Custom Painted P-2000 units

Friday, September 11, 2015

Not Bad for $2.50!

Greetings All,

I recently came across some TOFC flatcars offered for sale on ebay with a starting bid of $2.50. I looked over the items offered and thought I could use them on the layout. Being a big TOFC fan that was no surprise. So I placed the opening bid and completely forgot about it. Upon return home I checked my email and discovered I had won the auction by default as it appeared I was the only bidder. So here is what I got...

A TYCO 50' TOFC Flatcar with two Union Pacific Trailers in very good condition with no broken parts. 

An Athearn BB A.T.S.F. 85' TOFC Flatcar with two semis and two trailers. B&O trailer is an Athearn BB and the semis and UP trailers are from TYCO. Flatcar is in good shape with no broken parts noted. B&O trailer is in rough shape.

Note the Express Trucks on the 85' TOFC Flatcar

This type of retro fitting and upgrading is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. One important key to these older car projects for me is the use of a .96 cents can of rattle can flat black spray paint. I used this for the under frames and wheels of the trailers, the trailer mounting apparatus, the under frame of the 85' A.T.S.F. flat, the flatcar trucks and the metal weight on the BB car. Wire brushing the rust off the weights and other metal parts and spray painting them does wonders in my opinion for these vintage cars. The spray paint also helps stop the rust from returning.

Another is the use of the right knuckle couplers. Keeping all cars in the fleet adjusted to the Kadee Height Gauge has proven to be an important part of my fleet maintenance. While mostly using the ol' reliable Kadee #5 for many of the cars in the fleet I find that the underset #37 or #27 is often an excellent option when converting cars from horn hook to body mounted couplers. The underset #37 or #27 allows the car to ride at a lower height while still lining up with the gauge. The need to raise the car with washers between the truck and bolster to accommodate the #5 is eliminated resulting is a smoother less wobbly ride. has a helpful conversion chart for many coupler applications.

Fast forward one week and both TOFC flatcars are now in service.

Athearn BB A.T.S.F. 85' Flatcar #89102 has had it's express trucks replaced with trucks from another BB car (more on that later). Trailer hitches have been installed, Kadee #37s added and the car runs very nicely. 

Here it is with two 40' trailers     

A trio of BB 85' TOFC cars behind two BB Custom Painted NYC Geeps

The 50' A.T.S.F. TOFC. flatcar with UP trailers has received body mounted Kadee #37 knuckle couplers, IM metal wheel sets and a liberal spray of dullcote. The trailer securing apparatus on the flatcar has been painted flat black.

The TYCO A.T.S.F. TOFC flat between a Bachmann 50' TOFC flatcar and an Athearn BB B&O TOFC flat. This is not the B&O trailer that came with this purchase.

The Athearn B&O trailer included in the purchase is now a red & gray trailer. It will be a NYC Pacemaker trailer in the near future if all goes well.

TOFC and COFC 50' cars at North Side Yard.

The Express Trucks that came with the BB 85' A.T.S.F. TOFC flatcar have received 33" IM metal wheel sets and added to this 50' BB A.T.S.F. Express Boxcar. 

One of the TYCO semi's is now working at the Post Office facility near Empire City Station. The yellow semi is also from TYCO. The trailers are from Athearn and Walthers

An excellent blog to follow that showcases what can be done with the "old stuff" is the Kings Port Division HO Scale Model Railroad.
Ralph V showcases his excellent eye for detail, weathering and blending of humor and operations in his highly photogenic layout. A must see.

Another excellent blog I recommend checking out is John Bruce's Model Railroad Miscellany.  John has some interesting railroad stories to share and his layout photos are well extremely done.

John details finding some great older models and how he got them layout ready in these two blog entries.


  1. Hey, thanks for the shoutout! You did a great job on the TOFCs. Some part of my hobby enjoyment is turning stuff that I drooled over as a kid into "adult" hobby items. But you just glossed over those BB GP7s -- it would be great to hear more about those.

  2. Thanks for the compliments John! As for the shout out you are most welcome. I admire your work and some of our projects tie in together very nicely. I'll make it a point to showcase the BB GP7s in a future blog entry.

  3. Nice upgrades of those cars John! Thanks for the tips regarding painting and couplers. The grey and red trailer looks well on is way to becoming a Pacemaker unit. Great idea! Like John above, I appreciate the reference to my blog. Many thanks! The photo of "TOFC and COFC 50' cars at North Side Yard" really conveys how large your layout is and how well it accommodates your lengthy trains.

  4. Thanks for the compliments Ralph! As for the Kings Port Division blog mention, my pleasure. You know I'm a huge Kings Port Division and K.P.& W. fan! I'm looking forward to your next blog entry and video.

  5. Nice additions and upgrades to the NYCTL! This should add more revenue to the bottom line and satisfy many customers including Neal's Lumber & Hardware!

    1. Thank You Sir Neal! More revenue and satisfied customers are the keys to a model railroad's success and the N.Y.C.T.L. looks to be on the right track. Thanks for being an excellent on line customer.