By Delano, Jack


Freight cars are the hardest working equipment on any railroad. Every line, and many industries with large car fleets, operates a car shop to handle repairs. At yards, inspectors check cars for defects. Simple repairs are done without removing the car from the train. If a major problem is noted, and the car can be moved safely, it will be routed to the owner for repair. If the damage is serious, the car will be moved to the railroad’s shop and the owner billed for the work. Car shops are specialized buildings for fast movement of cars between workstations. Sufficient clearance between tracks provides room for scaffolding or materials. Many also have a light-duty overhead crane. The shop may house several departments, handling brakes, trucks, wheels and other fittings.

When railroads maintained passenger car fleets, the work was done in separate shops. Passenger cars required more specialized repairs of plumbing, electrical equipment, steam heating equipment, upholstery and more, which needed a cleaner environment. The car shop is still very much a part of railroading, as repairs and upgrades to existing equipment are frequently cheaper than buying new cars. Through mergers, some railroads have consolidated duplicate facilities into one shop, and there are contract rebuilders who also provide similar services.

Mechaniks in the Iron Kingdoms are busy. They not only have to keep trains and warjacks up to snuff, but they have to maintain the tracks, shops, and buildings. Playing a game of WARMACHINE can be a little more interesting if you include some scenarios or objectives dealing with railroads. Try your next game by setting up terrain to create a freight yard, or car shop. Battling in and out of the various tracks and cars can be a lot of fun.

Idea #1: Set up several rail cars in a freight yard like the picture above. Set deployment zones as you wish. Now use some scraps of paper (4-6 pieces) marking all but one of them “Empty” and the last “Loot!” Mix the scraps up and then use the scraps to mark freight cars on the battlefield. The idea is that neither player knows which one is the loot car. Carry out the game as usual but with a win condition of finding the Loot. In order to “Search” the railroad car, at least one small or medium based model must use it’s action that turn to declare a “Search Action.” Finding the Loot scores a win for that player. What is the Loot? Whatever you choose.

Idea #2: Set up a rail car storage yard. (Think modern day shipping container storage yard for reference.) Make it like a maze. The objective of the game is to get through the yard and assassinate the opposing Warmaster/Warlock. This should be carried out like a Grudge Match between Stryker and Magnus. You can create rules about how the containers provide cover, elevation, or whatever. Maybe you can make it that the containers can be blown up, or moved. I suggest placing a few cranes (like during the Leagues dealing with the Broken Coast) that would allow players to use the crane to move models, or even railroad cars around the battlefield.

Idea #3: My favorite was the game I played against my wife. We set up a length of track running through of the board at a slight angle corner to corner. I played Cygnar, and chose to Defend the Train. My only prerequisite was that my choices had to each have at least one ranged weapon to fire from the train. (No problem!) We started the train at one end of the track with the engine and three cars. I deployed my army throughout the train. My wife chose to be the Attacker, and set her army up with a 10″ deployment zone from her chosen table edge (although she could not choose the one where the train was currently sitting.) The Defender has to shoot the opposing team as the train moves down the track. (We rolled a d6 and added 2″ meaning that the train would move between 3″ and 8″ a turn.)  The Attacker not only gets to use the standard weapons to attack the Defenders, and the Train … but also may declare one small or medium based unit to have control of a bomb that may be used to destroy the track and derail the Train. We made it that the model setting the Bomb had a skill of [5] when installing the Bomb in a hurry on the battlefield. Rolling 1-5 means the bomb will go off and derail the Train, making the Defender have to fight to protect the wreck. Rolling a 6-12 means that the bomb fizzles and the Train will keep moving. If the Train makes it the whole way off the board without being derailed or destroyed, it’s a scenario win for the Defender. Either side assassinating the opposing Warcaster/Warlock wins as normal. Although there are rules for the DEF/ARM of a train in No Quarter somewhere, I think we went with a simple 10/25 for the stats for the Train. Why ARM 25? Cuz we wanted to give it a fighting chance when a Heavy Jack stepped on to the tracks in front of the engine and charged with a huge spear or axe.

You can come up with your own ideas for scenarios. Remember, this is fun so go crazy and come up with some wacky stuff to play. If all else fails, play through a Great Train Robbery.

Click here to read more of my Blog articles about railroads and railroading.

While we’re talking about railroads and railroading, check out today. Walthers is currently offering free standard shipping on domestic orders of $150 or more, and $3.95 shipping on orders of $100-$149.99. Offers are good only for in-stock items and standard shipping to addresses within the United States. Also, head on over to Walthers Winter Sale for great scenery materials and details to create your own unique winter landscape, as well as the perfect Valentine’s Day figures to add a dash of romance to those cold winter months.

4 thoughts on “FREIGHT CAR SHOPS

  1. MJ;-) says:

    Nice commentary, and love the historic image!

    What is the best model railroad scale for WM/H 30mm game system?


  2. Quixotic says:

    This is a common question. The scale I recommend is O Scale. Mainly because it is readily available and inexpensive. However, many people like to use the more expensive G scale because it is much larger.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.