendency to "string line" for the car going around tighter curves when in a long or heavy train.


Lowered Car - Body Mount Kadees with example Aristo Trucks

The easiest way to lower the car is to replace the LGB trucks with another brand of "roller bearing" trucks such as Aristo-Craft Barber, USA Trains Intermodal or Kadee's 70 ton #973. This not only facilitates body mounting Kadee 907 centerset couplers but, also, affords a prototypical appearance.  However, the LGB truck can be modified to lower the car, too - discussed later.

Note: The conventional method of using discrete parts (fabricated spacer & Kadee couple box) will be described next; however, a 3-D printed "CamPac" direct fit (no spacer) coupler box that accepts the Kadee centerset coupler has been developed - described in Appendix A.


Conventional Method:

To mount the Kadee 907s to the lowered car, a spacer needs to be made. (thickness minimized by lowered car)
ABS type plastic material can be used obtained fairly inexpensively from TAP Plastics.

They can cut ABS sheets in a long strip to a minimum width of 1 inch, for example, to a 36 inch length to make it practical.

The size needed for the spacer is about 1 & 3/4 inch wide, so obtain a long strip with a TAP plastic published thickness of 3/16 ("O.177" inch actual thickness according to TAP Plastics Web site "Enter Specifications" Calculator).

It so happens that the thickness of 0.177 inch is pretty much on target which is what I actually obtained.  Their ABS sheets have a textured "hair-cell" finish on one side that can be used to aesthetic advantage.

The spacer-adapter dimensions are shown below.  It is notched on one end to overlap car floor ribbing when installed.


Spacer Installation

Before installing the spacer, the LGB vestigial draft gear box being retained by flexible prongs is first removed.


Next, at each end of the car the vestigial draft gear box plate must be cut as illustrated below.


The spacer is then glued in place as illustrated below (same for both ends of car).

After the spacer is glued in place, a hole is drilled (utilizing the spacer's pilot hole) through the car floor and then tapped  as illustrated below.


Mounting Kadee 907s

The Kadee 907 is then mounted (same for both ends of car) as illustrated below.


Measured Car Length vs. Prototype

With Kadee boxes installed, the length of the car is measured "over the strikers" so as to compare to how prototype cars are done.  The measurement made falls within the range of BNSF prototype cars listed in a table on page 77 of the book, BNSF Railway Freight Cars Volume One, by Robert C. Del Grosso.



Mounting Example Aristo Trucks

The Aristo truck bolster mounting hole is a little large, so it's advisable to use a thin bushing to keep lateral movement from being excessive once the truck is mounted over floor mounting post.

The Aristo Barber trucks are mounted the same way on both ends of the car as illustrated below.



Car Weight with Aristo Trucks

Now lowered and fitted with Kadee body mount 907s and Aristo trucks having Aristo metal wheels, the car is now desirably heavier by almost 1/2 pound being concentrated lower to the railhead than the LGB factory equipped car.

The principle reason for the added car weight is because of the Aristo metal wheels, ART-29111 types, are notably heavier than LGB metal clad wheels.


Lowered Car Using Modified LGB Trucks

As an alternative to using replacement trucks, the LGB car can be lowered by modifying the factory LGB trucks, albeit with much more work and time and some reduction to its flexibility.

The LGB truck is modified by replacing the factory bolster with a custom made metal bolster with captive plastic "H spacer".  The custom bolster, when fastened to the side frames, is lower from the top of the side frames so that the truck resembles how the Aristo truck is done, effectively lowering the car.  The LGB truck modification is described in Vignette, title: LGB American Standard Gauge 40 foot Box Car & Body Mounting Kadee 906 Couplers (Appendix A therein)

So the mounted truck can freely swivel (pivot), its sideframes' ribs are trimmed and its truck bolster mounting screws are shortened - illustrated below.
Note: The modified LGB truck depicted with black finish was used instead of the BNSF 50 foot boxcar's brown colored truck since the black truck already had been modified the same way for the LGB 40 foot boxcar.

Note: Using Aristo-Craft metal wheels in the LGB truck is desirable, not only for its increased weight, but for its smaller diameter wheel.  If using the larger diameter LGB wheel, the car will be raised up, and the body mount Kadee couplers will no longer align with the Kadee 980 gauge.  To correct for this, the truck "H spacer" can be made thinner, or the Kadee 907 box will need to be shimmed so that the coupler then can align with the Kadee 980 gauge.

An example modified LGB truck is mounted as illustrated below.



Car Operation

With the LGB 50 foot modern boxcar lowered by using example Aristo Barber trucks and body mounting Kadee 907 couplers, the car can operate OK down to 8 foot diameter track.



Appendix A, CamPac 3-D Printed Coupler Boxes & Kadees

To be described is the CamPac BoxTM for the Car with 3 examples of replacement trucks required to lower the car. (The modified LGB truck could be used, too, if willing to do the work)  Car operation with the small foot print CamPac coupler boxes is intended to be down to 8 foot diameter curves or greater; however, it's possible the car may operate on slightly tighter curves.

Replacement truck choices fitted with metal wheels include:
(1) Kadee #973 70 ton aftermarket all metal "roller bearing" truck pair
(2) Aristo-Craft #29100 100 ton "roller bearing" plastic truck pair
(3) USA Trains #2034 Intermodal Car "roller bearing" plastic truck - need two (needs two USA Trains #2093 metal wheel pair)

Available are body mount direct fit (no spacers needed) 3-D printed CamPac BoxesTM for the LGB modern boxcar that accept the centerset coupler (no offset) from the Kadee 907 kit. The boxes are designed by me (Ted Doskaris) and implemented by Colin Camarillo using his software expertise & resin type printer - obtainable from Colin's website.

For installation info. & techniques, see "LGB 50 foot Modern Boxcar CamPac Box Install Guide" - also available on Colin's website.

Shown is the CamPac BoxTM body mounted on an example Middletown & New Jersey car.

The only modification to the car is to cut out a small piece from the draft gear pocket and then drill a small hole to mount the box - shown in the following couple of pictures.

The cutout allows the box to be fitted into the chassis.

The CamPac kit for this car provides for 3 replacement truck choices required to lower the car when utilizing CamPac coupler boxes.

Note: Although to save costs, less desirable is to fit LGB metal clad wheels (assuming they are on the car) into the USA Trains Intermodal truck because the LGB wheels are larger in diameter and very light weight. Thus, the car is less than optimally lowered and more prone to "string line" when operated within a long or heavy train going around tight curves. 

When choosing to use the readily available plastic USA Trains Intermodal truck, a needed spacer is provided in the CamPac kit - shown below. (The USA Trains all metal truck's wheel base & wheels are too big for this car)

Illustrated is an example application of the USA Trains Intermodal truck.

Coupler box leveling shimming may be needed to align couplers with the Kadee gauge depending on truck / wheel choices.

Illustrated below is an example application of the aftermarket Kadee 70 ton #973 all metal trucks.


Illustrated below is an example application of the Aristo-Craft Barber truck.


The other truck choice applications are similar in car height reduction.



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