This page contains various reports by which you can see a listing of all the known S-scale freight, passenger, caboose, and locomotive trucks produced over the years. Additions, missing data and photos, and corrections are very much appreciated. Further below is some research information about prototype trucks.
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There are two types of trucks used in the real world, solid bearing (from the beginning until banned from interchange in 1995) and roller bearing (from the 1930s to today).
The term "friction bearing" was used in marketing materials from companies that sold the newer solid bearing trucks, but it is not a valid term to use for solid bearing trucks. The term "plain bearing" is a valid one, though.
A solid bearing is an axle that rolls around in a cylinder of a slightly larger diameter, with the gap in between taken up by oil-soaked rags or cotton. The rectangular cover on the journal box could be opened to inspect and lubricate the bearing. When the bearing ran low on oil, it could overheat, leading to a "hot box". Hot box detectors were installed to visually or automatically detect any problems. A failed detection of a hot box could lead to a derailment or fire.
Solid bearing trucks were used with almost all freight cars into the 1960s. By the late 1960s they were slowly replaced with roller bearing trucks, until they were completely banned in 1995. You will still find them on captive equipment in museums or small railroads.
Popular solid bearing trucks are the Archbar, the Andrews, and the Bettendorf trucks.
Due to their higher cost, roller bearing trucks were only found under passenger cars, until the late 1960s, when freight cars started having them, too. Roller bearings consist of an outer cylinder, within which smaller rollers roll around the axle shaft. This is a sealed system, requiring no regular maintenance.
Popular solid bearing trucks are the ASF Ride Control, the Barber S-2, the ASF Ridemaster, and the National C-1.
Arch Bar trucks were found in the early 1900s up through December 1939, when they were banned from interchange.
Andrews trucks were manufactured starting in 1910 and lasted into the 1930s.
Bettendorf T-section trucks were manufactured in the 1910s.
From the 1920s into the 1930s the Dalman trucks were found providing a smoother ride with their 8 springs (the bi-level ones could be found under 40' and 50' box cars that transported automobiles).
The most popular truck in the transition era was the AAR Type Y truck. This was manufactured under license from Bettendorf, and is often incorrectly called the "Bettendorf" truck (think "Kleenex" for tissues). These are also identified as the Pennsylvania Railroad's 2D-F8 truck.
Introduced during World War II.
The solid bearing version was introduced during World War II.
Introduced during World War II.
Introduced after the WWII, and up to 1955, these were used for high-speed service. However, they were banned in 1955 due to frequent derailments.
Cabooses nearly always used leaf springs for softer rides (Barber-Bettendorf Swing Motion).
- Detailing Freight Cars (Kalmbach book), chapter 2.
- 3/16 "S"cale Railroading series (Dec 1990 - Jun 1991).
- Model Railroader December 2003, pg 72 (PDF; freight).
- Model Railroader February 2005, pg 66 (passenger).
- Railroad Model Craftsman September 2007, pg 86 (freight).
- Model Railroad Hobbyist May 2013, pg 69.
- Model Railroad Hobbyist June 2018, pg 93 (freight).
- S Scale Passenger Trucks by Dick Karnes.
Barber S-2 50-ton: two springs, 33" wheels
Barber S-2 70-ton: three springs, 33" wheels
Barber S-2 100-ton: three springs, 36" wheels
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