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LGB's Standard Gauge American type 40 foot Box Car & Body Mounting Kadee 906 Couplers
March 19, 2016
Ted Doskaris

LGB produced some realistic American rail cars, including 1930s-1950s era standard gauge 40 foot box cars made of plastic. These cars were made in China and appear to be out of production; however, while they last, some can be obtained as New Old Stock (NOS) from a mail order house such as Trainworld in New York.

I obtained the following two box cars:

Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), road no. 24018, P/N 46919.

Santa Fe (ATSF) "Tool Car", road no. 205228, P/N 45919

Concerns about these LGB cars, including their under frames and trucks, are illustrated below.

As to the wrongly oriented under frame, the Aristo-Craft Company (now superceded by Polk's GeneratioNext), did the same thing for years but ultimately correct it.
This makes one wonder who copied whom's flaw!


Unless you happen to have one of the rarest 40 foot box cars that had early type roller bearing trucks (for example the Boston & Maine 1957 car road no. 76182 as shown on page 101 in book "Pullman-Standard Freight Cars"), or if the appearance of roller bearings on a car known to have friction bearings is of no concern, then the as supplied LGB truck could be used if modified to lower the car. Lowering the car not only makes it more prototypical but, also, is behooving when body mounting Kadee 906 type couplers. However, modifying the LGB truck is somewhat involved.

Employing Alternative Trucks:

Aristo-Craft or USA Trains Bettendorf friction bearing type trucks are used in place of the LGB roller bearing type factory trucks since the alternative trucks have bolsters lower than their side frames compared to the factory LGB trucks. Thus, using Aristo or USAT trucks facilitates installing body mount couplers because the cars are inherently lowered to a more optimal height for mounting Kadee 906 type coupler assemblies without having to use very thick spacers.

Shown below are the LGB cars fitted with alternative retrofitted trucks (both equipped with their respective factory metal wheel). The USA Trains trucks are on the example ATSF car, and the Aristo-Craft trucks are on the example PRR car.

Choosing USA Trains Truck to Replace LGB Truck:
The USAT truck is a little more difficult to implement as exemplified on the ATSF car.
The USAT truck requires some tweaking done to it to prevent binding of the truck when rotating and rocking it on the LGB under frame bolster and to establish proper railhead to coupler alignment with the Kadee 980 gauge.

Choosing Aristo-Craft Truck to Replace LGB Truck:
Of the two trucks, the Aristo truck is the simplest to implement as exemplified on the PRR car.

Both Aristo and USAT truck bolster tangs must be removed before the trucks are mounted so they won't interfere with the body mounted Kadee coupler boxes.

Completed Cars:

With body mount Kadee 906 type couplers installed, operation on 8 foot diameter (or larger) curve track is OK. An 8 foot diameter circle is shown below.

The example ATSF car came with factory black parts, many of which have been painted to better match the color of the car body. Testers No. 1181 Aluminum paint was used.

Note inset image at the bottom of the above picture shows coupler alignment with Kadee 980 gauge.

The example PRR car came with molded-in brown colored parts, so these need not be painted - their more glossy appearance or other user preference not withstanding.

Note inset image at the bottom of the above picture shows coupler alignment with Kadee 980 gauge.

More Info:
For far more detail, including truck implementation, see the full "Vignette" hosted for me by Greg E. on his Web site.
Title: "LGB American Standard Gauge 40 foot Box Car & Body Mounting Kadee 906 Couplers"

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