by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
ACF Pressureaide ACFX (NKC 1993 Repaint) #51553
Roadname: ACFX (American Car and Foundry)
Item: 20 001 055
Price $32.95 (Undecorated MSRP: $27.95)
IntroAtlas' Center Flow Pressureaide Car is modeled after ACF's freight car designed to handle dry, powdered commodities for fast, efficient unloading. Covered hoppers are the most common freight car in the United States today and are found almost everywhere rails reach. In the Midwest covered hoppers can be found in unit trains of up to 125 cars. Common commodities transported include grains, flour and plastic pellets. The interior of the hopper binds are frequently coated with a liner to protect the load. Experimental covered hoppers came out in the 1930s, and in the 1960s American Car & Foundry developed the revolutionary Center Flow hopper, with a semi cylindrical body. That shape and the center discharge bays disgorged lading faster than the conventional angled chute.
ACF Pressureaide® Covered Hopper CarAmerican Car & Foundry builds a variety of rail cars including pressure-differential covered hopper cars. In the late 1970s the Pressureaide® was developed. A Pressureaide hopper car is a development of center flow covered hopper, a freight car that has no center sill. Thus the contents can discharge uninterrupted. With Pressureaide types this is via a discharge manifold system of 15 psi that allows the car load to blow out cleanly. These cars are easy to identify due to the piping along the unloading bays.
The vital statistics for the prototype are:
- AAR Class: LO
- AAR Type: C614
- Detail Info: Covered Hopper, Pressure Differential, Permanent Roof, Greater than 5000 cu-ft capacity
- Plate: C
- Max Gross Weight: 286000
- Load Limit: 219700
- Length: 59' 5"
- Width: 10' 8"
- Height: 15' 6"
While ACFX was the reporting mark for American Car and Foundry, now it is for General Electric Rail Services Corporation, which acquired the reporting mark when it purchased most if not all of the equipment in the ACF Industries lease fleet. NKC is now Nebraska Kansas Colorado Railway (reporting mark NKCR), formerly the Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado RailNet.
Atlas ACF Pressureaide Covered Hopper This model is a 5000-cubic-foot Center Flow design. The low mounted brake wheel marks it as built after mid-1966.
• Etched metal roof walks
• Detailed brake gear with scale piping
• Blackened metal wheels
• Accurate painting and printing
• 100-ton roller-bearing trucks and body mounted AccuMate® couplers with screw-attached coupler pockets (AccuMate® couplers are made under license from AccuRail, Inc.)
Atlas securely packages this model. It is in a Styrofoam cradle cut for the model’s shape. The fit is snug and you will want to gently spread the top off of the model to avoid damaging the roof hatches. ,i>Be careful as this tight fit loosened one side of the roof walk! Two raised areas support the piping – be careful putting the model back in the cradle, only put it in with the piping facing you or you will break it off! Additional padded inserts prevent the model from shifting end to end. To help remove the model from its protection, Atlas cut two finger holes in the back of the cradle. Very appreciated! Further protection is a formed clear plastic top that holds the model in the cradle. Slots are cut so you can grip the cradle to remove it from the box. A thin sheet protects the model from scuffing against this top. Finally, the cradle and all is snugly set inside a sturdy top-opening cardboard box that opens via side tabs, secured by clear sticky disks.
Atlas’ model is sharply molded and free of flash, noticeable seam lines, sink marks and ejector marks. It appears Atlas molded the body as a single piece. Individual roof hatches are attached to the top, as are photo-etched running boards. While the stirrups are molded onto the body, the ladders, grabs and stiffeners on each end are not. Each end is a separate piece. The model rides on a pair of 100-ton trucks holding blackened metal wheels. Atlas equips the model with body mounted AccuMate knuckle couplers.
The model is 58.9 scale feet long which is close to the prototype. It weighs 4.1 ounces which is light according to the NMRA RP.20 ideal of 4.8 oz.
DetailsA far cry from the previous generation of model freight cars, very little molded detail is used. Atlas detailed this hopper with nicely molded and detailed separate piping. Separately attached filler hatches crown the top. A retaining valve and pipe hangs from one end of the car, and a filler pipe stem pokes out from under a roof walk. those photo-etched running boards adorning the roof look awesome but they are supported by plastic slabs instead of their own supports. This is a compromise between detail, economy and sturdy assembly. Separately applied grabs detail the laterals walks.
The visible air brake system is unimpressive, represented merely with an AB valve, reservoir and cylinder of both molded-on and separately applied components; also, no piping is present. A further compromise between detail and economy is lack of air hoses, angle cocks and uncoupling levers (cutbars), although Atlas did mold mounting brackets for the cutbars. These details are available on Atlas’ fantastic Master Line models.
While the trucks look good per the Three-foot Rule, no brake shoes are molded on them. However, the metal RP-25 wheels are blackened. This is great although the wheels are so finely machined they still have a shine to them.
Paint and MarkingsThe finish of this model is excellent. ACFX livery is almost uninspired monochrome. One stencil in red and a yellow marking is the only color. However that means there is little to distract you from all the amazing printed data. Atlas’ data stencils and reporting marks are superb: sharp and legible. The paint is smooth and opaque. The etched metal roof walks are not painted.
Along with an undecorated model Atlas released nine new paint schemes:
• J.M. Huber
• National Starch
• Procter & Gamble
• Red Venturi
• Trinity Rail Management
All except Red Venturi are available with three different road numbers.
Out of the Yard The etched roof walks really set the model off, AccuMate couplers are a plus, the near-scale piping is pleasing, and the finish and stenciling is excellent. The plastic supports under the roof walks are a distraction. The molded-on brake components are disappointing. Overall Atlas has made a nice model of a ubiquitous modern freight car in HO. Recommended.
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