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Bogie Details

Wagons would have many and varied bogies fitted based on period and requirements. The following is a guide as to what was used and when, and where these bogies can be sourced so that the modeller can then get the right decals, colours and bogies to make the wagon correct for the time period being modelled.

Arch Bar

These are one of the oldest types of bogies used on wagons. So any bogie wagons built before WWII would typically have these bogies fitted. Steam Era Models make a good model of this bogie called Bar Frame, item number B3, it is suitable as a bogie on these wagons. Typically these are low tonnages and slower moving vehicles.

Bettendorf / Cast Steel

The Bettendorf bogie is also know in the Steam Era range as the 40 Ton bogie. It has variations in that either a round or square axle box lid may have been fitted. You will need to check photos of the wagon and period to get this selection right. Typically the 40 Ton bogie could carry heavier loads than the arch bar bogie and at increased speeds.

On the SAR about this time wagons were also being fitted with roller bearings. Wagons fitted with roller bearings were identified by the ‘S’ on the top right of the wagon and in some cases by a recoding of the wagon. For example the OA became OAS with the use of Cast Steel bogies with roller bearings and then OAX when changed for bogie exchange and then fitted with ABXC type bogies. The Steam Era item numbers for these cast steel bogies are B1 (square lid) and B2 (round lid).

Passenger Car Bogies

Many passenger cars had specific types of bogies which ensured a comfortable ride for the passengers, but if freight wagons were required to be added to a passenger car consist, then it had to have bogies that could travel at high speeds. When passenger car bogies were added to SAR rolling stock the ‘P’ was added to the top right off the wagon to signify the use of high speed passenger bogies. A suitable bogie type for this application is the Steam Era Models TT30 bogie know as item B6 in their catalogue.

SAR/Modern ANR

With increased tonnages and speeds a new type of bogie was introduced in the SAR and on the CR. This was the XC and XSC bogie. These have been used up to current times on the SAR, CR and ANR networks. The Steam Era Models item numbers are B9 and B8.


The equivalent in the VR to the SAR modern bogie is the XCS or B7and B8 in the Steam Era Models catalogue.

Other Bogie Types

Other bogie types are require from time to time to complete wagons. Other bogies I have used regularly include the Roundhouse arch bar and also the Roundhouse FOX bogie and for CR and some SAR Passenger Cars the Roundhouse Commonwealth Bogies.

Notes On Axle Lengths

  • 23.8 mm axles are commonly used on HO scale models where it is desired to keep width over axleboxes to a minimum such as in fine scale standard gauge models.
  • 25.0 mm axles are used in SEM 4 wheeled wagon kits, bogies B1 to B8 and B11 and bogies by AR Kit Co. This length also suits Lima and Powerline.
  • 26.0 mm axles are used in most U.S. and British models such as Athearn, Roundhouse, Hornby and Bachmann.
  • HOn3.5 wheel sets use 19.5mm axles.
  • HOn3 wheel sets use 18.5mm axles.