LGB 50 Foot Flat Car, Lowering & Body Mount Kadee 907s

LGB 50 Foot Flat Car, Lowering & Body Mount Kadee 907 Centerset Couplers
Ted Doskaris
Rev. GE-A
August 4, 2016

Rev. GE-B
February 10, 2017  Added truck options, including modified LGB trucks

 Rev. GE-C
June 8, 2021 Added 3-D print "CamPac" coupler box option




Car Lowered to Body Mount Kadee 907s
End Sill Cutout for Kadee 907 Box
Kadee 907 & Fabricated Mounting Spacer
Bonding Fabricated Spacer Assy to Car

Other Truck Options
Adding Weight to Car
Measured Car Length
Aristo-Craft & LGB Flat Car Comparison

Appendix A - Aftermarket End Bulkheads


The German company, Lehmann Gross Bahn (LGB), produced some realistic American standard gauge rail cars, including a "50 foot" (aka 53 foot) flat car that is representative of an early era Piggyback or TOFC (Trailer On Flat Car).  LGB, also, offered a bulkhead end version of the flat car.

The early era prototype Piggyback flat cars appeared to have been modified or evolved from predecessor general use 50 foot cars, and then in subsequent years these cars may have been re-purposed back to general use flat cars as more load / unload friendly designed cars came out.

Note the LGB ATSF car that is shown above I had lowered and discretely body mounted Kadee 907 centerset couplers, whereas, the Pennsylvania car shown in the three pictures below is equipped with the 3-D printed CamPac BoxTM fitted with the same couplers from the 907 kit which can be positioned for both conventional and a cushion frame car.

If interested in obtaining CamPac Boxes, contact Colin Camarillo via his website.


The LGB Piggyback cars are packaged in pairs of two cars in the same road name but of different livery.  Offerings include New York Central, Pennsylvania and ATSF and possible others.  The ATSF pair is P/N 40540, comprising one car colored red and the other "box car red" (brown).  A Piggyback trailer is not included; however, brake wheels, side sill bumpers and ramps are provided.

These LGB 50 foot flat cars are currently out of production.

Though it's possible the Cars may be obtainable as NOS (New Old Stock) or used on eBay and elsewhere, I obtained a lone used ATSF red colored car for $25.00 at the Santa Clara, California 32nd National Garden Railway Convention during the July 9, 2016, general public opening.  Some time later, the Pennsylvania car was obtained for developing the CamPac BoxTM application.

The used ATSF car I obtained had missing ramps & brake wheel, and the side sill bumpers were crudely hot glued in place with a couple of them cut short.  Also, there were several holes drilled in the main deck surface.  I lowered the car and body mounted Kadee 907 centerset couplers - summarized in the  illustration below.

I filled-in the deck holes using an Automotive epoxy paste followed by some light sanding and paint.



Car Lowered to Body Mount Kadee 907s

Body mounting  Kadee 907s or CamPac BoxesTM in the area of the existing end sill pocket is done in concert with establishing an optimal car height from the railhead.


Trucks & Lowering Car:

Lowering the car is most easily done by replacing the LGB factory trucks with Aristo-Craft Bettendorf or Barber Roller Bearing trucks since their truck bolsters are inherently lower than the LGB trucks.

When choosing to use CamPac coupler boxes, additional truck options are afforded - described later in the section on Other Truck Options.

Note: It's possible to modify the LGB trucks to lower the car; however, there is time & work spent on these trucks to do so.  This is also described later in the section on Other Truck Options.

For the ATSF flat car, I elected to use the Aristo Bettendorf truck; however, the Barber Roller Bearing truck will lower the car the same amount which is almost 0.2 inch.

It can be seen that lowering the car by 0.17 inch not only presents a prototypical appearance but , also, provides an optimal height for the Kadee 907 coupler to align with the Kadee 980 gauge.



End Sill Cutout for Kadee 907 Box

To accommodate the Kadee 907 coupler box or CamPac Box, the car's end sill where the slot is located must be cut out to the dimensions shown in the following illustration.



Kadee 907 & Fabricated Mounting Spacer

Plate fabrication is not needed when choosing the 3-D printed CamPac kit because it includes plates unique to the CamPac box along with other parts - illustrated below.


