New Barber Lateral Motion Truck

A Barber Lateral Motion 50-Ton freight car truck is now available in HO scale from Tahoe Model Works.

The Barber Lateral Motion Device used steel rollers and a roller seat between the springs and special bolster to provide a little side-to-side movement of the car body to the truck, resulting in a smoother ride and reduced wear to wheel flanges, journals and couplers. John C. Barber invented this device and formed the Standard Car Truck Company in the late 1890s to market arch bar trucks with this feature. It was later applied to Andrews, T-Section Bettendorfs, Vulcans and eventually ARA trucks with one-piece U section sideframes--what our hobby has called a "bettendorf".

The spotting feature for trucks with the BLM device is the narrow horizontal roller seat casting located between the top of the springs and the truck bolster. Examples may be seen in Richard Hendrickson's truck article in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia #4, Figs. 1, 6, 7, 10, 12, 19 and 42. Fig. 23 is the BLM device adapted to a Barber S-1 truck, in this case with a modified spring package for NYC's LCL Pacemaker service. Fig. 15 is actually, I believe, a rare Symington Lateral Motion truck.

More photos of trucks with the BLM device can be found in Richard's truck article in the Feb. '90 issue of Railmodel Journal, #1, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21 and 22.

Drawings of trucks with The Barber Lateral Motion Device can be found in these Car Builders' Cyclopedias: 1922(pages 608, 609), 1925(pages 606,607), 1928(pages 776,777), 1931(pages 766, 768, 769), 1937(pages 912, 914), 1940(pages 1123, 1138) and 1943(page 1096).

U-section trucks with this feature were manufactured from the early 1920s to the late 1930s. Railroads that fully embraced this style of truck included ATSF, B&O, CB&Q, CP, C&NW, DL&W, IC, NP, RI, SL-SF, SP, T&NO, UP and WP. Also PFE and SFRD.

CN, CV, CogG, C&EI, Erie, GTW, MP and T&P all had some cars with Barber Lateral Motion trucks, as well as a few cars owned by C&O, Wabash and Western Maryland.

For most of these railroads, purchases of Barber Lateral Motion trucks ended with the Great Depression. However, B&O, CB&Q and CP continued buying them into the later parts of the 1930s.

The shape of sideframes varied greatly, as was typical of trucks of that period. The prototype trucks for TMW's offering have sideframes cast by American Steel Foundries in the 1940s for both SP and UP. These were actually replacement sideframes for older trucks, most likely T-section Bettendorfs.

Prototype research was conduted at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, NV and at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, CA.

Flyers for these new HO trucks are still available. Please contact me OFF-LIST at


Rob Adams should soon be posting the new flyer and order form on . You can also find info of all of Tahoe Model Works trucks there, listed under Modeling, and then Detail Parts.

Brian Leppert
Tahoe Model Works
Carson City, NV

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