American vs European N-scale Passenger Cars

Now that I have my ICE 2 trainset and Amtrak Superliner Phase II cars unboxed, I could make comparisons between the two. Earlier I had compared the American Dash 8-32  and European Class BR 185, both in HO-scale. While this comparison of N-scale passenger cars is not a like-for-like but it makes an interesting note.

The Amtrak Superliner dining car is a bi-level car with a height of 31mm above the rail (or 4,96m scale height) while the ICE 2 intermediate coach/wagon is 24mm above rail (or 3,84m scale height); a difference of 7mm (or nearly 1,0m scale height)

IMG_2448 IMG_2450 IMG_2451IMG_2446 IMG_2452

Lengthwise, ICE 2 intermediate coach is only 1mm longer than Amtrak Superliner car (I measured from gangway/corridor connection-to-gangway/corridor connection). The ICE 2 is 16.5cm and the Superliner 16.4cm; translating to 2,64m and 2,624m scale length respectively) (both NEM Wagon group C)

Even comparing with a standard US 50-foot box car, the box car is higher than the ICE. The box car is 28.5mm above the rail (or 4.56m scale height). The photos below showed the differences.

IMG_2457 IMG_2458 IMG_2459

If you want to run both American and European rolling stocks, perhaps it is good to take note of the differences (even though you do not want to be accurate to the millimeter)

Perhaps at the next exhibition, I will get a single level US passenger coach and a European box car for a like-for-like comparison. That’s all folks for a weekend research and curiosity satisfaction.

For those who wants more details, read on: The Superliner fits into the NEM102 loading clearance (with the defined height of 33mm above the rail). However, if you are planning to install catenaries, then you would need to observe at least 38mm catenary height above the rail (NEM201). This gives you some room when you run Superliner together with European rolling stocks. Otherwise, even without catenaries, the clearance at the top is too close for comfort. Bear that in mind.


More on my earlier post on the track clearences between NEM 102 and NMRA S-7.


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