Re: The Atlas USRA steel rebuild. Again.

Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>

CN had 250 steel rebuilds done by the GTW's Port Huron shops in 1936 of a steel-frame boxcar originally built for the Grand Trunk. Port Huron also did a large number of these cars for the GTW within a year or two of the CN cars. While on the subject of Accurail, I'll add that the original GTR car and a later CN rebuild (CN 463000-series) of it can be modelled quite easily with an Accurail kit. Thanks, Dennis!

Back to those CN rebuilds--

470000-470149 had Hutchins rooves.

470150-470249 had raised panel rooves.

Ends were 7/8, with an about 4" panel separating the two halves of the end.

Here's a photo of one of these cars, off its trucks, mind you--

And a closer view of the end--

A closer view of the side--

The Atlas car is at best a "stand-in", as it does not have the "fishbelly" underframe that these cars had. As I have built the two that I'll need (these were a VERY small part--less than 1%--of CN's steel boxcar fleet), I've not compared the rest of the Atlas car to the CN prototype. But you can compare the Atlas model vs. prototype photos I've linked here.

I have modelled both varieties of thse cars in HO. I used a Sylvan Scale kit for the Hutchins roof version, and a heavy kitbash of a Tichy steel rebuild kit for the raised panel roof incarnation.

If anyone wants more info on these cars, feel free to email me off list.

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., "benjaminfrank_hom" <b.hom@...> wrote:

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."

OK, I now see the release that Ed was referring to:
and it's "good" that the 8-panel cars are available.

Unfortunately, my comments in post numbers 83458 and 23214 still stand. In this case of these models, the big stumbling points are the roofs, ends, and IH of these prototypes:

Roofs: All prototypes had the original roof replaced - Viking (CMO), Murphy rectangular panel (AA, EJ&E, RI), or railroad specific design (DT&I).

Ends/IH: The DT&I, EJ&E, and AA retained their original ends and received only a marginal increase in IH at most (2"). (The ends on the AA model on the webpage are incorrect - they should be 7/8.) The CMO and RI cars were 10 ft IH cars, and a blank splice panel was used on the ends to increase their height.

I don't have information on the CN rebuilds handy to make a call on their accuracy.

These are very frustrating models. It looks as if Atlas is trying to capitalize on their approach on the 1932 ARA boxcars by tooling up different variations, but in the case of these rebuilds, the combination of variations are very railroad specific, and the end result are akin to the Train-Miniature SS and DS boxcars: variations of the same tooling that in the end produce models that aren't accurate for anything out of the box.

Ben Hom

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