Compatibility of Intermodal Shipping Containers from Different Manufacturers

By | February 7, 2017

I started a new thread, “Need Advice: Shipping Containers from Different Manufacturers”, in the N and Z Scales forum at The Railwire on January 26, 2017.

So far I have 10 40’ intermodal shipping containers that came with a Kato 5-unit well car. I want some more and maybe some 20’ and 53’ containers too. Many manufacturers make the containers with different names on the sides and I was wondering if other manufacturers’ containers look the same and fit together with the Kato containers.

Will the other containers stay in the well cars while running? The Kato containers have magnets in them to make them stick together and little pins on the bottom that keep the containers aligned.

If other containers are not compatible for running, do they look the same (or better) so I can use them as containers on the ground in a yard and/or stack them in a yard? Are some manufacturers better than others? Are there some I should stay away from?


Contributor MetroRedLine answered with the following information:

Manufacturer 20’ 40’ 45’ 48’ 53’ Connectivity Method
Atlas X Bottom Pins (Type 1)
Con-Cor X X X X Top Pins
Deluxe Innovations X X X X X None
Hobby Train X Magnets
Kato X X Magnets and Bottom Pins (Type 2)
Micro Trains Line X X X Bottom Pins (Type 3)
Rolland Industrial X X Magnets
ScaleTrains X Bottom Pins Type (2)
Walthers X X Bottom Pins (Type 1)

He added that the Con-Cor containers are of low quality and recommended avoiding them.


Shipsure said Micro Trains Line also makes 20’ containers.


Crappie suggested looking at DigCom Designs. They have cardstock kits for maybe 50 different containers. You buy a PDF and make all you need. Add magnets and you can stack all you want.


Peter Harris, of N Scale Kits, said

You could also try Simon Ansell’s N Scale Laser containers www.nscalelaser.com single N030 and double stack containers N031 with decals [in a number of current lessees] from N Scale Kits.


Jagged Ben had a great idea for adding magnets to containers. I thought it deserved its own post so you can find it here: “Jagged Ben’s Ingenious Method for Adding Magnets to Intermodal Shipping Containers”.


Englewood said,

I use Aleene’s tacky glue to hold my containers together. Just a small drop will do the trick. When done, you can just rub the glue off with your finger. I’ve never had any containers discolor or anything from the glue. As far as which containers are compatible with each other, I couldn’t tell you for sure. If pins get in the way of stacking them, I just use a different container on that spot. I’ve thought about clipping the pins off of the ConCor containers I have, which aren’t many, but where else are you gonna get 53’ Tropicana containers??


When I tried the DigCom Designs website, all I got was a blank white screen. Later, Mu26aeh posted,

The website appears to be up now. You can also go to Strike Force Hobbies and click on DigCom Designs PaperCraft Products, about 1/3 way down page on left, or check them out on Facebook if you are on there, as that is where they usually announce new models. I’ve ordered thru their FB page and the strikeforce page with no issues. I use photo paper (8.5 mil thickness) for the printouts as I feel it gives a better finish to the model. Here are a couple 53’ trailers I have made.

See Adam Henry’s Flickr page for more of his work.

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  1. Pingback: Jagged Ben’s Ingenious Method for Adding Magnets to Intermodal Shipping Containers – Caveman Chuck’s Train Blog

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