Connecting Passenger Model Rail Cars

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Passenger train operation is a segment of model railroading that often goes underappreciated, but passenger model rail cars can be great for creating a realistic urban scene. Such is the case for Chuck Hitchcock’s HO scale model of the Argentine Division of Santa Fe Railway, which utilizes an operation of passenger model rail cars to depict Kansas City and surrounding areas as they appeared in the 1950’s. Chuck is famous in the modeling world for his beautiful recreations of large-scale passenger operations, and in this lesson he teaches you how to connect your own realistic model rail cars by installing couplers, strike plates and diaphragms.

Installing components on passenger model rail cars

To make passenger model rail cars appear lifelike and operate correctly, there are a few important components that you have to include and customize to accommodate your specific model. That’s why Chuck is going to demonstrate the expert technique for attaching each of these parts to your model rail cars. He walks you through the step-by-step method for installing a coupler according to the distance you’d like between cars, as well as adhering a pleated diaphragm to the strike plate on all of the model rail cars in your series.

First things first, adding couplers to your model rail cars, which will take a little machining and a bit of deciding. Chuck teaches you how to find the appropriate distance between your passenger model rail cars based on the size and type of diaphragm you’ll use, and talks about the measurement he prefers to go with. Then, you’ll learn the proper way to trim your pleated diaphragm and glue it to the striker plate so as to give each of your model rail cars cushion from the other. With this simple technique, you’ll have no trouble making a realistic connection between any passenger car on your model railroad layouts!