Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Quick Look: WalthersMainline HO scale Budd 85-foot dome coach

Read this review from the July 2019 issue of Model Railroader
WalthersMainline HO scale Budd 85-foot dome coach
Price: $39.98
Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Era: 1954 to present
Road names: Amtrak (phase 3); Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Southern Ry.; Union Pacific; and VIA Rail Canada. Also available undecorated.

Comments: Wm. K. Walthers Inc. has added an 85-foot dome-coach to its WalthersMainline series of HO scale passenger cars. The model features sides, ends, and a one-piece roof attached to a plastic core; flush-fitting window glazing; and underbody detail.

The WalthersMainline model is based on Canadian Pacific’s Skyline-series dome-coach-buffet cars (nos. 500-517). The full-size cars were built by The Budd Co. under job number 9646-142. The 18 first-class cars were delivered to CP in 1954 and 1955. VIA Rail Canada acquired the Skyline-series cars in August 1978. Sixteen of the 18 cars are still in service today.

Our sample is decorated in Amtrak’s phase 3 paint scheme. The passenger carrier inherited a variety of Budd-built dome-coaches from more than a half-dozen American railroads. The supplied decal sheet includes Amtrak numbers 9490 through 9499. The numbers, unused on full-size cars, are in the correct range for Amtrak’s dome-coaches.

The majority of the car’s dimensions follow drawings and data published in The Passenger Car Library Vol. 3: Western Railroads by W. David Randall (RPC Publications, 2000) and the 1957 Car Builders Cyclopedia (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Co.) The proto-type car has an 8'-6" wheelbase; on the model it’s 9'-0".

The car can handle 18" radius curves, but the overhang and gap between cars doesn’t look prototypical. The metal Proto-Max couplers are truck-mounted at the correct height. The 36" metal wheels, mounted on plastic axles, are correctly gauged. At 6 ounces, the model is .7 ounce too light according to National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1.

I tested the dome-coach on our staff layouts. The car performed without incident and looked great on 30" to 36" radius curves. There’s a 1⁄4" gap between the diaphragms.

With more than a half-dozen cars in the Mainline passenger series, it’s easier than ever to build a good-looking passenger train on a budget.

Join the discussion

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


How to personalize your layout.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy