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Vic and Bill mentioned the plans from Garden Railways/Sidestreet. The neat thing about Mr Stinson's plans is that they are so easy to modify for your own needs and the work great for mass production. Here's a fleet I built a while back.


After this, I did 15 short boxcars for a friend and 8 more gondolas for us.

From the cost standpoint, it is not much of a savings to scratchbuild. I even build my own trucks, but after buying high quality steel wheel sets, they got pricey too. The car bodies cost only about $.50 each because I used salvage lumber from Home Depot. After wheel sets, truck materials, couplers and do-dads they came out to about $28 each.

The best thing about scratch building is you get exactly what you want. If you can apply some mass production you end up with quite a train. My son's Ruby can tow 8 gondolas and it is the "cat's meow". A 3 cylinder Shay can tow all 49 cars I made
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