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This review is from Model Railroad News, February 2003. Reprinted with permission of Lamplight Publishing.

ATLAS O PS 4427 HOPPER            

Review by David Otte

Although no longer in business, the Pullman-Standard Company was well known for the various freight and passenger cars they manufactured in the US. In particular many roads and private companies who had a commodity such as grain to move to the market place favored the manufacturer’s PS-2 series covered hoppers. While the PS-2 designation covers a wide variety of covered hopper cars introduced by Pullman-Standard, the 4427 cubic foot capacity car stands out as being one of the first large capacity cars to be manufactured in any great numbers. In fact, the PS-4427 car is the subject of one of Atlas O’s more recent O gauge freight car releases, which in turn affords us a view of a prototype that has been riding the rails for the past 40 years.

Atlas O is offering their PS-4427 model in ready-to-run versions for both 3-rail and 2-rail. In the first release of this product, the New Jersey-based company offered the car decorated for Burlington Northern, Santa Fe, Soo Line, Carborundum, Continental Grain, Wayne Feeds, and undecorated. The model’s second release includes cars lettered for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Milwaukee Road, Lehigh Valley, and Producer’s Grain. Each roadname is available in four different roadnumbers except for Carborundum, Wayne Feeds, and Producer’s Grain which are available in only two roadnumbers.

In the early 1960s, Pullman-Standard introduced a major design change in the way their larger hoppers were discharged. Up until this time, covered hopper car manufacturers had been relaying on a double discharge system for emptying each hopper’s individual compartment. As cars continued to increase in load capacity, many operators found that the existing twin outlet design was unable to unload the commodity fast enough and frequent clogs were encountered. The new approach to combat this dilemma was to offer one centralized discharge outlet per hopper bay. This simple, but important solution became a strong selling point for Pullman-Standard as they began to implement the new feature on larger capacity car designs. Cars utilizing the single outlet per bay carried the designation PS-2CD with “CD” standing for central discharge.

The 4427 cubic foot PS-2CD was introduced in late 1963 with the production of five demonstrators. While both railroads and private companies purchased cars, many of these hoppers were leased to businesses through Pullman’s Transport Leasing Division. These leased cars carried the reporting marks TLDX. Of the 10,645 total original design 4427 cars built, 4,500 were owned by the Santa Fe. In the mid-1960s, Pullman-Standard changed the hopper design once again, this time reducing the height of the car sides. These cars are identifiable by the fact that the lower edge of the sides was raised to the point that the hopper bay was mostly exposed. The 4427 model continued to be built with the original lower sides until November of 1966 when production of the raised side commenced.

There are a couple of variations that can be found among the low side 4427 cars. Two top loading systems were available by either a long trough opening or individual 30 inch round openings. The trough opening was covered by four hatches and was the more popular of the two loading methods. About 540 cars were delivered with the round openings though. Most of these cars were built for the Union Pacific and Illinois Central railroads. Another option visible on these cars was the location of the brake wheel and its operator’s platform. It appears that a majority of the cars were built with a high mounted brake wheel while a few cars were ordered with the low mounted brake wheel.

The Atlas O 1:48 scale model replicates the low side 4427 cubic foot capacity car with a high mounted brake wheel and trough opening. They have accurately captured the scale proportions of this Pullman-Standard prototype. I checked all the major dimensions on the model against available PS-2CD 4427 information. Here are the results: length over the ends was 12-3/8 inches or a scale 49 feet 6 inches; wheelbase length was 10-1/8 inches or a scale 40 feet 6 inches; discharge outlets were 3-1/8 inches or a scale 12 feet 6 inches apart; the height of the car side was 2-5/8 inches or a scale 10 feet 6 inches; and the width over the sides was 2-9/16 inches or a scale 10 feet 3 inches. All of these measurements are within a scale 3/4 inches of the prototype – not unusual for Atlas, but an excellent achievement nonetheless.

The O scale hopper’s features compare favorably with drawings and Pullman-Standard builder’s photos as well. From the obvious 4/3/4 rib pattern on the car sides to the delicate nut-bolt-washer detail on the ladder rungs and hand grabs, I really couldn’t find anything missing on the model. All the grab irons are metal and quite sturdy. Full brake gear with piping is visible on the brake wheel end of the car. The simulated metal roof walk and brake wheel platform are see-through. The roof top trough style hatches have working latches and can be opened. The underside of the car boasts full brake linkage to each truck as well as rack and pinion style outlet gates. Even the air supply line that runs from end to end along the underside of the real hopper is on this model. Our review sample was setup for 3-rail operation and though it had the traditional larger than life knuckle couplers, Atlas O still managed to model the air hose connection that extends out along the coupler shank.

The car body and hopper bays are made of plastic, but the car still weighs in at about 2 pounds. This is due not only to the sprung die cast metal trucks with metal wheel sets and couplers, but additional metal weights have been added to the interior of the car over the truck mounting locations. The result is that the car rolls well and stays on the track. We experienced no instances of the car derailing, but we did find that the outer axle’s wheels in each truck tended to rub slightly on the bottom of the car end horizontal brace while traveling through curves. This occurred not only on the advertised minimum O45 radius curves, but also on O54 radius curves too. Our solution was to install a thin washer between the truck bolster and car body. This raised the car end bracing just high enough for the wheels to roll smoothly, yet it was not enough to spoil the scale height appearance of the car.

Speaking of the trucks, Atlas O has equipped their model with the correct 100-ton roller bearing trucks. More importantly, the second run of 4427 hoppers has the added detail of rotating bearing caps on their trucks. Unfortunately our review sample was from the first run so we did not get to experience this new feature.

Our sample was decorated for Wayne Feeds as leased by the Allied Mills Corporation from Pullman-Standard. This car, numbered 3137, was one of five cars leased to Allied Mills in October 1964. Atlas O has replicated the various car lettering which is entirely readable on the model. It carries the proper TLDX reporting marks and in the smallest text size even lists the correct Pullman-Standard Lot number, 8947, in which the car came from. The large eye catching color signage on the car is mounted to metal placards, which was common practice on freight cars in the 1960s. Finally, The Atlas O hopper exhibits the Pullman-Standard’s Transport Leasing Company trait of painting their cars black on the ends and underbody. Overall I give Atlas O an A+ for the quality of paint and graphics application on the PS-2CD 4427 covered hopper.

I urge you to visit your Atlas O dealer and sample one of these cars for yourself. Like many of their other excellent freight car models we have reviewed in the past, the 4427 covered hopper is a must for your collection. Particularly if you model anytime from the 1960s to present day, quite a few of these cars would still be visible in a freight consist. With the ability to purchase up to four road numbers for each roadname, the O scale modelers can well represent this significant Pullman-Standard car on their layouts.

PS-4427 Low Side Hopper, MSRP 3-rail $59.95; 2-rail $64.95

Atlas O, LLC

378 Florence Ave.

Hillside, NJ 07205

(908) 687-9590







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