Re: The Atlas USRA steel rebuild. Again.

Benjamin Hom

Ed Sutorik asked:
"Anyway, Atlas has announced another run of their USRA rebuilds. I did a search of this list, and it appears the cars MIGHT work for ACL and/or Frisco. But those list-comments appeared before the car was widely available.

So, I'm asking if there are any new comments about these cars. I note that Atlas is supplying them with two kinds of ends and two kinds of underframes, so at least they're trying."

As luck would have it, I picked up #6400-4, an undec 7/8 Murphy end straight center sill car.

- Compared to some of Atlas' earlier releases, the model is actually nicely tooled. The overall appearance is nicer than that of the Atlas N-scale model.
- While the body, running boards, underframe, and end details have been pre-assembled, grab irons, doors and door tracks, and ladders have not been assembled and a provided in a small bag.
- The end and side sill indents are more pronouced than earlier versions of this model in N and S scale and give this model a better appearance.

Unfortunately, for the HO scale car, Atlas chose to change the design of the model, replacing the 8-panel sides with 10-panel sides. As a result, I'm at a loss as to what if any prototype can be modeled from these cars (and this is in addition to my previous comments based on the pre-production annoucement). Consider the following:
- The two models represent 9 ft IH cars with 10-panel sides, the original USRA steel sheathed roof with the options 7/8 or 5/5/5 Murphy ends and fishbelly or straight center sills. These are very problematic combinations for the following reasons:
- The prototypes that I know of for 9 ft IH cars with 5/5/5 (ACL, SL-SF) and 7/8 Murphy ends (several groups of WAB rebuilds) are all 8-panel cars.
- The prototypes that I know of for 10-panel cars (ex: ATSF, RI, PRR) are all taller cars with different ends (modified original ends) and replacement roofs.

See the group files section for my spreadsheet documenting rebuilt double-sheathed boxcars prototypes.

Bottom line: The 10-panel sides of this model takes the ACL and SL-SF prototypes off the table. If anyone knows of any prototype matching either model, I'd love to hear details.

Ben Hom

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