Re: Sprung Trucks

Justin Kahn

Following this thread through several messages, I have to say I have always preferred sprung trucks, even though most springing is too stiff to actually work in smaller scales (it is more likely to work in O scale, but I am not sure I want to weight freight cars enough to accomplish the effect). It may not be entirely rational, but I began model railroading when sprung trucks were a considerable improvement over the low-relief cast sideframes previous available, and as my sartorial tastes were established in college, never to change much since, so my preference has always been for sprung trucks wherever possible.
As for fabricating one's own springs from craft-store wire, isn't most of that florist wire, which tends to be quite soft? Most discussions of winding springs start with springy wire. Having said all that, I should pass on that San Juan, which makes the nicest mass-market (or what passes for mass-market in O scale, especially relative to brass) trucks, and in a reasonable selection (Andrews, archbar, T-section Bettendorf, regular "Bettendorf"/AAR, Vulcan) with full brake-gear detail, has gone from sprung trucks with working wire springs to a cast-plastic spring, which is much closer to the heavy-cross-section of the prototype, but compresses only enough to be inserted between the bolster and springplank and is there primarily for appearance rather than operation. San Juan also makes a scale-size, manually-operated coupler in engineering plastic, but Gene Deimling can tell you more about those. I use the standard Kadee O scale coupler, and the only modifications or variations Kadee has done to them since they were first introduced was a special short-shank application and a few years ago casting them in red and brown colors (for extra cost)--just too small a market to invest in R&D for, I suppose.

Jace Kahn, General Manager
Ceres and Canisteo RR Co.

That's fine - then just make them look like real springs! And thanks for the kind words!

Pat Wider

--- In, "S. Busch" <SCSBusch@W...> wrote:

Pat Wider!

When I cut my teeth in model railroading, American Flyer had chrome
journal boxes on sheet steel sideframe trucks. The first time I ever
real looking truck they were HO sprung Varneys or Athearns or something.
Heck, even those ugly looking Silver Streak trucks looked good.

So, there you go. I have never quite recovered, and still prefer real
Steve Busch
Duncan, SC

Yes, I vote for :


- sprung, of course. Please, please, please ---
Why sprung? The toy cars aren't heavy enough to compress the springs
anyway and they
don't equalize so why bother? They also don't roll as well as they
I hate HO
"sprung" trucks. And while I'm at it Mr. Kadee, please replace those
spider-web springs
with something more substantial. I hate looking through the spring
and seeing the
daylight (layout lighting?) coming through. It's blinding. Jack
rolls his own springs
out of heavier wire and they look great! Other people use brass loco
driver springs. In
days of old when knights were bold and Central Valley made trucks with
wheels, their truck springs looked better as well. Phosphor bronze I
think. Why can't Kadee
make a similar improvement to the appearance of their trucks?
improvement -
that keeps companies in business.

Sorry but this a sore spot with me.

Pat Wider

Pat, I was at Michael's (a craft store) the other day and noticed
they have a wide selection of small gage wire on spools that may
be perfect for making non-functional replacement springs. I got
some for making baled-wire loads for gondolas. They stock it in
the bead jewelry section.

I agree I hate the truck springs and think the Kadees roll badly,
but they're also great looking trucks! I toss the Kadee wheels
and replace with Reboxx, which improves them considerably in
both rolling quality and appearance. Step 2 will be to replace
the springs.

Tim O'Connor
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