East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

November 2016

Troublesome Trucks

I cleaned all the rolling stock off my layout to work on scenery. Once I had made a little headway on scenery, I was ready to run trains again.

I matched up some car cards with some waybills, and started pulling the corresponding cars in preparation for staging the layout.


Looking at the cars laying on their sides like this made it apparent how many different styles and sizes of trucks I have on my rolling stock. The variety of trucks is far less apparent when the cars are sitting on the track, with low, wide side sills normally blocking the view of the trucks in the dark shadows under the car.

Still, I need to give thought to standardizing on some style of truck. I have enough rolling stock kits in inventory to completely restock my layout. Many of these kits do not have trucks. The time had come to do some research and decide what trucks and wheel sets to use for upgrading the fleet.


As an example, here is a pile of Foothill Model Works gondola kits that I am looking forward to getting on the layout. The natural choice for trucks on FMW kits would be MacLeod Western. There is no denying that MacLeod trucks are excellent, but they are far larger than any that I am currently using. I wanted to find a style of truck that would work with FMW kits, but looked more typical for my fleet.

As is usually the case, my narrow gauge modeling friends came through with some great suggestions. Their recommendation was that I take a serious look at Grandt Line On30 trucks.


Jeff Patelski gave me a pair of Grandt Line SR&RL On2 trucks that are On30 gauge. To go with the trucks, he also gave me some Reboxx HO wheel sets and Mount Blue Models brake beams. The trucks in the photo above are upside down show the MBM brake beams.


The combination of the Grandt Line On2 trucks and the Reboxx HO wheel sets put this Boulder Valley Models boxcar at just about the correct height.

Tom Sullivan gave me a pair of Grandt Line SR&RL On30 trucks, with the recommended NWSL wheel sets to go with them.


The combination of the Grandt Line On30 trucks and the NWSL wheel sets put this Foothill Model Works flatcar at just about the correct height.

The only difference between the Grandt Line On2 30 inch gauge truck and the On30 truck is the bolster height. So, using various combinations of wheel diameters and bolster heights, the Grandt Line trucks offer a range of possible car heights that in turn allow them to be used on a range of car kits. As an added bonus, the appearance of the Grandt Line side frame is generally similar to the
Bachmann On30 "low rider" truck, as well as the truck Bachmann uses on their 18 foot industrial rolling stock.

I was thinking I had discovered the perfect solution to my truck problem, until I actually tried to order Grandt Line trucks. They did not appear to be available from any of my usual sources. Eventually I called Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix. They said they had months-old backorders for Grandt Line trucks waiting for another run. I decided to get in the queue and placed an order anyway, not knowing when or if Grandt Line would manufacture On30 trucks again.

In the meantime, I searched the Internet for Grandt Line trucks. I found small quantities of them available from random sources. As time passed, I called Coronado to ask if they thought I should cancel my order with them and go scrounging. Sheldon said not to cancel the Coronado order. He was sure Grandt Line was going to make another batch of On30 trucks … sometime. He was confident it would happen, but had no idea when.

Sheldon was right. Grandt Line did indeed produce more On30 trucks, and a box containing my Coronado order showed up on my doorstep a few weeks later.