Accucraft passenger cars

1:32 scale streamlined passenger cars
Marc Horovitz
1:32 scale, gauge-1 passenger cars
33268 Central Avenue
Union City CA 94587
Price: $340 ea.; $2,040/set of six

Set of six mostly metal streamlined passenger cars; plastic floor and underbody; smooth sides; glazed windows; metal trucks; full interiors; soft plastic or rubber diaphragms; set includes baggage car, coach (2), diner, sleeping car, and observation car. Weight: approximately five pounds per car. Dimensions: length, 291/2" (observation car, 31"); width, 33/4"; height, 51⁄8". In 1:32 scale, this works out to 78'8" (82'8") x 10'0" x 13'8", respectively

Pros: Beautiful representations of American smooth-side passenger cars; good level of detail; excellent paint and graphics; smooth-rolling trucks; good wheel profile; correct scale/gauge combination
Cons: Unsprung trucks; non-operating knuckles on couplers; no road numbers or car names
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
Marc Horovitz
Accucraft has come out with a set of beautiful 1:32 scale, smooth-side passenger cars from the golden age of passenger trains in the 1940s and ’50s. The cars are available individually or as a set of six. Seven different paint schemes are available, including Southern Pacific (Daylight or two-tone gray), Union Pacific (yellow or two-tone gray), Norfolk & Western, Pennsylvania, and New York Central. The cars are also available unlettered in gray. Sent for review was a set of six New York Central cars.

My first impression was that these cars look terrific. Like many of my generation, few things stir the blood like the sight of a passenger train, every car in the railroad’s uniform paint scheme, travelling at full speed on the mainline or waiting majestically in the station. A train of Accucraft’s cars conveys that sense. The cars have metal bodies with plastic underframes. They are full-length cars and, as such, will require pretty wide curves—I’d say at least a 10' radius—to look good.

The trucks are diecast with metal wheels (insulated) and are free rolling. There is a lot of detail in the trucks but the springs are cast in and the truck frames are rigid. The rigid trucks caused no problem on my line, rolling easily through switches. If your track is not pretty smooth, though, you could experience problems.

Non-operating knuckle couplers are supplied. The couplers work just fine but you must lift one car to couple it to the next. The couplers do have longitudinal springs in them, though, and, when pulled, will extend 1/4" or so. I’m not certain what the thinking was behind this—perhaps to help a heavy train to get going, as the engine would only have to start one car at a time instead of the whole train. Each car weighs around five pounds, making the entire six-car train weigh in at around 30 pounds. This could certainly add to the prototypical appearance of the train starting and stopping, overcoming the real inertia and momentum as it goes. Once in motion, the cars roll along without a lot of additional effort.

Diaphragms between the cars are made of a soft material, either plastic or rubber. They do not actually contact one another when the cars are coupled but they come close. The detail level is good. Handrails are made of silver-colored wire; roof vents and appliances are nice moldings. The underbody is a single plastic molding with molded-in detail. This is fairly rudimentary but more than adequate for trackside viewing.

While the cars are not illuminated, each has an appropriate molded-plastic interior. Interiors are all one color. If you are fastidious about interiors, the body shell could be removed (screws underneath) and the interiors painted the colors of your choice.

Five different car styles are available: baggage, coach, diner, sleeper, and round-end observation. It should be noted that these are generic cars. Window size and arrangement, for instance, is the same on all sleeping cars, regardless of paint scheme, and may or may not be prototypically appropriate for the particular railroad represented. However, the overall effect is quite good.

Paint and graphics are excellent, although a little spartan. There are no road numbers or car names on any of the cars, just paint, striping, and railroad name. The colors and typefaces appear to be spot on and the finish is flawless.

With freight trains, the rolling stock is often just something for a favorite engine to pull. A passenger train, though, is something special and a streamliner even more so. Accucraft’s beautifully made metal cars assemble into a passenger train that could automatically become the pride of your line.


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