In this review we look at the Atlas N Trainman® 2-Bay Centerflow Hopper in Winchester & Western livery.
Centerflow® covered hopperThe centerflow covered hopper was designed for the transport of high-density dry bulk ladings of 50–60 pounds per cubic foot. Examples of these commodities include salt, fertilizer, starch, bauxite, and clay.
Covered hoppers are the most common freight car in the United States today. They carry light and heavy bulky commodities like flour, cement, sugar, carbon black, plastic pellets, and a host of loads sensitive to moisture. American Car and Foundry (ACF)
built covered hoppers as early as 1932. Other manufacturers soon followed. Originally they were 50- and 70-ton cars that carried heavy, dense, moisture-sensitive loads like cement, lime, and sand. The cars grew in size and have been perfected into larger cars capable of heavier loads. Several loading and unloading methods are used depending on the cargo.
Today covered hoppers are found almost everywhere and in the Midwest can be found in unit trains of 125 cars. The vital statistics* for this model prototype are:
Type: Covered Hopper
AAR Class: LO: A permanently enclosed car, other than a box car, regardless of exterior or interior shape, for handling bulk commodities, with or without insulation and provided with openings for loading through top or sides with weather-tight covers or doors. Car may be provided with one or more bottom openings for unloading, with tight fitting covers, doors, valves, or tight fitting slide or gate to prevent leakage of lading. Car may be provided with facilities for discharge of lading through openings in top or sides and may have one or more compartments. Mechanical or other means may be provided within car to expedite loading or unloading.
AAR Type: C111
Detail Info: Covered Hopper, Gravity Unloading, Permanent Roof, Less than 3000 cu ft capacity
Max Gross Weight: 263000
Load Limit: 207600
Dry Capacity: 2970
Ext L/W/H: 41' 3" / 10' 8" / 15' 1"
Atlas N Trainman® 2-Bay Centerflow Hopper
This model is securely packed in a plastic cradle held in a clear hard plastic case; the cradle includes inverted V forms to hold the model between the discharge bays. A thin plastic sheet protects the hopper from scuffing against the cradle and case lid. The model is factory assembled and ready-to-run.
The model is molded without any noticeable flaws. It has good surface detail. A separately attached hand brake wheel is on the end. Roof walks are also attached. The hopper bins have no door lock detail. The car lacks underbody and air brake detailing.
Not surprisingly the molded ladders and stirrup steps are oversize. They could be made smaller yet that would entail retooling which would, in turn, drive up the price from this economy model.
The hopper rides on brown plastic wheels in Barber S-2 100-ton roller bearing trucks. These plastic wheels look good because they don’t have that shine of metal wheels found on larger scales. The trucks are held to the underside by plastic pins. AccuMate® knuckle couplers equip the model.
This model is .6 ounces and 36.5 feet long. That makes it .3 oz light per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight.
Paint and Markings
Finish is smooth and opaque, with amazing printing. You can read the printing on the model. Six roadnames with two road numbers per railroad and an undecorated model are offered:
4. GE Rail Car (NAHX)
5. Southern Pacific
6. Winchester & Western
You can view five images of this model's prototype via the link Click here for additional images for this review
, below. It shows an interesting progression of weathering over several years.
Atlas has given N scalers a fine model of a common modern short line Centerflow® covered hopper car. The AccuMate couplers are a plus and the finish and stenciling is excellent. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on
American Car & Foundry builds a variety of rail cars including the center flow covered hopper, a freight car that has no center sill. Thus the contents can discharge uninterrupted. The interior of the hopper binds are frequently coated with a liner to protect the load. ACF and GE Capital Railcar Services negotiated a leasing agreement in 1997 for GE to take three-quarters of ACF's rail fleet, over 35,000. Included was purchase and supplementary agreements to use ACF's repair facilities. Today ACF builds mostly covered hopper cars for hauling items like corn or other grains. Other products are mainly miscellaneous steel products. Manufacturing facilities are located in Huntington, West Virginia, and Milton, Pennsylvania.**
Today ACF is known as ACF Industries LLC and is based in St. Charles, Missouri.**
Winchester & Western Railroad
"The Shenandoah Valley's Rail Connection to the World"† is how the 54-mile W&W promotes itself. The W&W is headquartered in Winchester, Virginia, centered on Martinsburg, West Virginia, spanning from Gore, VA to Hagerstown, Maryland. The company also runs detached routes in southern New Jersey.