The following information is applicable to discretely mounting the Kadee 907 with a fabricated spacer:

If it's not objectionable, one or two holes can be drilled in the deck near the end sill to mount the Kadee box over the cutout on a simple spacer having a thickness of 0.135 inch.

However, to mount the Kadee 907 without having to drill holes in the deck can be done by using a fabricated spacer that will be glued within the underside of the car body at the end sill.  I elected to do this method.

The spacer is the same for both ends of the car; hence, 2 spacers are required.

The material of the spacer is ABS plastic obtained from TAP Plastics.

It happened to be textured on one side.  The smooth side is to be used for gluing to the underside of the car body.
The dimensions of the fabricated spacer are shown in the illustration below.

Note:  Though preferable to have a thick spacer for its rigidity and larger edge surface to butt against the end sill, a simpler spacer could be made with an overall thickness of 0.135 inch (same as the trough) but otherwise having the same dimensions as illustrated above.

The Kadee 907 coupler box is mounted to the spacer as illustrated below.



Bonding Fabricated Spacer Assy to Car

A spacer is used at both ends of the car and is installed the same way.

The spacer is best bonded (glued) to the car body underside in the end sill area using a solvent type cement as illustrated below.  Unobstructed trial fitment of the spacer with fastened coupler box should be established before applying the cement.  (In this regard, the spacer can be nestled down into the car and then the coupler box installed over end sill cutout & spacer studs and nuts tightened in situ.)



Other Truck Options:

As an alternative to using Aristo's Bettendorf trucks to lower the LGB flat car, the car can be fitted with Aristo's Barber Roller Bearing trucks, or modified LGB trucks. The LGB truck will take time and a degree of skill to modify it so that the car can be lowered, therefore, substituting other brand trucks will be easier to contend with.

When choosing to use CamPac 3-D printed coupler boxes, additional truck options include the Kadee 70 ton "Roller Bearing" all metal trucks, the USA Trains Intermodal car "Roller Bearing" plastic trucks or their "Hot Box" Bettendorf trucks, albeit this one slightly modified as illustrated below.


The following tested truck choices can be adapted to the Car having CamPac Boxes:

It's to be appreciated the CamPac kit includes chassis bolster caps that allow many of the above shown truck options which would not work otherwise.

See the "LGB 50 foot Flat Car CamPac Box Install Guide".

The Kadee "G" scale ASF friction bearing is another possibility, but can't be commented about until tried.  See Kadee website.


Using Aristo Barber Trucks:

The Aristo Barber trucks will lower the car like the Aristo Bettendorf trucks.

The following illustration includes what's entailed to install Aristo Barber Roller Bearing Trucks:

Note:  The example Aristo Barber truck illustrated above includes AML brand metal wheels, P/N G12-101.  The Aristo ART/CRE 29111 type wheels are typically used and preferred for their added weight; however, these AML wheels are aesthetically desirable due to their all black finish.  Compared to the Aristo wheels, the AML wheels are slightly smaller in diameter for both tread and axle tips, which when installed, will contribute to lowering the car by a minimal amount.  It's important that new out of the bag AML wheels should have their axle tips cleaned smooth and lubricated before installing them in a truck. (The tips appear to have a rough feel to them, maybe due to the factory finish process applied to the entire wheel-axle assembly.)  When first operating a car with these type AML sintered steel wheels, there is a degree of roughness that diminishes with use over time.




Using Modified LGB Trucks:

LGB trucks when modified will lower the LGB flat car like the Aristo trucks.
To modify the LGB trucks, see Appendix A in the Vignette for the LGB  40 foot Box Car.

The following illustration includes what's entailed for installing modified LGB trucks on the LGB flat car.




Adding Weight to Car

The amount of weight of the car affects whether it may "string-line" (pull in off the track) when operated around curves, particularly for longer cars like this one.

The LGB flat car as factory equipped is a "featherweight" and must be weighted more when operated in a long or heavy train around curves.  One method is to add weight in the under frame which is best for a low center of gravity as illustrated below.  However, the car can sag a little in the center which can change the alignment of body mounted couplers.  A couple example methods will be described.


