Philidelphia Toboggan Company - New Trains?

Thursday, February 15, 2007 7:03 PM
A number of years ago, PTC actually bought the wood coaster fabrication business from Morgan Manufacturing. That means essentially plans, molds, and spare parts.

Morgan built trailered 2-bench cars, and they did them right for the most part, locating the hitch point directly above the axle. The Morgan trains (offered by PTC as the "California Style" car) are a nice mechanical compromise between the GCII Millennium Flyers and the PTC boxcars.

The problem with the Morgan cars is that they are built with a steel frame and a Fiberglas body. They typically lack cushioning, the lap bars are nothing to write home about, and they rattle like an old garbage truck. They look and feel like you are riding in a Fiberglas bathtub on wheels, and they are simply awful in every possible regard except for the way they track on the ride.

Why PTC never adapted their classic coaster car design to the Morgan chassis design, I have absolutely no idea.

The document is kind of dated, but if you want to see some of my opinions about how various coaster cars work (or don't, as the case may be), it's available on my web site.

(Man, I need to update that article...!)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Friday, February 16, 2007 6:28 PM

In terms of Morgan Chassis design versus classic coaster. I believe that the PTC cars are significantly heavier than Morgan trains. (NAD's are to my knowledge definately the heaviest though...) It may be that the Morgan chassis would be structurally unable to support the rest of the PTC structure. When you couple that with the cost of a redesign of the frame, and the associated insurance liability of the change, it might make sense not to head down that path.

Friday, February 16, 2007 7:20 PM
...And I suspect that weight is part of the reason that PTC's own trailered train design was such a disaster. If you compare a PTC trailered 2-bench car to a PTC articulated car (easy to do, since they used articulated cars as lead cars on the trailered train) you should notice that on the trailer, the axle is actually moved significantly FORWARD of the rear axle position on the articulated car. That is, the axle is WAY forward of the hitch position, with the axle located roughly at the rear seat footwell, very near the center of the car.

From a tracking-round-curves performance perspective, this makes absolutely no sense at all. This insures a long chord from the center of the axle (where the car pivots on a curve) to the center of the hitch, and for a train of more than two cars, that's a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand, if you look critically at where PTC put the single axle, that's just a little ahead of the halfway point between the two seats, and is probably very close to the center of mass for the loaded car. That means that most of the weight of the car will actually balance on the axle instead of being transferred through the car structure to the hitch. That, in turn, would significantly reduce the load on the hitches. I think it would work great if the train were limited to two cars. Trouble is, most trailertd trains have six or seven cars, so they bounce around like crazy because they are all the time dragging each other in the wrong direction round the curves.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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