review is from Model Railroad News, Vol. 6, Issue 6, June
with permission of Lamplight Publishing.
60’ Auto Parts Boxcar by Atlas O
Review by David Otte
Atlas O has
released American Car & Foundry 60’ Auto Parts Boxcars
in both Double Door and Single Door versions.
In the post
was years, the manufacturing of automobiles had become a
giant industry. Both the number of automobile types and
models had increased dramatically and with it the need to
transport thousands of automotive parts from the factories
to the assembly lines located throughout the country.
railroads, the moving of auto parts was good business, but
it was also very frusta ring. Freight cars had to be
dedicated by the railroads to carry specific auto parts such
as fenders or wheels and were fitted with special loading
devices, bulkheads, crossbars, or other interior fixtures
making them highly specialized cars capable of hauling only
that specific load. In some cases, railroads had specialized
freight cars that were making less than a dozen revenue
hauls a year!
expenses that neither the automobile companies, nor the
railroads wished to continue to incur and by the early
1960s, they had joined together to encourage the rail car
manufacturers to develop a new type of auto parts car. This
cooperative effort resulted in the creation of two standard
car styles: an 86’ hicube boxcar for carrying low density
parts such as sheet metal body stampings, and a 60’ car
for transporting high density items such as castings and
significant feature of the new designs was that these cars
had no interior fittings. Auto parts were load into
containers or onto wire racks that could be easily loaded
and unloaded by forklift. Once empties, the containers would
be returned to the boxcars for reuse, thereby allowing the
cars to be used more efficiently.
It is the
later 60’ style auto parts box car that Atlas O has chosen
for their recent Big o rolling stock release. The car is
available in a single and a double door version. Roadnames
being offered for the single door version are: Baltimore
& Ohio, Erie Lackawanna, Norfolk & western, and
Western Maryland. The double door version comes decorated
for: Grand Trunk Western, Rio Grande, Southern and Union
Pacific. Undecorated cars are available for both door
The Atlas O
car is based specifically on the American Car &
Foundry’s Precision Design 60’ auto parts boxcar. The
Precision Design series came about in the mid 1960s and was
ACF’s effort to redesign their 50’ and 60’ cars, thus
creating a better boxcar. The use of stronger steel types,
reduced weight, and a new standard underframe that could be
easily adjusted for higher or lower floor loading capacities
were some of the features the new design boasted.
One of the
easiest spotting features of the relatively smooth sided,
ACF built Precision Design car is the unusual indented,
waffle side panels located next to the doorways.
The 60’ cars were offered with three different door
configurations: a single 10’ door opening: a 16’ door
openings centered on the car side, or a 16’ door opening
offset to one side. A few cars were very well equipped with
3,000 of these cars were built for a number of railroads
between 1966 and 9172. Road known to have purchased the ACF
cars included: B&O, C&O, Canadian Pacific, D&Ts,
Rio Grande, Erie Lackawanna, Grand Trunk Western, Illinois
Central, Kansas City Southern, Milwaukee Road, Katy, SP,
Cotton Belt, Missouri Pacific, N&W, rock island,
Southern, UP and Western Maryland.
dimensions of the Atlas O models compare well with prototype
drawings. The car measures 17.25” long over the couplers.
This would translate to 69 scale feet which is right on the
money. Also, the wheelbase measures 11.5” long an the
height of the car above the rails is about 3.75”-both
dimensions are within 3 scale inches of the prototype.
of the plastic injected molded body is excellent, with
numerous add-on details including: ladders, door latches,
tack boards, see-through end platforms, end railings, and
brake wheel. The Atlas O model even features sliding doors
and simulated shock control couplers!
car floor and plastic frame on the underside of the car
depict sill framing and gussets, as well as extensive brake
gear details. The accurate die cast, sprung, 70 ton-roller
bearing trucks display separately applied brake shoes behind
the side frames.
The Atlas O
Auto Parts cars exhibit all of the appropriate
characteristic of the real SCF cars. The proper number of
side panels are represented on both of the versions being
offered, as are the correct roof deign and end walls. The
indented waffle panels identifying the boxcars are Precision
Design are present, with the single door version correctly
having panels next to one side of the door, and the double
door version having them on either side of the doors.
Furthermore, Atlas has made their double door car rendering
with a slightly deeper side sill than that of the single
door version-which is one of the few differences noticeable
in the construction of the Precision Design single door and
double door prototypes.
expected, the quality of decoration on both of our single
and double door review samples is impeccable! Paint
application was perfect and the lettering was crisp and
opaque. Both our B&O single door car and Southern double
door car displayed prototypical car information and were
numbered in the proper car series. The B&O purchased 288
of both the single and double door boxcars from ACF in
1970-1971. The Southern bought 15 single 10’ door opening
cars in 1968, and 57 with 16’ door openings in 1970.
thing we discovered when placing the 17.25” long cars on
the test track was that they will NOT negotiate O31 curves.
As with more and more of the scale size equipment being
produced these days for 3-ral track, O54 curves are becoming
necessary. Actually, these scale cars look more at home on
O72 curves, but negotiated around our O54 test track just
fine. As with our experience with previous Atlas O rolling
stock tests, both samples rolled freely and very smoothly,
with the magnetically operated die cast couplers functioning
as reliably as ever.
O is offering the ACF cars in 2-rail ready-to-run. The
2-rail versions come equipped with plated metal wheelsets and
Kadee compatible couplers.
comes to these ACF Auto parts cars, the A in Atlas must
surely stand for ACCURACY! Hi-railers as well as scale
modelers will really appreciate the outstanding job Atlas O
has done in producing these auto parts cars. If you model
any time period from the late 1960s to the present, you will
definitely want to add a couple of these to your list of
modern rolling stock.