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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A closer look at Famoco 6-wheel passenger trucks

Back in 2008 a brief article was posted, briefly showing the four types of 6 wheel passenger trucks marketed commercially in American OO scale. Worthy of a closer look are the Famoco trucks.

I recently set up three pair of these for operation, and operationally they are free rolling and look nice too.

As noted in the earlier article, these trucks have a very specific and unique feature in that the bolster is in effect integral to the truck. But that only tells part of the story. So the trucks themselves have a pin that comes up out of the truck bolster. This fits into a hole on the car side of the bolster that has a recess for a round metal key. The screws that would be used to hold the truck to the body are to be used in the holes provided on this car bolster. It is a very different setup than any other truck offered in American OO. Also worth noting, the actual truck bolster is “riveted” to the side frames, making them difficult/impossible to dissemble.

Besides that there are two major negatives on these trucks. About 1/4 of the wheelsets I examined are problematic, the tread width is too narrow. The bigger negative though is that a percentage of the parts have absolutely disintegrated. I describe this “rot” (more formally known as zinc pest) a bit more in this article, but this hits Famoco and Graceline parts the hardest and ultimately relates to the quality of the metal used for the die casting, with high humidity thought to contribute as well.

In any case, this J-C Model ATSF baggage car is running on a good pair of these trucks now. When originally rebuilt I put it on S-C trucks, but those were needed for another car and this one reverted to 4 wheel trucks – which never really looked right on the car. I converted it to Famoco trucks and upgraded a few other small details, including adding a bit of weight, this car is a head end car and it was rather light.

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