This review is from Model
Railroader, September 1999. Reprinted with permission of Kalmbach Publishing Company.
Nicely detailed O scale
Evans 53-foot boxcar from Atlas O
by George Sebastian Coleman
is Atlas Os fourth freight car release, but the first to be offered for scale
two-rail use out of the box. The O scale model, based on an Evans Products Co. prototype,
is beautifully detailed with separate grab irons, ladders, and door latch details, and
its equipped with Kadee-compatible magnetic knuckle couplers.
Evans built these insulated boxcars between 1969 and 1977, and they
were a common sight on railroads throughout the United States. The cars insulated
design means it can handle temperature-sensitive cargo. Thanks to its large dimensions and
double doors, it was especially popular for handling plywood and other lumber loads.
While retaining the same overall dimensions, the cars went through
several variations during their production. The first cars used Pullman roof and end
components, and a few used Youngstown plug doors with only two rods on each door. Around
the middle of 1970 the sides and ends were changed to Stanray components: an overhanging
X-panel roof and 4/4 Dreadnaught ends. At the same time Evans began applying its own
Cushion-Pak underframe rather than purchasing Hydra-Cushion gear.
The injection-molded styrene Atlas model represents the later cars.
Overall it captures the bulk of the prototype, and the details and lettering are first
rate. Particularly nice are the separate rods and latching mechanism on the doors (shown
above right). The fine-looking grab irons measure .025", not quite a scale 1
¼". The stirrup steps are heavy, but these would be a quick and easy replacement.
The brake gear is very well done. The train line, which runs right
along the floor, is cast in place, but all the other rigging is separate. Since on this
car the rigging hangs quite low, its a very nice addition to the detailing.
The model is very close to the dimensions called out in the 1980 Car
and Locomotive Cyclopedia (Simmons-Boardman), although there are some typical model
discrepancies. The truck centers are a bit close 42-5" on the model versus
43-1 7/8". Length over the coupler pulling faces is very close at
60-0", though the length over the striker plates is a foot short.
Height and width match the prototype dimensions within a fraction of
an inch. The prototypes inside length is 52-5", and measuring over the
shortest point on the ends of the model gives a measurement of 52-3", so the
car is at least a few inches short.
This Atlas O model may be a first in our experience: It weighs more
than the National Model Railroad Associations recommended weight. In O scale the
NMRA recommends a base weight of five ounces plus one ounce for every inch of car length.
The Evans boxcar is about 13" long, for a recommended weight of 18 ounces. Thanks to
its diecast metal underframe it tips the scales at a whopping 23 ounces. I doubt this is
enough to seriously affect performance, but if you other cars weigh less than the NMRA
standard, you may want to keep these near the head end of the train.
The trucks are nicely done with working springs at least
theyll work once you remove the trucks and unscrew the rigid bolster on the truck
thats part of the three-rail draft gear. The truck bolster will then be free to
float on the springs. A drawback of most sprung trucks is that the springs are either too
strong or look too skinny. Thats not the case here, as the spring tension is low
enough for the trucks to equalize, yet the springs look reasonably heavy. All the axles
were in gauge and the flanges within NMRA standards. The wheel width is .175", just
over the NMRA standard of .172".
Overall the Evans boxcar from Atlas O is a fine model. The slightly
short body isnt apparent, and the fine detailing is surely what will capture the