Example Method 1 - Lead shot added to chassis:

No. 9 Lead Shot obtained from a Gun store is used in this example.



Example Method 2 - Use Metal trucks and add a load:

This method had been determined when employing CamPac boxes whilst accommodating Kadee metal trucks.

To avoid having the car somewhat sag in the middle, its preferable to equip the car with heavy Kadee #973 70 ton all metal trucks. This can be augmented by using a load of a few rigid 3/4 inch EMT (electrical conduit tube) cut to 20 inch lengths that weigh about 3/4 pound each. The tubes resemble a pipe load, and because they are rigid to be supported on the deck over the trucks, the car won't sag.

The cradle that can be seen near the center under the pipes (that were spray painted green) is not needed for support but added for appearance.

The overall car weight is shown below.



Measured Car Length

The 1/29 scale LGB "50 foot car" is actually a bit longer when measured and scaled up to prototype.  Hence, the term "50 foot car" should be considered as a generalized catchall.   In deed, prototype cars may be identified as 53 foot, 53 foot 6 inch, 54 foot, etc.



Aristo-Craft & LGB Flat Car Comparison

Aristo-Craft had made a 40 foot flat car.  It was lowered and fitted with Kadee 907 centerset couplers using a different method compared to the LGB 50 foot car.

The Aristo 40 foot car is described in Vignette, title:
"Aristo Flat & Gondola Car - Lowered, Weighed, and Fitted with Kadee Centerset Couplers"

Illustrated below are the Aristo and LGB flat cars, both modified, shown coupled together.

As shown above and below, the modified LGB car whether with discretely mounted box or with CamPac box operates OK down to 8 foot diameter track.





Appendix A - Aftermarket End Bulkheads

Features of LGB's bulkhead ends used on their factory version of the flat car are illustrated below. Keep in mind how the bulkheads are fastened to the car's deck with pegs and screws.

Whilst LGB has / had a version of the their flat car with end bulkheads, it seems obtaining factory bulkheads can be difficult if wanting to add them to a car.  In this regard, Dan Gilchrist has nicely designed 3-D printable end bulkheads that a user could have "printed" with downloadable Software files on Thingiverse.

Caution: Be careful when handling the bulkheads as its "grab irons" are fragile.  Repair of broken-off ones was done by replacing them with wire bent from a paper clip to be installed with small holes drilled in the bulkhead to insert the corner wires.

Shown below is the Pennsy flat car with the added end bulkheads.

The software files don't include "end sheets" that cover over the bulkhead frame.

Having many Aristo-Craft 40 foot car floors salvaged when replacing them with Aristo's "lowered floors", the molded in realistic wood grain intrinsic of these is taken advantage of to make end sheets.  So the floors, once separated from their chassis, that are 3.8 inch wide were cut for height of 4.15 inch, "squared-up" & bonded back to back, spray painted black, and then glued on to the 3-D printed bulkhead frames.

The software files include a template intended to locate and drill several holes in the car's deck for fastening the end bulkhead with several screws.  Shown below is the template placed on the ATSF red colored car for better contrast.

To avoid having to drill holes in the deck, a method that emulates how LGB fastens their factory bulkheads with pegs & screws can be done.  However, not all production runs of the flat car have provisional holes to mount the end bulkheads - illustrated below.

For cars not having the holes, the CamPac Plate provided when ordering CamPac Boxes can be used as a template to drill the holes. Shown below is how the plate is normally fastened to a car that has holes.  For a car without deck holes, visualize the plate's fastening screws shown below having been removed; then a 7/64 inch drill bit can be to used make clearance holes for longer M2 by 14 mm screws to fasten both the CamPac plate and the bulkheads.

To emulate how LGB mounts their bulkheads, CamPac 3-D printed Bulkhead Retaining Clips, which include pegs that go into corresponding slots in the car's deck, are available by contacting Colin Camarillo via his website

How the clips fit is illustrated below.

The Bulkheads can then be mounted on the car using longer M2 screws.  For more detail, see the Appendix –Bulkhead End Flatcar in the "LGB 50 foot Flat Car CamPac Box Install Guide".




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