The original Winchester & Western Railroad was constructed during the year 1916 to serve timber logging and lumber mills northwest of Winchester, VA. Eventually, the lumber traffic disappeared and that traffic was replaced by silica originating at the Virginia Glass Sand Co. and Shenandoah Silica Co., Gore, VA. The two silica companies were later purchased by Unimin Corporation of New Canaan, CT in 1970 and the W&W Railroad between Winchester and Gore, VA was acquired by Unimin in 1977 to insure continued railroad access to the silica mines. (Unimin is a worldwide factor in the mining and processing of industrial minerals.)
As a result of abandonment proceedings instituted by Conrail, in 1985, Unimin to protect railroad access for Unimin’s silica mines at Gore, VA and Dividing Creek, NJ, in 1986, arranged to purchase the former Conrail lines. The purchase resulted in the quintupling of Winchester & Western trackage and the creation of two railroad operating divisions. Both former Conrail lines were in need of extensive rehabilitation and programs were instituted to accomplish the rehabilitation to Federal operating standards. The Winchester & Western also owns and leases over 1,100 freight cars.
The W&W Virginia Division is approximately 60 miles long and it extends between Hagerstown, MD and Gore, VA via Martinsburg, WV and Winchester, VA. Approximately 6,000 revenue cars are currently handled annually. Silica sand and industrial sands are about 40% of the traffic. The following commodities make up the remainder of the traffic: food product, plastic granules, limestone, lumber, building materials, scrap steel, asphalt, printing papers, automobile parts and fabricated steel beams. Public delivery tracks (team tracks) are maintained at Williamsport, MD (Hagerstown), Martinsburg and Inwood, WV, Clearbrook, Winchester and Gore, VA, where transloading between a railcar and trucks can be accomplished. Regular service is five days a week with additional serviced available if required. Currently, 7 diesel electric locomotives (GP-9 1750 h.p.) and two auxiliary traction units are in operation.
The W&W New Jersey Division has approximately 48 miles of track serving Cumberland County and a portion of Salem County. Regular freight service is five days a week with additional service as required. Connections are made with CSX and Norfolk Southern at Millville, NJ. Approximately 7,000 revenue cars are handled annually, of which 1,600 are silica or industrial sand originating at several regional sand processing operations. Silica and industrial sand currently are about 18% of the W&W NJ carload traffic. The remaining percent of the carload traffic is made up of the following commodities: fresh and refrigerated food products, refrigerant gasses, butane and propane gases, farmer’s grain and fertilizers, fabricated steel beams, building construction products, lumber and plywood, soda ash and corn sweeteners. Currently, 8 diesel electric locomotives (GP-9 1750 h.p., and GP-10 1800 h.p.) are in operation.‡
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* Multiple. "Pictures of WW 4107." Railroad Picture Archives.
Railroad Picture Archives, n.d. Web.
†"WINCHESTER & WESTERN RR." WINCHESTER & WESTERN RR.
Virginia Railroad Association, n.d. Web. 21 June 2014.
‡ "Short Line Spotlight: The Winchester & Western RR." Short Line Spotlight: The Winchester & Western RR.
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, n.d. Web. 21 June 2014.
ACF Industries LLC. Welcome to ACF Industries LLC. [Web.] n.d.
American Railcar Industries, Inc. Centerflow® Covered Hopper Cars. http://www.americanrailcar.com/RailcarManufacturing/Car.aspx?car=centerflow. 2013.