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

Read this review from the July 2019 issue of Model Railroader
MRRNP0219_16
WalthersMainline HO scale Budd 85-foot dome coach
Price: $39.98
Manufacturer
Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
www.walthers.com
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.

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