Today I pulled down a few tote boxes of USTrains. and LGB old style iced reefers, and looked at three types represented in the mix.
The first question I would like to have provided from “Perts under pressure” (Experts) is the actual scale of an LGB reefer, that was marketed as being 1:22.5.
As soon as that question is factually answered, it will settle the main question for all of these cars.
I have encountered three varieties of cars in this group.
The USTrains wood sided, truss rod/wood framed cars seem to have had some with metal ends and some were wooden, both types came with or without roof ice hatches. The ice hatches can be opened.
The LGB cars all had truss rods and wooden under frames, along with wood ends and roof ice hatches. The ice hatches cannot be opened.
Comparing the size of the cars, leaves the feeling that they are all of the same measurements. The grab irons are all the same in size. the LGB cars have two separate grabs on each roof hatch platform, while the USTrains car has one moulded “L” shaped one.
There are a few variations in rivet patterns. The LGB car has moulded on stirrup steps, while the USTrains car has replaceable ones, and an added one under each door.
The LGB cars all have a solid brass rod for the brake wheel; the USTrains cars vary from all brass to part brass and part plastic. The UStrains car has a small brake platform on the end.
The under frames (Simulated wood with metal truss rods) almost appear to be from the same moulds.
Both makes of cars come equipped with plastic arch bar trucks. The LGB sideframes appear to be just a bit thicker, and are equalized, while the USTrains are not equalized.
All of the cars in this group of 11, are dated to have been acquired sometime in the early 90’s; so that there may have been minor changes in the moulds since then.
All of the USTrains cars were lettered for United Fruit Express, except for one, lettered for Borden’s Milk products.
The LGB car was lettered for "The United Fruit Express.
When a proper statement, after measurements, is made as to the scale of the LGB car, then it will determine the exact scale of both makes of all the cars, as they are both the same size in all diamentions
I am aware that USTrains claim that their cars are 1:24…I’d just appreciate proof from someone.
The LGB cars are the same scale as their box cars, gondolas, flat cars, and tank cars, and claimed to be 1:22.5.
Except for the moulded on syrup steps, which can’t be replaced when knocked off; I suggest that the LGB Reefers are a bit more durable in the real world of actual operations, than the USTrains cars. Both makes are nicely detailed.