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Quick Look: Walthers HO scale 89-foot channel-side flatcar

Read this review from the March 2018 Model Railroader
Walthers HO scale 89-foot channel-side flatcar
Walthers HO scale 89-foot channel-side flatcars

Price: $27.98

Wm. K. Walthers Inc.
5601 W. Florist Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53218

Era: 1963 to present

Road names: TTX (yellow and 1960s brown for 40-foot trailers, Twin 45 with KTTX marks in yellow and brown for 45-foot trailers, and general service with JTTX in yellow only). Two road numbers per scheme.

Comments: The F89F channel-side flatcar is a recent addition to the WalthersMainline. The upgraded model includes a newly tooled die-cast metal underframe and improved brake gear.

Our sample is decorated as TTX no. 150029, part of the company’s 150000 through 155581 series. The full-size cars were built between 1963 and 1967 by Bethlehem Steel Co. in Johnstown, Pa.

The WalthersMainline model features an injection-molded plastic body and a die-cast metal underbody and sill. The sill flange is plastic and attached with three screws. The control valve, air reservoir, and brake cylinder are also plastic, tethered by piping. Two separate, non-operating plastic trailer hitches spaced for 40-foot trailers are in the lowered position.

I compared the model to prototype data published in the Trailer Train Equipment Guide (Trailer Train Co., November 1987). The length over the end sills and strikers, the deck height, and deck width are all accurate. The distance between the truck centers is a scale 65'-4". It should be 66'-0".

The model tips the scales at 5.7 ounces, which is 1.4 ounces too light based on National Model Railroad Association Recommended Practice 20.1. The Proto-Max metal couplers had low trip pins, which I was able to fix with Kadee pliers. The swinging coupler pockets allow the car to navigate 18" radius curves. However, it would look better on curves greater than 24".

The 33" metal wheels, mounted on plastic axles, were correctly gauged. However, the car didn’t roll well down a 3 percent grade. Using a truck tuner (sold by Reboxx and Micro-Mark),

I cleaned the axle sockets on the trucks. Further inspection revealed a small mold seam on the tip of each axle.

I used a no. 11 blade to scrape the seam. Then I used a fine sanding stick to smooth the tip of each axle. Cleaning the sockets and smoothing the axle tips improved the car’s performance.

Walthers has done a fine job capturing the lines of this TTX workhorse.

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