The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Friday, June 18, 2010

Front Range Roller Bearing Trucks in OO, and more on COFC/TOFC

Among the parts in the OO Inventory are a number of pair of roller bearing trucks with rotating bearing caps. Bill Johann described how he made these from HO Front Range parts in an article in the January, 1987 issue of The OO Road.

This photo is a good close up of one example. In sorting out the Inventory I discovered there were nearly a dozen pair of this type of truck, parts to make a number more pair of the same thing, and 4.5 pair of a very similar truck with a longer wheelbase and the same HO size freight wheelsets. All of them looked to have seen layout use but also all seem to have been taken off cars later and put in storage. The likely reason being they look too much like HO trucks. They have HO wheels and I don’t think Johann could overcome the wheel size issue in rebuilding these and came up with better modern trucks of two types, one based on a large Walthers (I believe) one piece casting with heavy side frames that could be filed for OO gauge wheelsets to fit (36” HO size being the stand in for OO wheelsets--"Morlok method") and his final design based on a multi-part truck of another make that became his standard (I have yet to track down the maker on this, more on that if I ever figure it out) that had custom NWSL wheelsets described in this post. There were parts to make exactly one more of these in the Inventory.

This second photo is another close up of the Front Range trucks on cars. The red TOFC flats had Scale-Craft trucks on them when they arrived. I initially changed them over to the roller bearing trucks with the one piece frames, of which there were some in the inventory rebuilt or waiting to be rebuilt and it would free up the S-C trucks for other vintage cars in the Inventory. In this earlier post the car is on these but the four complete pair of longer wheelbase rotating end cap trucks suit these cars really well so they have been switched over to them. The other car is on the shorter wheelbase trucks. On this car you can hardly see the trucks (an eBay purchase, built by Pierre Bourassa) so they are well suited to the car, and having the car on these trucks freed up yet another good pair of Scale-Craft trucks for a vintage car.

There are still nine complete pair of these working roller bearing trucks in the OO Inventory and parts for more. They suit some cars and roll pretty well but with the small wheels I can see why Johann moved on to better designs.

That same issue of The OO Road solved another mystery, actually, as well. The spine cars in this post are also modified Front Range products and as I guessed each unit is spliced together from two cars to obtain a nearly full scale OO model. There is a fuzzy photo of the cars when they were new to his layout on the last page of the issue along with three of the scratchbuilt red TOFC cars which are described as “NS type TOFC/COFC flats as converted from boxcars.”

UPDATE: The truck project has been claimed from the Inventory. May these trucks rack up more miles in OO.

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