This review appeared in Model
Railroad News, July, 1998.
Reprinted with permission of Lamplight Publishing
O GAUGE 3-BAY CYLINDRICAL HOPPER RELEASED
first release of the Atlas O, Big Rolling Stock
series is the ACF 3-bay Cylindrical Hopper. The
initial run includes six road names: Burlington,
Conrail, Erie Lackawana, Missouri-Kansas-Texas,
Wayne Feeds, and W. R. Grace and Company as well
as an undecorated version. Each decorated car is
available in two roadnumbers. These cars are
3-rail compatible, but can be converted to 2-rail
operation with the use of Atlas O kit #6036.
prototype for this scale model is the American
Car & Foundry CF3510 center flow hopper.
First introduced in 1962, almost 4,100 cars were
built before production ceased in 1966. These
steel constructed, 3-bay cylindrical hoppers
measured 50 feet 3 inches in length and were
designed to haul bulk commodities such as sugar,
grain, salt, plastic pellets, and cement.
Railroads that rostered the CF3510 included those
listed above as well as The Alaska Railroad, New
York Central, Pennsylvania, Seaboard Air Line,
Baltimore and Ohio, and numerous private
Atlas O hopper is an accurate model of the ACF
CF3510. From the moment I removed the car from
the box I was impressed with both the
models detail and quality.
with prototype photos and drawings, the Atlas O
model is to scale proportions measuring just over
12.5 inches in length (over corner posts). The
hopper features six operating roof hatches,
molded ladders, and well as separate hand grabs.
sample reviewed came decorated for Conrail. All
painting was smoothly and evenly applied.
Lettering was crisp and clean with even the
smallest of lettering legible. All markings and
data depicted on the car are accurate down to the
"H 42" denoting the former class of
hopper on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
quality of this model really shows itself when
looking at the trucks. The 3-rail trucks are
sprung and made of diecast metal as are the
couplers. Furthermore, the realistic looking
trucks have been enhanced by the addition of
brake shoe detail behind the sideframes.
separated these trucks from other O gauge
manufactures though, is Atlas Os use of a
steel spring assembly and steel coupler pin
assuring that these couplers will not open up
inadvertently while running a long train. In the
past, many manufacturers relied on plastic
components to hold the coupler in position, but
in many instances the plastic parts are unable to
hold the coupler in the closed position causing
cars to separate in mid train. Atlas Os
steel design takes care of this problem.
the test track the car performed well. The wheel
sets rolled smoothly and freely thanks to the
plastic bushing inserts in the diecast
sideframes. The car had no trouble negotiating
standard standard O31 diameter curves and
switches. In the lead of a twelve car train, the
Atlas O hopper neither derailed nor had couplers
O has done an excellent job on their first
release of rolling stock. Fantastic detail and
decoration combined with a high quality design
make this hopper car a worthy addition to any O
gaugers empire. Ready to run O gauge
rolling stock can not get any better than this!