California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Southern Pacific Autoracks

Image of a HO Scale Walthers Southern Pacific Autorack

The above image is of an out-of-the-box unweathered, HO Scale Walthers autorack, only additions being 33 inch metal wheels, and Kadee #5 couplers.

There have been numerous HO Scale kits on the market over the years for various 'flavors' of Autoracks.

Probably the most common HO kit seen on people's layout's today, would be the Walthers kit of a Thrall Bi-level. This kit is easy to assemble, and with a bit of extra weight, works quite well in a train.

My favorite kit though, is the Schaefer flat kit, although I am told these are no longer available, due to the introduction of the Walthers kit, or so I'm led to believe.

Image of a HO Scale Schaefer Rio Grande Autorack

The Schaefer kits require more work than the Walthers kits, needing to be painted and decaled, but I derive more satisfaction from doing that. Also the Schaefer kits are good 'clearance testers' being a scale foot too high and too wide, if one of these can run around the layout without snagging anything, then you should be able to run any other piece of equipment with impunity.

I know I'm going to regret that last statement, but it works for our Club Layout.

Microscale do a decal sheet for HO, 87-687 which does 4 racks, 2 Espee, 1 Cotton Belt and 1 D&RGW.

Image of a HO Scale Schaefer Cotton Belt (SSW) Autorack


  • Railroad Model Craftsman April 1993 Page 102 - Product review of the Walthers HO Thrall Bi-level Autorack.
  • Railroad Model Craftsman July 1994 Page 75 - Tri-level detail of a Walthers HO Thrall Bi-level Autorack .
  • Model Railroader August 1994 Page - Product review of the Con-Cor N Scale Autorack.
  • Model Railroading November 1992 Page 56 - Proto photo's of Autoracks, inc. SP 516781.
  • RailModel Journal June 1992 Page 20 - Autorack Proto and Model History,
  • Model Railroading April 1996 Page 14 - Weathering a Walthers Autorack.
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This document © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. Richard.A.Percy

Thursday, January 01, 1998 00:00:00 AM