Re: Speaking of Departed companies : Train-Minature

Andy Harman

At 05:06 AM 5/16/2014 -0400, you wrote:
Originally TM cars came with spring trucks. Their detail was much better than those from Athearn or Roundhouse, and arch bar, Andrews and "Bettendorf" types were offered.
Must have been before my time. IIRC the first TM kit I ever got was an X29 and it had one piece trucks, as did everything after that. I had a bunch of the 2-bay hoppers. The later ones, say around 1977, had the all plastic wheel sets. I had a 3-pack of Pennsy ribbed hoppers and I never replaced the trucks or the coal loads. I ebayed them all a few years ago, and got decent money for them. I bought them at the time just because they were different from my Athearn hoppers, and because they offered them in a 3-pack with different numbers.

The only TM cars I have right now that I know of are a sliver (NP?) reefer that I've always been kind of fond of - has Kadee trucks and a little extra weight. Not sure where it is, but it was part of about an 8 car freight train that always had the honor of first run on any new layout I built or new track I laid for a while I also have a faux shorty gondola I made - I stretched an Athearn gondola per an article I read on making a freelance mill gon, and I took the remnants and made a 35-foot shorty. I added some rust to it, but it has no lettering at all. I put it with a work caboose and some other odds and ends to make a "work train".

I have two other TM cars I picked up at a swap cheap - that gondola they made with the sill molded to the outside below the sides of the car. I don't think I can do much with them but they're sort of interesting just because they're bizarre. They can join my Athearn GP30 in the vintage HO museum.

I think I have one of those Walthers track cleaning cars that uses one of the TM bodies, I think it's a plug door car - lettered CSX. Not a particularly good track cleaner - actually there are few track cleaners that rival elbow grease. A decent hand held vacuum cleaner is handy too. I got a Ryobi 18 volt that shares the same batteries as all my other Ryobi tools. It works well with a fresh battery, but after about 5 minutes it's time to swap batteries - it kills the battery faster than the weed whacker, which is pretty amazing.

We had a hobby shop go out of business here in the fall of 72. I learned later that it was about the third closeout for this guy. The store was packed and lawyers were handling the sales. I had $12 on me... a lot of the good stuff was already gone. The only locomotive in the place was a Train Miniature FA1 - in Union Pacific. I grabbed that, and one or two TM freight cars, and a stack of Athearn billboard plug door cars... which was about all that was left. I guess the lawyers heard me say I had $12 because when they rang it all up, it came to... $12. They were pretty much giving the stuff away. Those billboard cars were pretty gaudy, a few of them were decent - but most of them wound up being my first cars to practice weathering on. I still have the FA, it's part of my diesel museum. In the original configuration I don't think very many were made - the one I got at the closeout was the only one I ever saw for a long time. The shell is now part of the Walthers Trainline series.


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