Great Trains - American Standard Car Co.
As mentioned on other pages there were a couple of manufacturers of affordable gauge 1 standard gauge american rolling stock that preceded MTH's products by a good few years. Model Die Casting (Roundhouse) did a reasonable range of freight cars with a boxcar, reefer, an ore car and a selection of twin bay hoppers whilst for passenger cars there was Great Trains (also labelled American Standard Car Co.) who produced a small range of streamline "shortie" coaches in both corrugated and smooth sided formats, bi-level Amtrak superliners plus F40 and F7 diesel locos. What is better is that the streamline cars were not limited to the "coach", certainly the all-seat style was offered but it was accompanied by a lounge car, diner and tail end observation types. Road names included ATSF, PRR, Amtrak, Conrail, C&NW, Chessie and Burlington Northern. The detailing can be described as basic but acceptable, the bodies are plastic mouldings with removable roofs. The glazing and interior are ok, much as you might expect from smaller scales of that era. The underframe detailing is really basic and mostly hidden by the skirts. Truck frames are nylon with side detailing, no springing though I would not say that was a major aspect as the trucks will flex a slight amount and I have not noticed a propensity to derail. Wheels are alloy with nylon insulators at the axles so that adding some simple contact strips would enable current collection. There are metal hand rails near the fixed side doors. The couplers are of the large LGB hook and loop type attached to a mounting arm on the truck. The actual hook and loop assembly, including the position of the mounting screw, happens to be identical to those used on the MDC freight trucks suggesting that they may be using the same bought in assembly. A major benefit in coach spacing and general appearance can be made by substituting knuckle couplers and by amazing good fortune the default MTH coupler can mount to the same screw hole. If you do not fancy making that small adaption to these coaches then please remember that every item of MTH gauge 1 rolling stock comes with both knuckle and hook+loop couplers so the locomotives can either pull these cars directly or you can opt for a "converter" carriage or wagon.
Leading dimensions of a carriage: Roof length 560 mm, equating to 60 ft. Height (128 mm) and width (96 mm) goes well with 1:32 and the cross-section profile matches the MTH streamline cars.
In summary: If you can cope with these not being eighty foot lengths they were a bargain. If you you like having some variation in your coaching stock, appreciate that the 60' length makes these easier to handle and store (whether in sidings or elsewhere) or you need something that will traverse tight radii they are well worth looking for.
MTH F units and Great Trains coaches
Several shots of an MTH NYC coach between Great Trains Santa Fe cars, a very good match on the roof profile I reckon.
Great Trains locomotives and Superliners
By repute the F40 locomotive was shortened somewhat to proportion it better to the foreshortened superliners and lacking in detail whilst the F7 was nicely made and more accurate in all respects.
Great Trains Burlington F7 A+B units
Great Trains F40 plus single and bi-level coaches
Great Trains Amtrak superliner